2012.10.17 Disgusting action ahead

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Insomnia certainly has its benefits. I'm referring the the BBC World Service radio programming all night long on the Ann Arbor public radio station.

Insomnia seems a little strong to describe my situation. I don't see it as debilitating at all. It merely leads to some afternoon drowsiness and a desire to get to bed at a good hour.

I've mentioned before that I seldom have any trouble getting to sleep, but I might wake up at 2:22, 3:33 or 4:44 and have trouble getting back to sleep. It's not worry; just an active mind.

Sometimes I'll just lay there until I fall back to sleep. Sometimes I'll turn on the light and read. Sometimes I'll get up and visit the wondrous Web. If Colleen is still up with her late-night schedule, I'll turn on the radio and listen to the BBC.

Such interesting programs, such wide ranging reports. It really is world service, with reports from around the globe. "Jim Al-Khalili meets chemist and science showman Andrea Sella." "Pippi Kruger: saved by her own cloned skin." "Aleppo’s ancient souk, a Norwegian statesman's rock ballad and brave New York foodies."

There are detailed reports on cricket games in India, with terminology that makes no sense to me. There's a show called Hardtalk that features a somewhat snotty reporter who argues about everything the guest says. The programming often leaves me thinking about so many things I've never even considered from countries around the world.

I don't remember if I was earlier or later than usual (usual? I only do this once or twice a week) when I caught a program called The Forum. This week's episode: "That's Disgusting! How a primal emotion protecting us from poison can drive our decisions." Fascinating stuff.

I think the format of every show is to bring together representatives from various disciplines and each presents his or her own knowledge about the topic, while also responding to the others.

There's "core disgust"—something built into our mind through evolution that helps us avoid putting bad stuff in our mouth. There's a "contamination response" when we develop the understanding that touching certain things or people could make us sick. There's a "gore" response that involves a "violation of the human envelope." Think guts with this one.

The psychologist in the group talked about how research has shown a relationship between squeamish and political outlook. The disgust factor helps shape our beliefs.

People who report increased levels of disgust with things tend to have more conservative political attitudes, he said, adding that it sounds ludicrous yet the facts are there.

It's that second kind of disgust—the interpersonal fear of catching something from someone else—that's the chief indicator. Liberals, it turns out, just aren't as easy to disgust. This is all a general trend; your personal results may vary.

It sounds reasonable, said a member of the forum, because, broadly speaking, conservatism is opposed to too much change. Keep things the way they are and the way they were, free of disgust. It's a matter of fear of risk vs. open to new ideas and experiences.

Another member of the forum talked about how disgust is widespread among animals. Even a rat makes the same face as humans when showing disgust—wrinkled nose, curled lip, tongue sticking out to dispel the disgusting food.

However, there are ways to overcome the disgust. It's like when your mother tells you to smile and you'll feel better. Place a pencil between your lips and you'll make it through a disgusting experience easier. You can't make that disgusting face when your lips are holding the pencil. Your face directs your brain.

There seem to be direct implications here for the election next month, where some liberals are disappointed with their president and many conservatives placed Mitt Romney at the bottom of the list for their choice of primary candidates.

Every voting booth needs not one but two pencils—one to cast your choice, the other to hold your face in place and "smile" like your mother told you to do.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017