I confess I’d heard the phrase “jump the shark” many times, but never knew exactly what it meant. Here’s a definition:
“The precise moment when you know a program, band, actor, politician, or other public figure has taken a turn for the worse, gone downhill, become irreversibly bad, is unredeemable, etc.; the moment you realize decay has set in.
Origin of this phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on water skis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show.”
(e.g., Tom Cruise jumped the shark the moment he jumped Oprah’s couch)
With that in mind I listened to Geraldine Ferraro on NPR yesterday describe her conversation with newly anointed GOP VP candidate, Sarah Palin. Ferraro had no criticism of her. She was “happy for her”; “thought she would learn fast”. And, when asked who she would vote for this November, Ferraro said she hadn’t decided.
This, from the person who claimed Obama was successful “because he’s black”.
Ferraro makes me cringe. I’m all for a little ethnic/national/gender/whatever pride, but does Ferraro value nothing above those attributes? When McCain is busy vetoing national healthcare and appointing extremist Supreme Court Justices will the existence of a woman VP make everything all right?
Equal justice before the law and the common good are liberal values and they demand the inclusion of everyone. That naturally entails a focus on those historically excluded. But at some point we need to remember the goal: liberty and justice for all and the common good. We aren’t going to get there by dividing into tribes.
In my mind Ferarro represents the worst kind of identity politics. Hopefully that movement has jumped the shark.