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The “Chief Brody Slap” – a Quintapalus Vocabulary Lesson November 22, 2005, 4:54 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Quintapalus Vocabulary Lessons.

This phrase comes to us from the classic 1975 film Jaws directed by Steven Spielberg. The death of a nighttime swimmer gives rise to a possible “shark problem� in the tourist, summer beach town of Amity Island. Although a marine biologist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, is certain of a shark attack, the mayor, faced with the certain economic devastation that would come with shutting down the beaches, orders his Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Schneider) to declare the incident a boating accident and to keep the beaches open. Well, sure enough, a young boy is killed by the shark soon afterwards. While Chief Brody is explaining to the town’s people and tourists what happened, the boy’s mother, dressed in black in obvious morning, approaches Chief Brody and slaps him across the face. She accuses him of knowing about the shark, and that if only he had closed the beaches her boy would still be alive. Thus was born the “Chief Brody Slap� (CBS).

The CBS occurs when a person misdirects their anger or rage over a traumatic experience, assigning blame to a convenient person or symbol as opposed to the person, group or thing that was directly responsible for the traumatic experience. As we travel down the road called “The Decline of Western Civilization,� knowing who to blame for a traumatic experience has become more important than dealing with and healing the trauma.

A real world example of the CBS can be found with grief-peddler Cindy Sheehan. Her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq shortly after his arrival when he volunteered to go on a rescue mission to retrieve some members of his unit who were in a fire fight and cut off. Being a mechanic, he didn’t even have to go on this particular mission, but yet, he went anyway. He died a hero’s death. Cindy Sheehan used her son’s death to launch a well orchestrated anti-war movement, in which she placed the blame for her son’s death not on the terrorists who killed Casey, but on President Bush. Casey Sheehan was an adult who volunteered for the US Army and re-upped his commitment even after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet, Cindy Sheehan personally accuses President Bush of killing her son.

The CBS is *not* a Quintapalus original.



1. America…F*ck Yeah! » Extra! Extra! Newly kidnapped hostages’ group “Chief Brody Slaps” the US, UK! - December 1, 2005, 1:40 am

[…] The four persons kidnapped in Iraq a few days ago belong to a group called the Christian Peacemaker Teams. I’ll leave it to other blogs to accurately describe this organization, but needless to say, they aren’t exactly apolitical and all about Jebus. They did a complete Chief Brody Slap to the United States’ and United Kingdom’s governments with their reaction to the situation: We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the US and UK government due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people. […]

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