by Matthew Sanborn Smith
They came online in the middle of 2007, The Total Genealogy Project, revealing the relationship between every living thing and every other living thing. It became popularly known as Yggdrasil, after the world tree of ancient Norse mythology. It was wikified and lonely old men poured their data into its hungry maw by the truckload. Every proud relationship to some obscure historical figure was chronicled. Fractured families found one another as stems met at branches and branches met on limbs. Good.
Then the genetic research files began flowing in and things became unpleasant for some people. If you looked at enough of the treasured charts that laymen kept in their dens, you'd realize there were a lot less bastards there than there should have been. The genetic data with a little detective work showed that queen so and so might have had a little tryst with one of the squires and there was a reason that a certain branch of the family was a little closer to olive-skin than alabaster. Mysteries were solved. People grew angry. Racial purity groups had to adjust their standards once it was found that there just weren't any racially pure members to be had. Peace broke out everywhere, to the consternation of many, when family ties kept being brought up as a reason we should all get along.
While they were still sorting through the mess with the humans, the animal family trees were dumped into the mess, which pissed off a lot of America's heartland. They didn't like the idea of people being related to animals. There was the evolutionary problem and the implied age of the Earth problem. Even so, all of that was easier for many of the white people to swallow than the fact that this crazy Internet said that their ancestors had all come from Africa.
Each branch of the family tree was less welcome than the one which had proceeded it. Finally the vegetarians had something to feel guilty about. They'd been eating their cousins of course, like the omnivores, just different ones, and encouraging others to eat the same group of cousins.
"If you're going to eat," The U.N. Secretary General said, "You've got to eat a family member. There's no getting around it." He resigned in disgrace when people took this as an okay to eat their children and aunties.
Fortunately everything was fixed when the people banded together into a multitude of large and unruly mobs and destroyed the Internet.
"Glad that's over," remarked one mob spokesperson. "Now we can all go back to being unrelated again." Everyone seemed quite happy once more and the killing began again in earnest.