Can MDMA Make You Racist?
You don’t have a lot of time for rational thought after dropping a pill. Three Mitsis in and you’re almost entirely preoccupied with finding out what people’s scarves feel like, or trying to focus on literally anything through your rapidly flickering eyes. So you’d have thought that amid all the euphoria and heart palpitations there surely wouldn’t be space to get hung up on the ethnicity of the people around you.
It turns out, however, that the brain’s biochemistry during a blissed-out club night may not be too dissimilar from its status at a KKK rally. This is thanks to a hormone called oxytocin, which has been described by many as "the love hormone" or the "cuddle drug." The hormone has been linked to developing trust between mother and child during breast feeding, and between partners after intercourse. Its release is also triggered by MDMA, and that loved-up feeling you get after swallowing a pill has been attributed to the effects the hormone has on the brain.
However, research by professor Carsten de Dreu at the University of Amsterdam showed in 2011 that oxytocin had a slightly more sinister side. His experiments revealed that what many thought of as the “moral molecule” actually contributed to what scientists euphemistically refer to as “ethnocentrism,” or what the layman would call racism.
Participants in de Dreu’s study were presented with a dilemma in which they had to deny one person access to a lifeboat in order to save five others. In the double-blind experiment, Dutch men were given either oxytocin via a nasal spray or a placebo. The results showed that those taking oxytocin were more likely to spare men with Dutch names while sacrificing those with Muslim- or German-sounding names. For those who were given the placebo, however, the name of the potential victim didn’t matter.
How Friends Created a Generation of Neurotic, Self-Obsessed Idiots
Twenty years ago last month, a new sitcom debuted. Originally titled Insomnia Cafe, it was supposed to catch some of the heat that Seinfeld had generated, some of that post-Woody Allen, New York-y neurotic humor about relationships and everyday life. But the original pitch that was sent to NBC revealed it to be a very different kind of show:
"This show is about six people in their 20s who hang out at this coffee house. An after hours insomnia café. It’s about sex, love, relationship, careers… a time in your life when everything is possible, which is really exciting and really scary. It’s about searching for love and commitment and security… and a fear of love and commitment and security. And it’s about friendship, because when you’re young and single and in the city, your friends are your family."
Unlike Seinfeld and just about every other sitcom before it, with their misfit ensembles of slob dads, nagging moms, drunk priests, stoner sons, and pervert neighbors, Friends was to be the first aspirational sitcom. A comedy where the primary cast were young, good-looking metropolitans without drinking problems or STDs.
Playing on our desires to be just like those kinds of people, it was a resounding success. In the resulting years, Friends became an international phenomenon. The characters’ New York dating language entered the 90s pop-lexicon in a way that Bart Simpson’s “eat my shorts” never could. In fact, could the strange syntax of Chandler’s jokes BE any more subtly woven into the natural speech patterns of almost every Westerner aged 20 to 40? Everyone knew about “the Rachel,” and Matt LeBlanc was in a really great movie about abaseball-playing monkey. It’s ridiculous how much influence this decade-long romantic comedy had.
Epicly Later’d – Geoff Rowley, Part 2
In part two of the Geoff Rowley series, he talks about moving to California with the Flip team, skating with the Tempster, shooting pics with Sturt, and how slamming is almost as good as the make.
Watch the video
Is Pauly Shore Trying to Troll VICE?
A couple of weeks ago, we ran a piece by Jonathan Daniel Brown about the time he interned for Pauly Shore. As you would expect, the article was about how Pauly is a douche and interning for him was miserable.
A couple of days after the post was published, a video called “More Disgruntled Pauly Shore Interns” was uploaded to YouTube.
The video was uploaded with this description: “Thank God finally someone let the cat out of the bag. Pauly Shore is the worst boss and I truly think he’s crazy. I am currently one of Pauly’s interns. After I post this hidden camera video of Pauly (being who he truly is) that another intern and I did I’m sure we will both be let go, which will be a relief. We are sick of his abuse! Thank you so much Jonathan for letting everybody know: Pauly Shore truly is an asshole.”