As a budding marine scientist, I’ve had to see fish dismember themselves in fishing gear, dissect things that look like they crawled out of the Star Wars cantina, dispose of rapidly-thawing specimens dated from 2003 (while the wind was blowing the smell and pieces of the fish themselves back in my face), and of course for my thesis I’m actively encouraging spiny dogfish to puke into bags. And in no way is my experience as a wanna-be marine biologist really all that unique; in fact plenty of my fellow grad students do far grosser things on a daily basis. In marine science, you eventually start taking your strong stomach for granted.
However, sometimes something comes along that finally manages to genuinely shock you. Something so bizarre that it becomes simultaneously hilarious and disturbing, and you find yourself forcing everyone around to pay attention to it, just so you can convince yourself that you’re not crazy. Here’s the catch; a lot of the time it involves dolphins.
(Warning, the rest of this post will be made up of a juvenile rant about an act that is apparently legal in Florida.)
Specifically, people and dolphins. I still haven’t managed to figure out what it is about dolphins that makes them bring out the crazy in people where other charismatic megafauna (including other whales) just don’t. My Freshman year intro to marine biology class included one student who was double-majoring in music and marine biology so they could play therapeutic music for stranded dolphins (to say nothing of actually, you know, helping get the animals back in the water). I know there are a lot of people out there trying to do good science with dolphins, but unfortunately they face a minefield of nutjobs claiming to “work with dolphins,” meaning they have to constantly prove that they don’t believe they can psychically communicate with their study animals.
This particular individual, one Malcolm J. Brenner, first appeared as a commenter on Miriam’s post on bad dolphin-related sci-fi over on Deep Sea News. His first appearance generated a few shocked Twitter posts, but most online marine nerds probably dismissed him as a lone weird internet troll. Even if, as you scroll down, he continues to defend his position against other readers.
Then today I noticed that Brenner has reappeared, this time linked off of Underwater Times. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this particular dolphin fan is still around, and still promoting his book. Which is titled “Wet Goddess.”
I also thought it was classy that they mentioned bestiality being legal in Florida.
While I don’t have any hard data to back this up, I really only see this level of insanity with dolphins. True, cephalopod fans have to deal with the stigma of hentai, but at least in that case it doesn’t involve real animals (I hope) and both supporters and detractors acknowledge how weird it is.
Seriously, what is it about dolphins?