Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Towards an Ethical System of Biological Taxonomy

Nige writes in praise of spiders here. I hate the nasty things. Over the years, and as Chief Spider Remover of the Brit household, I have managed to conquer my arachnophobia to the extent that I can pick up even the big buggers using the pint glass and card method, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. A cold death shiver runs down the spine whenever I see one at its wicked business.

Everything about spiders is evil. This is so obvious I’m amazed that people insist on going on about their ‘fine and fascinating ways’. Fine and fascinating ways? The writers of Saw IV couldn’t come up with a more dastardly system for despatching victims than the average spider’s modus operandi.

I’ve never bought this nonsense about Good and Evil being exclusively human traits. Of course there are good and evil animals. Here are the teams:

Good: Dogs, horses, dolphins, elephants, little Robin Redbreasts (the Christmas bird), sealions, penguins, otters, donkeys, pandas, chimps, red squirrels, whales and baby lions.

Evil: Cats, boa constrictors, rats, orang-utans, vultures, wasps, Sir Alex Ferguson, spiders, grey squirrels, great white sharks, camels, hamsters and sheep.


Sophie King said...

Orang-utans clearly belong on the Good list and chimps on the Evil. I can't believe you made such a simple error.

Also, you have inexplicably left guinea pigs off the Good list. I suppose you must have your reasons and I would like to hear them.

Finally, do you not think that bluebottles, pigeons and seagulls are infinitely more evil than camels, hamsters and sheep?

Brit said...

Ever ridden a camel, Sophie?

Brit said...

You could be right about chimps though. They're possibly working undercover for the Evil side.

monix said...

How could you put Honey the Hamster in the evil team? Okay, frequent escapes and chewing the piano were annoying little traits but he/she (never did find out) was cute!

Mike Beversluis said...

Whether speaking, seeing, or hearing it, monkeys are definitely evil.

Baby lions are a subset of kittens.

Interestingly, while spiders are evil, if you stick them under water and like to eat them (crabs and lobsters), they're not.

Uncle Dick Madeley said...

Please add to evil: frogs and toads. Spiders don't bother me but I scream and flap my hands if I'm within 50 feet of a frog or toad.

worm said...

chimps are def. evil. if you ever watch the TV footage of them chasing a little spider money and then eating it alive you will be forced to disregard their amusing clothing choices and civilized tea parties and change the chimp taxonomy to that of purest evil.

also, as sophie said I'm perplexed as to the evil inherent in orangutans? I thought they were peaceful vegetarians? Or is that why they are evil? too hippyish?

Please can sloths be on the good list? also puffins.

and manatees/ dugongs

and baby little sea turtles crawling down the beach

my god i'm turning into a woman as I type this

Brit said...

Blimey, who knew there were so many animals out there? I thought I'd covered them all.

Orang utans are schemers, look more closely.

Brit said...

It's also been established that they're sceptical of changes to their cages, that zebras are reactionaries and that antelopes are missionaries.

worm said...

badgers read The Guardian

martpol said...

By my reckoning, all of the above (and some extrapolations) makes China a morally ambiguous place. One needs only to consult their zodiac:

Good: rabbit, horse, dog, ox, pig
Evil: rat, tiger, dragon, snake, monkey
Ambiguous: ram, rooster

I was going to do a clever comparison with US state animals, but then (a) remembered that I'd have to divvy up 50 of the buggers, and (b) consulted Wikipedia to find this ridiculous lot.

Brit said...

I fail to see anything ridiculous about the Mississippi Wood Duck or the Wyoming Triceratops.

The Old Batsman said...

Single greatest evil creature ever:

The camel spider. Lives in the desert. Screams as it runs, can actually jump, eats scorpions and lizards, will attack anything, gets extremely pissed off if attacked itself.

Brit said...

I can't look, OB. Life's hard enough.

malty said...

Meer bleedin cats!, If I see another one of those Russki bastards on the telly, out it goes.
Camels aren't the problem, its the drivers "can I give you a hand up, nice ladeee", randy little turbanites.

worm said...

OB, I see your camel spider and raise you a Hagfish

martpol said...

May I add:
(1) An interesting example of good seeing off evil


(2) Truly one of the most pointless Wikipedia entries of them all, with a wonderful first sentence.

Anonymous said...

Do I detect the fevered creativity of the sleep-deprived in this post and the one below?

worm said...

ok, this article:

is quite literally one of the most harrowing things I have ever read. It concerns Komodo Dragons and it literally gave me nightmares. Please somebody else read it, so that I'm not the only one who is kept awake at night.

Nature is evil and should be destroyed. In my utopian future we all live in a giant concreted-over Iceland supermarket being served by performing dogs who can walk on their back legs and wear sunglasses. Dogs are the only ones we can trust in my brave new world.

Brit said...

Dear God, Worm, that is truly repulsive. Delving into the Tof archives, I give you this, for which the Komodo dragon would be an ideal entry (pun intended).

Peter - sleeplessness is a drug and I'm hooked.

jonathan law said...

I've always had a soft spot for goats myself -- their sweet, mournful, innocent faces. That they were ever seen as devilish seems grotesque.

And ducks. Has anyone ever seen, or heard, a duck without immediately feeling happier for it?

Swans definitely play for Team Evil but appear to do so for their own private and mysterious reasons. These will be revealed in the furious, scalding clarity of the Last Judgment, when the dolphins are separated from the hamsters.

jonathan law said...

And getting back to the arachnids, does anyone know that quite brilliant but utterly horrible Ted Hughes poem about a postcoital spider eating her mate --'Eclipse' in the Flowers and Insects volume? I could quote a few choice images but I think it might spoil your day (and mine). Quite seriously, one of the most distressing things I've ever read.

Look it up if you think you're hard enough.

malty said...

Worm, rest easy in your bed, Komodo dragons are actually just big newts and in any case that story is allegorical, really about AA Gill.

worm said...

haha excellent Malty, couldn't happen to a nicer guy

Jonathan - ducks fool you with their funny faces and silly voices, but in reality they are quite firmly evil. As a long time keeper of ducks I can confirm that they are big on homosexuality, brutal gang rape of lone females (this is almost incessant and may be lethal) and the killing of their weaker brothers and sisters to eliminate competition. Brutish thugs, ducks are. I think chickens are actually nicer, even though they have cold eyes.

Anonymous said...