Feature

Germany: The psychic octopus must die

Anyone for a little fried octopus? asked Marten Rolff in Süddeutsche Zeitung. I refer, of course, to Paul, the performing octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of every World Cup game Germany played.

Marten RolffSüddeutsche Zeitung

Anyone for a little fried octopus? asked Marten Rolff. I refer, of course, to Paul, the performing octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of every World Cup game Germany played—including, devastatingly, the semifinal loss to Spain. Biologists at Oberhausen Sea Life placed two boxes of mussels in Paul’s tank before each game, one sporting the German flag and the other the flag of the rival team. Paul slithered a tentacle into the box of the winning team for all seven games, eventually dashing our hopes of a championship.

Now, Facebook groups have sprung up calling for him to be publicly executed, and Germans are busily trading octopus recipes. The Spanish, naturally, see Paul as a hero. Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has offered to provide bodyguards to protect him, and another top official has suggested that Spain grant the creature political asylum. “Don’t kill the messenger,” they say.

But Germans are not that petty. We won’t eat him “merely because he delivered bad news.” No, we’ll eat him “because he is a delicious and low-calorie summer dish”—especially “when prepared according to a Spanish recipe.”

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