Recently, video footage surfaced documenting tool use among common octopuses. We at the Institute for the Study of Cephalopod Progress recently exchanged a number of missives to consider the implications for the American public. We present to you an excerpt of this exchange among members Felix Gilman, Jesse H. Bullington, Matthew B. Dyer and I.
I think the first question the public is going to want to know is what this documentation of octopus tool use may mean for human/cephalopod relations. Can you address this?
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Speaking as a life-long professional Coconut-Carrier (Chartered) I am deeply concerned about competition from the octopus so-called “community.” It is well known that the octopus will work for mollusks and they have low standards of professional craft. They will drive down wages and quality, and they have too many legs. (Eight, or so they claim, if you can believe it!)
It is with great regret that I must call urgently for tariffs upon the Ocean, or possibly some form of undersea bombing campaign.
Fingers yes, tentacles no!
Felix Gilman, C-C(C) (retired)
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Dear Sir or Madam:
Speaking only on behalf of myself and all red-blooded American Homo sapiens, I say we can no more assume the cephalopod community means us harm than we can assume the recipient of any missives we may send is a sir and not, contrary to what any warhawk coconut-carriers may think, a madam. It seems that by simply seeking to care for his or her individual needs a single member of Amphioctopus marginatus has raised the ire of the entire right wing, fear-mongering horde—tariffs? Bombing raids? All for fear of competition? Clearly Mr. (or Ms) Gilman is opposed to the very same healthy competition in the marketplace that made this country great, and like some demented coconut baron seeks to maintain the human monopoly on what should be a free market.
All this because a single, brave cephalopod straightened his or her collar, ran a besuckered tentacle along his or her mantle, and dared to ring the doorbell at what certain individuals would prefer to be an invitation-only evolutionary dinner party. Is there any reason why the cephalopod should not be welcomed? “Too many legs,” is all the speciesist can come up with: Too. Many. Legs.
What happened to America? When did hatespeech become an acceptable mode of discourse? When did we stop feeding our love-squid and start feeding our hate-squid? Is there any reason, any reason at all, why we should not take to the beaches, the harbors, the aquariums, enter the water, and embrace our new friends? All we want is to love, and be loved, and to live, live, and occasionally dress up like a hermit crab with the aid of a coconut shell. When you get right down to it, isn’t that all that everyone wants? When did we lose our way?
I pray for this cruel, arid world. Love yes, fear no. Love yes, fear no!
Yours, be you sir or madam, sapien or cephalopod, sincerely,
Jesse H. Bullington, American