Lemmings have a wretched reputation. They're known for their mass suicidal behaviour that often leads an entire herd, or clan, or flock or whatever you'd call lemmings, to follow one another right off a cliff one after the other after the other. It seems this is actually a myth and they actually do not exhibit this behaviour, it just appears to be true, when they run up to a cliff and the rest push forward not seeing the danger ahead, thereby pushing some off the cliff just by pure enertia.
I call this to your attention because I ran into a good friend of mine today on the campus of Episcopal Divinity School. Canon Ed Rodman is a mentor and professor, elder and trusted friend. He's already forgotten more than I will ever know about most things in the Anglican Communion. I yelled out to him, "Did you hear about the shenanigans in Canada this weekend?"
"YEP!" says Ed."Lambeth Lemmings, that's what they are."
"Lambeth Lemmings?" I said, wondering what in the heck lemmings are!
So like a good researcher I came back to my apartment intent on finding out what a lemming actually is. Here's what I found on Wikipedia:
Lemmings are small rodents, usually found in or near the Arctic, in tundra biomes. "Ah, near Edmonton I thought." But I read on.... While many people believe that lemmings commit mass suicide when they migrate, this is not actually the case. Lemmings will often migrate in large groups and as a result some lemmings will occasionally be pushed off cliffs or drowned in bodies of water simply by the press of their compatriots, or by the dimension of the body of water. The myth of lemming mass suicide is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors.
But what to make of "Lambeth Lemming?" I Googled on. Suddenly, I came upon the article about the rare Lambeth Lemming. It seems they spend most of the time hidden often disguising themselves as moderates and sometimes even liberals! Sneaky they are. They follow the head lemming, known as the Lambeth King, often right over the brink following mindlessly, blindly, where ever the king leads.
Would you believe I actually found a picture of one! Rare sighting it was but they were out in Winnipeg this weekend. Originally there appeared to be only 19 but upon further inspection there were actually 21. News reports vary but the sightings are apparently real as we see here in the photograhic evidence.
So what if the entire body of lemmings is in jeopardy? So what if they're supposed to love each other? So what if they all know that if one suffers they all suffer? Whatever the King Lemming does, they just follow. I'm just happy that if they're out there, we know for sure which one's are the Lambeth variety.
Oh yes, and they apparently migrate to Lambeth Palace in England every 10 years to pay homage to the Lambeth King. Seems this rare specimen will be on her way soon to spend her time basking in the warmth of the presence of the king.
Begone you pesky regular lemmings. All hail the king!
Special thanks to the artist Klettke for permission to use the cartoon.