Zombies and pirates — two big fads that just leave me cold. Sorry. But a few weeks ago I come across this fascinating article about “zombie parasites” and all of a sudden, I’m a believer.
It seems as though there are certain viruses, fungi, tapeworms, etc., that have evolved to the point where they can (a) infest a host, that they (b) manipulate by insinuating enzymes into the hosts’ brains, which (c) cause the host to modify its behavior not to ensure the survival of the host, but the parasite. These “zombie parasites” completely dominate their hosts from the inside out, literally corrupting their brain processes to inspire what turns out to be suicidal behavior — all on behalf of the parasites whose will they don’t even know they’re obeying. E.g.,:
In the rain forests of Costa Rica lives Anelosimus octavius, a species of spider that sometimes displays a strange and ghoulish habit. From time to time these spiders abandon their own webs and build radically different ones, a home not for the spider but for a parasitic wasp that has been living inside it. Then the spider dies — a zombie architect, its brain hijacked by its parasitic invader — and out of its body crawls the wasp’s larva, which has been growing inside it all this time.
The current issue of the prestigious Journal of Experimental Biology is entirely dedicated to such examples of zombies in nature. They are far from rare. Viruses, fungi, protozoans, wasps, tapeworms and a vast number of other parasites can control the brains of their hosts and get them to do their bidding. — NY Times
Awesome. These microscopic creatures have perfected methods that anticipate the most aggressive, sinister conduct of the Borg and those slimy pod things in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
And all of a sudden I understand what happened to the Republican Party in this country.
It’s the only explanation for the GOP to have devolved from President Alzheiner’s “Morning in America” to George W. Bush’s “Compassionate Conservatism” to the howling, leering, foaming pack of moronic thugs who deny global warming and evolution, and voting against a bill to support a UN Resolution to provide rights and remedies to disabled persons worldwide while former Presidential candidate Bob Dole looks on from his wheelchair. It explains their brain-dead fealty to the National Rifle Selling Association, Teabagger crackpots, fundamentalist Christians, Grover Nordquist, and their lockstep, lickspittle loyalty to the nation’s wealthiest 1% at the expense of the other 99%. It explains “legitimate rape” and “tax cuts pay for themselves.”
Brain parasites! Zombies in the cerebellum! Polluted grey matter!
I know what you’re thinking — this theory is premised on a risky assumption that today’s Congressional ‘Pubs actually have brains to infest. “Brain parasites, hell,” you say. “How about just plain shit heads?”
I’ll get back to you. Meanwhile, sing along: