April 12, 2013

"I typed up a cicada story... not every piece needs to be about the meaning of the universe..."

"... but it did make a good point about cicada behavior: They don’t really interact with us the way other insects do...."
They’re in their own universe. They do not care about us. They don’t care about the war in Iraq, the prisoner abuse scandal, the presidential race, the federal deficit or the rising price of gas...

Try to interact with a cicada. It shows no fear. Indeed, it doesn’t seem to see you at all. It has beady red eyes but might as well be blind. If you pick one up it will wriggle its legs and maybe flit its wings, but with no genuine buggy emotion. They don’t know the basic animal trick of fleeing....

There is a temptation to scorn cicadas, what with their narrow, molt-mate-and-die agenda, the one-note song of the males that sounds like someone has left the pod-bay door ajar, and their general adaptive tendency to rely entirely on numbers rather than skill or savvy or strength or any other evolutionary adaptation....
That's Joel Achenbach, who hasn't heard of insect politics... because — as you should know by now...
Insects don't have politics.... they're very brutal. No compassion.... no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician. I'd like to, but.... I'm an insect.... who dreamed he was a man, and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake....

13 comments:

Erika said...

Y'all, stop reading trash like The Great Gatsby and read a true American classic.

Jaske said...

What's worse, insect brutality for survival or human viciousness for delight? I think the insect is more trustworthy, what you see is what you get.

Roger J. said...

I love cicadas--I have sat out on my patio and watched them emerge from their burrows and magically transform into their adult stage. Quite the insect. Especially when you enjoy their emergence while sipping a gin and tonic.

David said...

So cicadas are the insect equivalent of a Washington bureaucrat? Except the bureaucrats are always with us.

Kelly said...

I was once carjacked by a cicada. I was visiting my sister in Chicago and got in my car to leave. I glanced over at the passenger seat and sitting in it was a huge, weird, mutant fly type thing. I screamed and dove out of the car. My sister was still outside to wave me off, I told her her new house must be on a toxic waste dump because of the mutant fly trying to ride home with me. True story.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the Althouse portal link to all of Achenbach's books at Amazon.

Please note that if you want to make a link from here to Amazon and have it work to make a contribution to this blog, only the first URL from the search box here will get you an Althouse-crediting link. If you then click to the next page, you'll see the word "Althouse" is gone from the URL.

Thanks to all who use the Althouse portal. If you're going to buy something, as long as you enter on an Althouse URL page, you can go to other pages and it will credit us, as long as you buy before you click away. I'm just talking about making a link the way Erika did. She may have searched through the Althouse search box but then clicked again for a more specific link, which purged the "Althouse" out of the URL.

Thanks to all, even just for reading, but the Amazon Associates program is the primary economic support for the blog.

Bob Ellison said...

They don't all have beady red eyes. Just the 17-year ones.

We have cicada-killer wasps in our yard every year. They're incredibly frightening, but actually quite peaceful, unless you're a cicada.

ricpic said...

How can it be, how can it be that Achenbach is of no account to a cicada? Something must be done!

edutcher said...

Didn't Ann share an hour of terror with a cicada while she was smooching Meade down in Cincinnati?

PS I try not to interact with bugs.

aronamos said...

Joel is way wrong about them not minding if you pick them up. Those bastards will BUZZ at you.

During the emergence of the 2004 swarm, my husband had to quit mowing the lawn for a while because he couldn't stand the slaughter of milions. However, he did accidentally varnish one while redoing the deck. We have it in a box.

Nomennovum said...

The call of cicadas is one of my favorite things. It means it's summer and it means it's hot. I find it very relaxing ... even lazy.

elkh1 said...

How does he know insects have no politics? They have their colonies, their turfs, their own fights, their own politics.

Of course they don't care about the absurd navel gazing, stick his head in his you-know-what self-important little fool. They have more important things to do, to live their lives.

Paul Zrimsek said...

They don’t care about the war in Iraq, the prisoner abuse scandal, the presidential race, the federal deficit or the rising price of gas...

Clicking through, I noticed that this story was written four years before every Democrat in the country turned into a cicada.