How the Martian Anthropologist Came to Love Metal

The Martian anthropologist and I were talking.

"Someone sent me a link to a YouTube video of Justin Bieber sitting in on drums on a late-night show on television," the Martian anthropologist said to me.

I brightened. "Oh yeah? I saw that, too."

(I loved the way she spoke our idioms. Sitting in. She said it in exactly the way a human might react to tasting something profoundly delicious. Her whole body, down to the ends of both tails, gave a little shudder of pleasure.)

"After I watched it, I scrolled down to the comments."

I sagged a little. "Oh."

She noticed, of course. "Do you not think the people who comment on such things are representative of humankind?"

I sighed. "Sadly, I think they are all too representative."

She was quiet for several seconds. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking. Then she said, "The first comment read, 'He could have played drums in a metal band but instead chooses to be a faggot.'
This word, faggot, is not meant to declare that he is in some way like a bundle of sticks, but rather meant in the derogatory sense?"

"Very much in the derogatory sense," I replied.

"Can you explain why?" she asked.

I sighed again. "Because the person writing the comment doesn't like Justin Bieber, I guess."

"And so spends time watching a video of him and then publicly disparaging him?"


"This is very strange behavior."

"Yes, it is."

She was quiet for another couple of seconds. Then she said, "Through my research, I have come to understand that the adjective modifying band is not meant literally. It doesn't mean that Justin Bieber would literally play drums with musicians made from iron or steel. So in this context, what exactly does metal mean?"

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