Rainbow. Sharks. Rainbow sharks.

First, rainbow: from Andrew Winnard on Facebook, a photo of a rainbow-lit Metro escalator in Stockholm.

Then, sharks: in my posting earlier today “Central Shark”, about Sharknado Week on the SyFy channel (Trailer Park Shark (2017) is just about to begin!).

Which led me to the Italian clothing company Paul & Shark, with its sharky logo — and its line of rainbow shark t-shirts. And to a slew of artworks depicting rainbow sharks. And to a popular aquarium fish, the rainbow shark.

The rainbow escalator of Stockholm Central station. Apparently, just one of the many bits of public art in the Stockholm underground:

(#1) You can watch it in action in ths YouTube video

Trailer Park Shark. Cover art for the DVD:

(#2) Two, two, two stereotypes in one

Paul & Shark. From Wikipedia:

(#3) The company logo

Paul & Shark is an Italian clothing brand founded in 1975 by Paolo Dini, son of mill owner Gian Ludovico Dini. It has 280 stores worldwide and is headquartered in Varese.

The brand is inspired by the sail of an 18th-century clipper, inscribed with the words “Paul & Shark” seen during Dini’s visit to a small sailmaker’s workshop in Maine. GQ has called it “the sailing man’s sailing gear”. Its symbol is a shark.

P&S rainbow shark. One of their rainbow shark t-shirts (pricey, like P&S’s clothing in general):


Rainbow shark art. The combination of themes has attracted many artists. From the Fine Art America site, here’s the digital artwork Rainbow Shark by Piotr Dulski (uploaded 2/28/18):


The rainbow shark of zoology. From Wikipedia:


The rainbow shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum) is a species of Southeast Asian freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae. It is also variously known as the ruby shark, red-fin shark, red-finned shark, rainbow sharkminnow, green fringelip labeo, whitefin shark and whitetail sharkminnow. It is a popular, semi-aggressive aquarium fish. Unlike true sharks, which belong to the Chondrichthyes (“cartilagenous fishes”) lineage, the rainbow shark is an actinopterygiian (“ray-finned fish”).

Rainbow sharks are native to the basins of Mekong, Chao Phraya, Xe Bangfai and Maeklong in Indochina. They live in water with sandy substrates, near the river bottom. This species feeds on algae and plankton, and seasonally migrates into flooded areas, then recedes back to the rivers as the floods dry up.

[Linguistic note. The N + N compound rainbow shark, referring to the fish above, is resembloid rather than subsective: a rainbow shark isn’t a shark, but (at least to some people’s minds) it resembles one.]

Bonus: a minor-league meme. From the Know Your Meme site on Dolphins Are (Just) Gay Sharks:


On the TV show Glee, Brittany, a stereotypical blonde cheerleader, says “Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?” to her friend. Since the airing of the episode on 13 April 2010, searches for “gay sharks” peaked on April 14, dropping by the 15th.

However, despite the sharp decline so soon after the episode, no less than three different t-shirts were created by different online retailers hoping to capitalize on the sudden quotability of the phrase.

The gay part of the meme — maybe it should be called a semi-meme or a memito —  is just a reference to same-sex sexual relations among dolphins, noted in a number of places. The shark part isn’t so easily explicable, since dolphins are known for their (general) playfulness and amiability, so it’s probably a perceived physical similarity between the aquatic mammals and the predatory fish.

One Response to “Rainbow. Sharks. Rainbow sharks.”

  1. [BLOG] Some Friday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky meditates on rainbows and sharks and gay […]

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