According to a recent scientific study conducted at the University of Missouri, alcohol makes you more likely to express racial bias. To assemble his data, Mizzou psych prof Bruce Bartholow gave students and Columbia townsfolk drinks or placebos, then showed them photographs depicting the faces of white people and black people. After seeing each photo, the volunteers were asked if words like "lazy," "violent," "ambitious" and "educated" aptly described the visage. Bartholow found that tipplers were more likely to apply denigrating terms to African Americans.
Unreal mixed a drink, then got the professor on the blower.
Unreal: Hey! We just downed a Mountain Dew and vodka. So hit us with your racistest joke and see if we laugh.
Bruce Bartholow: I don't think I'll be doing that.
Are drunk people more likely to laugh at 'Yo Mama' jokes?
Unfortunately, we don't have any data to back that up, but it would make sense to me.
Couldn't participants tell the difference between a vodka-tonic and a tonic-and-tonic?
Yes and no. The placebo does include some alcohol, just not enough to raise anybody's B.A.C. The drink smells like alcohol and even tastes like alcohol. Drinkers just naturally associate tonic with alcohol you never take tonic by itself.
All of your participants were white and right-handed. How might a drunken, racist, left-handed Thai misbehave?
[Laughs] Probably a lot like a drunk, right-handed racist. We're measuring brain activity. Since there are fewer left-handed people, it's hard to balance out.
Have you heard of that African-American blogger who's teaching junior high in Japan? He says his students have seen too many Hollywood movies and constantly grab his crotch and ask him if he has a "bigu dikku." What might those twerps do if they were drunk?
They'd probably think it was really funny.
We have an uptight, ambitious, educated white friend.... Wait, are we only saying that because we're drunk?
No, everybody has those friends. These are words that, according to other research, represent the way a lot of people stereotypically think about whites. But I think it's also true that white people are more sensitive to stereotypes about blacks than they are to stereotypes about whites.
Next thing you're gonna tell us is that alcohol makes fat women attractive.
You know, we haven't done that study yet. But I have a colleague here who did a study suggesting that if you simply show people drinking-related words so fast that they can't quite recognize what the words are, and then you later ask them to rate pictures of women, the people who've seen the alcohol-related words rate the pictures more attractive than people who saw just neutral words. So even the mere thought of alcohol can have that effect.
Everybody's Doin' It
Pro-sex? Pro-teen sex? So's Roger Libby, Ph.D., Seattle sexologist, charter member of the International Academy of Sex Research and two-time guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. We took off our clothes and called the author of The Naked Truth About Sex, A Guide to Intelligent Sexual Choices for Teenagers & Twentysomethings, who'd just got done speaking at a teen-sex conference out West.
Unreal: Do these seminars take place nationwide?
Roger Libby, Ph.D.: I don't think so. This was in Oregon. It's a pretty progressive state.
Have you been to St. Louis?
Yes I have. It's a bit on the repressed side. When you bring up sex, heads turn and people seem on the verge of fainting.
Indeed. So what's the most disturbing thing you've heard from a teenager lately?
They feel adults have failed them by censoring information. They're pretty miffed about that. I don't blame them. They feel in particular that the more strict religions have really messed them up. So they've redefined what it is to be a virgin.
How many are having anal?
Twenty percent of both sexes, fifteen- to nineteen-year-olds.
So if you have anal, you're not a virgin?
That's what the kids think. I think they're nuts. I have a whole chapter redefining virginity as a state of mind.
How is that you chose sexology, exactly?
The truth is my parents told me to go into what interested me the most, and it was sex.
Your book is dedicated to the next sexual revolution. If 20 percent of teenagers are having anal sex now, will the revolution come when, like, 50 percent are having it?
Well, that's hard to say about kids or adults. Roughly a third of adults have tried anal intercourse. I do think anal is going to become more common.
Cool. What's the most earth-shattering finding in your book?
When I asked somebody at Zogby/MSNBC to run [data] on how many 18- to 24-year-olds had had sex and only 0.5 percent of females and 1 percent of males said they haven't. And [MSNBC] didn't even report it! That even surprised me. I thought it'd be 10 percent or something. Meanwhile Bush and Congress are pushing abstinence.
They probably don't have sex.
They may have it, but they don't have good sex I can guarantee you that. Those guys don't know what they're doing.
It's amazing that right-wingers actually procreate.
It really is. They're really a bunch of fruitcakes. Cite me on that.
Meet the New Busch
Same as the old Busch.
As we leaned way forward, tilted our head to the side and beheld the pristine sward for the umpteenth time during last Monday's home opener, it occurred to Unreal that watching a Cardinals game from the second tier of Busch III's press box is very much like watching a Cardinals game from the second tier of Busch II's press box, only with a more comfortable chair.
Other notable first impressions of the Redbirds v.2006: The SportService vendors' new outfits make them look like killer bees. And switch-hitting benchwarmer Scott Spiezio is our new favorite playa, by virtue of the flavor-saver that sprouts incongruously from his chin and the fact that he's dyed it Cardinal red.
In the home team's posh new clubhouse after the game, we found ourselves caught in a clutch of Japanese reporters awaiting So Taguchi's arrival. Lulled by the soothing cadence of their (to us) unintelligible banter, we were jerked out of our reverie when the chatter suddenly became significantly more animated. Looking around, we expected to see So emerging from the shower. Instead we saw Mark Mulder's heinie disappearing into a pair of designer jeans. Seems our brethren from across the Pacific need to add a new concept to their stateside phrasebook: going commando.
Local Blog O' the Week
About the blogger: "I am a man in my twenties going to school in Saint Louis, Missouri. I've tried keeping up on trends in fashion, the arts, and on the Internet, but I always seem to get wind of something just as the backlash forms. Recently, I've started to believe that I will remain just outside of the core of trend-setters for the forseeable future. Therefore, I know that any cultural phenomenon reaching me is Officially Over, and I can report on it so the rest of the world will know too."
Recent Highlight (March 13): Million Dollar Idea number 006
Suppose you're a spy, and when you have to go on the run you cut your long hair and possibly your beard to make people less likely to recognize you and to make descriptions of you inaccurate. If you're captured, though, the enemy might look closely at your scalp and see that it's not so tan as the rest of your face. Then they'll know you recently went from long to short hair. You can avoid this embarrassing situation with my new invention: the under-hair scalp tanner. It's a set of comb-shaped devices that slide under your hair, sit next to your scalp, and deliver ultraviolet light of just the right intensity to make your scalp match your face.
(March 20) The Smiths fail to become the new Pixies
I just read on MSNBC that the Smiths won't have a reunion concert, which was going to happen at Coachella Valley. Morrissey said so at South by Southwest, and regarding the five million bucks offered, he said "money doesn't come into it." I can only assume that he means the Smiths refuse to make Coachella the new cool place for alt-rock/indie-rock reunions.
As a side note, God I really hate people who go to SxSW, because they never shut up about how great it is. Those people suck. I wish I was one of them.
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