Sharknado and winning the America’s Cup

It’s hard to fathom how the America’s Cup can ever go back to ordinary sailing after this. Sorry, Black Magic, you were absolutely wonderful, but your day is done. The spectacle of technological monsters slicing through the ocean, telling us to fly Emirates and drink Nespresso, has set a whole new bar.

To be honest I hadn’t paid much attention until last weekend, that awesome moment when the good guys’ spaceship reared up on a corner and the enemy spaceship had to swerve out of the way. I was hooked.

Since then I’ve been reassessing my level of patriotism.

The America’s Cup is a peculiar sort of trophy hunt. From the outside it looks like a bunch of rich school kids jostling for top marble. You have to be pretty confident to challenge the reigning king for his marble. As long as he’s got the marble, he gets to make the rules.

If he wants a spaceship race at his place, that’s what you have to do.

Initially I dismissed the America’s Cup as an elite fantasy contest. The red socks are long gone and I was cynical about being told to cheer for my country when all I saw was a Dubai airline.

But shame on me. Sponsorship makes things happen where they otherwise wouldn’t. It would be naive to think otherwise.

I repent of my cynicism. Emirates Team New Zealand still have New Zealand in their name. They are our team of the moment. They’re on the world stage at the cutting edge of spaceship racing, making kiwis proud to be expert sailing spectators. It’s a collective warm fuzzy for everyone. It’s good for the country. Especially when we win!

Anyone out there in the world doing something for themselves in the name of New Zealand deserves to be cheered on. Look at how readily we all adopted Flight of the Conchords. Are not Bret and Jemaine in the same boat as Dean Barker, with maybe just a few less tax payer dollars thrown in?

You can argue about dollars invested versus dollars returned, but that’s a one dimensional view of a multi dimensional world. I’m all for supporting people who reflect well on the rest of us.

If nothing else it’s been great entertainment. You want quality NZ content on air? What a thrill fest. The only thing more exciting would be if sharks dropped out of the sky onto the boats.

Yes, sharks dropping out of the sky. I refer to this week’s other grand television adventure: Sharknado, the TV movie about a tornado that throws thousands of hungry sharks at Los Angeles.

Sharknado has become a cult phenomenon around the world, so when it screened on Prime I gathered some beer and some cheerleaders to help me watch it.

Sharknado! In which sharks chew through the roof of your car to get you.

Sharknado! In which a ragtag team of survivors drive up a hill, shelter inside a house, then get attacked by sharks on the staircase.

Sharknado! In which our hero slices sharks in two with a chainsaw as they fall out of the sky.

Sharknado is the worst-made thing I’ve ever seen. It is completely devoid of logic and therein lies the beauty of it. There’s a certain painful pleasure in its awfulness. It’s much more fun to talk about than it is to actually watch. Don’t be too sad if you missed it.

Unlike the spaceship racing, which has better special effects and genuine tension. I am a proud New Zealander this week. Go Emirates!

First published in Bay of Plenty Times 20 September 2013. Reproduced with permission.