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Monday Maul: Monster Shark Tournament Goes Wonderfully Wrong

Vin Paneccasio

OAK BLUFFS, MASSACHUSETTS, IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE — Donny Svareitz, a 57-year-old alcoholic loser from Duxbury, Mass., was determined to wrestle glory from the waters off Martha’s Vineyard this past weekend. Taking top prize at the 26th Annual Monster Shark Tournament was going to make him a hero at the moldy tavern where he spent his unemployment checks. Boozers and bartenders alike had helped him pay the Boston Big Game Fishing Club’s hefty $1,475 entry fee, just as they had every year since the tournament’s inception. All they wanted in return was a photograph of Donny with what he’d promised between shots of Basil Hayden’s would be the “lahgest freakin’ mawnstah evah hauled out of the ocean.” What they got for their misguided support was an image of their friend’s gout-ridden carcass hanging upside down above the maws of proud, laughing sharks.

Photographers and television camera crews from local media outlets who’d arrived at the docks to capture images of what the BBGFC describes as “the preeminent sport fishing event in New England” returned empty-handed — which is not to say they didn’t fill their cameras’ memory cards.

Asked why images of tournament organizers, participants, and unsophisticated tourists being filleted and grilled with a little olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice shouldn’t be shared with the public, one news editor said, “Out of respect for victims’ families, and out of common decency, we don’t publish or broadcast pictures of the deceased.”

Unless, of course, an image is provided by a citizen-journalist, in which case it’s a media outlet’s journalistic responsibility to share it.

Sport fishermen the world over who logged-on to the Internet this morning to live vicariously through those who had the time and money to participate in the BBGFC’s Monster Shark Tournament no doubt saw themselves in the photograph of Svareitz, which was distributed to the media without charge by a self-described “schadenfreude addict” named Monty Gelstein.

Gelstein — who came to Oak Bluffs to protest the BBGFC’s Monster Shark Tournament and said, “It’s wonderful to see such a healthy measure of karma added to the balance” — was one of many pleasantly surprised protesters who broke bread — or, in this case, grilled sport fisherman — with a crowd of celebrating thresher, porbeagle, and mako sharks.

“At first it was like being cast in a Tim Burton film,” one giddy protester said. “But I quickly realized that it was more like being at the wrap party.”

Gelstein and a handsome thresher shark named David shared a joint rolled in the BBGFC’s “Monster Shark Tournament Facts” and argued playfully about what to do with Svareitz’s jaws.

“I think his teeth would make a decent bottle opener,” David said.

“No way, dude,” Gelstein scoffed. “That rot-plagued jack-o’-lantern couldn’t open a Jell-O mold. I say we make a belt buckle.”

Festivities in Oak Bluffs continued well into the evening, interrupted only by an outburst from Svareitz’s late-arriving mother.

What have you gawd-damned animals done with my Dawnee?” the white-trash hag shrieked from within a haze of menthol-spiced cigarette smoke, before a quick-thinking mako shark ripped her in half and tossed her on the grill next to a skin-cancer-spotted shark fisherman and his methamphetamine-addled son.

Monday Maul cartoons are created for The Daily Maul by New York-based artist Vin Paneccasio. Providing a fix for your schadenfreude jones, while spiritually rewarding, can be physically and emotionally exhausting. You can keep us alert and fairly lucid by keeping us caffeinated.


  1. Don wrote:

    When will shark fishing go the way of slavery, bull baiting, and chastity belts?

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  2. David Brensilver wrote:


    We’ve got to find a way to speed up the evolutionary process in humans — or hope that a quick-moving plague brings about Homo sapiens‘ extinction.


    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  3. michael west wrote:

    Beautiful, both cartoon and the piece based on it are wonderfully right on. I’m a fan now, and I’ll be back to Daily Maul to see what’s up…

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink
  4. David Brensilver wrote:


    We appreciate the compliments!


    Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael West wrote:

    David, is that cartoon graphic available? I’m about to publish a serial novel designed to stir the pot around the MV shark tournament, and would be interested in using the image.

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

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