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Opening Arguments

Beware the sadistic empath

I wouldn't have thought that "empathy" was something requiring a lot of academic study -- people either have it, or they don't, and the ones who do are generally better off (and more civilized) than the ones who don't.  But Indiana University has snagged a $199,617 grant from the University of Chicago to correct the lack of study of an emotion "that is as widely valued as it is under-theorized." Damn those under-theorized emotions! This is intriguing:

Finally, the team will explore how to distinguish virtuous empathy from less praiseworthy varieties. "A sadist can be empathic," Miller points out.

Kind of puts a new spin on Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" posturings, doesn't it? "I feel your pain -- heh, heh, heh -- and I'm going to cause a lot more of it."

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Thu, 05/13/2010 - 8:59am

One of the basic notions in Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" was that you had to empathize with the enemy in order to find its weakness and destroy it.

Bob G.
Thu, 05/13/2010 - 9:06am

It's just..."The Chicago Way".

Thu, 05/13/2010 - 6:45pm

Yeah, that Clinton sure gave us a lot of pain.
I hated that balanced budget, the boom years, the peace and prosperity. I don't know how we lived through it.
If he had been a Republican, you'd want to put him on Mount Rushmore.

Andrew J.
Fri, 05/14/2010 - 10:24am

I remember three years in a row under Clinton where my 401k and my two index funds increased more than 20 percent. And that's when he raised taxes, I believe.

tim zank
Fri, 05/14/2010 - 10:25am

Yeah, it was pretty much all unicorns and rainbows with Clinton, his most notable accomplishment being able to completely transform the sexual behavior of all future generations.

Convincing a nation that oral sex was not really sex did more for teenage boys than the whole 60's sexual revolution. Ask any middle school teacher or counselor, Willy-Jeff single handedly made the bl**job as benign as holding hands.

He should be very proud.

Andrew J.
Fri, 05/14/2010 - 3:14pm

Hey I rather have someone mess around with bj's if my retirement investments makes a s----load of money during his watch. Would you rather have the Amish setting the moral behavior for this country while dealing with the budget using an abacus?

tim zank
Fri, 05/14/2010 - 7:59pm

You know Andrew, I said virtually the same thing when he was waggin his finger on tv in 1998. Actually, I remember vividly sitting in our hotel room in Las Vegas and telling my wife "I don't care if he screws small animals" we're making a ton of money and our 401k's were just climbing and climbing.

I began to feel differently when we got back to Indiana and picked up our then 3 year old daughter. The constant daily onslaught of 24-7 unbelievably explicit coverage of all things oral & subsequent stains ate away a huge piece of this nations moral fiber. I voted for him. TWICE. He helped me make some dough, but he also made my daughter and millions of others grow up unnecessarily quickly by exhibiting awful behavior and then bringing it to nightly tv. He turned out to be a despicable human being and he (and the media) are most certainly responsible for the prevailing attitude in middle schools and high schools that bl**jobs are no more detrimental to kids than holding hands.

I'll go out on a limb here too Andrew and make an educated guess you don't have kids.

Andrew J.
Fri, 05/14/2010 - 10:21pm

Daughter has been an attorney in Philadelphia the past three year. She's an IU grad; Widener Law School. I always tell her she turned out wonderfully despite her mother and father (divorced when she was 10).
But I can't have any more. Hooray for me!
I want the trains to run on time, and if a shmuck has to do it, so be it.

Sat, 05/15/2010 - 1:31am

zank, your attacks are tiresome. To anyone who disagrees with you, you immediately take it personal. Who cares if Andrew has children?

As for Clinton, he may have been a lousy husband, but he remains one of the great presidents of the 20th century. And I don't say that because I agreed with everything he said and did - because I didn't - but because he was and remains one of the most intelligent, informed, and involved politicians we've ever had - which is a far, far cry from that drunken, spoiled idiot that we suffered under for eight years after who now spends his days choppin' wood.

Oh, and btw, that "constant daily onslaught of 24-7 unbelievably explicit coverage of all things oral & subsequent stains ate away a huge piece of this nations moral fiber" that you decry was brought to you by the barking right's own propaganda machine - who were determined to stop at nothing to discredit the president. And who forced children to watch that nonsense? Most responsible parents would employ the most reliable method of protecting their children from such drivel - the off button on their television.