The Sessile Eye of the Isopod: Getting Ideas

Ever since I saw the picture of the giant isopod brought up the the submarine crew last week, I was fascinated by this creature, which amounts to a deep water-dwelling pillbug.  Some people think it looks like a giant, animated lobster tail.

Giant_Isopod This thing is like . . . ALIENNNNN!!!

That alien face – it supposely has a “sessile” compound eye, by which it is meant – not on a stalk.

If you like it, you can learn more about it here.

Its scientific name is apparently bathynomus gigantius and it lives at depths of 2,000 feet or below.  It mainly navigates by its long feelers, and is a carnivorous scavenger.  It’s so large, in comparison to its land-dwelling relative, the familiar and even slightly cute pillbug or sowbug, because of the phenomenon of deep sea gigantism, which also gives rise to the giant squid.

I want to say there’s a story in this, but I’m not sure it’s a very good one.  (Look at that face!!!).

It advances slowly on its clattering chitinous legs, ravenous, implacable, its pincers snapping . . .

My own blog post discussed how I brutalized a marshmallow easter bunny decoration on a small cupcake at an organic restaurant in Culver City.

Stories can be visually-inspired, like looking at this Isopod and coming up with an explanation, an idea of what goes on in that alien head, or maybe a story that’s all about a “sessile eye”.

The sound of “sessile eye of the isopod” is so hissingly sussurant.  That could launch some terribly alien/otherworldly tale of the sort they did so well in the 70’s and early 80’s (Bloodchild . . . I think).  I also want to give some props to and encourage people to check out Edge magazine, which is continuing to offer thought-provoking writing.  This magazine began in the 1990’s as an alternative to typical cultural/future commentary.

According to the magazine, “In the past few years, the playing field of American intellectual life has shifted, and the traditional intellectual has become increasingly marginalized. A 1950s education in Freud, Marx, and modernism is not a sufficient qualification for a thinking person in the 1990s. Indeed, the traditional American intellectuals are, in a sense, increasingly reactionary, and quite often proudly (and perversely) ignorant of many of the truly significant intellectual accomplishments of our time. Their culture, which dismisses science, is often nonempirical. It uses its own jargon and washes its own laundry. It is chiefly characterized by comment on comments, the swelling spiral of commentary eventually reaching the point where the real world gets lost.”

Very elegantly-put.  And there you have above – Norman Spinrad. Yes, it does have to do with both race and gender.  Many people of color, and many females, will not have had the “advantages” of a “quality” education as reflected above – Freud, Marx and “modernism.”  One pundit has suggested that the internet has made us stupid.  I don’t buy that at all, but I also don’t buy dumb stories as being “okay” any longer.  Accurate information is far too easily accessible to be using decade-old or older science, or to be writing to the tiredest assumptions.  For an idea based in what something looks like, why not look at that scary/awful/alien/-is he beautiful?- isopod.  What does it look like he is thinking, or wants to do?  Let me know – below!  And what do you think their names are?  I vote for Hermés for the top one.



The Sessile Eye of the Isopod: Getting Ideas — 1 Comment