I spent this week batting around various ideas regarding how to approach this challenge and every one of them was so bad that they each grabbed the bat and started beating me with it. So, because I find myself at the eleventh hour and the administrators of this writing challenge are pointing guns at puppies and yelling at me to ‘SUBMIT’, I will now throw up on my keyboard and see what happens (Grace, you owe me a new keyboard).
Sacrifice – noun: The destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.
The nobler derivations of the word ‘sacrifice’ are frequently associated with things that make us all warm and gooey (these derivations are generally free of deity-associated animal death, deity-associated attempted filicide, or long fly balls hit deep to left field that scores the dude from third (nice job, Cordero; way to suck)). It’s difficult to argue with the altruism associated with giving up something prized for the sake of the greater good. The concepts of selflessness and heroism in the world in which we live are based on the idea of sacrifice. The military fosters it. It’s a requirement for firemen. Parents worthy of the title ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ exemplify the characteristics that underlie the above definition. ‘Yes, yes’, you say, ‘but what about bees?’ WHAT ABOUT BEES!?’
Consider the picture associated with this writing challenge. A crucified bee, sacrificing itself for the sake of its hive. First of all, is it any surprise that the worker bees are female? Does it amaze anyone to find out that the drones, the males, exist primarily to eat and sex up the queen? The fuckers can’t even sting! True, the male dies after the sexy times, but, whatever. Back to the crucifiction.
Now, I have no issues with the picture/diorama in question, though I’m certain there are pockets of wingnuts eager to waggle fingers yell words they can’t spell like ‘BLASPHEMY’ at the artist. I, however, am not among them. If I have any issue with the idea being projected by the work it’s in the presumption that it depicts an act of sacrifice. Someone prone to philosophical devil’s advocacy might ask, ‘Can a thing programmed to die for something ever truly sacrifice themselves for anything?’ In order for the act of surrendering ones life for the greater good to qualify as a sacrifice, it has to be consciously chosen as such. I’m no bee researcher, but I doubt that bees spend loads of time weighing the pros and cons of any given situation. I can’t see them having crises of confidence, filling shelves full of bee-related self-help books (literacy notwithstanding), or laying on blankets and staring into space wondering, ‘Who am I? Why am I here?’
It’s because they know. It’s genetic. Worker bees don’t think before they sting a predator, ‘Do I really want to die before lunch?’ Drones don’t reconsider their roles in procreation, even if the queen looks like Nancy Grace. There are no ‘if’s. The concept of bees sacrificing themselves for the sake of the colony is one projected upon them by humans in our seemingly endless yearning to anthropomorphize everything. And maybe it’s not so bad to think of bees as noble in this way, but it’s important keep things in perspective. Their genetics dictate that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. In this way, all bees are Spock (specifically, Spock from The Wrath of Khan, easily the best of the Trek movies). And that more than any other reason qualifies them as being worthy of our respect.
Also, the honey.
Sir @ July 14, 2011