Before the New Year, I was thinking of putting more effort in my blogging. What’s happened instead is that I find myself putting more effort into some story treatments I’ve neglected for soe time. That means less blogging...
BTW, anybody else thought Brit Hume was off his rocker for suggesting Tiger Woods convert from Buddhism to Christianity? Yeah Brit, because Christianity helped, Mark Sanford, David Vitter, Newt Gringrich, Larry Craig, John Ensign, and almost all of the homophobic C Street Boys from having adulterous affairs...
As a practicing Buddhist, I totally agree with Hume and heartily endorse his suggestion... just so long as every Christian public figure that is caught with his pants down has to convert to Buddhism. Seriously, we need more Christians to come to the fore and express some outrage to what is surely an unChristian sentiment. Speaking of right-wing assholes...
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-=[ Of Lemmings and Dumb Twats ]=-
As I was ruminating on Brit Hume-like mental giants, my mind reflexively turned to everyone’s fave rodents the lemmings. Almost everybody knows that lemmings commit mass suicide right. I mean, we know this for a fact... right?
Sure, they are funny little rodents and if you were to visit the Arctic regions where they mostly hang out, you might have work very hard to spot a single lemming. On the other hand, you might see thousands of them, depending on what time of the year you show up. The lemming population rises and falls so dramatically that centuries ago people explained their sudden appearance by saying they fell from the skies. Conversely, their sudden disappearance was believed to be true due to the belief that lemmings committed mass ritual suicide by plunging into the sea. The idea is so ingrained that people today, many of whom wouldn’t know a lemming if it fell on them, still take this belief on faith.
Certainly, the image of all those animals plunging recklessly into the waves makes for a more dramatic effect (not to mention a great figure of speech with which to describe people like Brit Hume). Every time we spot a rabid horde of Tea Baggers, for example, lemmings are a useful reference. Personally, I prefer calling them dumb twats, but my more stridently feminist friends keep telling me I need a more evolved metaphor. But as linguists and other scientists have been saying for some time now, “the only animal that regularly commits mass suicide is Homo sapiens.” Nevertheless, we apparently need a vivid metaphor taken from Nature to illustrate the human tendency to self-destruction.
So what do scientists say? It is true that lemmings migrate in huge numbers, most likely in search of food or a place to breed. Many don’t survive the journey, especially the part that takes them across bodies of water or over unfamiliar terrain. Additionally, many lemmings obviously die as part of this population cycle. But this isn’t due to some instinct toward suicide. Biologically, zoologists tell us, it just doesn’t make sense. “After all, lemmings with a hypothetical death wish would never have a chance to pass this feature on to their offspring. Others without such an instinct would continue to reproduce and it would quickly disappear.
So what does happen to all the little critters? Disease? Predators? Weather? Rapidly shifting patterns of natural selection? The topic is still hotly contested amongst rodent specialists -- they still don’t know why. However, now I will need to use a different turn of the phrase to describe people like Brit Hume. I say dumb twats fits them perfectly.