February 9, 2004

Disgust, Pea Soup, Kebabs, and Barbecue. Tonya emails some detail about the cheating on the Disgust Test, discussed below.
[A]lthough I admitted to cheating on the psychobabble test re disgust, I did not cheat to achieve a score that underreported the extent to which I am disgusted by stuff. I should have said that I very quickly understood that the test was probing the extent to which our levels of disgust are somehow correlated to the risks of infectious disease. So, I answered in a way that kind of knowingly subverted that premise. For example, the test showed 3 bowls with liquids -- the liquid in one bowl was blue, in another it was a yellowish color, in the third it was a yellowish color with some red colored (blood??) swirls. Well, of course I knew what they were getting at here. But I indicated that I found them all to be equally disgusting (in the mid- to low- range on their scale) even though I knew that the blood-tinged bowl was supposed to be the most disgusting. That yellowish bowl reminded me of the split-pea soup that I get at LuLus. And even the one with the red swirls reminded me of the soup because they serve it with some spices on top. Like you, I did not find the crowded subway car to be the least bit disgusting. The people seemed clean and they were minding their own business. What's disgusting about that?
Strangely, this makes me want to go get some soup at LuLu's!

That link is so Madison, by the way. The Isthmus, our local free tabloid, right after the 9/11 attacks, interviews the owners of the local Arabic restaurant, asking them:
How do you feel about the recent terrorist attacks? ...

Has your business been affected by anti-Arab sentiments? ...

Which of your dishes should your customers eat to nourish world peace?

The answer to that second question reveals Essence of Madison:
[I]t’s been business as usual. We love this city, and we’re proud to be part of it. We have a lot of wonderful non-Arab friends, and they’ve been coming in just to say we’ve been on their minds. Still, as American citizens, it feels strange to get so much reassurance. So many people asking if we’re okay! After a while you start wondering — hmmm, am I really okay?
As to what to eat for world peace, the answer is: kebabs! Because it's basically barbecue. Barbecue is the world peace answer: "it brings people together."

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