Phrenology

Originally published March 12, 2014

Phrenology bust

I bought this phrenology bust, which now sits on a bookshelf in my living room, as a decoration for my wedding. It fit our theme — steampunk — and allowed everyone involved to make endless puns about the “head table.” All in all, not a bad deal.

Now, I can’t speak much to the origins of this particular head. I bought it at an antique shop… well, you could call it an antique shop; maybe more of a junk shop. Like many such heads, it credits L.N. Fowler.

What interests me most in this model is that there are three different spots which all amount to “you like to have sex”: conjugality sits somewhere behind your left ear; love of sex a little bit up and to the right, and below that, towards the curve of your skull, reproductive love.

So if we can get out our calipers and measure your skull to be even a bit larger than normal in one of three areas, and you like sex, clearly we’re getting at something!

Or, you know, you’re one of practically everybody who likes sex and has irregularities in skull shape.

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Not to pick on the Victorians exclusively here, I see this all the time. Hey, sometimes I’m tired, irritable, or feel a little off… also, I’ve been known to, on occasion, eat bread! (or soy, milk, salt, MSG, “processed foods”). Not to make light of serious allergies, but the symptoms of serious allergies are not “sometimes I’m irritable.” That’s a symptom of being a person.

And, sure, if it makes you feel good… even placebos can have a positive effect. Reducing stress is a pretty powerful thing. But turning every little thing around us into poison is not reducing anybody’s stress! A forum of normally intelligent moms linked to a scare article about acetaminophen (tylenol), prompting a response from a scared mom saying she wasn’t going to use tylenol for her teething baby any more. Her replacement? Whiskey. “Because it’s natural.”

Sorry, 21st century, you’re not winning awards for logical thinking, either.

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