Friday, August 27, 2004

For your next barbecue, try revenge! Sweet!

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the bored.
The University of Zurich, in the current edition of the journal Science, claim (according to the Associated Press) that “[p]lanning revenge sparks enough satisfaction to motivate getting even.” Researchers used PET scans to monitor people’s brain activity during an elaborate game of double cross to find out what motivates people to punish perceived wrongdoers, even if the revenge does not bring them personal benefit, and may even cost them something.

In the game, players could choose to trust each other and share money, or could double cross another and take more than their share. Some double crosses could be chosen, others mandated by the rules of the game. When the double cross was deliberate, the double crossed chose to punish the double crosser, even when it cost them more money. Without exception.

The PET scans showed that the dorsal stratum (a part of the brain important, apparently, for satisfaction) became active among players who chose to retaliate. According to the AP, “It wasn’t an afterglow from revenge, but satisfaction from anticipating it.”

Stanford University psychologist Brian Knutson, reviewing the research, “Instead of cold, calculated reason, it is passion that may plant the seeds of revenge.”

Stop the, you know, presses.

Or I’ll kill you.

Til Death Do Us Part, Not
A South African man (sez Reuters) killed his pregnant fiancee, and then (as they say) “turned the gun on himself.” Nevertheless, they were wed.

“Johannesburg's Sowetan newspaper said family and friends wanted to remember them as a happy couple destined for a happy life together. The groom's corpse would be dressed in a cream suit and his bride's in a gown for the ceremony, at which a priest in the rural village of Ceres in Limpopo will bless the union before the two are buried.”

Cultural expert Mathole Motshekga expounded, “"In African culture, there is no death -- there is merely the separation of body and soul. …This does not mean the relationship has irretrievably broken down."

It’s nice to know that a mere murder/suicide, unlike personal hygiene or religious differenences, doesn’t interfere with the course of true love. At least not in South Africa.

DVD Tales
I spent the day doing a commentary ON a commentary by Tony Shalhoub, Brooke Adams, and sister Lynne Adams, the producing/writing/acting team behind the new independent feature MADE UP (which should be available by Christmas at a video store near you). It's a good movie. Very funny grown-up movie.

The guy distributing this movie, Len Feldman, MAY also be distributing the Duck’s Breath DVD, knock on wood. One doesn’t want to put anything in stone, not when lawyers lurk.

Still, I was gratified to be part of a DVD first - commenting on commentary. You know when you put two mirrors opposite each other, and the objects reflect each other until they’re lost in the mists of infinity? It’s JUST like that. Only audio.

Miss America
In late July, I’ve just found out, it was announced that the Miss America Pageant will no longer feature a talent competition. What? No more bad arias? Baton twirling? Recitations? First they canned Bert Parks, now this. Life sucks. Come, let us take our revenge upon them!

Unfortunate words, X in a series


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