Carpenter Wasps Are Such Mirandas! Enthusiastic Scientist Explains Entomology Via Carrie Bradshaw & Co.

Hyper Hyped: Sex and the City 2 (5/27)


Just ask Ben Taylor, whose multimedia presentation “Sex and the Sick Bee” casts insects in appropriate roles from Sex and the City. The mildly aggressive carpenter wasp kills live prey and is very independent — a dead ringer for the show’s dominant redhead.

Mr. Taylor, the Assistant Director of Education at University of Wisconsin’s Research Science and Engineering Center, gave his spiel at Nerd Nite Fest in Park Slope’s Brooklyn Lyceum last weekend.

A slide from "Sex and the Sick Bee." (Brooklyn Lyceum)

A slide from “Sex and the Sick Bee.” (Brooklyn Lyceum)

A prim rules-worshipper like Charlotte might see herself in the sawfly, the no-nonsense providers of the insect kingdom. “She was the nice one,” Mr. Taylor explained. “In the history of wasp evolution, they’re the only ones who aren’t killing live meat. If Charlotte had done something like that, it would have been a really surprising plot twist.”

The honeybee parallel was a no-brainer. “Honeybees are this extraordinarily social animal,” Mr. Taylor said. “Males are always on hand, because you don’t need a fertilized egg. Males are literally dying to have sex with her. Say it with me, everybody — This is Samantha!” The analogy went further: just like Samantha weathered a case of breast cancer, suffering honeybees grapple with Colony Collapse Disorder — an ecosystem-threatening phenomenon of disappearing bees.

Nerd Nite Fest, a popular science-centered gathering of curious boozehounds, travels to cities across the U.S. and Canada. The Fest’s massive projection screen was flanked by a string of Christmas lights and exposed brick walls, the ubiquitous trappings of spaces catering to the hip and enlightened. Science buffs in stop sign-red lipstick guzzled bottles of Pilsner from Brooklyn Brewery,  free with the price of admission.

Despite the tutu he wore throughout as a nod to Carrie’s outfit in Sex and the City’s iconic opening credits, Mr. Taylor had a more cynical take on Ms. Bradshaw. He likened her ongoing drama with Mr. Big with to an apocrita wasp dragging its prey into a hole and slowly devouring it. We guess he was on Team Aiden?

Carpenter Wasps Are Such Mirandas! Enthusiastic Scientist Explains Entomology Via Carrie Bradshaw & Co.