Rose Eveleth: Cicadas: The dormant army beneath your feet | TED Talk

This year’s crop of cicadas is unlike any before. So-called “Zombie” cicadas (almost exclusively males) are infected with a fungus that causes their fannies to fall off, taking their genitalia with them. I think Mother Nature is having a heyday with this one. She’s taking off male sex parts, giving them a huge dose of fungal Viagra, and turning them loose. The sex crazed cicadas go nuts-sans-nuts, trying to copulate with all the females he can. Unfortunately for him he’s got a serious case of absentius dingalingius, complicated by numbnius buttasaurus.

Sometimes the males will go so far as to pretend to be female to attract other male cicadas for fruitless mating. Unfortunately for the females, they are at times infected with the fungus themselves. I suppose this whole thing can be described as an incest—oops!—insect STD.

Recently I came to understand that Cicadas are females. Their male counterparts are Sir Cadas. Therefore, the gesticular (testicular?) and futile mating action of the Sir Cada is known as the Sir Cadian Rhythm Method of Cicadian birth control. You don’t have to thank me for sharing my discovery. It’s all in the name of Si Ents.

There are many ways to extrapolate on this tail—er, tale. Some cannot be put in print. Some should not be said aloud. Allegorically speaking, the Zombie Cidada plague could well be mirroring men’s domination and predatory sexual behavior toward women.

Lately I’ve heard a myriad of stories from women who’ve been preyed upon by sleazeballs who appear to think that they have the right to make suggestive comments to women, touch them inappropriately, and out-and-out proposition them. With good cause, many women won’t go to certain places or walk in certain places alone. The fact that they ACTUALLY DO have reason to be afraid is reprehensible.

What if scientists were able to collect the castrating fungus and put it in a canister like pepper spray—maybe call it “Weenie Whacker”? Based on how the fungus effects Sir Cadas, the Weenie Whackees would go into a freakin’ frenzy, not knowing their equipment has fallen off. Talk about bushwhackerus interruptus! Can you spell “poetic justice”?

So if you see a bunch of upper-half men jiggling on the floor, street, or sidewalk, They’re doing the newest dance craze: the Weenie Whacked. Weenie Whacker might not be the best way to deal with predators, but the name alone makes me go limp. Is that enough? We shall see.

(Previously published in Oxford, Mississippi’s “The Local Voice”. The original column can be viewed at

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