Spheres Officially In Commotion

« January 2006 »

Memo to everyone: YOU ARE DUMB.

And now we've proved it scientifically.

And when I say "we", I mean "they". And when I say "they", I mean Dr. Drew Weston and his mighty crew of brain-jockeys, who composed an elaborate experiment that shows, with charts and graphs and everything, that I've been right for two years. You're all a bunch of fucking idiots, especially when it comes to politics.

You see, they took a bunch of committed Democrats and Republicans, stuck their domes in an MRI machine, and told them true, but mean, things about George Bush and John Kerry. Contradictions. Things each candidate contradicted themselves on. That kind of thing.

And the magnetically resonated images told the story. The parts of the brain where the thinking happens? The rational part? The part that evaluates facts and resolves contradictions? A barren wasteland devoid of activity. Like a Hummer dealership in the center of Berkeley.

So where did the brain actually kick in? Entirely emotional. The areas that tamp down on negative emotions, the areas that trigger feelings of relief or reward, and presumably, although the article doesn't go into that much detail, the areas of the brain triggered when yelling "Four More Years" and "Fascist!". ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Everything we know about cognition suggests that, when faced with a contradiction, we use the rational regions of our brain to think about it, but that was not the case here." - Dr. Westen. In other words, cognition is anathema to politics.

Ironically, what I like best about this study is the way it confirms my own beliefs about party strategy, the last two elections, and the role of Howard Dean. Luckily, I'm nowhere near an MRI machine right now, so you can rest assured I'm speaking only in the coldest, most logical terms here.

But there you have it. Whether it's the unintended result of the 24-hour news cycle, Rovian machinations, and shrinking attention spans, or whether we were always this dumb and they've just gotten good at taking advantage of it, here's where we stand. A nation full of people who have been trained not to think about politics. So if you want to change their vote, you either have to change the way their brains work, or cynically manipulate the zombified fuckers to your benefit.

"It speaks to the character of the discourse that this quality is rarely talked about in politics." - Dr. Westen again, only here I've got to disagree with him. It's talked about in politics all the time. In private, behind the scenes, in offices with "Rove" on the door. It's just not discussed in the public, or in the media, where the fiction of an informed electorate still has great value and cachet.

But we know better, don't we? And science officially backs us up. Of course, these days, nobody listens to science, so it doesn't actually HELP. But it's nice to know.