From Wikipedia: The idiom “jumping the shark” is pejorative, most commonly used in reference to gimmicks for promoting entertainment outlets, such as a television series, that are declining in popularity.
Originally the phrase was used to describe an episode of a television comedy with a gimmick or unlikely occurrence desperately attempting to keep viewers’ interest. Moments labelled as “jumping the shark” are considered indications that writers have exhausted their focus; that the show has strayed irretrievably from an older and better formula; or that the series as a whole is declining in quality.
Popularized by radio personality Jon Hein in the 1990s and early 2000s, the phrase derives from a scene in a fifth-season episode of the sitcomHappy Days in which the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. This was deemed a ratings ploy, for it was outside the original thrust of the sitcom.
The usage of “jump the shark” has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, franchise, or creative effort’s evolution declines, or when it changes notably in style into something unwelcome.
An alien from outer space trying to understand humans by watching American political debates these days would be forced to conclude that THE most important quality of human existence is to have the “right” personality and to exhibit the “right” tone and style.
If discussions in mainstream and social media are any indication the culture suffers from the consensual hallucination that we humans are defined by college-educated sensibilities of high-society decorum. Concepts, principles, accomplishments, progress – improving the country and the lives of its citizens – are secondary, incidental, collateral, considerations, if they matter at all.
Obama, Democrats, mainstream media, academia, entertainment, liberalism in general (but I repeat myself), and sadly far too many conservatives who ought to know better, cling to disproven, anti-science, self-satisfying, conceptions about human nature, thought, and behavior. They imagine themselves, humans, and Western culture as sophisticated, wordly, enlightened, driven by reason.
Based on the gross misperceptions of this “Fatal Conceit” liberal politicians eviscerate Constitutional principles about the role of government, the separation of powers, and process-based notions of negative liberty, equality, justice and fairness that have been unequivocally proven by thousands of years of trial-and-error experiment in, and experience with, every form of government under the sun; principles and concepts that are the very things that make free society possible and that every president swears to “preserve, protect, and defend” when he takes the oath of office.
But because Obama fit the mold of the smooth, suave, sophisticated, haughty, high-society intellectual we like to think we are he got a pass from the nearly entirely liberal media. His destruction of the moral capital that holds America together, and his daily violation of the oath of office by virtue of his liberal philosophy and the policies that follow from it, flew under the radar of our general awareness.
Trump, on the other hand, has done more in one year to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, improve America, and raise the standard of living of *all* Americans than Obama did in eight. Yet because he does not fit our deluded image of ourselves he is relentlessly assailed by ad hominem attacks on his personality, tone, style, and demeanor. His accomplishments in fundamentally restoring American values and quality of life also fly under the radar of our collective consciousness.
Actual, measurable, results, and long-proven principles and practices of free societies are immaterial; they no longer matter. Only our self-flattering perceptions of style matter.
America has jumped the shark.