Saturday, January 22, 2011

Earwigs -- Is there a racial link?

For centuries, it's been common knowledge that the insect called the earwig enters the ear canal of a human being in order to bore into its victim's brain, create a nest, and lay its eggs.  When the eggs hatch, the earwig larva have a ready food-source.  Unfortunately, the feeding causes madness and eventual death in the victim.

A recent medical treatise described the earwig this way: "The creature called forsicula or earwig is said to make its way into the ear, and to occasion not only deafness, but violent pain by its biting; and there is an instance on record of a woman, in whose ear a nest of these infects were lodged, and reduced her to the greatest distress." — A Practical System of Surgery by James Latta, 1795.

The behavior of the earwig is clear-cut, scientifically proven and generally understood.  What we don't yet know is what makes the earwig choose one brain over another.  In the 21st century, neuro-scientists, sociologists and anthropologists all seek to understand whether the earwig is an indiscriminate invader, or whether there is a racial component to the brains it chooses to nest in.

"Absurdly horrible and theatrically grotesque, without any redeeming feature either artistic or scientific", or the seeds of Earwig Neuroscience?

Long before today's cutting edge earwig research, in the early 1900s, Robert Bennett Bean tried to show anatomical differences between the brains of white and black people.  He used his measurements to support the idea that "The Caucasian…is dominant and domineering, and possessed primarily with determination, will power, self-control, self-government…with a high development of the ethical and aesthetic values…[whereas the] Negro is primarily affectionate, immensely emotional, then sensual and under stimulation passionate. There is love of ostentation…love of music, and capacity for melodious atriculation; there is undeveloped artistic power and taste…instability of character incident to lack of self-control, especially in connection with the sexual relation."  Basically, Bean felt that whites were super-duper, and while black people could sing and dance like nobody's business, they couldn't be trusted around white women.  He used bad science to 'prove' these racist opinions.

While Bean's work has been discredited, today's scientific community is moving the once-maligned study of biological racial discrimination in new directions.  "Bean was asking the wrong questions," says Dr. Sid Binkley of Mt. Pinnacle Laboratories in Eastern Wyoming.  "Bean should have been asking 'Are these brains equally nutritious?'"  According to modern scientific studies, it turns out that the brains of different races may be unequal after all.

"A lot depends on how you divide up the races," said Binkley, "and there's a lot of debate over how to do that.  But through my research, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that brains of different peoples in different cultures simply taste different.  I think of the races of man in terms of ice cream flavors: vanilla, chocolate, lemon-raspberry swirl, Rocky Road, and American Indian.  And the earwig does too.  Our research clearly indicates that the earwig has strong flavor preferences."

According to the Laboratories' studies using cadaver brains, 63% of earwigs preferred the brains of Caucasians.  "That's statistically HUGE" said Binkley.  "Now we're trying to figure out why.  Some of us think it may be because white people are so fat.  The theory is that the earwig prefers the taste of a brain that's been soaked in fat, sugar, salt and soda for a lifetime over a 'leaner' brain, what you might call a Diet Brain."

N. Jeans Braska of The Georgia Earwig Institute lends a Southern perspective to the problem.  Citing a scientific study by the Sons of the Ivory South in 1971, Braska said "The brain of ah person of the American white race tastes like a warm buttah biscuit. An afro blacka person's brain tastes like blueberry pie.  The brain of the asiatic yella pacificah tastes like vegetable lasagna with a side of ah braised carrots.  It's not a question of the brain's size or structah, but of its aromatics, textyah, nutritional value and flavah.  I don't have a racist bone in my bahdy, but it's scientifically ahbvious fact that the brain of the white man is superiah -- if ya ahsk ya common buttah-biscuit-loving earwig."  

Other studies have found no differences in the earwig's nesting habits when it comes to race.  "There are no 'races'.  There's a human race.  Just one," said Oliver Tractwell of Independence University of Switzerland.  "Skin color doesn't matter.  Grey matter matters.  All the earwig cares about is whether you've got some juicy tissue between your ears to lay eggs in, not whether you have no rhythm or are good at math, not whether your skin is closer in hue to the inside or outside of an Oreo.  Earwigs don't see color."  

World of Warcraft defines the races as Blood Elf, Draenei, Dwarf, Gnome, Goblin, Human, Night Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, Undead, and Worgen.

While the research is still ongoing, some scientists are suggesting that just in case, Caucasians should wear earplugs to bed, change their sheets and pillow-cushions regularly, and release earwig-eating spiders into their bedrooms.  Said Sid Binkley, "In this world, if only when it comes to the earwig, it doesn't pay to be white."

--- Morning Cup O' Doom ---


  1. Great article, I really enjoyed it! The earwig also feeds on plants and insects and rarely on humans. Thanks for sharing. Terrans


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