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January 16, 2013 1:56 AM   Subscribe

The Delights Of Disgust
I confess I am disgusted by a great many things about people (and about myself, but let's put that aside). I do not believe it is particularly urgent for me to overcome my disgust, even if I recognize that this emotion must remain entirely separate from my thinking about which laws would be most just. I am disgusted by other people's dandruff, facial moles, food stuck in their beards, yet I do not accept that in feeling this way I am judging those people to be subhuman. I take it rather that humanity, while endearing, is also capable of appearing disgusting.

WIRED: Sexual Arousal May Help Women Ignore the Yuck Factor
According to the study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, humans have somehow managed to strike a successful balance between two important evolutionary functions — sex and disgust. The latter is considered by some psychologists to be a natural defence mechanism against disease — other peoples’ mouths, for instance, pose a higher risk of contamination and are therefore considered an external threat perceived as highly disgusting. When it comes to the nitty gritty of sex, there are plenty of “disgust elicitors” that we relate to contamination says the paper, namely saliva, sweat and semen
PLOS ONE: Feelings of Disgust and Disgust-Induced Avoidance Weaken following Induced Sexual Arousal in Women

Language Log: Hydrated And Delicious: - "A food writer recently tried to find an effective euphemism for moist, in order to avoid the associated word-aversion problems"

Disgust as Embodied Moral Judgment:
In this paper we cannot say whether people ought to follow their feelings of disgust; we are concerned with whether they actually do use such feelings to guide their judgments, and the limiting conditions upon such use. However, philosophers who argue for the importance of “psychological realism” in ethics say that philosophers must know the psychological facts before they can issue normative guidance (Flanagan, 1991). There are several good reasons for supposing that disgust does in fact shape moral judgments, even when it is extraneous to the action being judged.

This post inspired by this post: DO NOT CLICK: Trust Me, You Do Not Want to See This Video of a Giant Parasitic Worm Slithering Out of a Dead Spider’s Stomach
Previously: Little Holes The Worms Make
posted by the man of twists and turns (23 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is not a deep and penetrating insight.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:46 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


from "The Delights of Disgust"

McGinn does manage to relate one of the most obscene jokes I have ever heard, involving menstrual blood, fellatio, and at least two incestuous pairings. But he quickly follows it up with a sort of blush, asserting that "one's response is hardly even laughter, more a kind of reluctant grimace, as the 'joke' sinks in."

At which point I was thinking: Speak for yourself! There's something underhanded about telling a person a raunchy joke, making that person laugh, and then retracting it by adding that you yourself don't find it funny, but cited it only as an example of something.


There's something even more underhanded in mentioning a joke without either telling it or pointing toward a telling of it.
posted by dubold at 2:47 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


deep and penetrating

gross
posted by dubold at 2:47 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


McGinn does manage to relate one of the most obscene jokes I have ever heard, involving menstrual blood, fellatio, and at least two incestuous pairings. But he quickly follows it up with a sort of blush, asserting that "one's response is hardly even laughter, more a kind of reluctant grimace, as the 'joke' sinks in."

There's something even more underhanded in mentioning a joke without either telling it or pointing toward a telling of it.

How did the redneck mom know her daughter was on her period? She tasted the blood on her husbands dick.
'
You're welcome.
posted by empath at 2:50 AM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


That people are disgusted by certain foods or food textures fascinates me. I have no food or food texture dislikes that I know of (allergies, yes, but disgusts, no). However, given this:

"Disgust has a pair of primary functions, he argues: one dietary, having to do with the avoidance of toxic foods; and the other involving the avoidance of "pathogens, parasites, and reliable indicators of their presence.""

...I'm surprised I've lived this long.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:03 AM on January 16, 2013


I find eggplant disgusting, but it has nothing to do with pathogens or toxic food. It simply tastes gross.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:08 AM on January 16, 2013


You're welcome.

Yep, reluctant grimace is right.
posted by dubold at 3:11 AM on January 16, 2013


The term 'disgust,' in its simplest sense, means something offensive to the taste. It is curious how readily this feeling is excited by anything unusual in the appearance, odour, or nature of our food.

In Tierra del Fuego a native touched with his finger some cold preserved meat which I was eating at our bivouac, and plainly showed utter disgust at its softness; whilst I felt utter disgust at my food being touched by a naked savage, though his hands did not appear dirty.

- Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 1904
posted by knapah at 3:40 AM on January 16, 2013


How did the redneck mom know her daughter was on her period? She tasted the blood on her husbands dick.

B-but this has just one incestuous pairing?

I think it should be "her son's dick". And that would make 3 incestuous pairings.

And now I have officially overthought this hillbilly bean.
posted by chavenet at 3:44 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The joke I know is - How do you know when your mum is having her period? Grandad's dick tastes funny.
posted by Major Tom at 3:53 AM on January 16, 2013


Not nearly enough, I'm afraid.
posted by hat_eater at 3:54 AM on January 16, 2013


Haha, it was in response to chavenet's comment.
posted by hat_eater at 3:57 AM on January 16, 2013


That first article is a load of pretentious meandering poopycock poppycock, I meant poppycock.
posted by fleacircus at 4:00 AM on January 16, 2013


Incest, some menstrual blood and your grandfather's dick walk into a bar. The barman says, "Why the long face?" The menstrual blood goes, "What? None of us have a face. What are you talking about?" and the barman replies, "Sorry - I just assumed this was a joke about whores." So incest says, "Well, it isn't, and furthermore I don't like your language. It's misogynist and disgusting, and my friend Mary (indicating the menstrual blood) is offended, as are we all." The Barman says, "I'm do apologise," but menstrual blood cuts him short - "just see that it doesn't happen again. Now give me a vodka-based drink, please." Then the Barman, reaching for the tomato juice, says, "Well actually we have a vodka-based drink named after you!" and your grandfather's dick says, "What, you want to make her a "Black Russian", because she's a Russian national? Are you racist as well as sexist??? Come on everyone, let's leave this horrible place". So they leave and go to another bar on the other side of the street, and that is why they crossed the road.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:14 AM on January 16, 2013 [23 favorites]


Crazy Jane Talks With The Bishop

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
'Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'

'Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.

'A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'

--William Butler Yeats
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:20 AM on January 16, 2013


The cognitive whiplash induced by those last two comments is intense.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:37 AM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits!"

The Lady's Dressing Room by Jonathan Swift
posted by Fizz at 4:47 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


My great claim to being a humanitarian is that there is nothing whatever about people that gives me nearly the same profound shudder of disgust I feel when I see a centipede. Compared to that, anything that might be less than pleasant about a person is absolutely meh.
posted by jfuller at 6:56 AM on January 16, 2013


The language log post refers to William Ian Miller's Anatomy of Disgust. This is one of Miller's fine books which are difficult to describe. He is a professor so they are academic in style with footnotes and whatnot but his interest is more of a tabloid news of weird. I enjoy him very much but there are really odd things in there, for example,

"The discovery that women, whom he did not know very well, were not graced as the pubic-hair-less Greek statues of women he did know well filled John Ruskin with such disgust that he was unable to consummate his marriage and forever after focused his (innocent) attentions on prepubescent girls." p. 54

It has a footnote (attributed to Phyllis Rose) so I suppose it must be truthy.
posted by bukvich at 8:12 AM on January 16, 2013


I've been disgusted so goddamned long that it feels like aroused to me.
posted by Decani at 9:44 AM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


::AHEM::

The Aristocrats!

::BOW::

::EXIT::
posted by Splunge at 3:15 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately my disgust for body fluids is stronger than my sex drive, which has kept me forever alone. I wonder how people with germ phobias are able to overcome it so they can have sex.
posted by mike3k at 9:51 PM on January 16, 2013


Previously.
posted by homunculus at 9:03 AM on January 26, 2013


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