Tuesday, April 24, 2007

British, mad cow disease and buxom innkeeper’s daughter

There is a theory popular among liberals, Buddhists, and various other types of hippies that human beings are all essentially the same. Even though, yes, some of us do spend our afternoons in the rain forest gyrating around a bonfire with a gourd strapped to our genitals while others of us are on the Internet researching new ways of preparing crème brûlée, these differences runs the theory are but superficial. Strip away the trappings of circumstance the culture, the history, the knowledge and the begourded fire dancers are no less intelligent than the crème brûleurs.
Back in the states, serving me tea in his Manhattan apartment, Robert Klitzman, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, explained to me that this concept was vividly demonstrated if not in fact proved one day back in 1990, a mere three years into the mad cow nightmare. Klitzman was in England for a wedding and during a break in the festivities had gone romping across the Yorkshire dales with a band of friends. The laws of thermodynamics being what they are, the group eventually became hungry and stopped at a quaint and picturesque “inne” to have lunch. Menus were distributed by the buxom innkeeper’s daughter, if traditions were being followed—which was when an event occurred that was to shock Klitzman. Shock him, at the risk of overdramatizing the thing, literally to his very core: His companions ordered the beef.“But aren’t you afraid of mad cow disease?” spluttered Klitzman.(more from discover)

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