Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What gives with our idiomatic use of "weasel"? How did an animal so indisputably adorable come to represent sneakiness and disrepute? It seems quite random to me, except that almost any random choice of an animal name would be more apt. Can't you hear the one on the right plaintively asking "What did we ever do to you people except bound around adorably and exhibit, quite ironically, tremendous bravery all the time?"

This raises the question, of course, of what we should replace "weasel" with when we'd like to refer to someone shady and unscrupulous. While a staunch fan of living dinosaurs, I nominate the Komodo dragon. As enormous as they are, why do they rely on their necrotizing saliva to kill their prey? Just going ahead and killing the old-fashioned ripping-to-shreds way is evidently too taxing for these shiftless behemoths, who instead bite their suppers once, then rest in the shade while their toxic spittle slowly kills. That is some weasely shit.


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