Life Imitates Literature

In his weekly G-file, Jonah Goldberg hipped us to the following bit of scientific research:

A recent study out of the National Academy of Sciences found that Israeli parole judges are more likely to grant parole in cases they heard immediately after taking a meal break. “Presumably they are hungry, but certainly they are tired, they’re depleted,” Kahneman explained. “When you’re depleted, you tend to fall back on default actions, and the default action in that case is apparently to deny parole. So yes, people are strongly influenced by the level of glucose in the brain.”

Jonah goes on from there to some ruminations on checks, balances, and human fallibility, and that’s all well and good, but I of course immediately thought of everyone’s favorite wiseacre hunchback, Alexander Pope, who understood this almost 300 years back:

“The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,

And wretches hang that jurymen may dine.”

Rape of the Lock, III.21-22 (1714)

Meanwhile, a response to the Occupants has been circulating in the neighborhood of the Chicago Board of Trade. While I can’t vouch for its provenance, I do detect the bouquet of Chicago native David Mamet in it (“We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.”), which speaks well of Mamet’s ear. It also reminds me of another showdown between hippies and traders a few years back.

When 19th-C. emo kid Percy Shelley (admit it — “Fall upon the thorns of life” would be a great name for an emo band.) said that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, he meant it, but I’m not sure he realized it would pan out this way.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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