Monday, April 18, 2011

6 hugely popular books that accidentally screwed the world

At Cracked Jacopo della Quercia tagged six hugely popular books that accidentally screwed the world.

One title on the list:
Jaws, by Peter Benchley

It's the book that made the entire planet collectively shit their pants, go swimming, and then shit their pants all over again once the movie came out.

Together, the Benchley-Spielberg tag team established Robert Shaw as a badass, Richard Dreyfuss as Richard Dreyfuss, the Jaws theme as the last thing you hear before you die, and the fact that the great white shark proves Mother Nature only wants to murder us.

The Ugly Aftermath:

You'd think the world's oceans would be safer now that books and movies like Jaws have inspired countless angry fishermen to kill sharks 'round the clock. Well, they are. In fact, things are now so safe that one-third of the world's sharks are facing extinction, thanks in part to a little phenomenon called "The 'Jaws' effect."

Once it became clear that sharks were suddenly and rapidly going the way of the dodo, Peter Benchley dedicated the remainder of his life to promoting awareness that sharks aren't as bad as he claimed: "We knew so little back then, and have learned so much since, that I couldn't possibly write the same story today."

Sharks have since been added to the endangered species list, thanks in part to what Benchley described as "popular ignorance about sharks." You know, like the idea that they'll kill you if you don't blow them up with an oxygen tank first.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Jaws by Antonia Quirke is one of David Thomson's five best books about making movies. The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb, with an ­introduction by Peter Benchley, is one of John Krasinski's best books.

--Marshal Zeringue