You know the scene. It’s from one of my favourite films ever.
Hooper is going down in his cage, as a crazy last resort, to try to poison the Great White Shark. Just before Brody and Quint finally lower him into the depths, he tries to clear his diving mask.
“I got no spit,” he says.
That’s how I feel now. That’s just how I feel.
I feel like there’s a Great White Shark loose in the water and I reckon I may have to face up to him in my own stupid little way. I’m ready, I guess. I know what it is that should be done.
I just ain’t got no spit.
The metaphor is sound enough, I think. The ocean is Social Media in general, the cage is my own meagre presence there and the shark… well, you know what the shark is.
Over the past weeks, I have vacillated about going down in the cage, even to just watch the shark as he stalked around, never mind to rail against him. It’s tough down there, the air is very stale and tinny and the pressure pinches hard on my nose and temples.
These past weeks, I’ve tried just hiding in the wheelhouse and hoping that the shark will just go away. But it isn’t going to go away, is it?
It’s been fed now and it’s emboldened and the taste of blood is on its tongue.
I guess I just have to go down in the cage. I know that I can’t possibly hope to stop it or even to slow it down in any way. All I can do is present myself before it and say, “Hey, Shark, I’m over here! You can eat me if you want but you’ll have to do so knowing that I am against you.”
Maybe I’m actually wrong. That would be nothing new if it were the case. Maybe this is all just another in a long line of over-dramatised political games. Maybe the hype and the constant battering of awful news and opinion has finally got into my head. That’s what I tended to think, until yesterday. I almost seemed to be thinking of it all as just another storm, something to shelter from until it simply blew over. I had pretty much resolved to hang out in the fruit cellar with a lantern and a good book until the whole stupid hurricane has passed. Then I was planning to climb out and tidy things up as best I could.
But, this weekend, I think I feel differently. All that talk of ‘Enemies’ and ‘Tombstones’ and ‘Carnage’. And today too. The orchestrated dissembling about how many people were at an event. The never-ending aggressive campaigning when the campaign is over and apparently won.
It’s not a storm, I now reckon. It’s a shark. And it’s not going away. Not anytime soon at least.
Until today, I had sealed my cage tight shut. Any mention of certain people and certain events had been blocked and filtered as much as I could. Today, I feel I have to stop all that. I have to open my eyes wide and try to see what is going on. It’s not always easy because many of the people who are allegedly against the shark can fight pretty dirty too and everything they say cannot necessarily be trusted as being the truth.
So that’s it. I’ll go down in my cage as much as I can and when I see the shark do its thing I’ll shout ‘Shark!’ even though I won’t be heard much through all the murk and the turbulence. I won’t make much difference.
Maybe, though, if we all go down in our cages and if we all shout at the shark when he comes, teeth bared, maybe that will make some kind of difference.
Who the hell even knows?
Time to descend. I’m ready, I think.
I just ain’t got no spit.