If you're here, then you likely saw one of the Narwhals in public---either as a badge or as a sticker. We created this as a simple recognition symbol for people interested in discussion with nuance---something where people can exchange facts, opinions, ideas, and their own personal stories, rather than simply writing people off due to their background or other traits.
Why a narwhal? Well, narwhals don't exist, and neither does nuance in the information security world. If you think that narwhals in fact do exist, then maybe you'd like to help to prove that nuance exists as well. You'd be welcome to join us.
If you'd like to keep informed about where the Narwhal might appear next (or you just think that marine-related stunts are fun), please do sign up for our mailing list.
We'd like to thank Luke Patrick and the Noun Project for the Narwhal image. We've modified it slightly to make it easier to engrave in wood, because that's how we roll.
Below, we have the manifesto we included with the badges; below that, a FAQ. Have a good day!
Narwhal Badge - 2016
This badge is called the Narwhal Badge. You should take it and put it on your lanyard. To do that, thread the lanyard between the clips; they should hold it reasonably firmly. This badge makes no pretensions of grandiosity, and thus doesn't come with its own super-special branded lanyard mentioning a corporation.
Why does it exist?
Custom badges at the major cons are a recognition symbol. All the cool kids have one, from the DEF CON Group badges, to the Village Badges (like Crypto and Privacy), to the Special Event Badges (like QueerCon's, or the Ninja Badge of years past). They're great. This is none of those.
Instead, this badge celebrates a bit of ennui in life. Tech seems to think it's full of answers, but as we look at the security community, we see a lot of questions. We don't seem to work well with people not like us (and it seems like we're getting worse at it). We haven't figured out how to make security effortless, rather than an impediment to everyone who tries to get their work done. We haven't even figured out how to browse the web anonymously.
The Narwhal badge answers none of these questions. Instead it presents a non sequitur: a narwhal, an animal that doesn't even exist. We think this is an excellent way of looking at the world we face today. Life is complex. Sometimes, there are narwhals. It'd be good if we could talk to each other about them. We could figure out how to work with people from very different backgrounds---those who grew up knowing they wanted to do narwhal-related work, those who came to narwhals after careers in other fields, and those people who didn't have oceans into which they could look for narwhals when they were kids.
The only thing we really don't need, it turns out, is people who exclude others based on their subgroup. If you think that people can't be "real" narwhal seekers because they haven't always wanted to look for narwhals, or because they look like X, dress like Y, or are of group Z, you're welcome to look for your own recognition symbol. Try the fedora.
We're using this badge as our recognition symbol---of people who think it's worth meeting people unlike ourselves, and discussing what's challenging us. If you feel similarly, you'd be welcome to join us. We're at narwhal.be. We'll be here next year (or so we hope; narwhals, if they existed, might swim away for no reason). You can sign up for our mailing list, and if you do and we make something next year, we'll try to let you know.
In the meantime, enjoy the badge, and if you see one on a fellow con-goer, be like the narwhal. Start a conversation.
- Q. Wait, don't narwhals exist?
- A. Have you ever seen one? #teachthecontroversy
- Q. How do I connect with fellow Narwhal people?
- A. Well, follow the Nonexistent Narwhal on Twitter. Hopefully that will give you some ideas.
- Q. I feel like the narwhal is a metaphor.
- A. Not a question. Also, yes.
- Q. Wait, so is all of this just a pointless non sequitur?
- A. Non sequitur, yes. Pointless, no.