Viewpoint: Everything You Thought You Knew About Left Shark, and Why It’s Wrong

By now, you’ve read the tweets:

“The real hero of Super Bowl XLIX was #leftshark,” said one from the Bleacher Report.

“The Internet pays tribute to its new hero: #LeftShark,” tweeted Mashable.

“Dance like nobody is watching. Dance like #LeftShark,” read another variation on the theme.

Whatever their intention, these supposedly funny quips completely overlook the real issue:

What does it say about our society when two of the very same kinds of sharks, in the very same halftime show, next to the very same pop star, have such obviously disparate access to the skills and training they needed to succeed in today’s increasingly cutthroat world of backup dancers on broadcast television in hokey, ironic novelty costumes?

Maybe Left Shark didn’t fail Katy Perry. Maybe Left Shark didn’t fail NBC. Maybe Left Shark didn’t fail the millions of viewers of this Super Bowl, the highest-rated in league history.

Maybe it’s us who have failed Left Shark.

Where were the compliance officers when Left Shark needed accommodations for its limited mobility?

Where were the choreographers to offer Left Shark some words of encouragement when Right Shark stole the show in Saturday’s tech rehearsals?

Where were the network producers when Left Shark needed them to cut to a wide shot and save from it the unwanted humiliation, attention, and affection of millions of ogling spectators?

They were nowhere close to where Left Shark needed them to be.

We’ve all been Left Sharks at some point in our lives. Next time an over-sized fish with a cartilaginous skeleton struggles for 7-8 seconds with its upper-body coordination on national TV, remember that, folks.

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