The Elephant’s Child is a Story About Child Abuse, Straight Up

[Time for this month’s Patreon-selected myth!
Want a say next month?
Fucking pay me, then.]

Right so there’s this elephant
you wouldn’t recognize him though
because at this point in history
all elephants have nubbly little pig noses
it is disgusting.
Also this elephant can talk
so that’s pretty huge.

This elephant uses his miraculous power of speech
to ask his family
(which, disturbingly, is composed mostly of non-elephants)
questions about natural history
and how, oh my bae, do they respond to these questions?
they respond by beating him savagely.
This story is a master class in pro parenting strategy.

But this little elephant is less afraid of beatings
than he is of not knowing absolutely everything about animals
so he keeps asking questions
and getting his ass whupped
until one day he comes up with a brand new question:
“What does a crocodile have for dinner?”
this question so disturbs the members of the elephant’s family
that they beat him savagely.

The problem with relying on savage beatings as a sole method of instruction
is that it provides no mechanism
for distinguishing which questions REALLY shouldn’t be asked
and that is why, oh my bae
when the little elephant fails to receive an answer to this latest question
he makes a crucial mistake:
he asks a bird what to do.

The bird he asks is called a Kolokolo bird
and it has no qualms about sending a baby elephant to go talk to a crocodile
so that’s what it does
it says “Go to the banks of the nastly, sludgy Limpopo river
and I’m sure someone will be DELIGHTED to talk to your ignorant ass.”
so the little elephant packs an incredible amount of food:
a hundred pounds of bananas
a hundred pounds of sugar cane
and seventeen melons
I guess so that he can throw food at a crocodile and see what it eats.
But the first creature he runs into is not a crocodile
it is a Bi-Colored-Python-Rock-Snake
in other words, oh my bae
it is yet another animal that a baby elephant should not fuck with

But the baby elephant doesn’t know this
because the only way anyone has ever tried to convey knowledge to him
is with savage beatings
so he goes up to the snake and he says “hello friend
could you please tell me what a crocodile has for dinner?”
and the snake
being a sly and inscrutable teacher
responds by beating him savagely.

But though he is battered and bruised
the elephant’s wilful optimism/ignorance remains intact
he limps through the swamp until he finds the Limpopo river
where a crocodile lurks in the water.
So the baby elephant is like “Hello friend
are you a crocodile?”
and the crocodile says “Yup hi”
and the elephant says “I was just wondering what you eat for dinner?”
and the crocodile is like “why though?”
and the elephant is like “huh
nobody ever turned that around on me like that.
I guess I’m just curious
and I don’t have thumbs so I can’t look it up on my phone
help me out?”
and the crocodile says “Suuuuure buddy
just come over here and let me whisper in your ear
tell you somethin’ that you might like to hear”

So the elephant goes over to the crocodile
who predictably grabs him by the snout with his teeth
and the elephant is like “I don’t like the look of this at all!”
and the crocodile is like “wait til you see my dick
naw I’m just kidding
unless you say I can
and I’m known to be a real nasty man”
and the elephant is like “How do you keep rapping with my nose in your mouth?
Also are you trying to eat me or have sex with me?
I’m confused”
but just then the bi-colored-python-rock-snake shows up
like “MY WORD, YOUNG PACHYDERM, DO YOU NEVER CEASE WITH YOUR INTERROGATIVES?
THIS LEATHER-CLAD RIVER RUFFIAN SEEMS HELL-BENT ON YOUR CONSUMPTION!”
(bi-colored-python-rock-snakes always talk like this
they read a lot and they don’t get out much
so when they get a chance to talk they just go ham)
then he wraps one end of his snake body around the elephant’s tail
and the other end he wraps around a tree
and he tugs that dumb elephant out of the water
until the crocodile lets go
and swims away to record his new hit single “Dangerous” featuring Wyclef Jean

It’s not clear why the python suddenly decided to help the elephant
but what is clear is that the elephant did not get away clean
the crocodile’s tusks performed some serious plastic surgery on his nose
turning it into a horrific prehensile trunk
flopping everywhere
a grey parody of a wrinkly dong, oh my bae.

The elephant is like “what the hell happened to my face”
and the python is like “dude, it just got better is what happened
you can use it to swat flies
or pick up food
or … and this is critical
you can use it to deliver SAVAGE BEATINGS.”

The elephant is suddenly filled with a sadistic glee
he charges back towards his home
the words he bellows are barely intelligible, oh my bae
but a keen ear might pick out the syllables:
“FINALLY. FINALLY.”
He runs TRAIN on his entire family
he unleashes a lifetime of pent up torment on their hides
he is a cyclone of devastation
with a pendulous face-wang at its center.
The only animal left unscathed is the Kolokolo bird
whose ambivalent advice granted the elephant this terrible power.
His family is devastated by the sudden, unrelenting outburst.
Their only recourse is to enter into a biological arms race.
they flee to the Limpopo river
to get their faces fucked up by crocodiles.
all of them die
except for the elephants.
The family bloodline is finally pure
and no one spanks anyone ever again.

The moral of the story, oh my bae
is that when it comes to domestic abuse
plastic surgery is the only solution.

Jesus, that got dark.

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Courtly Love isn’t about Love, You Piece of Shit

Here’s another article on the past and how you are wrong about it.

[Also: if you want to help me in my eternal quest to not starve/be homeless, you can buy my book about American History, buy my other book about World Mythology, or just stuff money in my Patreon. I’m not choosy, just jam it in there. Also this is my Twitter.]

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, Courtly Love.

The laws of chivalry themselves have basically nothing to do with romance. They’re all about trying to regulate just how much of an asshole a guy on a horse can be. The secret ingredient that links chivalry to romance in our tiny brains is called courtly love. It’s the great-great granddaddy of “Nice Guy Syndrome,” and it has always been fucked.

OKAY SO WHAT IS COURTLY LOVE?

According to the thousands of poems, songs, and stories about courtly love, the process goes something like this:

1. Pick a total babe who is married to someone better than you.
2. Pine after said babe until you are literally ill.
3. Babe virtuously rejects you because, let’s be clear, this is a terrible idea and also her husband is better than you.
4. Do a bunch of heroic shit that nobody asked you to do, to make yourself worthy of babe.
5. Babe still says no, and you go write a fucking poem about it. OR
5b. Babe is finally like “okay fine,” in which case, great job Romeo, now you have to bust your ass to keep from getting caught. OR
5c. You get caught and the whole world catches on fire.

Courtly love was originally dreamed up by horny poets in the early 1400s, but it flourished because it served a social purpose. Most popular stories, myth and legend especially, survive because they illustrate rules that we think are important for keeping our society together. Coincidentally, most of these rules have to do with humping.

So whose social purpose is served by this miserable dicktease of a courtship ritual? Who comes out a winner? The lady is locked into a straightjacket of protocol that makes actual consent super hard to suss out, the knight is running around murdering dudes nobody asked him to murder because he’s too proud to just jack off into his helmet, and if the two of them ever do get together, every example we have shows it ending apocalyptically. No, you know who’s the real winner here? The husband.

WHAT COURTLY LOVE IS ABOUT: SECURING YOUR HOT WIFE

Think about this from the perspective of a Medieval monarch: you have a smoking hot wife who your buddy gave you because he wanted to use your beach house, and you also employ about a hundred of the best-armed, best-trained psychopaths in the world. These people all live inside of your home with you. At some point, at least one of these psychopaths is going to want to have sex with your wife. And these aren’t just regular psychopaths, either. These are handsome, fit, wealthy psychopaths, in an era where “wealthy” means “everybody else sleeps in mud, and I am the one who pees in that mud.” And your wife, let me reiterate, is married to you because her dad wants to use your beach house. If your stable of monsters starts spitting game at your wife, it is highly likely that your wife will want to sex them back. You need a game plan.

You can’t just tell these guys to cut it out. You hired these guys because they’re unstoppable bastards. You can’t just stand aside and let them fuck your wife, either, because then you look like a weenie, and nobody wants to bow down to King Weiner. Plus there’s all the shit with heirs and succession. It’s a logistical nightmare. But how are you gonna stop them? Put them in jail? These dudes own their own jails. Send another knight after the knight who fucks your wife? Spoiler alert: the second knight also wants to fuck your wife.

What you can do, though, is control the culture by advocating for an elaborate code of etiquette that lets these handsome nightmare people do everything *but* fuck your wife. This is, at the core, what courtly love is: a code of behavior that provides a dubiously healthy outlet for all that pent up wife-fuck-want. Every part of courtly love reinforces the same message: “you can look, but if you touch then I will chop your fucking hand off.” This is perfect for our hypothetical king with his hypothetically hot wife, because it lets him turn a blind eye to all the erotic roleplay as long as it stays “virtuous,” while reserving the right to bring the hammer down as soon as shit goes public.

WHAT COURTLY LOVE IS NOT ABOUT: GETTING YOUR DICK TOUCHED

What I’m trying to get at is this: Despite what everybody seems to think these days, courtly love was *never* designed to help you get laid. It is a system explicitly designed to prevent people from getting laid. The entire process is an erotic Rube Goldberg machine that is a thousand times more likely to chop off your dick than fondle it, and maybe you also kill a bear, I don’t know. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: DO NOT LOOK TO MEDIEVAL EUROPE FOR SEX TIPS.

And yet pretty much every movie produced in the 90s is an ode to courtly love with one key point altered: where the old stories had tragic consequences, the new stories have zero consequences. The Wedding Singer, Wet Hot American Summer, Revenge of the Nerds, The Fucking Karate Kid, and about a million other movies all follow the courtly love formula, right up to the point where the love is consummated and there is NO NEGATIVE FALLOUT. The 90s took “If you fuck someone’s honey, bad things will happen” and turned it into “If you fuck someone’s honey … you will have fucked someone’s honey?”

What we’ve done, and where the whole “Nice Guy” thing comes from, is we’ve taken the purpose and the outcome of courtly love and flipped them. We act like because our love is noble, we deserve satisfaction. Courtly love says “your love is evil and you will never be satisfied, so you might as well make it noble.” Neither one is super healthy, as evidenced by the amount of death and vitriol both camps have dealt out, but at least courtly love is honest about what you can expect.

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to fuck your boss’s spouse. Fuck away, for all I care. All I’m saying is that our modern conception of hopeless romance, of the tormented lover pining away in the night, striving to become worthy of the unattainable beloved, is based on a ridiculous, outdated, socially motivated code of behavior that was invented at a time when marriages were business mergers and adultery carried the god damn death penalty. And I get that it feels good to feel bad, to experience the exquisite pain of loving somebody you know you can never be with. I’ve done it loads of times, and I got some great poetry out of it. Just, for God’s sake, don’t pretend like your secret pain has a noble lineage. The noble lineage is inbred.

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Chivalry Isn’t Dead, You Just Don’t Know What the Fuck it is.

[Hey, if you want to read more stuff I wrote, you could always buy my book. Or my other book.]

So Chivalry.

I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s dead. It used to be a lament, and then it turned into a joke, and now it’s just a fact that almost everybody accepts. Chivalry is dead, because it’s 2015 and nobody wants to suck your dick for holding the door open for them. And it’s true, nobody wants to do that to your hog in exchange for that minor favor. But that’s not what the fuck chivalry is. Chivalry is a complicated, difficult, and ultimately good code of ethics that you probably have a fundamental misunderstanding of. So let me set some things straight:

1. CHIVALRY IS NOT ABOUT TREATING WOMEN LIKE DELICATE FLOWERS

This is probably the main thing people fuck up about chivalry. The truth is, chivalry has basically fuck all to do with women, and everything to do with horses.

See, the word “chivalry” comes from the French word “chevalier,” which comes from “cheval,” which means “horse.” Chivalry is literally just “rules for if you have a horse.” This was an important set of rules to have in chivalry times. Horses were the Blackhawk Helicopters of the Middle Ages; if you had a horse, you could absolutely kill anybody who didn’t have a horse and nobody was going to say a god damn thing. The only thing stopping you was chivalry.

That’s what chivalry was for. Chivalry was – and still is – basically a way of saying, “okay, I have an optimized death machine between my legs, maybe I should look out for people who don’t have one of these.” So it’s not that chivalry is specifically about defending women because women are weak. It’s that chivalry is about defending people who don’t own horses, and in the middle ages women didn’t own shit.

It’s 2015 now. Women can own as many horses as they want. But there are still power structures built into society that put some people in metaphorical Blackhawk helicopters, and other people underneath those helicopters (sometimes the Blackhawk Helicopters are also literal). Real chivalry is about noticing when you have a horse and somebody else doesn’t. It’s about being careful not to trample people just because you can. It’s about holding the door for a dude in a wheelchair. It’s about actively trying to recruit more people of color in your workplace. Sometimes it really is about sticking up for women, but only if your help is wanted. And even then …

2. CHIVALRY IS NOT A POINTS SYSTEM REDEEMABLE FOR FREE SEX

There are no prizes for being chivalrous, other than the prize of being a decent god damn human. This is because the people who chivalry was invented for were so fucking rich that prizes were totally meaningless to them. In addition to horses, knights also owned fancy armor, sick weapons, and huge tracts of land. They were powerful, exciting people relatively free of disease. They weren’t exactly hard up for sex opportunities, is what I’m trying to say. They didn’t need to invent a complex code of ethics to justify getting shit for free, because they already had all the shit. What do you get for the man who has everything? How about some fucking morals.

Anyway, if you’re desperate for booty, tales of chivalry aren’t the best place to go for inspiration. King Arthur’s court is basically one endless sex disaster, what with Arthur’s accidental incest and Lancelot’s righteous wangfoolery. Tristram and Isolde is a bonerific nightmare that borders on farce. Sir Galahad, the Greatest Knight Ever, is also the biggest virgin in the universe, and he is thrilled about it. It turns out you’re not even allowed to see the grail if you thought about a boob once. The chivalric canon is not overly sex positive, you guys. In fact the only problem-free sex I can recall from my chivalric reading is the story of Sir Gawaine and Lady Ragnell, in which everything turns out for the best because – spoiler alert – Gawaine leaves the decision up to his wife. Funny how that works out, huh?

3. CHIVALRY IS NOT PERFECT, AND NEITHER ARE WE

Like most things invented in the past, chivalry has some problems. One of the problems with chivalry is that horses are no longer the height of technology. The main problem with chivalry, though, is that it can very easily cross over into paternalism, and nobody likes to be treated like a child. It is important to remember that just because you have a horse and somebody else does not have a horse, that does not make you their dad.

Even if you have the best intentions, chivalry isn’t a code you can blindly follow for A+ results. Even if chivalry was perfect, which no moral code is, it’s impossible to be a non-shitty person absolutely all the time. Like, the Knights of the Round Table were probably the most righteous group of horse-havers ever to have horses, but Gawaine chopped a lady’s head off, Lancelot fucked his boss’s wife, and Percival was the biggest idiot ever to hold a sword. Galahad was perfect I guess, but Galahad also had a magic chair with his name written on it in fire and ascended to heaven because he found a neat cup. Galahad was a fake person. All of those dudes were fake fucking people. We made them up. The people we made up to be the ideals of chivalry were still remarkably shitty. Back here on earth, nobody is chivalrous all the time, and that’s not sufficient reason to write anybody off. We are all shitty sometimes. Also Galahad is a dickhead.

OKAY SO WHAT IS CHIVALRY THEN?

Chivalry boils down to three things: mercy, charity, and humility. Mercy means being conscious of your advantages, and treating other humans gently. Charity means giving without expecting anything in return. Humility means accepting your mistakes, and recognizing that those who don’t have your advantages aren’t your inferiors. Anybody can embody these traits – woman, man, or even horse. At this point, you may be thinking “hey, this is bullshit, these are just basic guidelines for not being an asshole!” and congratulations, you’re right. That’s all chivalry is: basic guidelines for how not to be a sack of shit. And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die.

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THE BIRDS (but not the Hitchcock version) (but kind of the Hitchcock version)

I want you guys to know that there is no way I would tell this story
if I weren’t being forced to by my patreon backers
and the reason for this should be pretty clear:
it is a play written by Aristophanes
and it is called

THE BIRDS BY ARISTOPHANES

(adapted for internet by Fake Ovid Naso)

two assholes are wandering around in the wilderness
their names are Pisthetearus and Euelpides
which are such terrible names that they must belong to terrible people
and oh, what’s this, looks like I was right
these towering twanks are carrying birds around with them for some reason
why would they do that
I guess we’re about to find out, because this is when they start talking:

PISTHETEARUS: this bird is eating my fucking hand why did we buy these

EUELPIDES: to guide us to the land of the birds you idiot

PISTHETERUS: okay I guess I deserve that. I guess we are both big idiots

EUELPIDES: and to think, all we wanted to do was avoid all our legal responsibilities in Athens by finding a group of gullible birds to help us found our own city where we are kings

PISTHETEARUS: the struggle is real

suddenly the birds start going APESHIT
because there is a new bird here
and his name is TEREUS
you remember Tereus, of course
he is the one who raped his wife’s sister
and then cut out her tongue
and then the sisters killed his son and fed it to him
and they all turned into birds the end.
In this play, he’s a good guy!
also he lives with Procne
his wife who fed him his kids
I’m glad everything worked out for those two crazy lovebirds

TEREUS: what’s up guys what are you doing here what’s going on

EUELPIDES: we are running from the law

PISTHETEARUS: use your wings to help us find a dope city with no laws

TEREUS: ok well I have a few cities I could suggest …

EUELPIDES: those cities are all garbage

PISTHETEARUS: we will found a new city, a city of birds

TEREUS: we will?

EUELPIDES: yes

PISTHETEARUS: we’ll call it Nephelococcygia

EUELPIDES: it means “cloud cuckoo land”!

PISTHETEARUS: it’s what that level in Banjo Kazooie is named after!

TEREUS: sweet well i’ll summon all the birds I guess

he does this
oh god all the birds are here the stage is full of birds oh fuck

BIRDS: what the fuck why are these humans here we hate humans

SEE? WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING THIS WHOLE TIME

TEREUS: no chill out these guys are cool

BIRDS: well since you are such a good judge of character we’ll hear them out

EUELPIDES: look guys, we all know birds are the most powerful force in the world. you eat all the bugs to ensure good crops, you tell omens, you shit on lame people we don’t like. you guys run the world

PISTHETEARUS: and it’s time yall started acting like it!

EUELPIDES and PISTHEATRUS are SPECIES TRAITORS

BIRDS: yeah you know what let’s build a city in the sky and demand tribute from everyone

TEREUS: I don’t see how this could go wrong!

IT FUCKING DOESN’T. ONE WEEK LATER EUELPIDES AND PISTHEATRUS HAVE WINGS AND ARE RECEIVING ENVOYS. They are actually trying to sacrifice a goat to consecrate the city rn but they keep getting interrupted

POET: Hello I am here to yell poems at you!

PISTHETEARUS: POETRY IS DEAD

Pisthetearus beats the poet until he goes away.

PROPHET: I’m a prophet and I’m here to say that if you don’t give me a bunch of food and booze BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN

PISTEATRUS: BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. TO YOU.

Pisthetearus beats the prophet until he goes away

METON: I am a famous math guy, here to do math on your city and help you efficiently plan your road system!

PISTHETEARUS: WHERE WE’RE GOING WE DON’T NEED ROADS. WE’RE BUILDING A CITY IN THE SKY YOU IDIOT

what do you think pisthetearus does.
a police inspector and a guy who makes decrees also show up
and also get beaten with sticks.
some time during this process Eulpides disappears
maybe he got sick of living in a city full of birds
maybe the secret police got him
I don’t know
I will believe literally any bad thing you tell me about birds.
anyway some dude shows up

SOME DUDE: yo the birds finished building the city wall

PISTHETEARUS: they what?

SOME DUDE: yeah they built a giant wall out of stone and I guess it floats in the sky

PISTHETEARUS: what how

SOME DUDE: I don’t know they used their wings and beaks and shit they’re fucking birds DID YOU NOT REALIZE WHO YOU WERE DEALING WITH

PISTHETEARUS: no no no this is great. see all we have to do now is send envoys to the humans and the gods telling them all that we are in charge now and all the sacrifices should go to us because we are birds

SOME DUDE: I don’t see how this could go wrong!

AND IT DOESN’T. The gods try to make a big deal out of it but the humans are super into the idea, probably because pisthetearus bribes them all with free wings. pretty soon Prometheus shows up

PISTHETEARUS: Yo! Prometheus!

PROMETHEUS: shh dude the gods don’t know I’m here. I just wanted to tell you that they’re all fucking starving up there because you’re jacking all their sacrifices and they’re gonna have to give into you soon. I’m on your side buddy

Prometheus what are you DOING an eagle literally eats your liver EVERY DAY Prometheus REMEMBER WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE

PROMETHEUS: alright I gotta go now but remember: all hail our new bird overlords

PISTHETEARUS: this is all suspiciously easy, almost as if a vast bird conspiracy anticipated my -

POSEIDON: NO TIME TO THINK CRITICALLY, GODS ARE HERE

HERCULES: I am another god who is here!

TRIBALLUS: I’m a racist caricature masquerading as a god! Besides these two expository sentences, I only speak gibberish!

PISTHETEARUS: Boys, boys, I know you all want to murder all birds in an epic cyclone of blood and thunder …

HERCULES: Yeah that sounds pretty good

yes come on finally

PISTHETEARUS: But what if I were to offer you some … FRIED CHICKEN INSTEAD?

HERCULES: fried chicken you say?

OH COME ON. COME THE FUCK ON HERCULES

PISTHETEARUS: yeah and all Zeus has to do is cede authority to the birds and let me marry the Director of Operations for all of Olympus

POSEIDON: That sounds like a bad deal

PISTHETEARUS: I’m sorry were you not listening to the part where I offered you FRIED CHICKEN?

HERCULES: He has a point, Poseidon

TRIBALLUS: BLUR BLUR BLUH BLUH BLUH!

POSEIDON: Okay fine, but only because Triballus put it so eloquently.

PISTHETEARUS: Hooray! I’m marrying a goddess and nothing bad happened!

BIRDS: EXCEPT THAT YOU HANDED CONTROL OF THE LAND, THE SEA, AND THE HEAVENS TO A MALIGNANT FORCE OF NATURE OLDER THAN THE GODS THEMSELVES. WE WILL RULE FOR A MILLION YEARS. YOU FOOL, YOU HAVE USHERED IN A NEW ERA: THE AGE OF FEATHER AND TALON.

PISTHETEARUS: Still totally worth it!

ALL: The moral of the story is if you give a bird a city pretty soon he is going to want dominion over all mankind!

THE END. I FUCKING WARNED YOU. DIDN’T I FUCKING WARN YOU?

god, fuck you Aristophanes.

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