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    The Science Of Pleasure: Part III- The Neurological Orgasm
    By Andrea Kuszewski | August 26th 2010 07:15 PM | 46 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Andrea

    Andrea is a Behavior Therapist and Consultant for children on the autism spectrum, residing in the state of FL; her background is in cognitive

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    When we last spoke about sex, we discussed the neurotransmitters involved in pleasure and attraction, namely dopamine and oxytocin. Now let's look a little deeper into the action of those neurotransmitters and how we can manipulate their action- to extend the neurological orgasm for as long as possible.

    The dopamine-oxytocin response does not follow an "all or nothing" rule. Some stimuli will invoke a huge, quick response, and others a smaller, yet longer, extended response. There is a varying degree of neurotransmitter release depending on the strength of the stimulus, as well as how long we are in the presence of it. Remember last time- I told you that the longer you interface with a stimulus, or the more time you spend interacting with it, the greater attachment you will form to it.

    Some studies have looked at the different types of sex and the variable neurochemical responses based on the type of sex the person is engaging in. However, it is probably not the case that the penis causes more dopamine to be released than a vibrator, for example. More likely, it is the state of mind the person is in that really has an effect on the amount of pleasure he or she is experiencing.

    The cognitive state of the brain at any given moment in time is what causes the release of dopamine, whether it is prompted by a physical or a mental stimulus. Can the brain be stimulated via tactile nerve pathways to release large amounts of dopamine? Sure. However, consider this: You can give one person two separate, yet identical patterns of physiological stimulation, and end up getting radically different subjective experiences as a result. (1) This implies that it is not just the physical act of sex that gives us so much pleasure, but how we represent that act in our mind that really has impact.

    Not only can we get just as much of a neurotransmitter response from visual input or representational input (fantasies) as we can from physical input, but sometimes it can be even better than the real thing. The key to inducing that type of neurotransmitter response is the strength of the stimulus. When I say "strength" I don't necessarily mean a strong, direct stimulus, like a nude photo, for example. Yes, a nude photo will probably get you a huge dopamine spike. But it is relatively short-lived, like a quick orgasm. We can do better.

    There are ways to trigger a dopamine response that may not be as high initially, but it lasts longer, thus giving you more time to interface with the stimulus, feeling that release of oxytocin as well- and making it extend for as long as possible. Why would we want to do this? To get hooked on a feeling, of course! *cue Blue Swede* Plus... we just enjoy it longer. More time spent happy = good.

    So if you want to have the most prolonged neurological orgasm possible, how could you achieve that?

    Let's look at some examples from photography used in advertising that are designed to do exactly that- titillate and engage the viewer for as long as possible. They employ certain techniques that aid to this goal: suggestion, ambiguity, anticipation, and telling of a story.

    Here we have some visuals from Dolce&Gabbana, who are notorious for their controversial and sexually charged ads.

    Scarlett Johansson

    So here we have Scarlett Johansson, posing for Dolce&Gabbana, looking ravishing as ever. What is it that makes this ad so sexy and dopamine-triggering? Well, several things. First of all, she is positioned in a bed, lying down, which makes us think of sex (through learned associations). Easy enough. She also has tousled hair and appears that she has just engaged in sexual activity of some kind- brilliant.

    What they did was prompt the viewer to engage in a fantasy involving Scarlett- they put all the right elements there to start the story- in a bed, wearing lingerie, pre or post copulation, and we fill in the rest. We are brought into the fantasy state, imagining the sexual scenario, and we feel the rush of dopamine and oxytocin. Now we are spending more time thinking about what she was doing, who it was with, possibly inserting ourselves in the fantasy.

    D&G couple
    Here is another great ad that has oh, so many genius design and psychological elements going on. The couple seen here is in a romantic embrace, just about to kiss. The fact that they are about to kiss (and haven't yet) is pretty important. We are completing that sexual scenario in our mind, filling in the blanks, lingering on the subject matter. We are spending more time thinking about the subjects, feeling what they are feeling.

    The longer foreplay of images prolongs the release of dopamine and oxytocin, and basically creates an extended orgasm in your brain. A blatant sexual image induces a large, quick shot of dopamine, but anticipation and suggestion of sensuality produces a much longer pleasure response. We don't want the image to do all the work for us; we want to travel down that road in our mind ourselves so we can enjoy the ride.

    Why is ambiguity so arousing?

    Mystery triggers dopamine. When it comes to sexual innuendo, people want to be brought up to the line as close as possible, without crossing the line. The "line" is actually the point at which it is obvious to the viewer where you are leading them (to imagine sexual activity), but you don't bring them too far, so that they miss out on the pleasure of the experience.

    People also generally like feeling in control. If you give enough suggestion- without going too far- which can be a turn off, you allow them to have the illusion that they are choosing their mental path, when in reality, you are leading them there on a leash. We physiologically and mentally like the path of sexual innuendo, we want to be on that path. Yet we want to feel like we are there of our own volition.

    Our brain will see ambiguous images, for example, in the D&G ads- partially clothed woman, with messy hair and parted lips. These are all images that cue sex in our brain, because we know that those elements are logical precursors to sex. When our brain picks up these cues and recognizes the "sex schema", it fills in the gaps and continues to play out that schema in our mind, living that moment chemically as well. We don't have to be living the moment physically to experience these chemical benefits; visualization- if intense enough- can do this, which is why fantasies are so sexually powerful.

    Beginnings and Endings- Telling the Story

    When we see an image in a sequence, we are automatically inclined to finish the sequence. Just like the nature of forward momentum is to complete a step that we begin taking, so are we mentally driven to complete a story that has been started.  When a sexual scene is pictured at a mid-point of activity, we are compelled to finish out the play, to take the elements to their logical conclusion.



    The same phenomenon occurs when we are shown a series of images with gaps in the story. Film makers and video directors are masters at this. For example, in Lady Gaga's video, Alejandro (particularly at ~2:50 and beyond), never at any point are we shown actual sexual penetration of any kind.  We are shown flashes of scenes, with just enough suggestion to let us know what is going on, but enough ambiguity to allow for our brain to spend time on it, filling in the blanks. By doing this, we are brought into the story- no longer just bystanders merely watching, but active participants in the sexual scene, filling in the details to our own specification, which makes it all the more powerful.

    So what are the take home points? Imagery and suggestion that is blatant and forceful may get a big spike in dopamine, but it will be short-lived. This isn't giving you enough time to feel the attachment effects of oxytocin to the fullest extent possible. The element of mystery is a trigger for dopamine- in figuring out that mystery, we are intrigued, drawn in, motivated to examine it closer. If a stimulus is more abstract and leaves a little to the imagination, you will spend more time on it, thus extending every pleasurable neurochemical process, giving you a prolonged neurological orgasm.  Bottom line? A little mystery is a good thing. Trust me- you'll enjoy it more.

    To read Parts I and II:
    Part I: The Allure of Asymmetry
    Part II: Your Brain On Sexual Imagery

    (1) Thank you to Adam Safron, Sex Researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago for his consult on this subject matter.

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    Interesting article, but the question I'm intrigued by is that it seems that regardless of how ambiguous or how much innuendo is at work, it seems that most people react to particular individuals more specifically.  In other words, not just any attractive woman will be effective in an ad, but rather one that has sufficient overall appeal (and even then it may do virtually nothing for some people).

    I think this is one reason why most people are initially attracted by appearances and can be so quickly turned off by the reality of that "image" as a real person.  I'm not suggesting anything overtly sexual here, but something about the persona that taps into an individual's fantasy views.  I'm not entirely sure that fantasy is even correct, since it is often an appeal to the type of person someone is attracted to (so it's actually more vague than just fantasy).

    Interestingly the photo of Scarlett Johansson actually reminded me of a variation on the classic Marilyn Monroe photo.  Similarly which Marilyn Monroe was clearly a beautiful and attractive woman, she was never my particular fantasy type, so she never gained the same type of response from me as say a Sharon Stone.  

    Mundus vult decipi
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Well, to some extent, personal preference does play a role in how arousing an image is to a particular person. That's where ambiguity adds to the allure- the less specific the image is, the more room it leaves for personal interpretation and your own "filling in of the blanks". If it was an image that was extremely explicit in nature and very detailed, you already have a narrowed market for arousal. You have to cross that threshold into arousing territory, while still leaving room for individual imagination.
    Gerhard Adam
    If it was an image that was extremely explicit in nature and very detailed, you already have a narrowed market for arousal. You have to cross that threshold into arousing territory, while still leaving room for individual imagination.
    I understand what you're saying, but what I'm thinking of are all the situations where there is something that is quite sexy without any real attempt at it.  Its almost like watching an actress in a particular role that just strikes someone in a particular way.  It doesn't translate over to the person, but only that specific role.   Also, the role doesn't actually have to have anything about it that is sexual or even arousing, but it is the total context that causes a strong attraction to the character being portrayed.

    Perhaps I'm talking about something different, because what I'm considering is the attraction element rather than simply arousal. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    I got down to Scarlett Johansson and thought, "Whew, not great, but at least she didn't use Lady Gaga" and then I read further down and .... 

    ...well played, Kuszewski.  I'll get you for that.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Hey- you can't talk about sexual innuendo and NOT discuss Lady Gaga. She is the reigning Queen of Sexual Innuendo.

    (And that video is brilliant. I hope people appreciate all it represents from an artistic standpoint)
    Warren Davies
    "(And that video is brilliant. I hope people appreciate all it represents from an artistic standpoint)"

    I'm probably missing something, but I think it's filthy!  This is music aimed at kids?  Do they play it on music channels and stuff?  Through the day?


    As a general rule, if you need sex to sell your product, then your product is generic, no better than anything else in the same area.


    Warren Davies
    "_This is music aimed at kids?"

    Sorry; typo.  Are these sounds aimed at kids?
    Hank
    Sounds are a better term for Lady Gaga than music, I agree.   And yes, it is aimed at kids, but Gaga will say it isn't, it is parental responsibility to shut off the TV, etc., the same way cigarette and alcohol marketers say their products is not aimed at kids, etc.  Why the more militant people in society go after marketing cigarettes if they are on one political fringe but only the opposite political fringe goes after this stuff is a mystery of psychology I leave it to you folks to solve.

    That said, AK was making a different point and not asking for a culture war over Gaga so, no big deal.   The video certainly affirms her article though in my case (and perhaps yours) the way it is done is over that line she is noting exists.  It doesn't pull me in, I do fill in the gaps and, because it is Lady Gaga, get vaguely queasy because she is so un-suggestive.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Here's one of the most interesting things- you don't even have to "enjoy" the images to get that neurochemical response. In fact, straight women have looked at photos of nude or suggestively pictured women and had this dopamine response, even though they state they are not turned on by it. And that doesn't mean they are gay, or in denial of their sexual orientation- it means the images work. Even if you personally don't like the theme, it doesn't mean that it isn't able to reach you on that biological level. That's part of the brilliance.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    I understand what you are saying, but I am an artist as well, so I view it a little differently, and maybe I appreciate it on levels that some people don't. There is a whole very fascinating psychoanalysis of this video and its contents... I am too tired to explain it all now, but maybe later.

    Say what you want about her music, Lady Gaga is a creative genius- and I study creativity, so I don't throw that term around lightly. A lot of symbolism and allegory reflecting themes from antiquity are laced throughout this. She obviously has a firm understanding of art history, or at least the directors do.

    However, let me be clear this is a psychological and scientific analysis, not endorsements of specific music. It illustrates my points, and that is why I used it. As scientists, we need to remain objective and not let personal opinion weigh too heavily when analyzing data. ;)
    "I'm probably missing something, but I think it's filthy! This is music aimed at kids? Do they play it on music channels and stuff? Through the day?"

    The point of the video is to induce sexual arousal. It is "aimed" at those who who's brain are able to respond with arousal.If the brain isn't ready, then it will look silly. Of course, it will also look silly if you are old enough to have seen 30-years of music videos. This is shlock as is most everything this generation outputs.

    Now it seems your brain responded, but because you have sexual problems you equate your feeling to the concept of "filthy." Or, perhaps you need see something you feel is "filthy" to become aroused. Either way, it shows the mediating process of the brain.

    For example, I found the blond boring AND silly.

    Warren Davies
    "The point of the video is to induce sexual arousal. It is "aimed" at those who who's brain are able to respond with arousal"

    Maybe I wasn't clear enough.  My point was that this music video is overly sexualised given the age of it's primary target demographic, and given that they are likely to see Lady Gaga as a role model, this might have a negative effect on these young people.  etc.


    "Now it seems your brain responded, but because you have sexual problems you equate your feeling to the concept of "filthy." "


    Sexual problems?  Who have you been talking to?  Was it Sarah?  Because Sarah was very bitter when we broke up, don't believe anything she says!


    "Or, perhaps you need see something you feel is "filthy" to become aroused. Either way, it shows the mediating process of the brain."


    "Filthy" is British for overly-sexualised, sometimes it's used in a derogative way.   I was taking into contact who it was aimed at.  Didn't mean filthy as in synonymous with disgusting.  


    Thank you for the extremely weird comment!
    Andrea Kuszewski
    I wish there was a "like" button next to your comment. :)
    Hank
    At least we agree that 3 out of 4 of us found the blonde boring and silly.  The only one who didn't?  Another female.   It reminds me of Lady Diana; women were always going on about how beautiful she was and every man I knew was looking around to see if they were on Windsor Castle Candid Camera before they responded.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    I never said she was good-looking or beautiful, but she is hot. Big difference there. Did you not get anything out of my article on the allure of asymmetry? Not to mention the points from this article? Le sigh. Maybe you were too distracted by the boring blond. ;)
    infantile article, frankly ...

    Gerhard Adam
    OK, well I guess my age is showing, but I don't get it.  How does having a bra that expands into the front of an M-16, a bunch of gay guys with Moe Howard haircuts, some faux sex scenes, and a robe reminiscent of the crusades supposed to be arousing?

    I guess I'm just not connecting the dots.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Why did you have to demean Moe Howard, though??
    Gerhard Adam
    I meant no disrespect.  It's just that when I watched that scene I kept seeing Moe and it was a tad difficult to keep a straight face ... always waiting for the inevitable poke in the eye :)

    It was either Moe or those guys that are all in every jungle documentary running around the Amazon.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Gaga is the new Madonna. Remember when everyone thought it was so vulgar that Madonna dressed as a man, danced with a prepubescent boy, and grabbed her crotch? How the bar has been raised...

    Honestly- you may not believe this- I really think Lady Gaga is just being authentic with her creative expression, not doing it for "shock value" in the way most of you think. If you've followed her career at all, watched her videos in the order they were created, you see a definite progression, and it really tells a story about who she is, and how she feels about society and their expectations of her. I have known many artists who express themselves in various ways- some write horror fiction (Stephen King), some create elaborate art (Caravaggio) and some do music videos. The fact that she makes an obscene amount of money off her self-expression shouldn't take away from its creative value.
    Gerhard Adam
    Well, perhaps I don't see it, but it all seems a tad self-indulgent to me.   It was the same thing with Madonna, where people love to get themselves all worked up over something.  The same thing occurred with Marilyn Manson, etc. etc, etc.

    After a while, it just becomes tedious, as if there's all this effort being expended just to tell me the obvious, or try and shock my sensibilities. 
    I really think Lady Gaga is just being authentic with her creative expression, not doing it for "shock value" in the way most of you think.
    I have to disagree since I've seen many non-famous people being just as outrageous in their appearance and expression.  The point being, that this is precisely why they do it, so that they can "shock" those around them and demonstrate how desperately non-conformist and individualistic they all are.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    Indeed, one does not show up late to a Mets baseball game, sit behind the dugout in a bra and flip off photographers while complaining one just wants to be left alone because one is being creative.   It's a schtick.

    Now, I predicted Madonna would be a flash in the pan too, so I am not making any bets on the Gaga.
    Yes she is being authentic. Sure is expressing herself. But so is a 3 year old smearing shit on the wall.

    The problem that she's got nothing worth expressing. The best word for the video is "silly." Every scene got more and more embarrassing to watch. By the pointed bra and the gay dancers it was like a kindergarten parody of an old Madanna video. Which makes the need for a good story evident. The images on their own simply were not strong enough to carry it over the silly into sexy.

    The fact she has a good looking body made HER a bit sexy. The guys were a total turn-off. When did a group of guys doing pushups look sexy? Moes are a good description! And, yes we used to see these scenes in Tarzan movies.

    To even think this is "art" shows how debased this word has become in the last Century. But I sure someone can create some kind of leftist subtext from the words in the song. Unfortunately it was very hard to understand the words because she's not a very good singer. Basically she poses for the camera while a song plays.

    Andrea Kuszewski
    Actually, she is a PHENOMENAL singer. Here is a video of her performing as Stephanie Germanotta (before she was known as "Lady Gaga"):

    Hats off to Lady Gaga. It is extremely hard to stand out from the pack. Be it outrage, funk, risque, or the like, Lady Gaga is hot ! Personal preferences may be the difference. Yes, I liked MM,JM,GL,SK, and of course BB. But now Charlize Theron is #1. Why? Because she has shown us the gamut of looks - from Monster to the runway.

    jlparkinson1
    Lady Gaga is just selling shock value...same old story. Stuff that shocks people sells. Artists know this. The only problem with shock value is the law of diminishing returns -- eventually, what people used to find shocking just seems passé, so you have to think of something else.
    SynapticNulship
    Imagery and suggestion that is blatant and forceful may get a big spike in dopamine, but it will be short-lived. This isn't giving you enough time to feel the attachment effects of oxytocin to the fullest extent possible. The element of mystery is a trigger for dopamine- in figuring out that mystery, we are intrigued, drawn in, motivated to examine it closer. If a stimulus is more abstract and leaves a little to the imagination, you will spend more time on it, thus extending every pleasurable neurochemical process, giving you a prolonged neurological orgasm.  Bottom line? A little mystery is a good thing.

    Does resistance (e.g. unavailability) reduce to "mystery?"  Is there neurological support for the bumper sticker logic of Jack Morin: attraction + obstacles = excitement ?
    rholley
    Andrea,

    Though it seems that you and I are opposed on practically every matter of values, it seems that we are the only two on this site who actually appreciate Lady Gaga (though I sit and listen as I type, I don't watch the videos more than once.)
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Wow, what a shame Stephanie Germanotta became Lady Gaga, someone did a very bad makeunder on her.I think that substituting 'Heil Hitler' for 'Alejandro' better depicts this rather musically challenged, very unsexy, gestapo fascist looking music video. The only dopamine hit that I received watching it was when I worked out that it doesn't look as though she's had a boob job, for which I commend her. Does anyone know anyone who reads a magazine, sees some heavily made up model in a compromising position, feels a dopamine surge and then decides to buy the product linked with the advert? I certainly don't. I would have had much more of a dopamine surge if someone had picked her up by her pointy bra handles and thrown her off the set.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Lady Gaga is a sellout.

    One of you commented that you were proud that she didnt get a boob job, but she's had lots of facial plastic surgery...do you draw the line above the shoulders?

    Lady Gaga is an amazingly talented musician and writer. The problem is that she realized she would never "get there" without the shock value. Thus she regularly "nods" to Madonna, and uses sex and shock to sell her music.

    Sad.

    Hank
    Who could have anticipated that neurological orgasms would barely get noticed (despite an overwhelming number of men reading this site, a gender who dispute such a thing can happen at all) but all of the comments would be about Gaga?

    I assume the only way to get more of a non-science response is to title the article "Team Lady Gaga or Team Justin Bieber: Who Would Make A Better Vampire?"
    Andrea Kuszewski
    HA! In a way, this proves my point. If Lady Gaga truly WAS boring, no one would bother commenting about it. Like her or hate her, she still causes you to spend time thinking about her, wondering why, etc. That's the dopamine, people. Dopamine isn't just for pleasure... it also fuels motivation. In this case, motivation to trash a musical artist.

    *Boy, one of my favorite things to do, other than long walks on the beach and romantic picnics under the stars, is to set up a circumstance in which people prove my point for me, even if they are complaining the whole time. Especially if they are complaining the whole time.*

    (^_^)
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    If Hitler was still around and there was a film showing the people that his scientists mutilated and did apalling experiments upon and these films were shown on television or in a blog, you would probably find that some people would object while others would watch transfixed, everyone would probably find it interesting. So what? How does that prove your point or even your pointy bra? Dopamine is not necessarily fuelling a horrified response or interest, surely it is more likely to be adrenalin and the fight or flight response. People thinking 'Wow, I hope that doesn't happen to me!'.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Andrea Kuszewski
    So what? How does that prove your point or even your pointy bra?
    So is this an insult directed at me and my *natural* D-cup breasts? I find it mildly amusing that you are so offended by femininity... especially since you claim to be a feminist (at least you imply that based on your past comments). Feminists should be encouraging strong, independent females that have a voice and still maintain an identity while doing science outreach. People like you confuse me with your message vs actions.
    Hank
    You have a pointy bra??   The world needs scientists in pointy bras more than it needs a cure for cancer.    I assumed she meant Madonna, historically, or Gaga in that video, though I didn't finish it so don't know if she had a pointy bra ... or any bra at all.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Well, I was the one making points in this article, and since she said "your" I assumed she meant me. Unless she entered a schizophrenic state and was attempting to communicate with Gaga on a quantum plane....?
    Hank
    Maybe quantum psychology will be Marc Hauser' next career field!
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I find it a bit worrying that you are a woman scientist who has a tendency to jump to rather egocentric conclusions. It reminds me of being at university back in the seventies when the feminist movement was at its peak. Yes I am a feminist and that means that I believe in equality of the sexes and that people shouldn't be unfairly discrimated against because of their sex. Back in those days some of the ardent feminists were picking on women like me who still dressed as women who wore makeup and didn't want to wear Doc Martins boots and dungarees and have crew cuts, now the opposite seems to be true, large breasts, cleavages, hair extensions, microscopic skirts and tops appear to be the badge of the ardent feminist. All I have ever wanted is for women to be able to feel happy in their own bodies wearing their fashion of choice living in a world of equal opportunity. I think its great that you are a strong independent female but that doesn't mean that I have to positively discrimate against you. I wasn't having a go at your natural D cup breasts and I am certainly not offended by femininity, as i am a reasonably attractive female myself, or so I am told.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Oh, and when I said "How does that prove your point or even your pointy bra?" it was intended as a bit of a pun or light hearted joke, something that those ardent feminists in the seventies also had difficulties recognising. If it somehow upset you then I'm sorry. Anyway, back to the dopamine, I'm sure that you're right about it being a strong motivator in certain situations but in the case of the Lady Gaga video I think the shock value is more related to adrenalin than dopamine. I also think that she was a much better singer/performer in her previous incarnation, prior to becoming Lady Gaga. By the way, I think its a bit unfair to imply I could be a schizophrenic who is trying to channel with Lady Gaga on the Quantum level. Are you one of those psychologists who keeps a DSM-IV next to your mechanical pencil, ready to take notes and label people with mental disorders just because they don't see the world the same way as you do?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    rholley
    I would like to say that the neurological argument in Andrea's article is quite compelling, though a bit of fine-tuning regarding the neurochemistry might be required.

    I watched the Bad Romance video, and it came across to me as some kind of science-fiction near-future dystopia.  I am not going to watch the Alejandro video, though.  If there's one thing more counterproductive than a schoolmistress telling a boy not to play with his Willie, it’s the same schoolmistress telling him how to.

    Nevertheless, I do like Lady Gaga’s music.  Unlike the case with Madonna, I have the gut feeling that L.G. is genuine.  Perhaps that’s because I’ve been reading a lot of G.K.Chesterton, who condemns Zola for his Godless Puritanism, and faults America for the same.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Hank
    I counter with Mark Steyn; "The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist."

    When everyone says America is wrong for opposite reasons, we must be right.   Take that, Chesterton!
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Very true Hank, I never realised this before, I just thought that everyone felt threatened by America's hegemonic tendencies.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    rholley




    Did you hear that, Muttley? He said "Take that, Chesterton!"

    Seriously though, Hank, would you not consider Prohibition (to which GKC was much opposed) as a manifestation of Godless Puritanism?

    Anyway, if you have the odd moment, take a look at http://www.personal.reading.ac.uk/~spsolley/Chesterton_Links.html and tell me what you think of On America and On Abraham Lincoln.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Hank
    I will take a look at the links.  Chesterton was an Englishman so his views on America have to be calibrated accordingly.   I agree that prohibition was flawed, and I saw it as a manifestation of puritanism, but the Godless part will take more convincing so I will read what he says.   

    On calibrating Chesterton, he was a religious man, so much so that he saw Godless people everywhere, including those he disagreed with, but his views on America were prescient.   Much of America was populated by people who were escaping religious persecution in England and on the continent, including Puritans, and Chesterton is an example of how influence can be bad if someone with strong views gains cultural or political power, though he seems to have maintained an affection for this colony.  
     
    That heritage of religious persecution is the reason why America's Constitution prohibits a national church.   No Prime Minister approving an Archbishop of NY here, like is done in England.     Overall, I never considered him right about much - his distributism economics has been a disaster for poor people in Mexico.  But I am now interested in visiting the pieces you mention.
    rholley
    Hank,

    I'm rationing the CPU time for the Chesterton discussion, so no more from me on that subject tonight.  In the meantime, I'm going to try my first ever video embed.  If it works, I simply ask that you and Andrea do not combine to put me on trial for musical heresy.

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Hank
    Who could find fault with female firefighters doing Riverdance choreography???