UnNews:2008 deemed "year of the rat" because rats will be the only animals left alive on Earth by year's end
7 February 2008
CHINA -- Today, in anticipation of the upcoming massive celebration of the Chinese New Year, it was unveiled that 2008 will be the year of the rat, apparently because it is theorized that the rat will be the only living thing left on the planet Earth by the time 2008 is over.
Every year in China thousands of people take days, or even weeks, off of work in anticipation of the festival honoring the arrival of a new year. "It really is a huge deal here," says a Chinese journalist, "The arrival of the new year is always honored with celebrations, lantern festivals, mass singing, drinking, and family feasts. It is a day that we always look forward to with great passion, that helps bring meaning and peace to our lives. Except one year, when we actually forgot to celebrate it."
Chinese months are reckoned by the phases of the moon, which explains the confusion of many Chinese people in recent years: "We actually haven't seen the moon since 1991, because of all the smog," says one citizen, "So we just kind of guess when the new year is coming."
Every year, an animal is chosen to be a representative of that year, according to a Buddhist tradition. However, this year, those who had to make the choice were facing a difficult dilemma: "A lot of the interesting animals we were thinking of choosing are probably going to be dead by the end of the year, the way things are going," said one of them, "Like the giraffe, for instance. There are only ten or so giraffes left on the African savanna, and they'll only be nine after the poachers I hired kill one for my new fur coat. So we had to scratch them off the list, which really was a shame. We then thought of manatees, but the only manatees left on the planet are either in zoos or zoo-related video games."
The more animals they considered, the more they realized that they were facing quite a difficult dilemma. "It turns out that the majority of animals are declining as the processes of deforestation, global warming, and poaching continue to decimate their populations. The presence of naturalists in wildlife areas attempting to protect animals from poachers briefly helped with the problem...but then a demand for the skin of naturalists came up, and they've now been decimated nearly as much as the animals they've been attempting to protect."
The men were feeling a lot of pressure to try and think of some animal that actually had some chance of surviving to the end of 2008 without going extinct. "We had two possible choices really, either to pick a fictional animal to represent the year, like a Dragon or a hobbit, or we could pick some sort of vermin creature that can survive through anything. That's when the brilliant idea hit us: the rat! The rat is a perfect representative; it thrives on waste, it consumes ceaselessly with no thought of whether or not it should save anything in the event that it might need it, it has no ability to comprehend anything beyond the bits of moldy food immediately in front of it...basically, it's a completely mindless creature that consumes ceaselessly until it runs out and dies...we thought this was vaguely symbolic of something, but then immediately lost our train of thought when the 18 pizzas we ordered showed up."
And so, 2008 has been declared the year of the rat. "2009 will probably be the year of the cockroach, because cockroaches can survive nuclear war, and so will continue breeding even after the human race has spiraled into oblivion. After that, I suppose we'll have to start naming years after bacteria. Then, when earth has been so pumped full of toxic chemicals that even the bacteria can't survive, I suppose we can simply declare that year the Year of the McDonald's French Fry. Those things are fucking indestructible."
- Karl Malakunas ""Year of the rat"." Yahoo News, February 7, 2008