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KNOWLEDGE OF SHAKESPEARE PROVEN THERAPEUTIC

A recent psychological study has found that quoting Shakespeare in times of stressful conflict is ten times more therapeutic than mindless cursing. Traffic and parking situations are known to be particularly stressful so the behavioral scientists who designed the study made good use of such scenarios. This took place in a small resort town where the subjects were either the control group of retired carnival workers or the experimental group of retired Shakespearean scholars.

In the first scenario, scientists set up a situation on March 17th whereby any cars parked on the streets were ticketed by police on the pretext that streets had to be cleared for snow plowing, although there had been no snow for a month and none on the horizon. One scientist posed as the sociopathic bureaucrat who ordered the cops to do this dirty work. Both groups were invited to a meeting where the “sociopath” was confronted.

The Carnies were encouraged to use their “letter words”, starting with the F word and working backwards, The Shakespearean group employed such phrases as:

“Thou lump of foul deformity”

“Thou art unfit for any place but hell.”

“Thou art a boil, a plague sore”

“Poisonous bunch-backed toad! ““

”I am sick when I do look on thee “

 In the aftermath the results were dramatic. Three retired Carnies were hospitalized from banging their heads against a wall, two had heart attacks, and three suffered strokes. Four got into accidents on the drive home, while six received parking tickets.

In the Shakespearian half, one person experienced a cramp during the group hug.

Of course a scientific study means nothing unless it can be replicated. So the Behaviorists designed another study related to parking. This scenario involved ratepayers in this resort town who for one reason or another had no choice but to park on the street in front of their homes. Then a letter was sent to them that stated that from now on their parking spots were illegal!

This group was once more divided as in the first study. The only difference was that the sociopathic bureaucrat in this instance was impersonated by a female scientist. And once more a confrontational situation was set up between her and the two groups at City Hall.

The difference in gender had no effect on the level of invective hurled at the “bureaucrat” by either group. The control group largely repeated the same epithets as before, but the Shakespearian group adapted their words to the gender of the target:

 “More of your conversation would infect my brain.”

“There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.”

“Thine face is not worth sunburning.”

“Here is the babe, as loathsome as a toad.”

“Virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.”

In the control group, two Carnies poked their own eyes out, three came down with hives and four suffered from Bell’s palsy. Afterwards on the walk home, still dazed and confused by the “bureaucrat’s” intransigency, five were injured by a street cleaning machine.

In the Shakespearean group one person twisted his ankle on the way to yoga.

Sadly there was a brawl between the two groups as they entered a nearby pub, when one overexcited Shakespearean quoted the Bard from Titus Andronicus Act 2 Scene 4:

“Villain!  I did your mother!!”

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