People who fear bugs will be especially put upon during “Swarmageddon,” and you might never have figured this out if the cicada scribes at the Washington Post, a periodical chronicling the latest developments in entomology, hadn’t taken the time to explain that people who already hate bugs hate the idea of a lot of noisy bugs concentrated in one place.
Entomophobia (or Insectphobia, for the stupids) is fairly widespread in America, and can become quite paralyzing, with sufferers sometimes experiencing severe emotional reactions at the mere thought of some rough-carapaced arthropod crawling stealthily along their bedposts at night, hoping to lay millions of eggs in their mouths and tap dance all across their bellies. The Post explains that such fear of creepy crawlers can get so acute that some entomophobes have planned to go into full-scale social hibernation this summer, cancelling summer classes and even stocking up on canned goods with more paranoid rapacity than Michael Shannon in Take Shelter.
But we knew all this, right? That the giant cicada clusterfuck this summer was going to terrify all those people who already can’t stand the sight of a small, relatively helpful spider, let alone an armada of orange-eyed flying noisemakers? Well, if you didn’t know it, you can thank the Post for illustrative accounts like the story of poor, bug-tormented Lori Milani:
“It sounded like a human being murdered,” Milani said, recalling her anxious reaction to the emergence of cicadas in 2004, when she shut herself inside for five weeks to avoid them. “I was really afraid they would come into the apartment.”
For people like Milani, a graphic artist who struggles with her fear of bugs, the coming swarm of cicadas — which were spotted as nearby as Fredericksburg last week — elicits a single response: Dread.
Perhaps in another era of news-gathering, when print journalism was populated by reporters with evocative names like Scoop Summers, someone might have asked Lori Milani how, exactly, she knows what a “human being murdered” sounds like. Well, Lori? Are you, in fact, a serial killer who has chosen to send an elaborate message about your upcoming cicada swarm killing-spree through a weekend fluff piece for the WaPo’s Health & Science section? Someone needs to be asking such questions, but, sadly, in an era when newspapers are shedding jobs and people are watching cat videos on the Internet instead of reading, investigative journalism has become obsolete at a time when possible bug-worshipping sociopaths are primed to begin their reign of terror.
Image via AP, Gerry Broome