Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scary Stuff

If you're afraid of snakes, Science has found a visceral cause. There exists in our primate brains something called a pulvinar -- clusters of neurons specifically designed to make us fear the slithering legless reptiles.

So I ask myself: do our brains also contain special neuronal pockets making us fear spiders, bears and sabre-tooth tigers? And before Homo sapiens goes entirely extinct, will evolution go into speed-dial emergency survival mode and gift us with a special place in our cerebral cortices which enable us to spot a slimy politician from a mile away?

While you're pondering that one, I hope you've decided what to give out to your trick-or-treaters tonight. Since I am personally partial to Three Musketeers, I bought several bags of the "Fun Size" in anticipation that the usual lone child from my apartment complex will show up at my door and daintily pick out only a few from my 10-pound decorative pumpkin bowl. (I live on a busy highway with no sidewalks, not amenable to pedestrians, unfortunately.)

I was going to give out Kludgies in honor of Obamacare, but couldn't find any at ShopRite. Turns out the little goodies are still under development in the Neoliberal Confection Lab. From what I hear, the preliminary tests are not going well. For starters, the fake sugar they're using  leaves a bitter aftertaste. And tasters are paradoxically reporting that the candy either melts in their mouths too quickly, or gets stuck in their throats, making them gag. Maybe the glitches will be worked out in time for next  Halloween. People will have different reactions. Some will think they've been tricked. Others will be abjectly grateful for the treat, any treat. Still others will nod sagely and pontificate that the Kludgie sensation was always designed to be a different experience for different people. The poor person's poison is the better-off person's candy.

One thing's for darn certain. Kludgie portions will be pitifully small, but the marketers will try to fool us by calling them "fun size."

Oh well. They couldn't possibly be worse than Candy Corn and its close relative, Pumpkin Boobs (those orange sugar globules with the telltale green nipple), or Mary Janes, (which you could only possibly crave after first indulging in some real Mary Jane), Other most-hateds are Bit o'Honey and Tootsie Rolls. And watch out for those Whoppers. They might just remind you of your favorite worst politician.

And if these images aren't scary enough for you, 60 Minutes ran a segment that actually includes pornographic footage of Dick Cheney's ex-heart lying in an O.R. emesis basin like a slab of rotten bloated meat. You can see it here while gorging yourself on your imaginary Kludgies.


James F Traynor said...

Cheney is "a slab of rotten bloated meat". They just replaced the heart. This guy has got to be a world class sociopath. The man is a study in evil; Manichaeists would have been delighted in him as proof of their religion and world view.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

"For the first time, Dick Cheney speaks frankly and in detail about the heart disease that plagued him during his political career. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports." So starts the print intro at the "60 Minutes" page link provided by Karen.

But unsurprisingly, they've got their focus wrong. Yes, heart disease has plagued Dick Cheney during his political career — as it has plagued and continues to plague so many other politicians, Republican and Democrat.

Of course, the "heart disease" that I'm referring to isn't the physiological one, but rather the lack of a metaphoric heart. Hobnobbing with their rich backers and others of the plutocratic class, most politicians long ago either lost or deliberately purged, or in many cases never had, any empathy for anyone disempowered or not wealthy. The same could be said about the overwhelming majority of those who frame mainstream media coverage of the condition of this nation. So it's no wonder that, Republican or Democrat, Fox "News" or CBS, they keep up their disgusting stream of propaganda and urgings of sacrifice aimed not at those who are well-off, but rather, at those towards the bottom of our economy, who have been squeezed since "Saint Reagan" and now are long overdue for assistance and genuine opportunity, not pablum and bullshit and further cuts.

A political survey reported in today's Tucson paper says that Arizonans across the spectrum are overwhelmingly disgusted with their politicians.

But looking at the actual demographics reported, I notice that statewide, Republicans are more dissatisfied than Democrats, and those making more than $85,000 are more dissatisfied than those making less than $45,000! (There is probably some correlation between those two results, as those with higher incomes are more likely to be Republican).

Unless someone has additionally demonstrated that Republicans and the economically better-off are particularly disgusted by current right-wing ideology, those poll results are actually not auspicious for progressivism. Nowadays, most Democratic politicians aren't worth a damn when it comes to seriously battling for social justice (or civil liberties). And it's obvious that those with more money and establishment power can often prevail politically. Lower-income Americans need to stop accepting an unjust status quo, seriously raise their indignation level and keep it elevated, and follow through with meaningful political organization and action, if progressivism is to have a chance of becoming an effective influence. And that organizing has to vastly increase now, not two or three months before the next election.

Meanwhile, some visual humor:

But real outrage over being tricked needs to extend beyond Halloween.

Bill O'Neil said...

Karen - re: your most recent comment in NYT - always a delight to see your thoughts again. Have missed them, not certain if it's my not paying heed or?
All the best,
Bill O'Neil

Will said...

I have a sliver of hope for humanity again after viewing Russell Brand's recent BBC appearance. I don't know if I wanna kill him or kiss him. :)

Will said...

Sorry for posting the same link twice, my friends. Stuff happens. Have a nice weekend.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Will, for the Russell Brand clip. Think of him what you will,(he broke up with Katie Perry! On the phone! OMG!!!) but he speaks truth to power. Fred, you're right.... the peeps are on to being tricked. But will they react, that is the question. James, ya think Cheney's rotten heart will show up on eBay, with the buyer being charged triple for postage from Liz's Wyoming address? And Bill, thank you, and I usually comment on Krugman, hit or miss on the others.