Trend Watch: Snakes Are Not Your Playthings, People


There’s a recurring theme that keeps popping up on our radar, and we’re going to have to go ahead and mention it for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because, after thinking about it long and hard and engaging in a vigorous session of Rock-Paper-Scissors with Foster to finally settle the issue, it’s become quite clear that we are not in support of this trend. At all.

The trend is… snakes.

Yeah, you thought snakes were all hilarious once, didn’t you? Funny like “an FBI agent takes on a plane full of deadly and poisonous snakes, deliberately released to kill a witness being flown from Honolulu to Los Angeles to testify against a mob boss.” They don’t make that kind of funny anymore. Right?

Think again. Snakes are not funny, not even Harrison-Ford-in-Mom-jeans funny (which is actually sad, but whatever). Snakes are serious business. And we do not appreciate the following misuses of snakes that have been brought to our attention — most offensively, using snakes to scare a frenemy into having a heart attack. There are far better ways to extract revenge, which we will go into at another time. The point is, snakes are not an accessory. Snakes are not “in vogue.” And snakes are not to be used heartlessly for 6 to 8 weeks and then thrown away for a younger model with bigger boobs, okay?

First, there was this:

Chinese brothers Guo Gongwei and Guo Gongtian bought 500 short-tail pit vipers at a market and released them near the home of the village leader with whom they were feuding to seek revenge.

Biblical, yes. But not cool.

Then came this:

Tony Smith, 29, was charged with using his six-foot-long pet python as a weapon after getting into an argument with a fellow guest at a South Carolina motel Tuesday night.

The 47-year-old victim, Jeffrey Culp, said he was on the receiving end of the close encounter at the Executive Inn after he complained about Smith’s loud music. Smith allegedly returned to confront Culp several hours later — and didn’t come empty-handed.

“He said, ‘Here look at this,’ ” Culp told the newspaper. “He had the snake’s head squeezed so its mouth was open. He ran it across my face and it tried to crawl in my mouth.”

If it was bad for Culp, imagine how the poor snake felt.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, we saw this:

A guest at a La Vista, Nebraska, hotel found out Thursday morning that she’d spent the night with an unexpected roommate when she visited the restroom and discovered a yard-long snake on the toilet lid.

“We’re assuming that a previous guest probably left it behind,” said Captain D.J. Barcal of the La Vista Police Department. “Boy, how she didn’t notice it when she checked in — that’s kind of frightening.”

And then the media got involved. (This video showing two Fortune mag editors grappling with a Burmese python is shameful, and not just because of the “Oh, he’s in my pants!” chuckles.)

This is a trend that must end. Please, stop using snakes for revenge. Or forgetting about them in your hotel room. Or manhandling them on a stage at Sea World. They have feelings, just like the rest of the reptile kingdom.