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The Empire of the Parakeets

Fernando Sorrentino
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The nickname ‘parakeets’ is often given to those quite harmless, short-lived, tiny green homoptera that, on summer nights, keep flying round and round lights. Their movements do not appear to be governed by intelligent thought. Lacking the fly’s sharp sight and rapid reactions, the nuisance is easily eliminated by crushing them between the thumb and index finger. In contrast to the mosquito, they are incapable of biting. Nevertheless, they are sheer torment for anyone trying to read or eat. They throw themselves blindly against your face or eyes; they drown in your soup; they smudge your writing. By the time you manage to brush aside the five or six parakeets walking on your fork, another ten or twelve are already in your ears or up your nose.

Why should these tiny green homoptera, the parakeets, be so stupid, so feeble-minded? Their behaviour is perhaps the least sensible of any living thing—those who believe that this behaviour is common to all insects are wrong. For instance, a man can establish, with a cockroach, a kind of relationship, if not friendly then logical at least: the man will attempt to kill the cockroach, which will try to run away and hide. This is simply not possible with the parakeets: no one knows what they are doing or why they are doing it.

“But,” asks Dr. Ludwig Boitus himself in one of his latest papers, “is the parakeets’ behaviour really so mad? Let us start from the premise that all living beings orientate their actions towards the preservation of their species. Why should the parakeets’ behaviour be an exception to such sound, well-proven law? [...] The modern researcher,” he adds, “must not limit himself to simple statements to the effect that the parakeets’ actions are gratuitous and senseless; he should make an effort to determine the true logic behind the apparently absurd, illogical behaviour of the parakeets. This behaviour is merely an outward expression of an inner motivation and it is time we found out what that might be.”*

Dr. Boitus mentions two facts that have generally been ignored: firstly, in recent times it has been observed that the parakeets fly less around lights than around people’s heads and secondly, their numbers are increasing. He points out that although the parakeets seem to lack even a minimal offensive or defensive weapon, five hundred or a thousand of them, by continuously harassing a man—entering his ears and eyes, walking on his neck, stopping him from thinking, reading, writing or sleeping—can force him—in fact, do force him—into a state of complete mental derangement. In this state, it is the man, not the parakeet, who does not know what he is doing or why he is doing it. It is a state in which the man does not even know who he is and when he enters it, when he loses consciousness of his own self, he inevitably becomes resigned to being surrounded and dominated by the parakeets. Furthermore, from that moment on he can no longer live without the parakeets, without feeling them inside his ears, his eyes, his mouth. What has occurred is a phenomenon that “in the field of drug addiction is known as dependency. And this,” Boitus adds, “is the true purpose of the parakeets, the underlying logic behind their apparently absurd and illogical behavior.”

The parakeets are inexorably expanding their empire. To date, they have taken over every civilized country—the more advanced a nation’s technology, the stronger their hold. Wherever there is electric light, the parakeets reign supreme.

On this point, a world atlas accompanying the article shows how few countries are still free of the Empire of the Parakeets. However, we believe that the inclusion of this map is a fallacy: this is not a political empire. Parakeets rule only over minds. When these have been ‘parakeetised’—to use the neologism coined by Boitus—they go on to parakeetise the bodies, which consequently begin to perform essentially parakeetic actions. As Dr. Boitus concludes: “At this point, only primitive communities and the poorest countries remain almost free of parakeets, countries untouched by the development of mass media.”

Translation: Gustavo Artiles and Alex Patterson
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Copyright ©Fernando Sorrentino, 1976
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Date of publicationFebruary 2004
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