Studies


So the kid’s here for spring break, of which today is the last day. The fiancee and I are driving him back to Nevada today so he can resume school. We had a blast with the go-karts and the trip to the shooting range, where I lost my .40 S&W virginity and managed a decently tight grouping in spite of the wicked recoil on the Beretta.

Also upgraded his home-built with a new 2GB video card. No time for blogging lately. But in my early morning ponderings, I did manage to upload some wisdom to the Hello Kitty of blogging…this has been eating at me for awhile…

There are certain “scientific studies” that I notice never seem to do the trick, with such completeness that it would be redundant to release another study saying the same thing, because said further-study is published soon afterward. And again and again and again…polar ice caps are shrinking, conservatives have tinier minds, girls mature faster than boys, et al. Perhaps there is minutiae that needs a further hashing-out and the layman can’t see it. But it’s more likely, I think, that science in these areas is running in circles. I don’t say this because I pretend to understand all that the scientists say; I say that because it is only in a narrow field of subjects wherein I see it happening. It looks like bored, inexperienced, not-yet-established scientists with laptop computers looking for something to do, and that’s probably what it is.

I would like to see a scientific study on this: Some public figure says or does something that generates a bit of heat, and then apologizes for it. What effect does the apology have? Do some experiments, with a control group that doesn’t offer an apology, and find a way to objectively measure the cred, or stature, or job security, that was supposedly lost [and then recovered again]. Also, did the angry people stop being angry when the apology was issued. Put the numbers on a graph, and plot a line.

THAT is a study I would LOVE to see. Once will do it.

Thing I Know #52 sez,

Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

…and that would seem to make such a study redundant already, since apologies certainly fall within the things being demanded by angry people. But Things I Know are nothing more than lifetime experiences — of me — open questions on which the uncertainty seems to have been eliminated…but looks can be deceiving. And, people didn’t just start issuing apologies when I was born, or when I became aware in my observations of such things. The clumsiness and ineffectiveness of apologies does seem to be something of a modern development, or at least, the dazzling phoniness and insincerity of the apologies are modern characteristics.

Do apologies work? There certainly does seem to be a lot riding on the question every year.

Demanding the apologies, that certainly does have an elevating effect on one’s social standing. Kinda reminds me of when Billy Batson said “Shazam!” and was transformed by lightning into Captain Marvel, remember that? That’s what we have had, in recent times, with this other catchphrase, “You know, I find that offensive.” Like, faster than the naked eye can perceive the change, you have acquired superpowers.

But for making the apology, I’m not sure anybody ever recovers a damn thing. I’m not sure why anybody bothers with it. I suppose they want to demonstrate that, at least, they’re not ignoring anybody. But I also see when the time comes to run for a high office, there are a lot of people ready to describe as their qualifications that they do ignore the right people. That, lately, seems to be a backbone to what American politics has become. This candidate, over here…is sensitive to the demands and grievances of that aggrieved victim group, over there…and, if he manages to be elected to the high hallways of power, we will see a gutterballing, a marginalization, of that other antithesis faction of critical people, way over there. *cough* President Barack Obama *cough*. Attorney General Eric Holder upholding the law for “his” people. Equal protection under the law doesn’t seem to have much to do with anything anymore, it’s all about voting in politicians to decide who will gain influence and who will lose it. I suppose that part isn’t really new. What’s changed is the feeling of obligation, the feeling of “These people, who were not really part of the socio-political phenomenon that swept me into office, nevertheless have a legitimate grievance and the Constitution suggests I should take it seriously, through the right it recognizes they have to petition their government.”

I do want to see such a study, though. What necessitates such an apology; why do people clamor for one, what are they looking for in one; what is the effect of issuing it, especially, contrasted with the control group that doesn’t offer one.

I don’t think they do a thing. If they did once, they don’t now. People don’t take them that seriously, and they probably shouldn’t. This is a field ripe for study. It is my impression that this open question affects us in ways it did not, in our recent past. We should get off our duffs and learn what’s going on, and how we’re changing. So much energy, concern, perspiration and drive being plowed into a place that is not providing us with a tangible reward, suggests this might not be a good change.

Sorry if that offends anyone.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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