Political Animal


May 02, 2013 12:11 PM Disappointing the Cicadas

By Ed Kilgore

Sometimes a little perspective is helpful, and David Frum supplied some this morning with a tweet playing off the imminent reappearance of the Brood II Cicadas (which happens every 17 years) on the East Coast:

When the cicadas went underground, they left a thriving economy. They’ll be so disappointed in us when they re-emerge.

Probably so. In 1996 the Clinton Boom was gaining real momentum. Not only that, but Iraq was only a vengeful glimmer in George W. Bush’s eye; we had never heard of Monica Lewinsky; and Newt Gingrich was well on his way to becoming a national pariah and laughingstock whom no one would ever take seriously again.

Yeah, the cicadas have a lot of catching up to do. For East Coast birds, dogs and cats, though, it’ll soon be time to chow down on one of nature’s strangest smorgasboards.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on May 02, 2013 12:26 PM:

    The worst part is, until you mow your lawn for a while and get used to it, watching your lawn jump and move around the first time seems like some sort of an acid-flashback.

    Not that I would know.

    I... I... er... uhm... I never inhaled!

  • low-tech cyclist on May 02, 2013 3:33 PM:

    I'll believe the cicadas are back when I see them.

    I remember this brood from 1962 - they were all over the place in the neighborhood I grew up in, just south of Alexandria, VA.

    In 1979, I lived only a few miles away from where I grew up. Cicadas? What cicadas? Didn't see any, didn't hear anything about them.

    In 1996, I was out of the area.

    Now I'm back, on the Maryland side of the DC area. Maybe they'll be here, maybe they won't.

    We were also supposed to get clobbered by cicadas in 2004. Couldn't have proved it by me.

  • SecularAnimist on May 02, 2013 5:03 PM:

    I find it somehow comforting to realize that cicadas don't give a shit about our so-called "economy". All they want to do is fly around, mate and die. We could learn a lot from them.