The following is a guest post from Caleb Harper
And then we arrive at the insects.
My university has a very limited array of specialized high-level zoology courses. There are no high-level electives about the intricacies of lampshells or even mollusks at the University of Ottawa. There are courses about various groups of vertebrates, and about unusual microbes like the microsporidia that get a lot of attention for other reasons. We do have an entomology course, because insects are that fundamental and that numerous.
Humans talk a mean game about being the dominant organism on planet Earth, and it’s not an unreasonable assertion. Humans are on a short list of species found on all continents (no matter how those continents are parsed) and most of the other contenders are animals like cattle whose ecology is intimately entangled with ours. If we compare humans (or even primates at large, to be honest) with insects, though…there are millions of them for every one of us, and they are omnipresent. Insects are defining features of every ecology except for the oceans, and a few visit even there. As noted earlier, the insects have more species to their name than any other taxonomically similar group of organisms.
So it’s no surprise that some very interesting beasties lurk in this massive assemblage.
We are here to inform you that consent is an ongoing negotiation that can be withdrawn at ANY time and that if you EVER ignore that withdrawal, you are a rapist. We are here to inform you that a rapist is not something you want to be. We are here to inform you that you are never, ever, EVER “entitled” to any kind of sex with ANYONE, no matter what they say or don’t say, do or don’t do, drink or don’t drink, if they do not enthusiastically consent to it. We are here to inform you that, no matter what gender you are or what gender your partner is, YOU have the option to say no, and they have the OBLIGATION to acquiesce to your refusal, and they are bad people if they do not.
My mother likes to tell me that “God put me on this earth for a reason,” or liked to. There are a lot of things like that she used to say to me that she tries not to anymore, after my last few sorties into our conversational DMZ. I want it to feel welcome, like a level of acceptance I never expected to get, but that’s not what it feels like. She reflexively reaches to place an affectionate sign of the cross on my forehead at night and instead pulls back, eyes full of pain, and I can tell she doesn’t see the situation at all like I do.
It’s a common refrain, in its numerous forms. “God put you on this earth for a reason.” “You have to find what you’re here to do.” “Seek your destiny.” “God has a purpose for you.” Purpose. Purpose. Purpose.