manatees: the turd in the ecological punchbowl? or the u-boats of the wetlands? you decide.

The National Evil, bringing you white-hot manatee sex since, um, 2008.

You know, people are always stopping me on the street and saying, “You look like you’re high-stepping toward an end zone of unspeakable happiness. What’s your secret?”

It’s simple, I tells them: like me, you have to make your life a never-ending search for things, ideas, and people who fill you with a mix of giddy revulsion and unnerving joy.

Example? How about one Natacha Seijas, Dade County commissioner? This article in Time, concerning the efforts of Lowe’s to invade the Everglades, features this tantalizingly despicable nugget:

Natacha Seijas, who at one commission meeting voiced her dislike of manatees, one of Florida’s most beloved and endangered sea mammals [. . .]

I’ve tended to stay out of Miami politics ever since the release of that inflammatory “documentary” of my life (Scarface, 1983). But I was intrigued, so I delved a little further in the issue of her anti-sea cow platform . . . and found this, from the local CBS affiliate’s website:

Last year the county commission voted on a plan to protect manatees in Biscayne Bay. Seijas’ response: “I don’t see why we need to be creating an environment so they can continue.” [. . .] Seijas has even bragged about eating manatees as a little girl in Cuba.

Now. I support endangered species. But one has to take principled stands, even when wildly unpopular, and my disgust at hypocrisy outweighs any love I might feel for a creature on the brink of extinction. So I’ll just say it:

NO ONE REALLY LOVES MANATEES.

It’s a lie, and it’s time for you to admit it. Oh, we all say they’re cute, adorable, a precious natural resource. But we don’t really think so. We just know we’re supposed to say we think so.

Sure, I’ve been swimming with the manatees. I have snorkeled with them. We’ve all been there.

But try to touch a manatee? Or, God forbid, try to saddle up and ride one? You’re looking at federal PMITA prison, pardner.

Manatee-love is a nefarious psychological disease infecting our culture. Why do we look on these “living logs” with fondness? Because they represent the ultimate Peter Pan fantasy!

Imagine a world with no natural predators. No responsibilities. An unseen but virtually omnipotent power ensuring that no one at any time is allowed to bother you in the slightest. No need to evolve, to adapt; if you can eat grass and float lazily, you’ve reached the terminus of your development. You drift about in a murky haze void of consequences.

Manatees are the infants of the animal world, and we, their loving parents. But no—actually, the manatees aren’t infants—they’re the sad-sack 40-year-old son still living in his parents’ basement.

It’s time to cut the apron strings, America! I’m not saying we need to hunt them down or ignore their plight . . . but as long as we’ve adopted them into the family, shouldn’t we be pushing them to excel? We send our kids to school, pay for their college educations, teach them the hundred thousand life skills they’ll need to survive in this harsh world. So why should manatees get a pass on self-improvement?

If they’re so defenseless, can’t we, say, arm them? Or put them on an all-meat diet, transforming them from passive, sluggish sea cows to nimble, lithe, prodigiously entertaining sea lions? Hey, we’ve already got a template for that: actual fucking sea lions.

I’m all for protecting manatees, but as long as they leech off our benevolence, couldn’t we work on training them, teaching them, making them more than what they are?

To paraphrase Mr. H. Simpson: Let’s turn those manatees into Yes-I-can-atees!

Enjoy the weekend. If possible, give evolution a goose.

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