Saturday, March 01, 2008

Porcupine Parergy

Of all the critters in the animal kingdom, except perhaps the marmot, porcupines and hedgehogs have it the toughest. In what has long been a speciest smear campaign, false accusations about these creatures continue to be bandied about, from porcupines' supposed inability to have intimate relationships, to the impossible athletic prowess attributed to the hedgehog. And these are just some of the pernicious rumors started by German philosophers and Japanese video game designers, the two camps that represent the chief co-conspirators in this ugly debacle. But today we put a stop to all these lies, especially the two already mentioned because that's really the whole list. So, here we go:
1. Hedgehogs are the fastest creatures on the planet, with a land speed record of 760 mph.
This rumor, which places an undue amount of pressure on hedgehog youth to live up to an impossible ideal, has long been the leading cause for teen hedgehog suicide, which is itself by far the most common cause of death for all hedgehogs, followed by "quill-related fatalities" (numbers 2-8, 10) and "badgers" (9). Simply put, enough hedgehogs kill themselves every year because they are not as fast as Sonic that if you lined the bodies end-to-end, it would be gross.

2. Porcupines are incapable of intimate relationships, as being physically close to another porcupine will cause them to puncture each other with their sharp quills.
Referred to equally as the "Hedgehog's Dilemma" and the "Porcupine's Dilemma," this idea was originally conceived by 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer as a metaphor for humans who cannot be (emotionally) close to others without hurting them. However, since its original publication in Schopenhauer's Parerga and Paralipomena (where he referred to the creatures as "Stachelschweine"), this metaphor has been mistakenly applied to porcupines and hedgehogs, neither of which species has any trouble getting close to other porcupines/hedgehogs. In fact, the leading cause for reaching retirement age in the hedgehog/porcupine communities is "quill-related cuddling," followed by "definitely not badgers" (numbers 2-10).

For more information on inaccurate things about porcupines and hedgehogs, as well as plenty of inaccurate ideas about human nature, be sure to check out Schopenhauer's Parerga and Paralipomena.

1 comment:

  1. i order the verb "quill" to be used in all situations involving both (a) sex and (b) some variant of emotional pain.

    ex: Dude, did you quill your ex-girlfriend again last night?