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You Otter Be Outraged
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You Otter Be Outraged

As the guy said when asked to tap out the full 17-minute version of Iron ...

As the guy said when asked to tap out the full 17-minute version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida” on his glass eye using a shrimp cocktail fork, I don’t usually do this. But I think I need to deal directly, and at length, with a complaint from someone in The Dispatch community. 

Last week, Scott Lincicome, by far the most popular trade and nacho expert writing for The Dispatch, was back on my podcast, The Remnant, to discuss supply chain issues, inflation, trade policy. and some other things. And well, I’ll let this listener, first name Alexander, explain the rest. He writes:

Quite some time ago Jonah and Scott Lincecome did a podcast topic on “animals that get good press”. While listening to it I was perplexed as to why they did not discuss sea otters. Sea otters of course look cute! They put rocks on their tummies! It’s adorable!

 They also rape eachother, hold eachother hostage for food and have sex with other recently deceased sea otters. They are disgusting animals that humans should declare open war on. A quick google search will show countless pieces on the horrors of sea otters. Journalism 101 guys.

So imagine my surprise when on the most recent podcast episode, Jonah and Scott begin another riff about Animals With Good Press. Then someone mentions sea otters and I think “FINALLY HERE WE GO! TIME TO ROAST THE SEA OTTERS”! But nope! Instead of even the most mild criticism of these nautical rape rats, they praise how cute they are and such. It was textbook propaganda. I was screaming in my car. I wished the sweet meteor o’ doom would come and strike me down.

I can only take away from these discussions that much like Joe Manchin being in the pocket of corporate, neo liberal dark money, Jonah and Scott must be in the pockets of Big Otters.

Please do better.

Now, while I am tempted to get defensive and counter-punch (“Oh, really, the guy who thinks “eachother” is one word? What is this, Germany? You know what else happened in Germany!?”), the truth is that Alexander is entirely right. As the guy who bought a case of Xi Ha Happy Horse De-Wormer off the dark web likes to say, I did my own research. And it turns out that otters are, well, monsters – when judged by our bipedal bourgeoise primate standards.

I should also note that I wrote about animals with underserved good reputations last year, but I shamefully did not mention the otterly despicable nature of otters — in part, I think, because I really do think they’re adorable. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved otters because they’re objectively cute, but also because they use their bellies as food trays. I still like to imagine a sea otter eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while floating on his back. 

But, again, they’re monsters. Imagine if Jeffrey Dahmer and Jeffrey Epstein were furries.   

If pandas are the posterbeasts of wildlife conservation, otters might actually beat out dolphins as the world’s cutest horrific sexual predators (assuming there’s not some horrible true crime Lifetime Movie of the Week about “Spanky the Cruelest Little Rascal”that  I am unaware of). At least dolphins don’t maim or kill theirvictims. But apparently, it happens all the time with otters.  

Moreover, some sea otters are like the Somali pirates of the animal kingdom. They will kidnap baby otters and ransom them for shellfish – what wildlife biologists often refer to as the “bitcoin of the sea.”

Because I am a big softy when it comes to animals, one of my biggest peeves is when grizzly bears grab me by the Adam’s apple. “Stop it! How can you do this? I offered you a Bit-o-Honey!” But another big peeve of mine is when cute animals attack other cute animals. I don’t like seeing foxes kill rabbits and that sort of thing. Imagine watching the kid from Webster fighting Arnold from Diff’rent Strokes and Punky Brewster in a three-way hatchet fight. That’s how it makes me feel. The aesthetic angst it causes me is somewhat analogous to the dismay some left-wing ideologues feel when different factions of the Coalition of the Oppressed reject intersectionality and fight for advantage among themselves rather than form a Popular Front against the Pale Penis Plutocrats. 

So for these reasons, I won’t even tell you what some otters have been known to do to baby seals. 

Anyway, there’s no need to dwell on this further. Indeed, I have colleagues at The Dispatch who think there was no need to dwell on this at all. 

Still, if you want to learn more about the case against these necrophiliac, serial-killing fur monsters of the sea you might want to read this explainer at Vox: “The Case Against Otters:  Necrophiliac, Serial-killing Fur Monsters of the Sea.”

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Dispatch, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, enormous lizards roamed the Earth. More immediately prior to that, Jonah spent two decades at National Review, where he was a senior editor, among other things. He is also a bestselling author, longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times, commentator for CNN, and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. When he is not writing the G-File or hosting The Remnant podcast, he finds real joy in family time, attending to his dogs and cat, and blaming Steve Hayes for various things.