Degeneration, Aquaman redux

That's a bold strategy cotton gif from Dodgeball

I figure blogs are also the place to put all the darlings you had to kill in the process of writing—you know—real people stuff. So here is an entire section about human evolution that had to get cut from my post about the role of genetic determinism in Aquaman.

Obviously, the DCU is not contingent on reality. A comparative timeline nevertheless provides insight into the implications of the biological and evolutionary logic the films employ.

Please understand that both “But it’s not real” and “Zeus did it” are considered acceptable explanations of the events and outcomes in the DCU.

This is not intended to be a critique of the accuracy—historical or otherwise—of the DCU.

That the Atlanteans were able to turn into crab people and fish people and, simultaneously, that descendants who retained a more humanoid form were nevertheless able to procreate with H. Sapiens will remain firmly outside the purview of this piece. That would clearly constitute a foolish and unnecessary attempt to apply the limits of scientific knowledge to a work of fantasy. The use of historical and anthropological evidence is, of course, perfectly sensible under these circumstances.

The “First Invasion of Earth” which united Mankind, the Atlanteans, and the Amazons supposedly took place 30,000 years before 2018. (“Invasion of Earth”) That would have been nearly 20,000 years before the emergence of agriculture, and about the same time that H. Sapiens arrived in the Americas. (“Homo Sapiens” “Map of Human Migration”) Quite literally, this puts that original event closer to the epoch where Europe was a Cro-Magnon stomping ground than it would to the emergence of Ancient Egyptian civilization (about 5,000 years ago), which predates Ancient Greece by 2,000 years.

Atlantis is supposed to have fallen into the ocean sometime after that initial conflict, presumably within a few thousand years (at the outside). That would give the various Atlantean kingdoms less than 30,000 years to evolve into distinct species. By contrast, H. Sapiens is believed to have been in Australia as many as 60,000 years ago. (“Map”) Aboriginal Australians are, obviously, hominids of the same species as every other member of H. Sapiens, including the British settlers who colonized their territories less than 500 years ago.

It is unknown whether the kingdoms of Atlantis incorporated technological innovations such as gene editing to enable their “evolution” into different species, but it remains unlikely that they achieved such a level of morphological differentiation and presumed speciation presented in the films in the 30,000 years between the fall of Atlantis and the modern day through natural selection.


Aquaman. Directed by James Wan. United States: Warner Bros., 2018. Film.

“Atlantis.” DC Extended Universe Wiki. Accessed February 20, 2019.

“Homo Sapiens | Meaning & Stages of Human Evolution.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed February 20, 2019.

“Invasion of Earth | DC Extended Universe Wiki | FANDOM Powered by Wikia.” Accessed February 20, 2019.

“Map of Human Migration.” Genographic Project (blog). Accessed February 20, 2019.

Brexit, globalization, nationalism, xenophobia

My natural reaction, when trying to formulate a counterargument to the blatant racism, xenophobia, and blind populist nationalism peddled in Britain in favor of the (successful) Brexit, is to reach for something equally totalizing and outrageous.

I’m not going to crawl into the muck with Boris Johnson (or, on this side of the Atlantic, Donald Trump) and justify his arguments based on some fantastic imagining of the “British People” or some other similar fever dream of historic, national and/or cultural purity.

This is the same government that last year wouldn’t allow the Scots to leave the UK, despite their concerns and desires to remain a part of the EU regardless of whether the Brits made the choice to exit the economic union or not. “There is no history of Scotland acting independently of the rest of Britain” people responded then.

So I have no qualms about reaching into history and saying that the British have no philosophical leg to stand on in their fears about open borders when they made it their policy to forcibly pry open the borders of nations and cultures around the globe in the name of their “British Empire”.

But it comes down to not wanting to crawl through the filth on my belly, like a worm, because to try and argue with the xenophobic, racist, nationalist rhetoric is to justify its existence, is to make some game out of acknowledging its validity. It is not valid, it is not reasonable, and more than all of that, it is not something that can be met or answered with rationality, logic, or consideration. It is fear mongering, and it is lies.

So I’m sorry if history seems irrelevant, if the past is not dictum for the future, if people have no interest or consideration for how the choices made before them might weigh on the choices they face now. I’m not going to address your concerns about people who have no interest in assimilating, in becoming British or European or Western coming and working in your restaurants, and your homes, and your country, until I’m met with equal consideration of the plight of economic migrants and economic refugees and solutions to keep children in the Global South from starving. Making an exception only for refugees of war is to fail to address the cause of which mass migration and the open borders of globalization are merely a symptom.

We will all come to regret where we are finding ourselves. The populists will take us for all we’re worth, and the rich will pluck what little we have left from our unhappy, clenched fists.