Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Irrational Mermaid Rant

I'm approaching finals time, so as a warning, you guys will probably be seeing a lot more examples of irrational ranting from yours truly. Today's subject? Mermaids. And how they're fucking creepy.

I mean, just the idea of a mermaid. Half fish, half person. It's just creepy. Don't get me wrong, as a little girl in swim class I definitely liked playing at being a mermaid and always thought Ariel was stupid for giving up the awesome ocean for Eric the idiot (if nothing else, I didn't see why she couldn't have negotiated a transform-at-will deal.)

But the older I get, the creepier I find mermaids in general. I mean...for one, how do they breathe? I mean, okay, I could buy them being aquatic mammals like dolphins and having lungs, but they're always portrayed at the BOTTOM of the ocean. They'd need gills right? Where are the gills? And how can they stay in one place in water? Don't gills require movement?

And what do they eat? Fish have big mouths to swallow little things whole. Is that what mermaids do? Proportionately, human mouths aren't very big. How can they all have beautiful singing voices when you kind of need air to sing.

And really, I can't stop thinking of how, when I was eight, my dad kept his goldfish tank in the dining room and EVERY TIME I looked up they were going to the bathroom, so to speak. It was gross! And always during meal times. Do mermaids do that too? Ew.

Also, that hair is decidedly impractical underwater. And don't get me started on the shell bikini thing, because 1) OW. 2) How the hell do they stay up? 3) OW!!! 4) What's the point when they don't seem to have any need for bikini bottoms, and 5) How the hell do they find such uniform shells to begin with?!



  • At April 22, 2009 5:43 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Which part makes them creepy? Because right now it just seems like you find "Disney" fairy tale mermaids annoying more than creepy...

  • At April 22, 2009 5:44 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    All of it is creepy! Annoying and creepy are not mutually exclusive!

    They don't make sense and their nonsensicalness makes them creepy!

  • At April 22, 2009 8:44 AM, Blogger Saranga said…

    I always thought mermaids were hot when I was younger.

    Not all mermaids live at the bottom of the ocean, lots I've seen swim about and bob to the surface.
    You're right about the shells though. I always thoguht naked mermaids made more sense. That's probably going back to the hot thing.

    Good luck in your finals!

  • At April 22, 2009 9:05 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    But Superman dated a mermaid. How can Superman's girlfriends be creepy? I mean, when they haven't turned themselves into horrible bug-human hybrids...

  • At April 22, 2009 11:46 AM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    I think gills will work without the individual moving if there's a current. They can just float in the current and let it carry water over the gills.

    The singing, I know some fish can make noises, so I guess it's possible. Maybe mermaids have an air bladder, and they have enough muscular control to play it like bagpipes, but to us it sounds like wonderful singing.

  • At April 22, 2009 11:49 AM, Blogger Diabolu Frank said…

    About the mermaids? What she said. Mermaids have disturbed me since my youth. Here's a beautiful woman with flowing hair and her breasts out for all to see... and a fish bottom. WTF?!? The only way I can figure out their very existence is that sailors got desperately lonely, and quite possible did awful things about it. I've heard stories.

    Further, it always bugs me when you have bipedal Atlanteans mixed with merpeople. If you thought handicapping our world was difficult, imagine trying to accommodate four foot tails. Then there's the ones like Lori Lemaris who wear undersea blouses. Really? Plus, Wonder Woman dated a merman, and we all know Diana is about the most sexually confused major super-hero in all of comics. It makes Supergirl's thing with the centaur seem normal.

  • At April 22, 2009 6:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mermaids are magic, and therefore, shouldn't be explained.

  • At April 22, 2009 8:24 PM, Blogger Canton said…

    Not all gills require movement through the water to function. Scroll down to "F: Respiratory system":

    That said, how does Namor breath underwater? The rest of the Atlanteans? What about DC's aquatic counterparts? They don't have gills, either, do they?

  • At April 22, 2009 9:15 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Anonymous: boy, are you on the wrong blog. :-)

    Canton: The difference though is that Namor is cool. :-P

  • At April 23, 2009 12:15 AM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    If I recall, Mignola's mermaids have gills and aren't really so into the whole shell-bikini fad. But they also purposefully drown people and pounded a nail into one of Hellboy's horn stumps.

  • At April 23, 2009 1:07 AM, Blogger Diamondrock said…

    To quote Phillip J. Fry:

    "Why couldn't she have been the other kind of mermaid? The one with the fish on top and the lady on the bottom!"

  • At April 25, 2009 4:44 PM, Blogger Brainfreeze said…

    I remember reading a comic when I was a kid, a backup feature probably reprinted from the 50s or early 60s, where a scuba diver sees a beautiful mermaid at a distance and follows her to her mermaid city (or whatever). As he swims closer to her, he gets a better look at her--her pretty neck has gills, and when she opens her mouth it's full of sharp shark teeth.

    I don't remember how the story ended, but I probably read it when I was 5 or 6 and it's informed my conception of mermaids ever since. :)

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