Shark Tank Disturbs Me

Hold on tight, I don’t know where this one is going. When I come up with writing ideas, I immediately write them in my phone’s notes so as not to lose the thought. These notes can be quite detailed, outlining just what it is I’m thinking about writing – generally, when the notes are thorough, I don’t even have to look back at them. The mere act of writing the notes engrains them in my mind. But other times, the notes I take for myself could not be more scarce or cryptic. The notes generally take the latter form, cryptic and brief. My notes are fun to look through, because they’re completely unrelated to one another, loose, and sometimes utter nonsense. For instance, I recently took a note that says, “I’m afraid of men with camo hats.” I stand by it. But the notes prompting today’s piece say simply, “Shark Tank, Not Cool.” 

Now, I don’t watch the show Shark Tank with any regularity, I don’t find it enjoyable. It’s not that the show isn’t good, or it’s boring – those are subjective qualities. No, Shark Tank is wrong at its core. Entrepreneurs do deserve a shot, but does their shot have to be so degrading and bizarre? I know, these people choose to go on reality TV, but that doesn’t change what the show is. The very concept of the show disturbs me. Poor aspiring entrepreneurs must make their appeal to four or so glib rich people, who decide whether or not the contestant’s idea has merit. 

The trouble goes beyond the show, but it just so happens that Shark Tank is an apt metaphor for America’s own problems. I suppose the thing that bothers me the most about Shark Tank is the deference the contestants must pay toward the “Sharks.” These people, who lord their wealth and success over the contestants, act as though they were self-made and have all the answers. The contestants treat them as though they’re business gods, practically swearing fealty. 

But is it that we’re supposed to respect about the “Sharks,” that they’re wealthy? Business success? Clothes? Being needy enough to judge a reality show? I just don’t see it. I don’t see any of the “Sharks” and experience anything even close to admiration. The idea of pitching an idea to these people is so degrading. The show serves as an ego boost for the billionaires, and an embarrassing stab in the dark for entrepreneurs hoping for success. But this is America now, and has been for a while.

How much are we supposed to respect and revere the wealthy? They’re not superheroes, and in many cases, they’re actually quite villainous and cold. Where along the lines of becoming super wealthy does a person decide that it’s a privilege to speak with them? This mindset goes so much further than Shark Tank. America is structured in a way that these “Shark” people have the ability to get and do whatever they want. The laws are bent to accommodate not only their current wealth, but their ability to accumulate more than any one person could need several lifetimes over.

Money is important, I suppose, but it’s not everything. Billionaires are an anomaly, but they’re still people, and therefore are undeserving of the pedestal they’re placed upon. Those who demand respect don’t earn it. Being a judge on a reality show where entrepreneurs try to impress you into giving them money, that’s a shameless ego massage and a needy grab for respect. It’s sad, creepy, and disturbing – America is better than that, we have better people to look up to than simply the wealthy. 

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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