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ISSUE 22 ARCHIVE - THE GOOD FISH GUIDE

Rob Hunt

Three days ago, I went to a lecture on microbes (by which I mean it was about microbes, I hadn't specifically ingested microbes before attending). Admittedly, it was aimed at laypeople (scum is the technical term, I believe, which is why I was there), but during the lecture a neurologist showed a slide giving examples of good and bad bacteria. For

their sake, I like to believe that prior to the event, they'd had a gun held to their head and the person behind the trigger counted down all the way to one before the neurologist finally acquiesced to the presentation of a slide which reduced fascinatingly complex evolutionary and symbiotic processes to anthropocentric conceptions of good and evil.

Anyway, it's obviously a mode of thought popular with the people, so I've done the same for marine life.

Sharks EVIL

An easy one to start off with. Apart from having delicious tasting fins that make you immune to cancer, sharks are mindless killing machines locked into the relentless pursuit of humans, their favourite meal, and whom they devour with palpable glee at a rate of around 25,000 persons per day. All species of sharks are the same. I'm not racist, it's just facts.

Dolphins GOOD

Dolphins are cheerful fish who are never happier than when in their natural habitat of the aquarium, performing tricks to the delight of a baying crowd. As a student once asked me: "Aren't dolphins supposed to protect people from shark attacks?" Yes, yes they are. It's in their contract.

Whales (not Killer Whales) GOOD

Whales are a musical fish that like singing and jumping and being fat, which are the three ingredients of being jolly. Occasionally they beach themselves in order to remind people of mortality and make them cry.

Sea Snakes EVIL

Snakes are obviously evil and we've known this since around 4004 BC. Unlike land snakes, however, scholars have so far been unable to translate the language of sea snakes, so technically we should remain impartial until more evidence is in. You can tell they're evil just by looking at them, though. Probably what they're saying is "humans are ridiculous"; "look at their stupid noses all pointing out in the middle of their faces"; "let's kill all the humans", that kind of thing.

Jellyfish EVIL

Jellyfish sting but they're made of jelly. Jelly is delicious but it contains extreme concentrations of sugar, which is bad for your health. Particularly when it's filled with venomous nematocysts.

Sea Kittens GOOD

Sea kittens don't exist, but if they did they would be good.

Killer Whales (not Whales) DON'T EXIST

Things get more complicated here. The killer whale is a whale fish that kills good whale fish (see above), which makes them evil, but they also kill sharks (see above above) which are evil, so that makes them good.

Scientists probably explain this paradoxical behaviour as a side effect of climate change in order to defraud the government of hundreds of pounds of taxpayers' cash. Energy corporations, however, who operate from altruistic disinterest believe killer whales to be a myth. We'll go with the impartial observer on this one.

Triggerfish IDIOTS

The purpose of triggerfish is to attack humans, which would seem to make them evil. However, anyone who has seen a titan triggerfish on the rare occasion when it's not decimating homo sapiens populations will invariably observe them sinking slowly through the water on their side, with their mouth open and eyes rolling about haphazardly. Only idiots get up to this sort of thing.

Clearly, much work remains to be done. The above sample represents only eight species of marine life, of which in total there are over 20. At this point, if we sum up each column, we can see that the contents of the oceans are exactly tied between good and evil (3-3 AET).

If the impasse continues as the moral nature of further species are determined, the future of the oceans could depend on ignorance: is it a form of evil in itself, like with a badly behaved child, or is it instead a cheerful reflection of simple, hokey good-nature, like with George W Bush? Once understood, the ethical status of the idiotic triggerfish could be what finally tips the balance and determines whether we keep the oceans or get rid of them entirely.

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