Dec
22
2009

Holiday killjoy: Scientist insensitively states the obvious about angels

Yes, it is perched on a trash can: But only because I think that the trash might provide it with the high calorie diet it would need to operate those large flight muscles.
Yes, it is perched on a trash can: But only because I think that the trash might provide it with the high calorie diet it would need to operate those large flight muscles.Courtesy JGordon
Angels and fairies, if they’re the sorts of things that actually exist, says a biologist from University College London, could never actually fly. That is, if we’re to believe that the way they’re portrayed in art is accurate.

Well, duh. Whether or not angels and fairies can actually fly seems to be something of a non-issue, but… of course. We figured this out a long time ago when we looked at pictures of angels and fairies and thought, well, that doesn’t make a ton of sense. But, no, scientist guy has to go rubbing our faces in it right at the holidays, when angels are feeling really pretty and good about themselves. How do you suppose they feel now, Scrooge? And picking on fairies like that is unconscionable; every time you say a fairy can’t fly, a fairy somewhere gets explosive diarrhea. And fairies live in sock drawers, so you’ve probably ruined some kid’s day too.

But professor Roger Wotton doesn’t care. All the sad angels with body-image issues and violently ill fairies in the world couldn’t stop him from pointing out the fundamental flaws in angel and fairy body design.

First of all, the wings are generally too small for fairies’ and angels’ body sizes. Birds and bats weigh very, very little relative to the area of their wings, otherwise they couldn’t take off. Wotton proposes that the mythical creatures might be able to glide a little, but the wings would need to be totally rigid then, and they’re often depicted in art being folded.

For true flight, Wotton says, angels and fairies would need to have the large, complex muscles of birds and flying insects. But they don’t. (Another fairy is losing bowel control right now.)

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I have drawn a more anatomically correct angel/fairy for you all. Note the delicate limbs, deep, muscular chest, and aerodynamic body. Now you can imagine this realistically perching on top of your Christmas tree, or pulling teeth from beneath your pillow.

You’re welcome! Ho ho ho!

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