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Dr. Bush's Big Bottle of Testicular Extract: Good For What Ails You
Published on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
Dr. Bush's Big Bottle of Testicular Extract: Good For What Ails You
by Steven Laffoley
 

Do you feel anxious about the Civil War in Iraq? Does your heart ache when yet another American is killed in Anbar province? Does your stomach feel queasy when more bodies turn up in Baghdad with gruesome signs of torture? Well, worry no more. The good Dr. Bush has a specially made salve at hand: Dr. Bush's Big Bottle of Testicular Extract - good for what ails you.

Sounds silly? Well, maybe not.

Listen:

In 1842, German physiologist and physician, Wilhelm Ludwig put forward the radical 'Ludwig's Theory,' which explained, in purely chemical and physiological terms, the simple function of the liver. Why was it considered a 'radical' theory? Because most people at that time still believed that the liver had a mystical 'life force,' which explained, to their latent medieval minds, the very wonder that was urine. Though it seems a trifling argument now, Ludwig's Theory, medically and scientifically, was a forceful leap into the modern age of rational medical science.

That said, some forty years later, in 1889, the Testicular Extract Theory - posed by French-American physician Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard - posited that the injection of liquefied guinea pig testicle under the skin of an aged man would invigorate his sexual drive and prowess. Not surprisingly, the Testicular Extract Theory was eventually discredited - though not before who knows how many injections were dispensed to willing, well, human 'guinea pigs.' (Which, as an aside, does make me wonder: exactly what is in Viagra?)

So, what are we to conclude from these tales, you ask?

Well, we twenty-first century folk like to think that the beliefs of those quaint, garlic garland wearing folk - those folk who intently listened to Snake Oil Salesmen selling their wares - have been left in the past, erased by modern science and progressive thinking. We like to think that scientific breakthroughs, qualitative additions to our thinking and understanding of the world, slowly and surely, push our culture, and our species, collectively forward.

But it doesn't always work out that way.

Consider: in this Bush-born, Twenty-First Century Age of Unreason, it is precisely the progressive, rational thinking - the very stuff of modern science - that has been summarily erased. The signs are everywhere.

Two notable examples: despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, President Bush publicly rejects the scientific evidence of Global Warming, opting for ever-morphing, mystical explanations of Earth's rising temperature. Similarly, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, President Bush publicly rejects the long-proven, scientific theory of Natural Selection, opting for a blind belief in Intelligent Design (which, ironically enough, has him all-but-espousing a firm belief in the un-science of Social Darwinism).

Stephen Colbert's new Age-of-Unreason word, "truthiness" - the belief in something intuitively without any reference to logic or evidence or intellectual examination of the facts - would be wildly hilarious, if it didn't accurately speak to this disturbing return of the Snake Oil Salesmen and their Supernatural Salves for What Ails Us.

Which brings me back to Dr. Bush's Big Bottle of Testicular Extract.

Our resident President Snake Oil Salesman, Dr. Bush, tells us emphatically that he has the cure for our ailments. He tells us emphatically that he has the cure for our anxiety, for our heartache, and for our queasiness.

What is his unscientific, backward thinking, Snake Oil solution to an illegal, immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq gone terribly wrong? Why, just invade Iraq again - but this time with more troops. That this Snake Oil Salve - also sold by that equally emphatic, equally unscientific Snake Oil Salesman, the Good Dr. McCain - ignores logic, evidence, intellectual examination, relevant facts, and the truth is not the point. Dr. Bush's Testicular Extract has "truthiness" to it - it feels good to "take the fight to the enemy."

Doesn't it?

Of course, the problem with Snake Oil Salves is this: the Doctor's 'cure' can kill you. Dr. Bush's Testicular Extract feels a bit like pouring gasoline on a raging fire. But then, maybe Dr. Bush has been into his own stuff lately. Either way, by the time the good Dr. Bush's Big Bottle of Testicular Extract makes us ill, the good Dr. Bush will be well on his way to the next town, selling more of his Testicular Extract to the ignorant locals.

Meantime, to ward off future wars - given our present predilection for Snake Oil Salesmen - maybe we should start wearing garlands of garlic.

Steven Laffoley (stevenlaffoley@yahoo.ca) is an American writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of "Mr. Bush, Angus and Me: Notes of An American-Canadian in the Age of Unreason."

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