Monday, February 18, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Do Environmentalists Care About the Endangered Mermaid?

It's humorous that Atlanteans are so often depicted as advanced and loathing surface-dwellers. I guess it's more humorous that they're often depicted as alive, rather than crushed under rubble or drowning, but that's not the point. The point is that, in truth, the life of the Atlantean is most humble. Sure, back when the city sunk it was mystically and technologically advanced, but that was centuries ago. Most of the population died in the catastrophe, and those who became mermen were not particularly well-received by undersea society. Realize that human interaction with the oceans consisted largely of paddling over them or scooping out tasty critters with nets, and you'll come to understand how any even partially sentient creatures felt towards their new neighbors. The Squidkings were particularly catty at the welcome party. Atlanteans quickly became second-class citizens of the sea floor, doing hard manual labor. And they were humans, a species not exactly as equipped for strenuous sub-sea-level work as, say, sperm whales. Cheap manual labor that's bad at its job is never treated well. So when land-dwellers began diving and discovered Atlantis, they weren't treated with disdain, nor did they have war declared on them. They were greeted as liberators. By polluting, whaling and fishing earth's waters to the brink of total extinction, they'd given serious aid to the insurgency. The mermen now believed they could actually take over the oceans. After all, extinction of dominant life forms worked out pretty well for mammals on land.

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