Monday, November 23, 2009

Love, Sex, and Mustard

Good news, everyone: the scientific community, having tired of clarifying for us that we are assholes, has now broken ground in an exciting new territory: clarifying for us that we are horny. If not for such clarifications, I don’t know how I’d get up in the morning.

Anyway, I base this claim on a recent LiveScience article, entitled “Romantic Rivalries Stir Religious Feelings.” The upshot of this piece is that, when exposed to potential sexual competitors who are quite frankly hotter than your bug-ugly self, you will suddenly develop deeply pious feelings in order to compensate for the fact that you will not be “getting any” anytime soon, or within your current lifetime.

Ah-heh, whoops, did I say that out loud? I, uh, actually meant to quote the article:

Rivals on the dating scene could make one feel closer to God, according to new research that suggests one's religiousness may be more closely related to mating strategies than previously known.
In experiments with 269 college students, researchers found that both men and women apparently felt more religious when they saw attractive potential competitors.
Social psychologists had volunteers view dating profiles of either attractive men or women and told them these were fellow students participating at an online dating site. They were then asked to rate, on a 10-point scale, the extent to which they agreed with statements like, "I believe in God," "We'd be better off if religion played a bigger role in people's lives," and "Religious beliefs are important to me in my everyday decisions."
The volunteers appeared more religious when exposed to attractive members of their own sex. … "It's our belief that … one plausible function of religious sanctions on sexuality is to maintain and defend a low-promiscuity, monogamous lifestyle," said researcher Douglas Kenrick at Arizona State University. "For that lifestyle, an abundance of attractive competitors is a threat."

Okey-doke. Next, I should like to share my views. Let me begin by blowing the Great Horn of Bullshit. Stand back:


Thank you. Now, don’t get me wrong: I believe that if any given subject is sincerely religious to begin with, he will remain sincerely religious whether or not he sees a potential romantic rival. However, beyond that, it so happens I have an alternative theory, based on a highly scientific principle which goes something like this: take a sentient, reasonable human being and plunge him into the first stages of sexual jealousy, and he will become, instantaneously, a raving Whonko McNutbucket Loony-Ass. And, as we all know, Whonko McNutbucket Looney-Asses – you may have been one yourself at one time – will say pretty much anything, as evidenced by the personal anecdote in this footnote.*

In other words: this has nothing to do with religion. Why not leave God out of it? Substitute something else. Anything else. Say mustard, on account of it is the first thing that pops into my mind.** If we are feeling great extreme ferocious feelings about our sexy-pants rival, and someone asks us if we have great extreme ferocious feelings about mustard, we are only naturally going to say YES WE DO GRRRRRR YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE.***

Notice I am referring solely to the initial stages of sexual jealousy here. Eventually the edge will wear off, at which point we will no longer actively want to kill our rival; rather, we will passively want to kill her, while really half-concentrating on whatever is on the E! Network at the time. Initial extremes fade. A good analogy lies in our attraction to the object of our affection. If this person proclaims a great undying devotion to mustard, and we personally have frankly never thought of mustard before, even in church, but we have a great undying devotion to storming the pants of the object of our affection, we will quite frankly feel fiercely devoted to mustard. That’s how it works. Don’t blame me.****

Take heart, though, because these feelings too will fade. Chances are, if you stay with the object of your affection long enough, you will begin to realize not only that you are not that much into mustard after all, but also that the object of your affection is a great freaking waste of space whom you would very much like to whomp repeatedly over the head with a giant mallet, Whac-a-Mole-style, for existing. Then you will feel all better.

Of course, far be it from me to suggest that you should ever falsify yourself for another person. That way lies ruin, and the very real risk that you will have a Teen Novel written about you. Do NOT let this happen; you will never forgive yourself, nor will you be asked to prom until you learn to love your curves.***** Thus I close with this statement from the bottom of my heart: remain true to who you are. Unless, of course, you are an asshole, in which case, falsify away.

And happy dating!

* Like hell.
** And how can I top that?
*** In the interest of full disclosure, I really want some mustard now.
**** Blame my romantic rival. Heh heh. (Sound of hands rubbing together.)
***** DISCLAIMER: The Snark has never read any Teen Novels. Despite appearances, she does not know what she is talking about. Pay no attention.

©2009 Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For those of you who do not follow world news

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This cannot be a coincidence

I only just noticed this.

Is it just me, or has my famed French-phrase calendar (featuring 365 days of comical phonetic translations) just depicted for me, from Nov. 5-8, all stages of a date gone ugly? Observez:

Nov. 5: We could go to a show.*
Nov. 6: I heard it gets a good crowd.**
Nov. 7: I'd like to see the cathedral.***
Nov. 8: Is it infected?****

* ohn poo-reh ah-lay oh tay-ahtr
** zyah ahn-tahn-dew kuh lam-byahns eh sahm-pah
*** zhem-reh vwahr lah kah-tay-drahl
**** ooh ooh bay-bee bay-bee

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Got a Snickers and I'm Not Afraid to Use It

In these troubled times (10:36 and 10:37 A.M., Eastern), isn't it comforting to know you have something to count on? I refer, of course, to the scientific research community, which is still there for you, as it has always been, to remind you that everything you like will destroy you.

I recently received a charming such reminder in the form of the following Time article, which I found via the exhaustive research method of poking around randomly online and eating things instead of doing work. The piece, written by Alice Park, is entitled:


What parent hasn’t used candy to pacify a cranky child or head off a brewing tantrum? When reasoning, threats and time-outs fail, a sugary treat often does the trick. But while that chocolate-covered balm may be highly effective in the short term, say British scientists, it may be setting youngsters up for problem behavior later. […] The research was led by Simon Moore, a senior lecturer in Violence and Society Research at Cardiff University …. [who] had been investigating the factors that lead children to commit serious crimes, when, during the course of his work, he discovered that "kids with the worst problems tend to be impulsive risk takers, and that these kids had terrible diets - breakfast was a Coke and a bag of chips," he says.

Needless to say, this is the kind of thing that can really get your dander up (assuming you have dander and it is down to begin with). Me, I was so incensed I nearly had to spit out my Good 'n' Plentys and abandon my thoughts of brutality. Just where do these namby-pamby, wussy-ass, weeniemeister "researchers" get off revealing their "findings" just because they happen to have "terminal degrees" and "evidence" and "more knowledge of the topic than I, personally, do"? This must end. The time has come for us, the besmirched candy-eating, to take a stand and PUNCH SOME SENIOR-LECTURER FACE MWA HA HA HA HAAAHAHA ha...

A-heh. Actually, what I meant to say was, "make our voices heard." Yes, make our voices heard. Sure, we on the other side may not yet have our Ph.D.*, but even so we bring many fine credentials to the "table," such as:

1. Many years of candy-eating experience in the field of eating candy.
2. References available on request.
3. No, we don't have to prove it.
4. Also, we LIKE candy.
5. So SHUT UP.

It is on this basis that we should like to propound** our OWN theory on the link between candy-eating and crime, which we arrived at only after countless seconds of turmoil and brooding and occasional breaks to blow-dry our hair. It was imperative to us that we formulate this theory based on our extensive store of knowledge from our academic career, at least until we realized we HAVE no such store of knowledge, so we settled for basing it on something we vaguely remember from psychology class last year. This is the idea of the "third variable"***, which goes something like this: often enough, in the study of psychology, cause "A" will seem to lead to effect "B," but this is before you examine the situation at hand much more closely and conclude that, in fact, there is no one very attractive in your psychology class.

Whoops, sorry, wrong conclusion. What we meant to say was, you end up realizing that, in fact, you have ignored the influence of a third variable.**** I am thinking particularly of the iconic psychology study in which a test group of chronic oversleepers all died before age 50, so researchers were all set to propose a link between oversleeping and premature death, until further studies revealed that these individuals had in fact been hit by Mack trucks. See? Third variable! You get how it works?*****

"Well, whoop-de-do for you, Little Miss University-pants," you are saying, "but how does that relate to the case at hand?" Well, I will tell you, by means of deft segue. The Time article goes on to state:

Moore's analysis suggests a correlation: 69% of people who had been convicted of a violent act by age 34 reported eating candy almost every day as youngsters; 42% of people who had not been arrested for violent behavior reported the same. "Initially we thought this [effect] was probably due to something else," says Moore. "So we tried to control for parental permissiveness, economic status, whether the kids were urban or rural. But the result remained. We couldn't get rid of it."

In other words, our current hypothesis goes something like this:


Now what if I were to tell you what the article shamelessly withholds from your trusting eyes -- namely, that these same 69% were later determined, via exhaustive laboratory tests, to be assholes? That's right. And what's more, in their youth, there is a strong chance that they were -- you guessed it -- younger assholes. Say it with me: THIRD VARIABLE.

So actually our hypothesis should go something like this:


Never let it be said that I am not a courageous pioneer in the sciences.****** In fact, I believe I may say without fear of modesty that, if you would like to bestow upon me large amounts of money for my pioneerings, I will courageously accept it. Then I will spend it on Gummi worms and a phaser. As a pioneer, it's the least I can do for our nation's future. And I sincerely mean that.

Well, okay, also this special message to our nation's youth: Remember, kids: EAT CANDY.

* In fact, we may, hypothetically speaking, have changed our major so many times that our academic advisor now slugs Pepto-Bismol at the mere sight of us.

** pro.pound n. A unit of English currency that is no longer Olympic-eligible, and now spends its days touring with "Stars on Ice."

*** As opposed to the second one, or the first, you see.

**** 'Dja see it coming?

***** It's okay if you don't. You don't go to Bolumbia. (Unless, of course, you do, in which case: Idiot.)

****** Especially as of next week, when I change my major.

©2009 Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending