Larry Vaughn 2016

LARRYVAUGHN2016-allthatjaws
Let’s make a case for Larry Vaughn in 2016.

We need a candidate who acts in our best interest, who is a coalition builder, who doesn’t traffic in fearmongering, who seeks proof, who is decisive, who admits mistakes, and whose kids are on that beach, too.

Mayor Vaughn is the steward of a summer town. A town that depends on summer dollars. He hasn’t read the crackpot theories that Matt Hooper has about the territoriality of sharks, because he isn’t a reader; he is a signer. When he earnestly asks for proof of the shark’s tooth that Hooper said he extracted from Ben Gardner’s boat, Hooper can’t produce it. Do you want a president who will perform a half-assed autopsy of your rights? Vaughn is clearheaded.

Mayor Vaughn does see the “sick vandalism” of Amity’s 50th Annual Regatta billboard, perpetrated by “paint-happy bastards.” Vaughn demands Brody bring them to swift justice. Vaughn is a man of action and responds to what is in front of him. He is decisive.

Mayor Vaughn creates a coalition of the media, business, and medical establishments and reaches out to Chief Brody, saying he doesn’t want “a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.” Yet when Brody is told that the coroner’s report must be amended from “shark attack” to “boating accident,” he is incensed. Brody cannot adapt to change. But Vaughn is pragmatic. “Look fellas,” he says to America. “Let’s be reasonable.”

Vaughn does not traffic in fear.

LARRYVAUGHN2016-allthatjaws

Mayor Vaughn is not swayed by excitable naysayers like Hooper and Brody, who not only want to close the beaches, damning the island to a long winter of welfare, but also want to open the public coffers to the expensive fancies of Quint, who demands $10,000 plus lunch, apricot brandy, Iranian caviar, and a color TV. Unimpressed with hysteria, Vaughn counters that, not only will the summer be saved, but it will also be “the best Fourth of July we’ve ever had.” He knows how to delegate, and is not a Negative Nellie.

Mayor Vaughn is always on the lookout for graft. In addition to pate de fois gras, Quint wants zoning concessions from the town independent of whether he catches the shark or not. Vaughn would not agree to that.

Mayor Vaughn admits his mistakes. We know from the book “Jaws” that Amity’s mayor was in bed with the Mob and thus had a financial interest in keeping the beaches open, despite growing evidence of a resident killer shark. While the Mob element was removed in the movie, Vaughn acted “in the town’s best interest” to keep the flow of tourists’ “summer dollars” unimpeded. But when the shark goes into the pond and eats the Estuary Victim, Vaughn sees his error. He accompanies the survivors to the hospital. He signs the voucher and hires Quint to kill the shark. His kids were on that beach, too.

Larry Vaughn is a father, an administrator, a team builder, and a decider. In November, let’s take him under advisement.

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At Least “We Dropped the Bomb”

USS Indianapolis-all-that-jaws
They were all drinking a lot of apricot brandy that night, so maybe Quint can be forgiven, but the Captain of the Orca claimed to have been on the doomed U.S.S. Indianapolis when it was attacked by a Japanese sub, sending nearly 1200 men into the water to be menaced by sharks. The date he gave was June 29, 1945.

He was off by a month. Today, July 30, marks the anniversary of the wreck of the Indianapolis, steaming to the Philippines from Guam after delivering Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The bomb delivery mission was so secret, Quint says (and he’s right), that “no distress signal had been sent.” So after dropping off Little Boy on the 40 sq. mi. Marianas island of Tinian, the Indianapolis and her crew of 1196 turned right around, stopped at Guam, and on its way to join the U.S.S. Idaho in the Leyte Gulf to mount the planned invasion of Japan, it was torpedoed. About 900 men were eaten by sharks in a literal bloodbath that lasted four days.

There is no such “Indianapolis Speech” in Peter Benchley’s novel, but a team of writers and rewriters, not the least of whom was Robert Shaw himself—a produced playwright— gave the movie’s Quint a reason to hate sharks, and to “never put on a lifejacket again.”

The true and tragic story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis is told in the book “In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors,” which proves that the sad story of the ship did not end that summer of 1945. I highly recommend it as a piece of WWII history and a sad tale of adventure and politics.

Not only that, but you can now share this informative and toe-tapping video of “Show Me the Way To Indianapolis” from “All That Jaws.”

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July 1: So Long, Chrissie Watkins

“A Summer Girl goes swimming,” says Mayor Vaughn. “Swims out a little far…”

In the book “Jaws,” Chrissie Watkins is about 25, the date of Tom Cassidy, and a houseguest at the home of his friends. The couple decide to go for a moonlight swim, Tom stays behind on the beach, and Chrissie is eaten.

Tom wakes up and wonders where she went. He doesn’t know her well. Could she have run off with someone, maybe the couple that owns the house?

“For all I know,” Tom says, “she could be a little weird.”

In the movie, Chrissie is listed as a student, though she looks like Janis Joplin’s older sister. Tom Cassidy appears to meet her on the beach, because he asks her name.

Despite the other differences in the book and movie, Chrissie’s fate is the same: she is the shark’s first victim.

She died on July 1, 1974. Her crime? She just swam out a little far.

Previously on All That Jaws: June 29: Icthyology Numerology

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June 29: Icthyology Numerology

A lot of things happened on both Tinian and Amity Islands on June 29. Let us help you make some sense of it.

If history is written by the victor, then we do not know whom to trust in the various official and unofficial written statements about the deaths of Chrissie Watkins and Alex Kintner. Continue reading

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Freezer Full of Meat And Booze: An 8-Day Amity Island Diet

Amity-Island-Diet

Show me the way to better abs and increased energy

Amity Island, like Brigadoon or King Arthur’s Avalon, is a place out of time that is powered by summer dollars and magical realism. But an Islander’s gotta eat — and not some license plate he found in a river.

As has been proven with exhaustive scholarship, we cannot rely on police reports or flyers on Town Hall walls to nail down exact times on Amity (which, as you know, means “friendship”), but we can kick our way to shore with this hearty 8-day diet.

DAY ONE
Falstaff Beer And A Cigarette

Amity-Island-Diet

Soon neither of us will be able to walk or dress ourselves, Chrissie

If Brody’s police report was true (and it wasn’t), Tom enjoyed this casual ripaste close to midnight on July 1, 1974. Chasing Chrissie Watkins down the dunes, Tom doesn’t make it too far, and passes out. But that was just a palate cleanser, because the next day:

DAY TWO
Coffee And Crabs

Amity-Island-Diet

Oh, you’ll get it back.

Even though the season hasn’t even started yet, Brody rushes out of his home with his wife’s coffee mug to find Chrissie’s partially denuded remains being gobbled by crabs.

Amity-Island-Diet

Crabs know a boating accident when they see one.

“I want my cup back,” nags Ellen Brody.

“You’ll get it,” replies the Prufrocked Chief, probably wishing he was a Chrissie-denuding crab.

DAY THREE
Brandy And A Freezer Full of Meat

Amity-Island-Diet

Let’s toast to Pippet.

It’s been a tough day what with all that chalkboard scratching, so Ellen brings her husband a heavy snifter of Brandy.

“You wanna get drunk and fool around?” she says.

“Oh yeah,” Brody replies, hoping to do some denuding of his own.

Amity-Island-Diet

3,000 bucks buys an awful lot of roast.

Meanwhile, Charlie steals his wife’s Holiday Roast for our first substantial meal, more than ample fuel for the strenuous days ahead. When you put your hook into this chunk of flesh, your friends will say, “He’s taking it he’s taking it he’s taking it he’s taking it.”

DAY FOUR
Water, Red And White Wine, And Leftovers

Amity-Island-Diet

Make sure to drink in a non-frenzied manner this weekend.

We still need to bulk up for our shark hunt, so today we’ll begin with a palate-cleansing styrofoam cup full of water as Hooper narrates Chrissie’s injuries. Because he is a scientist, Hooper probably knows the reason not to smoke in the autopsy room, though it is lost on us.

Amity-Island-Diet

I didn’t know what you were having.

Then we’ll finish the day with some hefty, inappropriately dispensed glasses of wine quaffed around a table full of lasagna leftovers.

“You want to let that breathe for — ? Nothing,” says Hooper, who is in sharks.

DAY FIVE
Coffee (Ice Cream) And Cigarettes

Amity-Island-Diet

Good luck playing with your cars in here, Michael.

After the leftovers, let’s have a nice dessert. Michael’s birthday-week trauma at the pond has left him in shock, but he recovers enough for some ice creamMeanwhile, Vaughn takes advantage of the fact that it’s the 1970s in Massachusetts by lighting up in a goddamn hospital.

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I can smoke anywhere—I’m the Mayor of Shark City.


DAY SIX
Moonshine

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I call this a Fat PBY.

Quint has told Brody that Hooper can be taken on the Orca for ballast, and what better way to jettison the week’s fatty foods than with Quint’s mariner moonshine?

“Don’t drink that,” says Brody to Hooper, whose insides are like a kiddie scissor class cut it up for a paper doll, or whatever Quint said, being drunk already.

DAY SEVEN
Narragansett, Compressed Air, Chum, Cod, And Cigarettes

Amity-Island-Diet

Drink enough of these, you’ll eat a rocking chair.

That first day at sea can take a lot out of landlubbers, so the savvy shark fisherman makes sure to vary his diet. Have plenty of ‘Gansett on hand in crushable cans and chase that with some compressed air – just don’t fool around with it or it will blow up. Balance that with a bucket full of chum and a paper plate of cod and you’re gonna need a bigger boat to take your ass home.

DAY EIGHT
Iranian Caviar, Pate De Fois Gras, And A Case of Apricot Brandy

Amity-Island-Diet

Chum some of this shit, Chum.

Just because Quint is dead doesn’t mean his payment has to go to waste. Presumably the Town of Amity is off the hook for the $10,000 Quint demanded, but you can still enjoy the late Captain’s culinary spoils. Dine in front of a color TV while chewing on a sheepshank, and you’ll be all ready for “Jaws 2.”

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July 4: It’s not “The best Fourth of July we ever had” for the Estuary Victim

That poor Masshole in the Pond, Ted Grossman. Grossman—the stunt coordinator in “Jaws”—has a cameo as “Estuary Victim.”

It’s the 4th of July, and Amity Town Beach is on high alert. Chief Brody is the only sane man left on the island, and he tells his son, Michael, to take his birthday present, a 3-passenger sailboat, into the pond rather than out on the ocean.

“The pond’s for old ladies,” says Michael.

“Do it for the Old Man,” says Brody.

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Michael was right. It is technically true that Pond’s’s for old ladies. But the Chief and his son were clearly not communicating that day, as evidenced by the utter lack of drum circles on the island.

But the shark goes under the bridge and into the pond, just to get a whiff of a Brody.

It is not young Michael Brody who is the shark’s Independence Day meal, however. It is Grossman, a man whose only faults are that he has an affected Massachusetts accent and can’t mind his own business. He shouts nautical rope tips to Michael and his friends, becoming the first of two prospective knot teachers to die in the movie.

The shark ends up doing a favor for the Estuary Victim so as not to mortify his mother.

While in his rowboat, Grossman is barefoot. But when the shark upends the boat and bites off his leg, the severed limb that floats to the pond floor has a shoe on it. It is as if the shark dressed Grossman, ashamed of having left Chrissie Watkins so denuded.

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Two Days on Amity

JAWS Alex Kintner and Brody

Soon your whole body will be pruned, Alex


It’s Chief Brody’s first summer and he is still on the steep end of the learning curve. He doesn’t know you need a resolution by the Board of Selectmen to close the beaches, he’s unclear that he has to inform the Coast Guard when someone is gobbled by a shark, and he is prone to megalomaniacal power grabs when drunk, declaring “I can do anything; I’m Chief of Police.”

JAWS Coroner's Report

Let Polly do the spelling

Faced with the washed up, crab-nibbled body of Chrissie Watkins, Brody fills out a police report. He writes that Watkins died on July 1, 1974 and was discovered the next day (a Monday and Tuesday, respectively, according to something called The Calendar).

Brody fills out the report while on the phone with Amity’s coroner, who tells him Chrissie died of a shark attack. But Brody, despite his commanding exterior, is clearly flustered: he abbreviates Chrissie’s race to “COC,” misspells “Coroner,” and confuses a.m. with p.m. Later, under pressure from the money-hungry mayor, the coroner retracts his original verdict and says it was probably a boat propeller instead.

JAWS Barracuda

We’ll have to amend our reports

“We’ll have to amend our reports,” says the coroner. Yeah, and run a spell check while you’re at it.

Brody isn’t allowed to close the beaches, so he watches Alex Kintner and Pippet the Dog get devoured in the shallow water. Later, Mrs. Kintner posts a flyer on the Town Hall bulletin board saying that a shark killed her boy on Sunday, June 29. According to the very same calendar used by governments and airports worldwide, June 29, 1974 fell on a Saturday.

JAWS Mrs. Kintner's Flyer

Mrs. Kintner is under a lot of stress

While June 29, 1975 (1975 was the year “Jaws” was released) was a Sunday, it’s clear that someone is going to need to amend both his reports and Time Itself.

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July 6: Farewell And Adieu, Bruce

It was the best Fourth of July Amity (which, as you know, means “friendship”) had ever had, until Estuary Victim was gobbled. The bright side was that Mayor Vaughn’s kids were on that beach, too, so he did something he was good at: he signed a voucher to pay Quint to kill the shark.

I wonder who ended up getting the $10,000, Iranian caviar, apricot brandy, and color TV, for ’twas Brody killed the beast.

It was the next morning, July 5, when Quint, Brody, and Hooper headed out from Menemsha. They (apparently) spent a sleepless night listening to whales and talking about Herbie the bos’un’s mate, Maryellen Moffatt, and a big Chinese fella, when the shark come cruisin’.

July 6 dawned with a series of barrel fiascos and a shark cage mishap, interrupted by a vain attempt to lure the fish back into shallow water and drown him (though if he didn’t drown eating Alex Kintner, how shallow would the water have to get: Ellen Brody’s cup shallow?).

Finally, when Quint was eaten and Hooper swam away, it was up to Brody to face his fear of the water and bust some shots off. He was so disoriented that he thought July 6, 1974 was a Wednesday, when it was actually a Sunday.

But he killed the shark; that’s what counts.

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Mating mates: Just a theory I happen to agree with

The mates of Ben Gardner and Quint are seen briefly, say nothing, and disappear. But not in the jaws of a Great White Shark; into the arms of each other. How else to get out from under the shadow cast by their masters? Continue reading

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“Unfriendly Waters”: Occupy Amity Island Edition

Like any American classic, “Unfriendly Waters” finds different meanings for each new generation. Occupy Amity Island protesters have embraced it for its theme of speaking truth to Amity’s corporate interests who would rather see the beaches open and making money, even at the expense of bathers who may be injured.

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