Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mark - interesting Times indeed!

As so often, Patric is being way too karmic.
Yes some consider him the devil incarnate, this probably alongside yours truly; but the truth is that in countless behind-the-scenes conversations following this first blog post 3 years ago (and check out this - and it's only a fraction!), I've come to know him to be passionate, brilliantly analytical and lateral thinking - and yes, at times refreshingly machiavellian, too! But also, and often to my utter frustration, I've seen him plagued by political correctness and fatally committed to his personal tenets of karmic decency and compassion.
Did I hear some incredulous snickering by his perceived victims ?
And yet it is true - trust me, it could have been much, much worse! :)

Case in point: his latest blog post.
It touches upon the ignominious slander campaign against Mark Thorpe and the general framework within which these things are regularly happening.

Well, I'm not so inclined.
I am European and political correctness and beating around the bushes is just not the way I tick - nor however is it to stab people in the back and even less so, to do so anonymously! Did I hear, and how about your alias? Right... if you haven't noticed, lemme give you a hint: this is the blog of Beqa Adventure Divers - and if you have been living under a Shark blogging rock and feel the urge to unmask me, or whatever, listen to the podcast in the previous post!

But I'm digressing as usual.
Believe it or (probably!) not, I have the utmost respect and am profoundly grateful for the thousands of people who have thankfully embraced the cause of Shark conservation over the last few years. But at the same time, I remain profoundly disturbed by what I consider to be the lunatic whacko fringe and the utter rubbish the continue to spew. This I hope is but a small minority, but being both fanatical and vocal, they continue to poison the discourse and to completely undermine our credibility and as a consequence, the success of our efforts. Be it the self promoting perceived messiahs or the sesselfurzende self promoting experts, they are simply toxic and a never ending source of utter frustration and concern.

And what about those pathetic people who have infiltrated the Shark-related social media and discussion groups.
I have decided from the outset never to be part of any of those but despite of my best efforts, I still get regularly copied on some of the worst ejaculations - and lemme tell 'ya, I cannot even begin to tell you how utterly small and outright disgusting I find all of it! When it comes to the males, the common denominator seems to be anonymity, a big macho mouth and smallness, the latter probably in every sense of the word. About the harpies, lemme say this: the French are obsessed with women and have consequently coined the appropriate terminus technicus, as far as I know uniquely so.
The attribute is mal baisée - and I trust that at this point, the French readers are smiling and the Americans are simply outraged!

Think I'm digressing as always?
No, far from it! This is now the second time that I see good people being slandered and ostracized in this same underhanded way. The first was Alex the Sharkman who was ignominiously demoted from the discussion group he worked hard to build. Thankfully, he continues to be fully committed to the cause, albeit in a much less public way - which considering his personal experience is probably a good thing, both for the Sharks but above all, for him!

And now, it appears, it's the turn of Mark.
Its all about to get very interesting has indeed proven to be prophetic, and this very much in the proverbial Chinese sense! This is once again a good man with a big heart for Sharks who took it onto himself to provide several platforms for Shark lovers after the CITES vote. He did so with no money whatsoever to spare, by investing scarce and hard earned funds and above all, countless man hours into his undertaking. Yes iDiveSharks and the app were designed to become a commercial venture, which is perfectly legitimate. But I can assure you that they have never even remotely come close to breaking even, especially considering the man hours invested - and yet and despite of the hardship and misgivings, the man perseveres and continues to donate his time, passion and energy to keeping it running.

The conservation group?
Simply disgusting! Not surprisingly, I've heard very little indeed. But what I read and the few snippets I've picked up through the usual sad and slanderous pipeline of Chinese whispers just wanna make me puke - and no, I absolutely do not want to either hear the pathetic truth in all its grimy details, nor will I allow anybody to post them on this blog or on our our Facebook page! Every story has two sides and I'm sure this one does, too - but I know the man and will follow my instinct, as I always do. He is a warrior and faced with the hazing, sycophancy, gossip and backstabbing, he did the right thing, put a lid on it and walked away.
Good on him.

Long story short?
Patric is right: we have lost a leader.
He is one of many and no, I'm not gonna bother to list them for the newcomers. It's a hemorrhage of brainpower and passion, and the movement shows it. Let there be never a doubt that tens of thousands of Facebook likes are merely the consequence of excellent networking, investments of money and IT skills - as Mark has painfully experienced at his own cost (!), they mean nothing and save no Sharks unless good committed people physically step up and get things done. Mark is one of them and I hope that like in the case of Alex, he will continue to be there for the Sharks he loves.

And the Facebook page and coalition, or whatever?
It will undoubtedly re-surface under a new name. Let's see how many genuine likes it will attract now that it is deprived of Mark's money and of his technical skills. Anyway, it is completely irrelevant. It will be one of dozens and like so many, achieve nothing for Sharks. But it will provide for some form of solace and sense of self importance and direction to some people, which in itself is not a bad thing - that is, provided that those folks don't ever succeed in owning the global conversation!
Indeed Mark, Sharks DO risk becoming the next Dolphin!

Thankfully, right now, it matters not.
The movement is progressing in leaps and bounds and achieving heaps - despite of the clamoring!
Fingers crossed that it remains that way!

Could it be that I have made myself a few new friends - again?
Take a wild guess as to whether I care! :)


liquidmocean said...

Cheers for the support Mike. Needless to say my eyes have been opened, and all for the better I guess.

Back to the diving, where I should have stayed!


OfficetoOcean said...

"Let there be never a doubt that tens of thousands of Facebook likes are merely the consequence of excellent networking, investments of money and IT skills - as Mark has painfully experienced at his own cost (!), they mean nothing and save no Sharks unless good committed people physically step up and get things done."

Spot on. Facebook and other social media can do a great deal of good, the negative however, is that it means anybody can create a persona and gain attention for a particular cause, but more alarming, claim to be involved in various movements without even leaving their bedroom. The illusion of actual activity is incredibly dangerous and perhaps even worse, the availability of utter nonsense masquerading as "fact" does no good whatsoever to aide the common goal.

I have never had any negative experience with Mark, quite the opposite in fact and the hate campaign, all conducted in public, leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

Anonymous said...

It is very sad what has happened to Mark, his passion and commitment to shark conservation, should have been an example to lead by not one to pick apart.
Thanks Mark for all you do.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Mark is one of the good ones, his creative spark will find other venues for sure.

DaShark said...

Katrien, I've deleted your comments.

I'm sure you can read - I said, not on this blog.

Katrien said...

Very objective!

Katrien said...

English is not my first language.

What I ment to say is that you are taking sides and publishing that side for the whole world to see while they are NOT the facts. So I must assume you don't care what the true story is.

Don't worry, I'll shut up now.

Jupp said...

I don't want to take sides because I don't really know what is going on. I can only say, that it makes me sad to see those kinds of fights between people who basically all want the same thing - the protection of sharks. When good people throw in the towel because of personal quarrels, the victim will always be the good cause.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Well said Jupp.

DaShark said...

Well said Jupp!

Me too, I dont know the truth and I frankly don't care.
Mark is a friend and I felt that after the slander spammed the Shark www there was a need for some antivenom.
I know you understand, you always stand up for your friends! :)

Regarding those groups & lists, Patric calls them the echo chambers of circular thought - how true!

Starting with the proverbial Kegelverein, they always start out as a coalition of well meaning passionate people. Then, in come the manipulators; then you get the gossip; then, the factions; then, the hazing; then, the public defamation.

Seen it a thousand times & would't touch them with a radioactive pole - but then, that's me.

Vic said...

So did the others involved in the group have it clearly pointed out that there was commercial gain as the driving force for Mark's involvement?
Or was it obvious from the start? Personal gain from other people's selfless commitment and compassion. How very noble you.

OfficetoOcean said...

Can I make a point that the best chance sharks have for survival around the world is their ability to create commercial gain?

If it pays it stays, that's the way the world works. I've said it a million times, if someone becomes a millionaire from gaining worldwide protection for sharks which in turn benefits the oceans and ourselves then i say to them, well done, you've earned every penny.

Money talks, the reason shark conservation is so crippled is because there is barely any money involved, you can't fight a war on thin air. There are a whole heap of people in the shark world as a way to boost, stroke and build an ego, if someone is in it for money (which I don't for one second believe is the case with Mark) then they will always achieve more because their end gain is greater. You may not like it, but that's the way it is.

Governments don't do things for the good of the people, they do them for money and as such, creating an industry and sustainable source of income from the upkeep of healthy shark populations instead of making money from dead sharks is the way forward.

The penniless conservationist is an outdated concept, it's about time that the people dedicated to helping sharks were given the respect of also being allowed to earn a living because for the true conservationist, that living will be ploughed back into the cause and will only do good.

I don't know the ins and outs of all this nonsense but it's all I've seen on facebook the last few weeks and it's doing my head in. If we are to decide that every financial decision made by people in the "shark world" is to be scrutinised and questioned, maybe these people might like to look further down the line at some of the people they currently idolise or to whom they give god-like status.

DaShark said...


Oooh no - not here!

The only reason why I've not deleted your first comment, or whatever, is that it perfectly illustrates the slanderous, underhanded and moronic garbage Mark has had to contend with.

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

@ Mike

Well said the Vics of the world need to understand that this entire sad affair is just that, a sad affair.

DaShark said...

@ Vic & Co.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

After 3 attempts, you should have figured it out.
You spam – I delete.
Takes me 3 seconds.

liquidmocean said...

As the target of this discussion I welcome people to write directly to me if you are still after answers. Everything has been publicized to death, there are no arguments, the facts are out there.

Continuing with this is a waste of your time, it's futile. Your efforts would be better used in directing that new, shiny group of yours, nice name by the way, to the follower levels the previous one had.

Ohhh, shucks, I almost forgot, to get there would require advertising dollars and only corrupt, lost sight of the cause, capitalists with ulterior motives do that kind of thing.