28 February 2005

Brains! Brains!

Jeremy Tolbert pointed out a news report at New Scientist that had me coming up with all sorts of silly scenarios. For instance, consider the following paragraph:
"Gay men adopt male and female strategies. Therefore their brains are a sexual mosaic," explains Qazi Rahman, a psychobiologist who led the study at the University of East London, UK. "It's not simply that lesbians have men's brains and gay men have women's brains."
Jeremy rightly pointed out that the first quote is great, but my own brain really got working with the last, because I immediately imagined the story of a lesbian with a collection of men's brains in her basement.

Then there are the two paragraphs that begin the article:
Gay men employ the same strategies for navigating as women -- using landmarks to find their way around -- a new study suggests.

But they also use the strategies typically used by straight men, such as using compass directions and distances.
Suddenly I imagined a test used in future classrooms in the conservative school districts of certain U.S. states: a teacher studies how her mail students use maps, and determines that little Johnny has been using landmarks. Little Johnny gets sent to the God Room, where he's told that either he starts using the compass, or else God will punish him with death and eternal damnation. If Johnny continues to use landmarks instead of the manly compass, he's killed in a public sacrifice in praise of Leviticus.

A sentence from the penultimate paragraph is pretty good, too:
Like straight men, lesbians tend to be more sparing with words than straight women. Gay men, however, are inclined to speak as much as straight women.
So the next time you meet a loquacious lesbian, tell her she's talking too straight. And quiet gay guys -- whoa, they're the ones you gotta watch, because they're probably not really gay, and they just have sex with men to confuse you.

The last sentence, though, is the best, a classic of its genre:
"It might be that whatever causes sexual orientation and cognitive differences are uncoupled in lesbian development, while in gay men the two things could be tightly coupled," Rahman suggests.

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