Skip to comments.The Octopus and the Chameleon
Posted on 07/02/2006 4:48:45 PM PDT by pickrell
There is a particular creature which is at home in the murky depths. Sharing the chameleon-like ability to disguise itself among the detritus of the bottom, it waits to wrap its tentacles around whatever target of opportunity it happens across. When it overreaches in its feeding, and is exposed for what it is, it cannot stand and fight. No backbone at all can be found in the creature, and so its only method of evasion is to hide behind great clouds of ink.
We are, obviously, talking about the New York Times. Any comparison to an oily octopus is a great disrespect for cuttlefish in general, and really should not be tolerated.
But this ability to disguise itself, by simulating a news organization, is not unique to this creature. Though it is one of a small number of organisms which holds a tremendous number of suckers within its grasp, and rather uncommon in its fascinating habit of oozing itself into impossibly tight crevices and corners, its inherent strength lies more in the fear it can inspire among the small fishes, than from any real muscle.
But it is the ability to change its colors when advantageous to it, that reveals its kinship to animals who live in the distant, dry part of the world.
There are other fascinating creatures which employ that ability to misrepresent what they are, by coloration and conduct. In the presence of small and unsuspecting prey, they bobbly comically in their advance, relying on the camoflauge they adopt, to misdirect and conceal their murderous intent. They are cold blooded organisms, devoid of higher thought and only concerned with the value of life of their own species. Predictably, the most compelling thing they each find about their own kind is that very ability to change colors in mid-retreat, something that even the lowly dung-beetle would slap its offspring for imitating. But since nothing else would, even in a fevered nightmare, consider mating with them, they feel, "Well, what real choice do we have?"
No, wrong again. Though the similarity is striking, we are talking not about chameleones, but rather fundamentalist islamics.
The idea is to represent themselves as quiet creatures at peace in the forest and threatening to no one... at least whenever the eagle is around, and looking their way. They are the practicioners of deception, the brotherhood of the assassins.
You would ponder... "And what else would bind these two species together?"
A large part of it is commonly held simple resentment that evolution and achievement has advanced the rest of the ecosystem, while these stunted retrogrades have been left behind, or willingly held themselves back. And, no, I'm not sure of which we speak now, either the octopus or the Times; the chameleone or the terrorist. Sometimes when the metaphor takes hold so strongly, and the creatures become the metaphor, it proves increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two.
There is an unavoidable necessity for parents and others responsible for the welfare of children, when such creatures threaten the safe play areas of the beaches, to chase these creatures back into the holes where they erupted from. To allow them license to prowl in ambush, waiting to drag the unsuspecting down into the mud with them, is to neglect what is owed to those who keep the seas free of piracy and murder.
And the long sticky tongues which flick at great speed from the mouths perjur themselves with sudden silence after each additional victim is claimed. "It was just an insect," the countenance betrays, "of no real value since it did not belong to me and mine." "If it wasn't us- it would have been someone else..." "What else would you expect from a reptile?"
Their commonality, their mutual interest, lies in that brotherhood of the fraud. But when the cloud of ink becomes carried away by the fast moving waters, and the small fishes finally all recognize the assassin for what he is, they can jointly tear him to pieces before he reaches the safety of his creche, and so prevent the next swim-by assault.
The octopus often doesn't fare too well, either...
Still, there's always tomorrow!
Rats. I thought this was going to be a Hillary Clinton thread.
The preying mantis- er, womantis- is an entirely different phylum and order!
Thanks for the replies...
That's an ugly picture you've conjured up there.
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