Murphy’s Roy Scheider Close-up

In the movie Jaws, New Jersey tough guy actor Roy Scheider fights the local Massachusetts political establishment, which wants to open the beaches despite the fact that there’s a great white shark swimming around devouring actual people (i.e. not politicians).  Eventually, Scheider, whose name is Brody in the movie, succumbs to the politicians and acquiesces to open beaches (actually, it’s not his call), as long as he can take a pair of binoculars down there and have manned guard towers and helicopters in the vicinity.

Now, in actual New Jersey (the state which furnished the world with the dreadful 1916 event in Matawan that spawned Jaws), Mike Dukakis Massachusetts liberal Phil Murphy – having shut down the state – opened the beaches in the Garden State, with one eye still firmly fixed on that circling fin called the COVID-19 virus, and the other on a bunch of supposed New Jersey tough guy business owners and assorted beach bums who don’t give a damn about sharks.

“Governor Murphy and other government ‘experts’ were the ‘knuckleheads’,” said Seth Grossman of Atlantic City. “They didn’t do contact tracing when there were few enough cases for it to work.  They let the virus into our nursing and veteran’s homes.  Their bungling spiked the deaths and infections that gave us a second month of lockdown.”

The governor made the announcement ahead of Memorial Day in a diverting piece of sand castles craftsmanship designed in part to ease building tensions around unemployment compensation. He, too, has his binoculars and shark towers, in this case social distancing orders and limits on how many people can occupy each reopened beach.

Against the backdrop of increasing references to the Speilberg classic, the ever-theatrical Murphy has shown his alertness to the Jaws analogy. “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” the governor said back in March as the state began to enter the teeth of the virus, a direct quote of Scheider’s Jaws character.

Moreover, and sadly, Lee Fierro, the actress who played the mother of the kid on the yellow raft who gets killed by the shark in Jaws, who slaps Chief Brody as punishment for failing to close the beach and sending her child to his death, died last month at the age of 91, of COVID-19.

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