Quick, what prominent early 18th century figure shocked the pantaloons off polite society by declaring that not only do plants do the nasty, but they enjoy it, too?
Answer: the adorably egotistical biologist Carl Linnaeus, whose zombie corpse turns 300 today. Happy birthday, zombie Carl!
Carl is the delightful fellow who classified the world, declaring that “deus creavit, Linnaeus disposuit” — God creates, Linnaeus arranges. As you can tell from the above plant-nookie reference, he was obsessed with sex in a way that is refreshing when compared to his peers, insisting that every animal on the planet feels sexual urges, and helpfully pointing out that humans are animals. Seriously, how much fun would he have been at parties?
Carl also tried his hand at categorizing human races, an effort which has been exploited by latter day racists since the characteristics he applied to each race tended to be more flattering on the euro-honky end of the spectrum.
He did a lot of other things in his lifetime, but I’ll just mention one more: Carl brought Europeans the humble banana. Why not stop by the fruit stand after work today, and as you peel back the skin on that most phallic of fruits, think of Carl and his oh-so-sexy view of the natural world.