Great episode of You’re Wrong About: Lesbian Seagulls. It’s this look at — not just Seagulls — but the history of science observing same-sex pairings in nature. You’d think, because of the nature of science, people would just observe and report things as they happen. Like, what good is science if you don’t do that? But Lulu Miller and Sarah Marshall have all these examples of sometimes scientists but more often publishers and even the government, who just wouldn’t be willing to publish information that same-sex animals might, do something like, gasp, raise a baby penguin together. Depraved behavior, they’d say, foisting some version of morals upon a whale who definitely doesn’t give a shit what you think.
One bit that stuck with me is when they got into how people like to pick and choose things from a whole to support their views or make them feel better. They have an example where some people hold up certain aspects of animals as pure and beautiful, like how swans mate for life. But then ignore other aspects of animal life that are at odds with things most people think of as pretty not good like how rabbits are quick to eat their own babies. I think of protesters in front of zoos being all like the animals just want their freedom, man — and a lion being like they actually have great steaks here, and when it rains, you can just go inside, it’s great. (I don’t know how lions think, but that’s kind of the point.)
Other things this makes me think of:
- We’re evolved from cavemen! Cavemen ate blueberries and raw wooly mammoth flesh! That’s what our bodies are used to, not bread!! We should eat like them! (Cavemen also got diarrhea and died of dehydration at 33; should we do that too? Their diet may or may not be related but it’s awfully convenient to just pluck little facts out of history to sell stuff.)
- The government are incompetent dummies! (Also) Have you seen the trails that planes leave in the sky? Those are a mix of chemicals that come out of planes because of secret government policies designed to keep the population subservient to them! (Which is it, are the people in government dummies, or are they so incredibly competent they can pull off wildly complex undetectable international plans perfectly? Or do you pick one as is convenient?)
- Everyone is a child of God! Jesus loves everyone! Judge not! Wait, is that a black person walking down the street, call the cops! Our gay daughter is not welcome in this home! (Religion might be a little too easy sometimes)