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17 years ago: the last Brood X

Molly Flood, Communications Director

July 15, 2020

The spring of 2004 raised two kinds of children. I, a proud four and a half year old, spent my time playing outside with toys and picking apart the lawn while a swath of angsty 17 year olds also emerged into the open air, ready to scream all summer long.

This new insect invasion added a whole new level of mischief to my summer days as I collected my cicada friend’s empty exoskeletons and hung them all over my sister’s coat when she wasn’t looking. I imagine the teen cicadas rolled their five eyes as my immaturity.

The year 2004 was a particularly strange one for these ancient creatures to enter the eastern United States. This was the time that the human population stumbled into the digital age and pop culture began to viralize events. The cicadas waited seventeen years to emerge into the future, but entered into an America that was obsessed with internet culture and paid no attention to their marvelous arrival.

Bold Brood X popped their heads out of the ground to the background noise of limelight celebrities making their place in the world. Paris Hilton’s “that’s hot” and Donald Trump’s “your fired” coexisted peacefully in the world of reality TV, far from the whitehouse. Brood X played their own recognizable phrase: a high pitched buzzing reaching 100 decibels, that masked Trump’s and Hilton’s voices blaring from the living rooms of America.

While the cicadas lived their short lives to the fullest back in 2004, Facebook was taking over the internet and shaping the American reality. Through the eyes locked into Facebook in 2004, American’s learned that Martha Stewart would be spending time in prison while memes about the newly released Napoleon Dynamite spread awkward core through the internet.

The teen cicadas,who rebelliously dug up from their subterranean homes, shouted their last thoughts and perished in a matter of weeks. In their short lifespans, they saw America through the lens of it’s awkward emergence into the internet, social media, and pop culture buzz. 2004’s brood’s screams masked the worlds of Trump and Zuckerberg’s America to enjoy a peaceful summer.

Their children enter a new world, one that only the most perceptive eye would have guessed would exist. What slogan and internet personalities will they rival with? As the proud children of 2004’s Brood X emerge from the earth, don’t be surprised when we see an abnormal amount of exoskeletons looming on parked Tesla’s as this year’s Brood comes for Musk’s America.

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