That was the question that crunchy-con columnist Rod Dreher asked in National Review about ten years ago, in a scathing review of the “Left Behind” film. I’m agnostic about the transcendent fate of surgical enhancements, but one thing is certain—we’ve surely got a lot of boobs—real and fake—around at the moment.
Let’s start with an admitted fake that made boobs out of a lot of people—this story from the Daily Currant (the very name ought to be the first clue) claiming that Michele Bachman wants to have falafel and other “jihadi foods” banned from public school lunch menus:
“Chris, falafel is a gateway food,” responded Bachmann, “It starts with falafel, then the kids move on to shawarma. After a while they say ‘hey this tastes good, I wonder what else comes from Arabia?’ ”
“Before you know it our children are listening to Muslim music, reading the Koran, and plotting attacks against the homeland.”
“We need to stop these terror cakes now, before they infiltrate any further.”
Now, the Daily Currant is a satire site, like The Onion. But you wouldn’t know it from a lot of the comments, which took this as a genuine news story. Unless some of the comments are double-deep satire of their own, like this one:
Michelle Bachmann is so ignorant she does not know her history. The development of European cuisine is due to the culinary excellence from the Middle East, Asia and India, spices and all, which was adopted by Greeks, Iberians and Europeans since the dawn of civilization. Why identify Islamophobia with nutrition? How can people allow this type of backward politician to represent them in Congress? Michelle Bachmann is Swiss-American by nationality and her comments will not sit well with Swiss authorities.
But don’t they have the wrong Michelle anyway? I’m sure the First Lady frowns on rich Middle Eastern foods, and will have them added to the government school lunch program banned list eventually.
Meanwhile, I recall that back in my college says the favorite go-to satire of Freudian and similar psychobabble was to attribute any dysfunctional trait to . . . defective childhood potty training. Well, apparently some social scientists, possibly funded by the federal government, have concluded that Tea Party members got that way because of their . . . defective childhood potty training. Here’s the abstract of a study, as it appears on a National Institutes of Health website:
The Psychohistorical Roots of the American “Tea Party” Movement
Extreme resistance to governmental taxation and authority is derived, according to Freud’s theory of anal characterology, from premature and harshly coercive toilet training, in which a child is forced unfairly and against its will to surrender the products of his eliminations (which represent money, among other things, in the unconscious) to parental authority. Among these individuals anal eroticism plays a significant role in the psychogenesis of paranoia and conspiracy theorizing, which may represent a defense mechanism erected against repressed fears of passive submission.
This study originally appeared in something apparently called the Journal of Psychohistory, but the link from the NIH website doesn’t get you the actual article, and many of the titles on the summary page appear just as absurd. The journal’s own website looks preposterous. Can this be for real, or is this an elaborate hoax on the academic left like physicist Alan Sokal’s famous hoax in the postmodern journal Social Text on “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”?* I’d have thought this study was another well-played hoax, except that I found it through Discover magazine’s blog, which seems to think it is genuine.
In any case, it looks like boobs all around on this one.
* Here’s my favorite part of Sokal’s famous spoof:
[D]eep conceptual shifts within twentieth-century science have undermined this Cartesian-Newtonian metaphysics; revisionist studies in the history and philosophy of science have cast further doubt on its credibility; and, most recently, feminist and poststructuralist critiques have demystified the substantive content of mainstream Western scientific practice, revealing the ideology of domination concealed behind the façade of “objectivity”. It has thus become increasingly apparent that physical “reality”, no less than social “reality”, is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific “knowledge”, far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations of the culture that produced it; that the truth claims of science are inherently theory-laden and self-referential; and consequently, that the discourse of the scientific community, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counter-hegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities.
That’s some funny stuff. No wonder the po-mo lefties lapped it up.