If academic psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett is right, we should be able to find the precise combination of words to cause a destructive chain reaction of a person’s telomeres. Words can shorten telomeres, she says. And when your telomeres “become too short, you die.”
Telomeres are little bits of genetic material capping off your chromosomes.
“Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system,” she says in the New York Times “Words can cause stress,” and stress shortens telomeres, and since shortened telomeres will kill you, “it seems that speech — at least certain types of speech — can be a form of violence.”
This has to be true. Every time I’m forced to listen to hip-hop, or to watch CNN carping about the super-duper double-secret machinations of Russia, or I’m made to read some asinine theory purporting to be science in a major newspaper, I can feel my life force ebbing.
Barrett is trying to find a way to scientifically measure which speech is violent and which is merely, in her word, offensive. She thinks science can tell us the difference. That’s how she arrived at the idea that hearing certain word combinations will chip away at your telomeres until you keel over.
I can see it now. We take DNA samples from some kiddies, then strap them into a chair while white-coated scientists holding clipboards read to them words suspected to be violent. As a precaution, the scientists will wear earmuffs. We then measure the kiddie’s DNA after and correlate the amount of life removed with the list. Words with high correlation will be banned by government.
It won’t be words with ‘k’ sounds. Those are supposed to be funny. Science says so. Kite, quacky, zebeck. Those words probably grow telomeres, especially zebeck, which has the benefit of a hilarious ‘z’ sound. She doesn’t know it, but Barrett might inadvertently have stumbled onto the secret of eternal life.
We have to be careful not to make combinations of words too funny, though. They can kill, too, as this clip scientifically proves.
Anyway, Barrett is sympathetic to the brats at elite American universities who find any opinion but their own to be “acts of violence”, a.k.a. “microaggressions”. Since these by-definition uneducated children never learned their math, they do not realize that it takes one million microaggressions to equal one aggression. That means that even if Barrett is right and words can be violently harmful to human health, these kids are going to have to hear about 250 speeches by Ann Coulter until even one of their telomeres are shortened, assuming each word in each 4000-word speech is laced with telomere-shortening power.