In a recent
article in the Brit- ish newspaper The Observer, a Cambridge
University neuropsychologist called for reform in test-taking
practices. The easy availability of cognition- enhancing drugs
is, according to the expert, threatening the university system
by making the students, in psychiatric terms, crazy freakin
called for random dope testing to prevent, one can only assume,
a Ritalin-high brainiac getting the edge on a last-nights-Guinness-inhibited
test subject, more commonly referred to as a student.
extent that the article is about drug abuse by the young,
its perfectly understandable. No one wants students
getting the drop on us older folks, cognitively. But to the
extent that its about unfair advantage within
a demographic, it raises questions. For example, where, how
and by whom would the line be drawn determining acceptable
and modafinil, the article points out, are used to increase
the brains alertness. Right. Sos coffee
andhello, Great Britaintea. Would caffeine be
on a list of prohibited drugs? Or tobacco? If the issue is
fairness, is it acceptable for a test-taker in the midst of
a crushing caffeine low or nicotine fit to have to compete
with an abstinent freak? Er, sorry, I mean, a, uh, you knowwhatever
you call em. A bubble boy.
States, we have not yet seen such headlines focused on the
world of academia; though we may well when we are someday
concerned about producing smart people. In the meanwhile,
though, we have our own concerns about unfair advantage, and
its gone to the federal level. Weve seen an activist
Congress tackling the issue of an inequity that absolutely
hobbles the proper functioning of our civic body. Im
talking, of course, about campaign-finance reform.
really! Im talking about the steroid scandal. (Sheesh,
campaign-finance reform. BOOOORrrring!)
became clear that the players of Major League Baseballwho
had, over the span of 36 months, collectively gained a muscle
mass 113 times that of World Wrestling Entertainment and Jersey
Shore combinedwere on something other than yogurt smoothies,
Americas elected officials pounced! Like coiled, blue-suited
springs of justice! Not since Congress made game shows safe
and pure again has the American viewing public been so ably
served by its representative champions! But, I think, they
will prove to be on the wrong side of history.
by The Observers report, in every field of competition
the players are looking for an edge. So, the demand is there.
And we spectators, we like drama. We like for them to knock
it out of the park, whether its by solving Fermats
last theorem or by, well, actually hitting a small ball a
great distance, over a fence, even, with a bat.
to eradicate this problem by seeking to establish a level
playing field is the long way around; and it skimps
on entertainment value. Heres what they have gotten
right in their ongoing struggle with drugs in competition:
the word random.
beginning of each contestathletic or academicofficials
and medical professionals will introduce a randomly selected
and strictly regulated psychoactive drug to the competitor:
stimulant, depressant, hallucinogen, hypnotic, narcotic, placebo,
who knows? What could be fairer?
complaint about the unfair advantage wealthy teams like the
Yankees enjoy is reduced to rubbleor, at least, to a
grinning shortstop hugging everyone who rounds secondby
goalie on ether would be as insane, and as popular, as a Looney
Tunes classic; which would give us the added benefit of ended
the moaning of American soccer fans who feel their sport has
been shortchanged at home.
White . . . oh, well, nevermind. No real difference, there.
You think cricket is baffling now? Wait till the batsmans
datura kicks in. Itd be like a ballet choreographed
by David Lynch. Run the instant replays backward and youve
got an art-house phenomenon.
are not limited to sport. Who could complain if the Harvard
legacy applicants chances are compromised by his Crispin
Glover-like performance during the interview; or if the Provigil-jacked
single mom nails the Double Jeopardy question?
generally unattractive, roid rage would get those spelling
bees TV audiences and commercial sponsorships such that, not
only would no child be left behind, but no child would have
to drive a crappy compact car.
little MDMA would go a long way in the next presidential debates.
anybodys ball game, now, folks.