Monday, February 9, 2009

March of the Lemmings

Lemmings are charming rodents that once in a while get carried away:
The Norway lemming has a dramatic 3-4 year population cycle, in which the species' population periodically rises to unsustainable levels, leading to high mortality, which causes the population to crash again. This abrupt fluctuation, also found in related species, has given rise to the myth of lemming mass suicide.

On occasion, . . . large migrating groups will reach a cliff overlooking the ocean. They will stop until the urge to press on causes them to jump off the cliff and start swimming, sometimes to exhaustion and death. Lemmings are also often pushed into the sea as more and more lemmings arrive at the shore. . .

Due to their association with this odd behavior, lemming suicide is a frequently-used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences.
Sounds familiar, no? Lemmings don't seem to be the only creatures addicted to unsustainable boom cycles and disastrous crashes, followed by self destructive mass conformity. So, in honor of all the Lemmings out there, both animal and human, I've written a little march, titled: "Over the Hill (and far away)."

2 comments:

  1. Rev. H. Carlton EarwiggherdFebruary 10, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    Studies done at the Earwiggherd Foundation for Social, Political, Economic and Philosophical, have determined that the present economic crisis is not caused by the housing bubble or the credit crunch or Chinese manipulation of the Great Big Abacus in the Sky, but is rooted in stuffification. (According to Wickedopoedia, stuffification occurs when there is more stuff than there is money to pay for it.) An economic stimulus plan will only engender more stuff and leave us in pretty much the same situation as before. EFSPEP's plan for abating the current crisis is simply to prohibit the making of any more stuff (excluding food, alcohol, drugs, and other necessities) until one year after the stuff that is still in inventory runs out. Those involved in the manufacturing, marketing or selling of stuff who are laid off will receive government checks that equal the salary they would have made if they were still employed (with a $50,000 annual cap) -- a far less costly plan than giving money to bankers so they can astroturf their heliports. Marshall's has no more socks? then you'll have to darn the ones you have. Best Buy has no more teevees? then you'll have to learn to make sailing ships that fit in whisky bottles. Meanwhile, you'll be saving money which, when the year-without-stuff is up, you can invest in a company which will make new stuff.

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  2. B-b-b-but, Reverend, without Stuff there can't be any Consumers and without Consumers you'll have a major identity crisis in this country. If we can't be Consumers then what CAN we be? What will we be good for? I hope EFSPEP can look more deeply into this matter in future, especially since this whole issue of identity has become so central a part of postmodern society.

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