Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Spycam in the House of Love 

Who can deny that we live in an age of leaks? The President denounces leaks in public while authorizing them in private. Scooter leaks to Judy and Karl leaks to Matt and Condi leaks to AIPAC and Mary McCarthy leaks to the New York Times, and Mary McCarthy gets fired. At times it seems we cannot swing a dead housecat by the tail without hitting a leaker (although sometimes we hit a lamp first, and stop).

In our naivete, we believed this indecorous state of affairs was confined to Washington, D.C. Alas, we could not have been more wrong: the culture of leaks has spread, plaguelike, to distant northern lands, to Zembla itself -- as we learned this afternoon, in the most harrowing and personally humiliating fashion imaginable.

By way of preface we should explain that earlier today we received a not-atypical communique from Zemblan patriot J.D. alerting us to the existence of a nasally-ingested libido-enhancing chemical that appears to work equally well on both men and women. (Thanks also to Zemblan patriot J.D. for the information on penis enlargement; what, exactly, is your point?) In a nautically-inaccurate hommage to the late, notoriously priapic President John F. Kennedy, this sexual wonder drug has been dubbed PT-141:
[A] dose of PT-141 results, in most cases, in a stirring in the loins in as little as 15 minutes. Women, according to one set of results, feel 'genital warmth, tingling and throbbing', not to mention 'a strong desire to have sex'.

Among men who have been tested with the drug more extensively, the data set is richer: 'With PT-141, you feel good,' reported anonymous patient 007: 'not only sexually aroused, you feel younger and more energetic.' According to another patient, 'It helped the libido. So you have the urge and the desire' . . . .

The precise mechanisms by which PT-141 does its job remain unclear, but the rough idea is this: where Viagra acts on the circulatory system, helping blood flow into the penis, PT-141 goes to the brain itself. 'It's not merely allowing a sexual response to take place more easily,' explains Michael A Perelman, co-director of the Human Sexuality Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and a sexual-medicine adviser on the PT-141 trials. 'It may be having an effect, literally, on how we think and feel.'
We chuckled when reading the above, for this latest miracle of medical science appears to resemble, in its effect upon the fairer sex, the wombat musk in which Zembla's monarchs have been bathing for centuries. Ha! we thought. Plus ca change! But our jollity turned to ashes in our mouth when we came across the following passage, which purports to be an account of the sexual behavior of rats under the influence of PT-141:
'In a rat, there's a mating ritual,' says Palatin [Technologies] CEO Carl Spana. 'The female rat will approach the male head-to-head. She will wiggle her ears, she will wiggle her whiskers, she will nibble at him, and finally she'll turn and run away.' If the male chooses not to pursue her, she may return and, as one leading rat sexologist puts it, 'kick him in the face'. This tends to do the trick. The male gives chase, catches the female and climbs on top of her, at which point only two key preparations remain to be completed. First, so that the female's low-slung genitalia can be reached from above, her hindquarters will bend upward in a reflexive arching of the back called lordosis. Second, so that the male may take advantage of this invitation, his penis will emerge from its hiding place under the abdominal fur. 'And then,' Spana concludes, 'they copulate.'
Rats? No, dear reader, we think not; talk of vermin is but a smokescreen. It galls us to confess that you, and millions of hoi polloi just like you, have unwittingly been made privy to the ancient love secrets of the Zemblan royal line, passed down from father to firstborn son for generations uncounted.

Who perpetrated this unspeakable betrayal? Do not doubt that we will seek out, and find, the palace snoop who spied upon Yr. Mst. Tmscnt. Mjsty. in the midst of his imperial mating rites, and further do not doubt that we will give this dismal traitor every reason to regret, for the brief and exquisitely painful remainder of his wretched life, having taken such copious notes.

For those among you who do not yet apprehend the full compass of our outrage: many of the details in the story -- the kick in the face, the abdominal fur, etc. -- we might have chalked up to coincidence. But try as you might, you will never, never convince us that the business about the "female's low-slung genitalia" was just a lucky guess.

UPDATE: We find ourselves experiencing a surge of surprisingly intense sympathy for Mr. Charles Sheen. (But probably not enough to invest in Charlie's Kid Couture.)

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