• When Bob Dylan Heard the Cicadas

    When an insect emerges from the ground en masse every 17 years, it's bound to connect with some significant changes in culture and society. 

  • A political history of the cicadas

    The "Great East Coast Cicada Sex Invasion of 2013" is upon us.After 17 years of feeding and living under the earth's surface, billions of "Brood II" cicadas will emerge this summer between Connecticut and Georgia, swarming in thick, forbidding billows of shed exoskeletons and raucous insect lovemaking. (To get an idea of what the cicada mating call sounds like, click here for audio.)For all their physical creepiness and loud public sex orgies, the (actually completely harmless) bugs have a rich cultural history in the United States. Bob Dylan wrote a song about the cicadas, for instance. But cicadas also have a rich political history in this country. Here are their greatest hits: