Common-Sense Archaeology: Fact-Checking Breathless Headlines About Archaeological Discoveries -The Toast

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pawsPreviously: The Elixir of Life.

“Archaeologists in Peru say they have unearthed the previously unknown tomb of a nobleman from a pre-Inca civilization known as the Moche. The tomb contained the remains of an adult male, plus artifacts indicating the man’s elite status, according to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio.

Among the most intriguing artifacts are ornamental metal pieces fashioned to look like feline paws with claws. The paws may have been part of a ritual costume used in ceremonial combat, El Comercio reported. The loser would be sacrificed, while the winner would get the costume.”

I mean, it COULD be that. It definitely could be the trappings of an ancient combat ritual. But as long as we’re digging up stuff and loosely free-associating about what it might be, is this truly the most logically satisfying explanation? Does the “death combat war trophy” theory stand-up to a cursory cross-examination? Since this costume could only be acquired by the death of its previous owner, it stands to reason that if it were found in a grave, this would be an indication that this person’s fighting career ended in voluntary retirement. We also know, from other artifacts in the tomb, that this man was wealthy nobleman, and thus someone for whom killing would not be a grim necessary, but a choice, a diversion. This man, then, would have entered death matches, not because it was compulsory, but out of compulsion, out of a desire to water his predatory ego with the blood of his adversaries. What are the odds that such a man would humbly bow out before leaving their prime fighting years, retiring and dying of old age? It cuts against everything we know about the psychology of wealthy men who believe they’ve achieved their station on merit. More than arrogant, such men are blind to their own weaknesses, their own failings. Such a man wouldn’t realize that his death combat fighting career was over until presented with the most tragically inarguable evidence.

No, I think we can reasonably conclude that the “death combat war trophy” theory lacks a certain plausibility. I think we need to go back to the drawing board on this one. What do we know about this man from his tomb? We know he is a member of the indolently wealthy upper class. We know he owns a animal costume which includes a pair of paws. These paws are not generic — they are not the claws of some unnamed and formless monster. They are a pair of specifically feline paws, which, while ornamental, are utilitarian. They are not pure form, they are designed to function AS paws, hence the lifelike and functional claws. This costume was so important to this man, so central to his identity, that he chose to be buried with it. The answer is simultaneously so obvious, and yet so incomprehensibly monumental, that I almost dare not utter it, and yet I must: this man was a member of an ancient secret furry BDSM sex club.

I repeat, for posterity, for history, for the benefit of those who come back to this moment to find the hinge upon which the future of the human species turned, to find the final cusp of the whole great project of human civilization: ANCIENT SECRET FURRY BDSM SEX CLUB. This is a sentence that I never could have predicted I’d type, for who would have the arrogance, who would have the sheer audacity to believe that they would be the one to tear asunder the thin veil, the gossamer curtain that hides the gears upon which history itself turns? But here I stand — here we stand, before the most important discovery in the history of archaeology, in the history of human scholarship, in the history of history itself. Here we stand looking upon our summation and consummation, before, to put it plainly, an unknowing — for what is completion except the infinite silence that follows the period at the end of the final sentence? There is nothing more to be known. But once our eyes acclimate to the blinding light of this cataclysmic discovery, we can see we stand in a new geography, one that we must ask questions of.

The most salient question is the one that might have immediately occurred to you, and fortunately, it is also the one that’s the easiest to answer: is the ancient secret furry sex club still active, and if so, has it infiltrated the highest levels of world governments? If you consult your soul, if you consult your instincts, if you consult the core of the truest part of yourself, I think you’ll find that you already know the answer to these joined questions: yes, and yes. Conspiracy theorists have long sought to uncover the secret cabals that have their hands on the levers of the world’s power — but they’ve been heretofore distracted by the impossible (aliens, old men of various races), the ridiculous (lizard people, bankers), and the plainly absurd (the world churns forward borne by the inertia of history and there’s nobody in particular in control). At last we have the truth, which is not only plausible, but is incredibly simple once it has revealed itself to you — the world is run by a secretive group of cultists who dress up as various animals and engage in sadomasochistic sex rituals. What could possibly be more obvious?

paws2I have coined a term for this group. It is unlikely that they themselves use it to refer to one another: Furrydom, being a joining of the words “furry” and “dom,” in which the latter refers to the idiomatic abbreviation for the dominant person in a BDSM relationship, but also the traditional etymology of that English suffix. You can see why I thought that apt.

The other questions have less obvious answers, and there are probably still more questions that have not occurred to me yet, for I too am still a newborn squirming in the afterbirth of this new consciousness. But I will list those that I have, which I believe to be the primary questions, of which there are three:

1. Who are the members of Furrydom? Are those who we presume to wield power members, or is Furrydom a shadowy collective operating from the margins?

2. What do the members of Furrydom want with us? Are they benevolent rulers, or do they rule to please their own avaricious whims? To what destination do they steer our future?

3. Has Furrydom any connection to the publicly existing furry or BDSM communities? (I believe this answer to be unequivocally “no”, although as a scientist and a rationalist, I am open to contradictory evidence.)

I have no answers for you, for these questions nor any others. But one sentiment is clear, and I cannot help but adapt words which reverberate through the mists of time to capture it: I, for one, welcome our ancient secret BDSM sex club overlords.

Ezekiel Kweku is the penname of a writer who lives in California. He can be found on Twitter, where his friends just call him Shrill.

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