Senator Cornpone: Your plastic pal who's fun to be with!


A lot of chat the last few days about Sen. Jim Inhofe's outrage over the outrage [sic] over abuses at Abu Ghraib prison. (For comments on National Review's "The Corner" start here, then scroll up for more.)

All this has reminded me how annoying it is to hear politicians claim, in reaction to some event, to have emotions that they obviously don't possess. Genuine emotion is accompanied by physiological phenomena -- your pulse races, your blood pressure goes up, you get goosebumps. But many politicians seem to have the same level of personal experience with emotion as Data from Star Trek. And just like Data, these pols seem to be programmed to mimic emotions as a way to set the humans at ease. Data's programming seems to be superior to that of these elected officials, who appear to be running beta versions of Genuine People Personalities.

So, Senator, are you really feeling the emotions you find it politically expedient to profess?

"appalled" -- Did all the color go out of your face?

"horrified" -- Did the hair stand up on the back of your neck?

"shocked" -- You sure seem talkative and coherent for someone in shock. Shouldn't you have mouth agape, drooling?

"angered" -- Face flushed? Vein in temple throbbing? Jaw clenched? No? Then you're not really, are you?

"saddened" -- I took a good look at your face, and it was impossible to trace the tracks of any tears. You haven't even had a good sniffle about it.

"disgusted" -- Show me the airsick bag.

The honest, all-purpose statement would be something like this:

Jaded cynic that I am, I am generally pretty numb, particularly when it comes to human suffering, but I confess to be inwardly gleeful at the discovery of the "silver bullet" that will bring down the Bush presidency. But so as not to offend against the quaint folkways of the American people, I will pull a frowny face and talk about how it makes me sad and angry.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 14, 2004 12:37 AM.

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