Rolling Stone began a recent article with this provocative lede: "The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." [emphasis mine]
This metaphor, and all its implications, have provoked plenty of discussion amongst economists, politicians, journalists, and the general public. But you know why it provokes me? Vampire squid are tiny, like six inches long, and while they have several anatomical oddities, they possess nothing as ridiculous (though creative) as a "blood funnel"!
It's true, there is such a thing as a vampire squid, though I'm not sure how many Rolling Stone readers realize that. In fact, the literal translation of the scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, is "vampire squid from hell." We can imagine that this unfeeling epithet has delivered considerable emotional trauma to the poor animal--
--but it is a pretty cool name, and it gets people jazzed about the deep sea. Unfortunately, it's misleading. Vampire squid were named only for their freaky looks, not because they have any propensity for drinking blood. As far as we know, their diet is about what one would expect from a small gelatinous deep-sea cephalopod: shrimp and other little crustaceans.
Sure, I understand that the Rolling Stone writer was reaching for a literary device, not a biology lesson, but there are so many honest-to-God freaky parasites that could have been chosen for such a metaphor! Why malign the poor vampire squid?
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- USDA Microbiologist Warns Bacteria In Vaping Products May Be A Health Concern
- Free Market Validation: Men With Hair Transplants Are Seen As Younger, More Attractive
- Kudos To "The Independent" Newspaper For Debunking Nibiru "Blood Moon" Hoax
- Sudden Death In Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - The Exercise Didn't Do It
- Your Microbiome Did Not Cause Your Weight Problem
- A Great Blitz Game
- Control Cancer By Making The Tumor Cell Environment Hostile
- "So what's your excuse? Try googling the actual study abstract, it's called 'Bacterial Populations..."
- "It seems to me to be the ultimate in irony to commit suicide now, because of the belief that in..."
- "The image problem with the vaping community is that proponents smack of zealotry. This is a great..."
- "Sigh. Not only is it common sense to wash out your drinking cup/a vaping device tip, my own dental..."
- "Propylene Glycol was approved for inhalation by the FDA in 1952 and again in 1959 because it was..."
- How Herpes Drugs Work
- The Infrared Sauna: Hollywood's Hot, Pricey 'Magic' Box
- E-Cigarette Flavors, Biotech Courts And More Media Links
- <a href="/node/9873">High Drug Costs - Blame The Playa Or The Play? <i class="fa fa-angle-double-right"></i></a>
- <a href="/news/infrared-sauna-hollywoods-hot-pricey-magic-box-9871">The Infrared Sauna: Hollywood's Hot, Pricey 'Magic' Box <i class="fa fa-angle-double-right"></i></a>
- <a href="/news/2016/08/29/e-cigarette-flavors-biotech-courts-and-more-media-links">E-Cigarette Flavors, Biotech Courts And More Media Links <i class="fa fa-angle-double-right"></i></a>