Thursday, July 3

An Anthropological Study of the Mermaid, for the Benefit of the New Babbage City Council

The species homo aquaticus sapiens, commonly known as Merfolk, are noted for possessing an unusual combination of qualities belonging to both Mammals and Fish. Most significantly is the addition of gills to permit underwater survival. They are also possessed of scales and fins for locomotion, and in most cases lack bipedal legs in favor of a single tail, though vestigial human leg bones are occasionally noticed in the anatomy. The humanoid with two fishtails in the place of legs is a variant called the Triton, and much less is known about that species.

Despite the fish attributes, the Merperson is defined as a mammal for possessing hair, distinctive bones in the ear shared by all mammalian species, and a mammalian reproductive cycle (as opposed to the laying of egg masses for outside fertilization), which includes the nursing of young. One need only look at the mastheads of the ships in our harbor to see know what every lonesome sailor dreams about.

Merfolk live in varied societies, like the human species. There are hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior clans, farming cultures (of seaweed and stationary sea animals as well as herding of fish), and entire cities (e.g., Atlantis, Mu). While there may be adornment of shells and such for ceremonies, and wear jewelry for ornamentation and indication of social status, Merfolk do not wear clothes as such. Their bodies are adapted to the temperature ranges of the ocean within their pressure range. The is no underwater equivalent of cotton or linen, nor a source of "wet wool". The hides of certain sea creatures may be used for securing personal equipment such as weapons.

The physics at the heart of the issue are that wearing of large articles of clothing will interfere with the process of locomotion and make the Merperson vulnerable to predators. Furthermore, because the breasts of mermaids are always exposed there is no taboo among their own kind about having them in open view.

My conclusion: Forcing a mermaid to wear a top is as illogical as asking her to wear pants. On a side note, if you want to try and start levying fines for sailors who don't cover up their mastheads, go ahead. I'll pick up your body on the dock in the morning.

Dr. Darien James Mason,
Licenced Av.Mdc, Av.Srgc
Miskatonic University, Class of 1828

9 comments:

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Pshaw.. it's only an issue if you make it one. I suspect this is blowing the matter far out of proportion.

Darien Mason said...

"Don't eat Monster Hands."
"Murder on your front lawn."
"Homeless children swarming in the streets."
"Your business is not allowed to make a profit."
"Harrassing anonymous alts."

THOSE are issues...

Rhianon Jameson said...

"Oh no, she's wearing my outfit." Now THAT'S an issue.

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Yep, and if I were a citizen, I'd got to town meetings regular-like and try to change such things. As best I could. When the rubber hits the road, Second Life isn't a democracy-- the individual owning the sim can either be a benevolent (and largely absent) tyrant, like the Great and Glorious Shang, or he could be more.. erm... active in enforcing a compact of rules he believes in.

I suspect, strongly, that the person you're thinking of never gave mermaids a second thought until now.

Is it really that important?

Darien Mason said...

Not in this case...but it does give me a chance to share my knowledge of mermaids without sounding like an old sailor with too much rum in him. *grins*

Hotspur O'Toole said...

Fair enough, Doc! I live for the chance to be bombastifying, m'self!

Miss Lily said...

Doctor Mason--Thank you for your research into the matter of Merfolk and whether or not clothing is deemed necessary. And while this is one of the issues which perplexed me last Wednesday evening, another part of the issue troubled me more: the fact that I, as owner of the property on which the offending breasts were spotted, was not informed by the local constabulary that he was coming onto my property to berate and embarrass an important guest to New Babbage about her attire. The local authorities should have spoken to me, and let me address the issue with my guest.

Rhianon Jameson said...

All I can say is: I miss the really good parties!

Miss Lily said...

Miss Jameson-- Your next opportunity to see some fireworks (Babbage-style that is), will be this Wednesday, July 9th, 7-9pm SL when Novem celebrates Tesla's birthday with a Mad Scientist themed event. What will local Babbagers have to complain about this week? You'll have to come see for yourself! IM me in world for a LM. ~Lily