If you’ve spent any time on Twitter over the last 48 hours, you’re probably aware of the made-for-TV movie Sharknado that aired on the SyFy channel Thursday night. It is exactly what the name suggests – a tornado filled with sharks that wreaks havoc upon Los Angeles.
Those of us who watched the movie (and I admit freely that I love horrible science fiction movies), were privy to scenes of sharks exploding out of sewer grates, surfers being eaten in one bite, and the unforgettable moment where the film’s main protagonist cuts his way out of the belly of a great white with a chainsaw that he inexplicably managed to start only after being swallowed by the beast.
The tornadoes in the film were spawned by a massive hurricane that made landfall around Santa Monica. And if you blinked, you may have missed the part where the hurricane, the first ever to hit California according to the film, was the direct result of “global warming.”
But here’s the problem – the fact that climate change is spawning more intense hurricanes, like the one depicted in the movie, is real. The premise of it spawning tornadoes capable of sucking up sharks and hurling them at the public is not. They have taken a legitimate, serious issue that should be of concern to the public and turned it into a joke.
I’m sure that no one was watching SharkNado and expecting it to be enlightening or scientifically accurate. But it has the affect of dumbing down the public discourse on a matter that is actually more frightening than a tornado filled with man-eating sharks.