By Peter Galuszka
Imagine you are enjoying a refreshing summertime swim in the Chesapeake Bay or one of the Rivahs. You feel great, but shortly afterwards, you become very ill. Before you know it, new forms of parasitic isopods are eating up your heart, lungs and kidneys.
You are terrified, in great pain and you die.
Just when you thought the Bay’s water quality is getting healthier comes Hollywood mogul Barry Levinson (“Good Morning Vietnam”), telling us not to go back in the water. (Watch trailer)
He really, really means it. His new horror movie out today, The Bay, shows that the giant estuary is evil and abused. Culprits in the film are pesticide runoff from exburbia’s vulgar McMansions of the type common in Northern Virginia and the Richmond suburbs and hormone-infused feces from the millions of chickens raised at crowded corporate hatcheries on the Eastern Shore. Such yuck creates parasitic isopods that ruthlessly eat human organs from the inside out.
According to the film’s trailer, the government tries to prevent panic by confiscating social media and videos. There are bunny-suited specialists from the Centers from Disease Control attempting to figure out what’s happening. Of course, there’s lots of screaming and anxiety, as well.
How can this be? We had been told the bay had been improving. A report last year quoted the U.S. Geological Survey saying that 70 percent of test sites had showed improvement for nitrogen and phosphorous over the long term and 40 percent of sites showed improvement for sediments. Streams feeding the bay, however, showed consistent problems.
States in the bay watershed have been meeting for years to try to adopt some kind of comprehensive approach limiting pollution from “non-point” sources, meaning farm fields and lawns, instead of waste pipes from factories or power plants. Of special concern to them are oxygen-depleted “dead zones” that show up in hot summer months.
And there have been biological oddities in the bay watershed. A few years back, we were introduced to ugly snakehead fish that hung out in the Potomac and then walked on land.
Does this make for a giant petri dish breeding parasitic isopods capable of eating human flesh? Let’s just say that according to “Mother Jones” magazine, “The Bay” was shot in 18 days at a cost of $2 million.
Levinson told Mother Jones, the docudrama “isn’t easy to watch. It’s very creepy.”
For some Baconauts, who shall go nameless, it might be time to put that idyllic Eastern Shore dream house on the market.