Friday, January 27, 2006

Science — remember science? — has made a fascinating discovery about the way our politically partisan brains deal with criticisms of our preferred leaders. Scientists had their subjects, self-described committed Republicans or Democrats, listen to contradictory statements Dubya and John Kerry made over the past election season; at the same time, an MRI measured the subjects' neural activity. Turns out when we get some damning information about the other guy, the logical, analytic parts of our brains are working, but when we learn that the guy we like is a fuck-up, the rational parts of our brains shut off and the emotional centers and the forgiveness centers of our brains light up. So, Tucker Carlson isn't thick, he's irrational. Thank God.

That's one interpretation, but in my opinion, this study is just a total cop-out, letting our moronic electorate off the hook for its mindless partisanism. It's superficial, like regardless of what's happening in the empathy cortex, people should either have the sophisticated self-awerness to disregard emotional appeals where cold reason is appropriate, or they should be sold to the Soylent corporation to help stave off the impending Malthusian famine. Whenever Kerry said or did something asinine, I got pissed at him for feeding the right-wing prevarication machine. Forgiveness? That's something I save for my friends and family, not the guy who I'm counting on to save our nation from Karl Rove.

By the way, in case you're reading this, John: Nice of you to finally grow a pair. I mean, you were such a wuss during the election, even I was starting to wonder if you were in Vietnam. I didn't think the army took pussies like you in the first place.

I guess our brains work the way they work, but I see this ridiculous trend in America where the decision-making process is slowly being given over to that emotional cortex in our collective unconscious. People driving around with an American flag sticking out of their SUV's: I'm not actually helping win the war on terror, but I feel like I am, and that's what matters. Or this crap with the new Palestinian government — I can't even count how many times Bush told us he went to war in Iraq to "bring democracy to the Middle East." Democracy! That's an American value! Of course, when the Mid-East demos put someone in power we don't like, then all of a sudden, we're not talking to them anymore.

Well, at least Oprah's fessing up. I haven't read A Million Little Pieces, because it's an Oprah book and once you're on Oprah's list, you're dead to me. Like Toni Morrison: great author, beautiful prose, totally demeaned herself appearing on the same program that had Tom Cruise jumping all over the damn furniture. Might as well have promoted Love on Montel or something. Anyway, while I appreciate the mea culpa, what the fuck does it matter, Oprah? That's what you get for becoming emotionally invested in some random dude's based-on-a-true story of sin and redemption — now how about getting pissed off about something that actually matters? FEMA is spending millions of dollars on trailers for Katrina victims, but those trailers are going unused. The government is eavesdropping on your Google searches and your phone calls to Pizza Hut. (Google, by the way, has acquiesced to the Chinese government's request that they censor their .cn domain search engine, so you can be pissed off at them, Oprah.) Point is, people, get over how you feel — if we start making decisions that actually are good instead of just feel good, maybe we won't need to feel quite so good in the first place.