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Yuck! The Science Of Disgust

From spoiled milk to monkey brains – and worse. What revolts us and why? We’ll take on the science of disgust.

’That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion’ by Rachel Herz. (W.W. Norton)

’That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion’ by Rachel Herz. (W.W. Norton)

We talk a lot about basic human emotions:  happiness, sadness, anger fear, surprise.  The ugly duckling, the one we don’t talk so much about, is disgust.  But it’s out there.  Potent.  Ubiquitous.  Ready to pounce.  A horrible smell, a bloody spill, a rotten dish.  Ooey, gooey, nasty, slimy, sticky stuff – ooh, gross!  Disgusting! Unless we like some of that stuff.

A pungent cheese may disgust me and delight you.  Cheese with maggots?  Some people love it.  Disgust is part instinct.  It’s part culture.  And it goes very deep in our psyches.

This hour, On Point:  the window on us that is disgust.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rachael Herz, psychologist, neuroscientist, and leading expert on the psychology of smell. She’s the author of That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Disgust is the Cinderella of emotions. While fear, sadness and anger, its nasty, flashy sisters, have drawn the rapt attention of psychologists, poor disgust has been hidden away in a corner, left to muck around in the ashes. ”

The Washington Post “Sorry, America. NBC’s gross-out, terror-inducing series “Fear Factor” is back. Whether you’re a fan or a foe, though, Rachel Herz’s “That’s Disgusting” should be required reading. Herz, an olfactory psychology expert at Brown University, knows of what she speaks: Since 2008 she has been a judge at the National Rotten Sneakers Contest.”

More

Take this survey, created by psychologist Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia, to measure your tolerance of disgust and compare it to others.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    How about two dudes kissing each other on the mouth?     There is no denying, when it happens on the movie screen, the yucks, grimaces, and cringes will always fill the theatre.  And no social science and politically correct indoctrination will change this reaction.

    • Anonymous

      closeted much? its probably time to address that, don’t you think? that is before you do something more extreme to exhibit your self-hate. oh, and no amount of social engineering and political correctness will ever change the fact that you want to kiss a dude.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Way off with that strategy Elina.   Its not my thing, regardless, I am not against it, if that what people want.  Just dont do it in front of my kids.

        But you can’t deny the Yuck factor, which liberal SNL and Hollywood play off on this all the time. And it works like a charm.  

        The media promotes this lifestyle and exploits it for shock and laughs at the same time.

        It is you who is in denial.

        • Anonymous

          as far as i’m concerned your sexuality is your business, but the fact that gay pda is the first thing that popped into your mind, clearly shows that is what you’ve been thinking about.

          • Questioner

             I think you are in denial Elina, whether or not that’s the first thing that pops into Paolo’s mind.  I say this based on my private conversations with straight people, even those who claim to have gay friends.  Even if they support gay rights, they find being gay to be weird and even disgusting.  And no, it doesn’t mean that they’re bi-curious.  Think about it, how come Dan Savage knew that the right way to get back to Santorum was to try to change the meaning of his name in the way he did?  Dan himself must find being a gay man repulsive, and I would’ve never imagined that it would be that repulsive.  Colbert and Jon Stewart joke about it, and they play on the repulsiveness.  Even Rachel Maddow seems to be repulsed by it.

          • Anonymous

            What am I in denial about? Your comment has a lot of words but there is no message there, what is your point? And what do any of the people you mention and your perception of them have anything to do with anything?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Elina,  Questioner’s point is that of my own – the main stream still thinks its weird even regardless of how much the agenda is pushed.

            Watching the movies and sitcoms, and they treat gays as eccentrics and pariahs, even when they are the main characters.  They are the butt of their jokes and repulsive tendencies, as unfortunate as this may be.

            You are in denial of the yuck factor towards gays – not in a social context, but in regards to their intimate physical interaction.  I mean come on Elina… yuck.

          • Anonymous

            Lets play a little game of reading and comprehension, shall we? Did I mention cultural perceptions or media portrayals of gays? Lets not go astray here, the whole conversation was about you and your denial of your homoerotic feelings. If you think they’re gross, well that’s for you and your therapist to work on

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Elina,  you feign to have such respect for being gay but you are here using it as an insult. LOL 

            How pathetic and self-hating you are.

          • Anonymous

            how did i use gay as an insult? the fact that you chose to take my
            questioning your sexuality as an insult is reflective of your opinion, i
            just pointed out your cognitive dissonance. i also said that you are
            probably self-destructive due to your “frustrations,” again if you want
            to interpret that as an insult, it’s your prerogative, but i did not say
            anything offensive. so, you may want to read what i actually wrote and
            then take a minute or two to process the information before you jump to
            your disconnected conclusions or putting words in my mouth.

          • Anonymous

            And to address the media and general cultural portrayal of the gays, it has always been and still is despicable, to say the least. So I’m not sure what you’re implying by saying that I’m in denial about the media’s yuk factor toward gays, I am pretty aware how the media portrays them

          • L armond

            Elena, are you suggesting that people ‘don’t ask and don’t tell’ how they really feel.  I always encouraged my children to put words to all their emotions.  It was the only way to interact with them and make them fearless to tell me what I didn’t witness myself.  When they see something ‘incongruous, they always told me – as far as I know.

          • Anonymous

            1. it’s Elina
            2. at no point did I say or suggest that people “don’t ask and don’t tell” their honest feelings, however, that being said, I don’t believe that anyone has to coddle your feelings or opinions, but they don’t have a license to be uncivil either. For example, in this conversation, Pablo believes that gay sex is disgusting and according to him the media portrays gays as sympathetic fools, or whatever term he used, but the liberal agenda is somehow defeated because even gays think gay sex is gross. Pablo thinks he’s justified in his opinion because of some circular reasoning: it’s gross because it’s gross. Does he have a right to voice his demented opinion? Sure. Do I have to respect it or acknowledge its validity? Not at all, in fact, at that point I believe i’m entitled to question the source for his beliefs and ask how much gay porn has he watched to form the basis of his opinion?

            you have a right to your beliefs, but be ready to defend them.

            3. i’m not sure what your kids have to do with this conversation or the fact that they tattle? as far as I understood we were talking about adults here.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Wrong Elina,  the first things I thought of was throwup and snot.

  • JustSayin

    A word redefined as I matured. As a farm boy I thought shoveling out a chicken coop on a hot July day was disgusting, but upon becoming an adult, only irrational ideologies disgust me now.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems to me, as I hit age 65, that we are much closer to disgust as we hit senior-hood.  Maybe that’s because we are physically more vulnerable.
    Here is a Agree/Disagree sample I found in the disgust survey linked above:   “I would rather eat a piece of fruit than a piece of paper.”   

  • nj

    A long time ago, i remember seeing a video of or reading about a performance art piece that explored this notion of disgust or repulsion and asked viewers to question why some things elicited this reaction and other similar ones didn’t.

    I can’t remember all the scenes, but one involved spitting into a glass of water then drinking it. Spit already in one’s mouth, okay. Spit briefly externalized, then consumed, not so much. 

    One could think of many other examples. Statue of a nude human in a museum, fine art. Naked person walking down the street, or even sitting in the sun in a park, indecent exposure.

    Some of this is clearly cultural, or at least context-dependent. Many people (here in the U.S., anyway) would find the idea of eating fried grasshoppers or chocolate-covered ants at best unappealing, but would enjoy a lobster dinner. But a lobster is really just a giant, aquatic insect, so what accounts for the difference?

    I wonder if there’s an evolutionary component to this, and if so, how it may have been distorted by cultural factors.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I was raised a vegetarian, and while I’ve brought myself to a great deal of rationality with regard to eating, I still find seafood to be unappealing.  It’s the smell that keeps me from enjoying it–even if it’s fresh.

  • BHA in Vermont

    OK, cheese with maggots?
    I don’t think I’m going to try that one.

    • Soli

      Don’t go to Sardinia then.

  • Student

    Is there a way to get over your disgust?  I want to go to medical school, but I fear that I may not get over the disgust that nearly all medical students experience from the smell of a preserved corpse, to the slicing of bodies, to the smells that are released once a body is open.

    • JustSayin

      Shovel out a chicken coop on a hot steamy July day… After that any corpse in any condition will seem only mildly unpleasant.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Have you really dealt with a drowning victim 3-7 days or more after they drowned?   A burned corpse who’s skin and muscle comes off in your hand, when you’re body-bagging them?
            I HAVE shoveled chicken-litter, cow, horse, cat manure, and I DON’t think that was worse than the corpses, and the smells of them.

        • JustSayin

          I guess its another of those things that is just different about people. I haven’t done the burn and decomposing thing.

          I worked in a physiology lab and handled all kinds of parts, human and animal, and none of it bothered me in the least (I don’t know why), and some of it was actually kinda funny. As in, when I would open up a bucket of eyes for the class dissection, they all float looking up out of the bucket.

          Once I accidentally over thawed a placenta in a microwave and actually cooked it. When presented to the class for examination there was a definite air of disgust, and the professor chastised me for over-thawing the specimen. LOL

          There was a human head in a jar at the back of the classroom that I nicknamed Charlie. He really freaked some people out.

          • L armond

            I have volunteered my body to be used for body armor testing.  This does not disgust me.  I know I meet the profile.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Volunteer work in disaster areas!  If you get over body-bagging bloated, decomposed, burned, or otherwise unpleasant corpses, you may be able to overcome your fear.

  • Jen

    Why am I not repulsed by my own child’s vomit, snot, feces, etc. but have to gag, grin and bear it when caring for other children not my own?  

  • L armond

    Disgust is almost impossible to erase a it arises out of most elemental knowledge that is passed on to infants, by the mother crow calling out ‘CA..CA”, passing on survival information about poison or sickening plants, feces, etc.  We never forget ‘bad tastes in the mouth.’  Everything allied with this response, disgust with a politician, disgust with city council, can not be erased until one is convinced something is ‘now’ safe, and reformed.  It is the stuff of basic survival skills, and knowledge of whom to trust.  It is  the stuff ‘of experience’ and ‘cautious optimism. 

  • Yar

    What about birds nest soup?  What happens at a hormonal level with the emotion of disgust?  How is it exploited by capitalists and politicians? 

  • JustSayin

    Shouldn’t Mike Rowe have been a guest. He knows more about dealing with this subject than almost everyone.

  • L armond

    I always correct my siblings whenever they use the phrase ‘that’s disgusting.’  It also involves the quiet curling of the lips and and the shifting of the eyes away from the ‘source.’  I always tell them I am disgusted with the class that ‘takes offense’, ‘that is disgusted’ and appalled.  I say when they take on these affectations of the upstairs class, they are giving up their French inquisitive mind, and their Indian quiet mind.  If they want to disown their heritage and their brains, they are free to, but they can not walk with me.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    So – how did disgust evolve from a survival technique to a response to badly styled shoes?

    • L armond

      Judging stylishness is judging ones ability to pass in polite society.  One must have it all together according to code in order to join in certain circles.  Even the upper classes do not allow their children at certain events, as they are to young to be indoctrinated in every aspect of the complicated code in which like recognizes like.  One of us.  Not one of us.

      • Cheyanne Smith

        …I believe the word is “gauche” that the upper class uses to denote lower class style.
         
        ….Low Class, High Class, revulsion, revolting, repulsive….Even the wealthy go “slumming” (as they call it) when they go to Flea Markets. 

        You’d never know they are not one of “them” when they do it because they dress down.

        Style is unimportant at a Flea Market.  If the seller knows you have money and look like you have money they will charge you more.

        That’s how shoes, style, and revulsion have come to this.

        • L armond

          In Charleston, always spoken at home and never in public, I heard when things were ‘vulgar’ but that was usually attached to ‘behavior’ rather than ‘dress.’

  • JAMESDTHOMPSON

    Tom,

    Could you ask your guest the diffrence between repulsive and revulsive…also what effects-or lack thereof- on disgust do lack of social interactions have.   Great program.

  • Morgannatick

    Rarely revolt others, but Marmite on my toast (staple in U.K.) revolts in the U.S. with an intensity that shocks me, not clear precisely why but it is a boundary.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I used to have ferrets.  They have a small measure of the smell that skunks have in abundance, so skunk smell doesn’t bother me.

  • Akfaka

    One thing I found very disgusting is people sneeze or cough in public or in the house. Whatever cold or flu they have, what give them the right to spread their germs to the others? Havn’t they been taught to cover their mouths?

    • nj

      If one can’t cover a sneeze with a handkerchief or substantial wad of tissue, i believe the recommended and preferred technique is to bend over and sneeze downward, so that most of the, uh, expelled stuff hits and sticks to the ground, or sneezing into the elbow joint of one’s arm. Both of which, i suppose, could be considered disgusting by some.

      Covering a sneeze with just a hand causes most of the stuff to just go sideways into the air.

      • L armond

        That is why the lace hanky is always tucked discreetly into the sleeve.  The nuns taught us this.  Oh, the French nun is unlike any other, the Irish, for instance.

  • Guest

    Blood is disgusting and I will never be around anyone who kills animals. So, I don’t your wife will going along with your habits.

    I protect about 1600 acres from all hunters. Yes, I own more guns then I need but they are all loaded. I don’t want to be disgusted.

    • Guest

      My apologies for not checking my typing. DOUBT and BE are corrections.

  • Jess in Boston

    I’m rather skeptical that somehow we are disgusted by bodily fluids and sex or defecation in public because it reminds of mortality. It seems a pretty large leap to that conclusion.

    I agree that disgust is a socialized emotion, but the speculation connecting it to a universal fear of death or “being animals” is pure armchair theory, not to mention ethnocentric speculation based on Western culture.

    Other cultures who do not delineate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom still have socialized disgust. 

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I agree that she’s made a leap here, but haven’t most all cultures made a distinction between humans and other animals?

      • Jess in Boston

        Not in the way that she’s implying. You are correct that probably all human cultures define themselves as “human” rather than “other animal.” But here’s the difference:

        - The West, especially the Christianized areas, separates humans as in a completely different category from animals.
        - Other cultures see themselves as human (versus, say, a duck), but humans are a part of a greater whole and a part of the animal kingdom, not outside it. There is no fundamental “fear” of being similar to a bear or an ant. 

        • Questioner

          I wouldn’t say Christians have a fundamental fear of being similar to a bear or ant in terms of mortality.  Christians know that they’re going to die, but they have different beliefs about what that means.

          • Jess in Boston

            I agree, which is why I think the psychologizing put forth by the guest is silly. In my comment I meant only to address that people’s supposed fundamental fear of being reminded that they are animals as a basis for disgust (separate from her mortality argument) is not universal. It is at beast a tenuous basis for the development of cultural disgust.

          • L armond

            And the sun circles the earth, your eminence?

          • Jess in Boston

            I don’t understand, what point are you trying to make here?

          • L armond

            The beastly wisdom is always the most fuctional and life supporting.  Speculation, and theorizing on it being ‘fear of death, not necessarily supported by the evidence of the world.  More likely that is a subset of the visual system that supports language.

    • nj

      The mortality connection seems a little stretched to me, too.

  • Vanessa (Jamaica Plain, MA)

    I have a pretty high tolerance for most things…. but I would say ROTTING MUSHY PUMPKIN is my number one disgusting smell…. its one of the only things that instantly cause a gag reflex.  Absolutely disgusting. 

  • pebbles

    Why do so many men and women find breastfeeding disgusting?  I’ll never understand it.

    • nj

      What i find disgusting is drinking the milk of another species. Well, maybe not disgusting, but at least bizarre.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Just don’t do it around other people.

    • Jess in Boston

      Because generally our culture does not approve of publicly exposing the breast. The fact that it is fulfilling it’s primary function to feed a baby doesn’t change that.

      • pebbles

        That’s not my point.  I get Americans are slightly freaked out by nakedness.  I mean for feeding their child, lots of women are disgusted at the thought of feeding their own child

        • Jess in Boston

          My guess is that’s largely the work of manufacturers and marketers in the early part of the 20th century to get more families to buy powder instead. And a larger part of the “atomic age” cultural movement where science triumphs over nature, and “nature” becomes disgusting and base, where clean, modern science is tidy and preferable.

        • Questioner

          Really, I didn’t know that.  That one’s new to me.

      • Questioner

         I disagree Jess, The American culture overwhelming approves of publicly exposing the breast, for sexual reasons.  I have a hard time understanding women who choose to show cleavage (I hate to see it) yet I do not find breastfeeding repulsive.  I also find that I’m more likely to see women showing cleavage here than in my home country and I am more likely to see women breastfeeding in my home country than here.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I don’t find breastfeeding to be disgusting.  It falls into the category of none of my business, but that’s different from disgust.

        • Jess in Boston

          I must disagree with you. While advertising may show many scantily-clad women under the “sex sells” principle, most Americans would be offended by actual exposure of the breast in real-life or in print, even when exposed sexually. Magazines that exist for the sole purpose of exposing these things are tucked away behind screens in the backs of stores.

          We have relatively few nude or topless beaches, and the ones that exist are either illegal or isolated. We have nearly no instances of public bath houses that other cultures might have, where same-gender people walk about or bath together naked. We are continually lampooned by other cultures for our reluctance to expose ourselves under nearly any circumstance. 

          While many young women may expose a great part of their skin here, you are generally expected to grow out of that. Cleavage is not culturally appropriate at work, formal situations, and certainly not past a certain age. That there are people who break these rules doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            We tend to see nudity and sex as something to be enjoyed in private.  In a dark theater, one can imagine oneself to be alone.  Out in public, when we see someone else in a state of undress, we feel exposed too in our reaction.

          • nj

            That’s kind of a broad overstatement, “We tend to see….” And mere nudity should not be conflated with sex.

            Many, or most (at least in our repressed, U.S. culture), perhaps may share something like that view, but there are clear benefits and pleasure to be taken from social nudity which have nothing to do with sex. Thousands of people happily and civilly enjoy various forms of nude recreation all over the world all the time.

            If you’re uncomfortable with that, you don’t have to project that discomfort onto others.

          • Nashville Mom

            Over the course of 9 years of breastfeeding in public, I thought “they” the public would become more liberal in their reaction and the projection of discomfort would diminish.  I was wrong.  In hindsight, it really seemed to only worsen and become more insidious (teasing, jokes, etc) in our culture.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            My sympathy to you, Mother that Cares, for the stupidity of those people!

          • L armond

            My reply to such reactions were I a nursing mother is first, never let the child pick up on the negativity from outside, then politely ask the ‘disgusted one,’ if they have their own Bravo channel. 

          • Jess in Boston

            I don’t think it’s really an overstatement to say that American culture tends to prefer its nudity in private, sexual or otherwise. What one can get away with in the privacy of one’s home, (for example: lounging about in the nude with one’s partner, or walking from the bathroom to the bedroom in a towel around close family members) is vastly different from what one can get away with in public, where such things are considered not just distasteful, but often illegal. I think Greg Camp meant “we” as in “we as Americans,” or “we as a culture,” not “everyone.”

          • Questioner

            I see what you’re saying, you’re saying complete exposure of the breast is repulsive to most Americans.  To me, any exposure of the breast besides breastfeeding, especially in real life, is repulsive.

          • nj

            To continue wandering a bit further off topic…

            I think part of the reason for what Jess describes here is that nudity, and, especially female nudity, has been commodified for profit. If opportunities for simple, public nudity can be repressed and limited, it allows for a more robust market potential of titillation for packaged, sold, and sexualized nudity in the commercial realm.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      A couple of explainations that I have, are #1 ENVY of the child, #2 acknowledging their own lack of control, when viewing , or knowing a woman’s breast is exposed.
         I don’t understand it, and I am a white male, that praises women that breast-feed!  SOOO many advantages for the child!

      • Ellen Dibble

        If women went topless most of the time, in warm weather, do you suppose this hangup would pass?  Just as we got over the exposed ankles after the age of long Victorian dresses, just as we got over exposed upper arms, or exposed hair, or exposed faces, for that matter?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Extreme Repression, by religions, such as Child-Molesting and Child-Abusing Catholics, that exist from Extreme HYPOCRICY!

    • L armond

      It is a culturally learned response.  I know people who are disgusted with a child who has a runny nose and actually say it out loud to the child with all its visual accompaniments.  The people who are disgusted by life as it is, and show it, are disgusting.  There is nothing disgusting in Mother Nature, only things to be discussed.

  • nj

    How does the us/them rationale apply to my earlier example of spitting in a glass of water then drinking it?

  • http://twitter.com/mrtoastey Mick Jeffries

    I’ve alway thought it was interesting that some creepy-crawly insects — like Cockroaches — are revolting, while others — say, ants — aren’t at all. (your mileage may vary)

  • Jemimah

    I’ve noticed that people around 30 and younger think that almost anything that smells at all, other than something like deodorizer or soap, it disgusting and they react with disgust to it.  My theory on this is that our culture, egged on by the manufacturers of cleaning, cleansing, anti-bacterial products, has become intolerant of anything that doesn’t smell “clean.”

  • Mrs. Madrona

    I have always ( since a small child) been disgusted of smoke smell and drunk people… and therefore I DO NOT SMOKE and I DO NOT DRINK.. I am 26 years old and I REFUSE to even be a designated driver for my friends or family.

    My then boyfriend also quit smoking long ago, because once he got to my home with a cigarette smell and I told him it was a deal breaker… Good for him!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Women have gotten IRATE, when I tell them I will NOT date tobacco-users!  I think that choice is mine!

      • L armond

        Even Greta Garbo or Mata Hari?

  • Guest

    Can you have such a hyper-disgust that it is considered a mental sickness?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Is that what’s going on with someone with OCD who is terrified of germs?

  • JustSayin

    It is interesting that purely visual stimulus can produce psychological reactions. Such as vomiting at the sight of…whatever.  It is used by Hollywood quite a bit for dramatic effect.

    Smell: I was once sickened by the smell of hot tar, and still find it repellant.

    Visual: The scene that defined visual revulsion was my childhood Collie wagging her tail in pure delight as she munched down on a very rancid and maggot infested beaver tail that she had fished out of the pond.

    I buried that deep, and she never forgave me. One creatures delight was my disgust.

    • Questioner

      The word vomit itself used to make me want to gag, I could not type, write, read, or hear it without wanting to gag.  It sounds disgusting.

      • Vomit

        VOMIT :)

        • Ellen Dibble

          Vomit.  (Throw up)  Etymologically derived from the same as the English word emetic (causing vomiting), the Greek emesis (PIE, wem, spew forth, discharge), going back to Sanskrit, vamati.  Germans have parallel words erbrechen, ubergeben, ausspucken (I see “puke” there; I see break out of; I see give over, give up).  But the word that catches me, right nearby vomit in the dictionaries, is actually not related:  Volcano.  Prone explosive activity, first applied to Mount Etna, derived from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan.  If there were a verb associated, about explosive activity, it should be volcanic, and it’s not related to disgust.  

      • Ellen Dibble

        xx (Never mind.)

  • Patrik

    I have noticed that some people are not digusted by anything and may even have an appeal for certain general disgusting things/acts.  Why?

    • L armond

      These people are ‘first responders’, jump to action types, ‘helpful people.’  People who are subject to disgust are’not helpful’ at the scene of any accident, disaster, illness, etc.  They can not be ‘helpful.’ 

      • Guest

        One can be both. I do well handling emergencies and have had to do so for more than 20 years; however, particular kinds of foods can make me toss my lunch. Meat is the worst one and people who fish, smell terrible. I suppose all hunter would fit into that category but I don’t allow any of that.

        • L armond

          For me it is the smell of bacon cooking.  I associate it with a stay at PNH, back in the day when we had windows that opened.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Some of us ‘first-responders’ just do our best to control the disgust, revulsion, until we take care of the situation of risk.
           Many of us are NOT drawn to the repulsive aspects, but to the aspect of lessening them.

        • L armond

          Most of my disgust is to the action of others who beat down other humans either on purpose or through ignorance.  Newt disgusts me. Man, not reptile.  The newt does not deserve its species being associated with such a ….

  • Campjive

    I am a respiratory therapist in a hospital and we deal with sputum on a daily basis..color, thickness, smell, amount…and nurses are disgusted by phlegm. Yet they can deal with urine, vomit, wounds, etc without a blinking an eye. And as respiratory therapists we cringe at the thought of having to give a patient a bedpan or emptying a urinal. Its a defining line between our professions.

  • Guest

    Turn it around.  If vomit and parmesian cheese is the same olfactory chemicals, can you like the smell of vomit?

  • http://twitter.com/mrtoastey Mick Jeffries

    when I was a kid, my dad used to reminisce on some fraternity brother of his who, at certain house dinners, would (or did, at least once)  pass a glass around, and for an ante (not sure of the $ amount), each person could put *anything* from their dinner into the glass. The fellow would then supposedly ingest the contents in exchange for the pool of cash. I’m still disgusted and it happened before I was born.

    • Ellen Dibble

      A torture case in superior court — I think the victim was eventually killed and disposed of in a ditch — involved having the young man drink coffee cans filled with sputum of his abusers (while tied to a radiator).  It does kind of stick to me.  I could probably vomit if forced to keep it in mind.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    My mother always would put on a particular perfume before we would go out in the car – and my brother invariably got car sick.

    Even 40 years later, that perfume smells like vomit to me.

  • Peggy Medema

    Both of my daughters gag at the sound of masking tape being pulled off of something, especially fabric. Oddly enough, they are 14 years apart in age, so they didn’t really grow up together.

  • JAMESDTHOMPSON

    I always thought parmegan cheese had an odor similar to old worn socks, although not fond of the smelly socks I love the parmegan.  On the other hand I’ve always found the smell of canned chicken soup to be similar to body odor in the gym locker room and would never consume canned chicken soup…yuck!

  • Jason

    Can you explain why I am so violently disgusted by the sound of someone eating?

    • And the answer is…

      Germ theory.

  • http://zeitvox.com/ Citizen Zed

    Fascinating. The mutability and idiosyncrasy but also a cultural frame. I can be rare in not finding female armpit hair disgusting, and yet am viscerally disgusted by Newt Gingrich… disgusted not only at sophistry but mediocre sophistry that is so blatant as to announce itself as such.

  • nj

    Another thought: Microbes are generally thought of as creepy; “germs,” mostly. “Germs” is often used interchangeably with microbe as the general term.

    Yet, microbes are a major part of the biological system which supports our existence—soil critters are essential to plant life, our large intestine is home to about five pounds of bacteria that help us digest our food, mushrooms (not “fungus,” though!) can be culinary delights…

  • John Kozma

    I am a Westerner, and lived in Tokyo for about 18 months.  I really like natto.  I think most Japanese from the Tokyo area don’t like it– it is a regional favorite from the Kyoto area.

  • Meghan

    Newspapers gross me out. the smell makes me want to vomit. I don’t even want to look at them or touch them. I don’tknow why. 

    • Gilsully

      how not…the content smells…yellow…

  • miro

    I agree with Jess in Boston that fear of mortality per se (and/or being an animal) is a very weak basis of disgust. There must be some other, better explanation.

    There is a political dimension to disgust. When political movements cast groups of people in terms of “unclean” or “vermin”, they play on feelings of disgust to manipulate one’s sense of self (my people) and Other (those people).

    Conservative movements famously manipulate fear for political ends, and perhaps their use of disgust is related to that. Disgust is at the root of the Birther mentality, which strives to deny our president his American-ness and even his humanity.

  • Kim

    I remember much stronger disgust and gagging reactions to some foods as a child. Does it change as we age?

  • Eric

    What does all this say about people who are broadly not disgusted by anything?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Children in some way revel in disgust.  Consider their jokes, their playground songs, totally wallowing in the sheer disgustingness of life, that which they know, that which they don’t.  

  • Guest

    Do people who watch “Fear Factor” have lower disgust levels?

    • Anonymous

      People who watch any reality television must.

      • L armond

        Must what?  Gag?  I thought I was alone in this.

  • Ellen Dibble

    There is a vomit/spit-up reflex that infants who are healthy develop that has to do with textures touching the tongue, and if they are traumatized (or something), they end up unable to ingest things.  They have to be trained, first to touch the different textures, different foods, and I think there is a kind of spoon available to parents that can teach infants to tolerate things in their mouths, in their throats.  As one gets older, one can tolerate things farther back in the mouth/throat.  Remember being able to gag/vomit eggs that are still slimy? 

  • Laura

    My sense of taste and smell altered radically after a series of bad colds in the early ’80′s.  Lettuce, coca-cola, noxema and even MY MOTHER smelled or tasted like garbage to me.  Thankfully, all returned to normal after about 18 months.  

    Laura
    Meadville, PA

  • Anonymous

    As an outdoor educator working with people of all ages, I sometimes find
    it hard to get the attention of those detached teenagers. But some things work
    every time.

    Just find something like a nest of baby spiders or a newt under a rotten
    log…the teenaged reaction is (not inevitably but certainly predictably) a
    drawn-out “Eeeeuuwgh…”
    immediately followed by — “what IS
    it?” — betraying both negative disgust and positive
    curiosity.

  • L armond

    Think ‘steerage’ vs. POSH accommodations, and who mixes with whom in lifeboats.  POSH people have ‘people’ to take care of every aspect of their lives/  The ‘undeserving poor’ the ‘food stamp people’ have kids hanging on to them, sneezing, crying, needing attention.  They have no ‘people’, but they know to stay out of sight of the elite, and keep their children away from them too, because the ‘ways of the upperclasses’ the looks, and and lifting of chin and nose, are hurtful to children who do not experience this with people who love and undertand them.  To a child, upper class affectations are ‘alien’ to the home that loves them.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I think that you’re missing the topic of today’s discussion.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Do you mean that the non-alien is the part where the familial sense of intimacy transcends a sort of basic level of avoidance?  And perhaps posh people don’t integrate that sense of intimacy the same way, but use “people” who are not so easily revolted?

      • L armond

        Yes, they use people, all right. And abuse them.  Remember that the crew on the recent maritime accident off the coast of Italy.  By and large the servant class stepped up and all was well with minimum loss of life.  I am sure it was their example, and coaching, that saved the lives of all those souls.  ‘Helpful people,’ more often found in third world countries.  And in the Navy Seals and Army Special Forces.  These are the people who learn from the natives of every culture.

  • Ed

    I compost with worms. Where do I fit?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

      Worms sound fine – but when get into the entire ecosystem there – mold, mites, springtails and other creatures, and it starts sounding pretty disgusting.

      If you do it right, though, it never smells bad.

      • nj

        How do you feel about the millions of bacteria living on your skin, or the 3–5 pounds of them in your large intestine, or the dust mites on your eyelids?

        • JustSayin

          Yeah, and about 14 lbs of dead skin in an older mattress and millions and millions of dust mites.

          Nobody sleeps alone.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I’ve discovered that the blue light on my HEPA air filter will actually kill things like mites — for instance a certain species of no-see-um that dwelt for about a decade somewhere in my computer equipment.  But I post blue lights now where I want the mites to die too, since I can get allergic to them if they flourish. Also I use ultraviolet wands to take bacteria off computer keyboards, or plastic keyboard protectors which can get sticky after a bad cold, or simply time, or maybe I just have sweaty fingers.

          • JustSayin

            Its true, people worry too much about what they can see, and not nearly enough about what they can’t.

          • L armond

            Isn’t this what plausible deniability is all about?  Out of sight out of mind?  Service alleys.  Ignoring the insulation in the space you rent to the poor, the upgrading, etc., because ‘they just couldn’t appreciate’ what you would not do without.  All classes know what heat going up the chimney means, but not the landlord class.

  • Stephanie Pelkey

    My husband were living in rural China and one day were eating lunch with a group of villagers. As I faced trying to overcome my revulsion at consuming yet ANOTHER chicken foot with claws intact, I was explaining to our hosts that we had a dish similar to a mashed potato dish that they had on the table. The main difference, I explained, was that we added milk and butter. The villager sitting next to me then proceeded to have a major gross-out moment and proclaimed that if there was one thing he would NEVER consume is milk from an animal.

  • L-sigmund

    Have you discussed pregnancy and disgust?  I couldn’t be in the same room with shrimp and the idea of people eating them was abhorrent while I was pregnant.  Now, I like them.  What is the pregnancy/increased disgust connection?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1320887009 Charli Henley

    I am easily disgusted, by many things. What does that say about me? 

  • Stephanie

    Sorry, previous comment should read “my husband and I”

  • Nashville Mom

    what about the delicacy of whale anus popular in Parisian perfumes and nobility’s clam soup?

  • Paul Toohey

    What’s the difference between a ‘phobia’ and ‘disgust’?

    • Anonymous

      a phobia is an irrational fear of something that paralyzes a person, whereas disgust is something that one finds icky

    • Anonymous

      A phobia is a fear, whereas disgust is revulsion.

  • Mica

    Joined the conversation late but I wonder how people were intimate in Elizabethan times for example, when they bathed infrequently and probably had halitosis, etc…Were people’s tolerances just different?

    • L armond

      ‘Buttons and Bows’  are the ‘Birds and the Bees’ , mixed scent.

    • Jess in Boston

      That’s my guess. Body odor is repulsive to some cultures but doesn’t bother others even today. When studying abroad in Europe, a professor asked us how we could know someone is the right person for us if we don’t know how they naturally smell, much to the shock and disgust of all the American students.

      • Questioner

         I know for me when I get to know someone really well I can tolerate their body odour (which may be foul to some).  Strangers’ body odours I cannot tolerate.

        • Jess in Boston

          Perhaps in that case, disgust is mediated by one’s expectations. Certainly suddenly being hit with the smell of garbage while sitting at home might trigger a gag reflex more than smelling garbage at the dump.

          • L armond

            It simply means ‘that attention must be paid’, that a potato or onion must be thrown out in the compost.  Maybe it had rolled under something.  These smells cling, and let predators and judgers know a ‘disgusting person’ lives here.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Think frankincense.  Think lavender (a word based in the word for wash, lavatory, maybe not lavish).  Think all the traditional uses of smells and odors that would deflect the attention from the less appetizing.

      • Brett

        Victorians used ‘nosegays’ or ‘fussy mussies’ (wrist corsages with various herbs and flowers to mask odors, etc.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Disgust of breastfeeding  is one thing I’ve never understood.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If I’m not intimate with her, a woman’s breast is none of my business.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        But that’s a neutral response, not disgust. Some people (usually men) just think it’s vile.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I doubt that it’s disgust.  It’s more the shock (in our culture) of seeing someone expose herself, no matter why she’s doing it.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

            The responses I’ve seen in the past put it more in the category of public defecation than public nudity.

          • Nashville Mom

            they’re saying that its more an emotion of outrage for morality (covering nakedness), but if we use the word for disgust, it makes it disgusting.  Having breastfed three children, I was disgusted using the man-made breast pumps to get the milk, but was in no way disgusted letting the babies suckle naturally.  (Using the word suckle is somewhat disgusting to hear for some people I assume).  And it was a real pain to nurse in public (and believe me, if I didn’t need to feed my babies every two to three hours I wouldn’t have breastfed in public) because of the feeling I was making people so extremely uncomfortable when doing so…even when I used a ton of modern covering called “hooter hiders”…it was like the public, even though they could see absolutely nothing, still “knew” what was happening and didn’t know how to react except to act like I had just flashed them somehow.

          • L armond

            I laughed in delight in Charlottesville when I got a ‘triple’ mooning from the back of a station wagon.  I considered myself lucky to be in the right place at the right time for such a rare astronomical event!The newer vehicles just can’t accommodate this type of ‘flag waving’

  • L armond

    If you had a great Aunt always picking at you, your buttons, your hair, you would become disgusted with that claw hand approaching you, as if to admonish you for having ‘missed one little detail’ before appearing in public.  “A loose button?” what is wrong with you.  Put it on the tray for James to take care of later.  I hate anyone approaching my body and face.  ‘How dare they presume to think I care about the small stuff?  I am a responder, not a ‘nuisance’. Hence, my fencing skills were honed by my reaction to the ‘charitable Aunt, the penny pincher, the MacArthur praising, identifying with, etc., etc. Hence, my disgust.

  • Jenn

    There was talk of OCD-type disorders and phobias linked to disgust – but how about lack of disgust in behaviors universally considered anti-social – such as serial killers who cannibalize or mutilate their victims?  Is this also a form of OCD?

  • Cindycb

    Great discussion. Reminds me of “The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover” (Peter Greenaway). I loved the story’s ability to make you blissful or to make you disgusted! It was for me a journey through our sensations and how we experience sensation through our orifices, our openings. How “oysters” to some are ecstasy, but to others gut-wrenching. How when our orifices are used as intended we experience pleasure, as in the movie, through food, music, vision, love, even if “forbidden”. But for this pleasure, we also expose ourselves to the possibility of disgust or worse great pain.

  • Celeste

    Going back to the idea of exposure as the cure to disgust — doesn’t that in some way justify cruelty or injustice? Don’t we risk a slippery slope of immoral behavior by equating medical disgust with other kinds of disgust?

  • L armond

    People who understand that ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ are never disgusted.  They are understanding and helpful.  They are Seals.  And their cadence songs are not distraction, they are focusing, uniting, mission first, ‘dance with the pretty ladies later.’

  • Dave

    I used to take high school students to help in the recovery of bones from whales that died along the New England coast.   I told them the smell was so bad they could taste it.  Almost all students were apprehensive at first but after would invariably sign on for the next dead whale.

    • nj

      I dead animal—deer, i think—once washed up onto the bank of a river we used to swim in and hang out at. Probably moved there by winter snow melt in the spring.

      By mid-summer, if the wind was wrong, the stench was so bad, even 150 feet or so away, that it was overwhelming. One of the nastiest things i’ve ever smelled.

  • Anonymous

    how does one get to the online discuss survey?

  • Anonymous

    How does one take the disgust survey?

  • Modestino G. Criscitiello M.D.

    During my first night of medical interneship in 1948 I was called out by the night nurse to see an elderly woman complaining of severe abdominal cramps. She had gone two days without a bowel movement and was suffering from a faecal impaction. 
    The nurse was ready with a rubber glove and the proper lubricant, and she said” Don’t worry,I’ll help you through it”. Under her direction I put on the glove, lubricated
    my index finger, performed a rectal exam, and  broke up the hard stool. The patient gave a hugh sigh of relief, passed the fragments and soon feel asleep.

    On rounds next morning I overheard the patient tell her neighbor in the next bed,”That new intern is going to be a great doctor!”! I’ve never had a problem performing rectal exams after that

    • L armond

      Also necessary in battlefield hospitals.  There are very few Nightingales in the ‘offended’ class.  They just might throw a coin at you.  That is what they collect pennies off the ground for.  The pennies make them feel lucky that they didn’t have to approach the begger, breath in their stench, ‘the great unwashed’ homeless vet is always with us after certain General MacArthur approaches to the poor and undeserving.   In some cities MacArthur is their talisman, guiding them in their approach to life and the ‘unwashed.’  He of the ‘mounted class’ that would formerly  have had a duty to warn and assist, attend only to their friends and family, and leave everyone else in the muck.  They never send back help, either.  It is always ‘Great job, Brownie,’ with them.

      • Ellen Dibble

        There is something historical about your reference to the “great unwashed.”  Before the era of DDT and electric dishwashers and clothes washers, you could have Robert Burns writing poetry about “Ye wee timorous beasty,” in “To a Louse,” being a tiny creature all a twitter in the hair of the lady in front of him at church, or something like that.  Now, there is running water, hot water, toilets, both for the rich and the poor.  City ordinances probably forbid housing without a proper sewer attachment and running water.  And when bedbugs make their post-DDT renaissance in New York City, there is a great leveling of classes.  Those who travel to hotels and motels may be better off, but are not necessarily immune.  The days when white gloves and bonnets were the rule, night and day, to keep your bugs to yourself, others’ bugs to themselves, are somewhat past.  Homelessness aside, people are less easy to sort out, classwise, on the basis of smell, it seems to me, than say 100 years ago.

        • JustSayin

          An interesting bit of empirical observation at a manufacturing plant. The engineering staff and the assembly workers all washed their hands after using the restroom, but it was noticed by us that management (“the suits”) rarely did so. Perhaps a sense of class entitlement?

          Always be certain to wash your hands after shaking hands with anyone wearing a tie.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Was that men as well as women, women as well as men?  “Suits” to me means men.  Oh, the classism.  Oh, the sexism.  

          • L armond

            What!  No one ever said, “That suits you,” to you?

          • Ellen Dibble

            Nope.

  • Nashville Mom

    The disgust factor shouldn’t be dismissed, it’s there for an important reason.  My father, growing up in rural Alabama in the 1950′s, often drank from streams.  At age 10 he looked up while sipping water and saw a dead chicken floating down stream.  They also used the outhouse as their “jail” during play and the only way to escape jail was to go through the hole and manage to climb over the poopy pan.  He described that sometimes they would slip into the pan in an attempted escape.  Later that year he had a positive diagnosis of hepatitis.  He thinks it was from the chicken, not the poop.

  • Patrick

    My 2 year old son has been disgusted by mushy things since he was6 or 7 months old and originally would gag eating or even touching mashed potatos.

  • Mary in Germany

    Why can’t my daughter stand the sound of a metal spoon against a metal pot, or my husband the sound of my fingernails creasing paper? I try to respect their sensivities, but I think they’re both nuts.

    • L armond

      Attention getting, primal response to the first high pitched moan of a child, pulls you out of sleep to attend to the child and prevent the predator from thinking prey was available, undefended.  All Native Americans understand this.  As well as hunters of every culture, people who walk the craggy paths of life.  All Black Sea and Caspian Sea people.

  • Brett

    Styrofoam being squeezed…DISGUSTING…well, it’s more grating and nauseating than disgusting

    • Ellen Dibble

      What about radio “static,” which I get when listening to the station where I hear OnPoint if I don’t listen online.  The noise sounds like it’s likely to cause deafness, or maybe brain tumors.  It amazes me that I listen to All Things Considered, BBC, and OnPoint through that mess of sound.  But it enables me to move around, with a headset on, and get things done.
          My point is that I choose this unpleasantness, but if I were imposing it on someone else, I would consider their distress very valid.

      • L armond

        Interference, you say?  Astronomical knowledge is ‘of the devil,’ or ‘of the minions.’

        • Ellen Dibble

          What?  The station does not have enough power or band width or something.  And cordless headsets have something in common with cell phones in terms of waves other than plain light waves that are dancing around us.

    • http://onpoint.wbur.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

      Agreed! I actually can’t unpack some things out of boxes because the texture of big chunks of styrofoam is so horrific.  Just hearing it is like being stabbed in the stomach.

  • Smiclops

    The only time I actually gagged was from smell. I opened a ball jar I had holding old bacon grease…well it SHOULD have been only bacon grease, but after the fact I remembered that I had poured BURGER grease into it at some point. Smells have never bothered me to this extreeme. The gagging reaction was so fast and visceral! This stench literally unhinged my mind.  

    • L armond

      Something not natural in that meat, I’d say.  Should this be an issue for the FDA or EPA?  Would you need ‘proof’ that it was ‘harmful’ before you would warn your loved ones, friends and family.  ‘No fresh meat fat! You don’t know who has done what to it.

  • Nancy Garreaud

    My father was a 1st generation Swede, and in our house I grew up thinking that everybody said “ishta” (strong emphasis on the first syllable) when something disgusting manifested.  It has  been passed down to his great-grandchildren.  It’s much more fun to say than “eeew.”

    • L armond

      I know the sound of disapproval from grandmothers of many nations.  Chicago barn yard fattened child.

  • Laurence Mckinney

    Dr. Herz’s bio suggests she is a pioneer in the emotional effect of smell, which I describe in my book, Neurotheology: Virtual Religion in he 21st century, published in 1994.  You’ll find most of the following there.

    The overriding reason that the sense of smell is so intense is that it is so basic it overrides later cognitive structures and goes straight to the emotional memories mitigated by the hippocampus.  No filter, you might say, so it hits much harder.  That’s not rocket science and they’ve been flogging human pheronomes as attractants for ages but I know of no peer-reviewed studies of sudden lovers as a result.

    Still, Dr. Herz veers far afield from speculation on smells when she posits disgust as a fear of the realization that we are animals and thus mortal.

    Nope.  Only humans have the conscious chronological memory that allows us to predict futures.  It’s likely we got that one only about 50,000 years ago if you check out the sudden ability to plan, do tools, art, and run the Neanderthals out of town. If this were not the case chimpanzees would have figured out gardens a long time ago, and porpoises would be herding tuna. 

    Only humans can fear death because only humans know they’re going to die.  We don’t need disgust for that, and the realization that we’re going to die and our actually thinking about it only started up in the last 100,000 years. We had plenty of disgust before that.  There’s simply no causality there, Carl Sagan though we might have genetic memories of dragons when he was describing the distorted memories of infancy common to all infants, the source of myth , magic, and all creation stories.

    Only recent humans know to fear death per se. Animals will fight for survival – but that’s about it.  This “fear” comes with predictive cognition. We simply didn’t have it once, and when we got it … we know we’ll die.  So we invented afterlives, of course.

    Second:  All emotions – all of them  – are hormonal in nature and result in what’s happening in the brain.  As the “unfamiliar” in terms of input from any sense rises, we go from disinterest, through fear, to terror – “familiar” information takes us from acceptance to attraction to joy.  Both joy and terror are adrenalin overloads, either the familiar or the unfamiliar, but they give us energy to face a danger. It also speeds up the brain, making time seem to slow.  It also blots personality, for the moment, which is why sex seems to unite people when it’s really just making them lose their personalities and bond, as men do in the terror of battle.

    Mainly I was staggered by the amount of concept stretching Dr. Herz employes,  offering the most unlikely connections to bolster her theory.  Swiss cheese looks like imperfect skin means disease means death is a tortured chain.  There’s no automatic disgust … there’s a wide range of reasons mitigated by culture and circumstance. Trying to tie being “animal” to a fear of dying has no basis in any cultural, anthropological, historical, or neurological school that I am aware of.  It was usually the opposite as humans would try to possess an animals spirit both for power, and immortality.

    Incidentally, I want to thank the phone contributor who mentioned the Tibetan Buddhism “chod” ritual, which he correctly described as preparing the mind for the inevitability of decay and death – which is a basic tenet of Buddhism.  Buddha was shocked to discover people got ill and died … so he started a world religion 2,500 years ago.  Shocked, I tell you!  He thought up a philosophy which essentially said, we all die, so get over it.  Buddhist saints would do things like lick maggots out of a wound so as not to upset the maggots.

    Dr. Herz would enjoy an expanded reading list, but judging from her list of commercial consuling clients, I would doubt that “Suaves scent expert” is as concerned with cultural outliers like Tibetans or other non P&G (another client) markets.  She’s very good at marketing things that smell nice but are without substance.  I just wish this extended to he book.

    I shall leave with a suitable scholarly phase “de gustibus non disputandum est”  .. there is no accounting for taste … and I like cheese too.   I just want to know who her publicist is, I have a large balloon requiring inflation.

    Laurence O. McKinney
    WebMindful.org

     

    • nj

      Thanks for those comments. A number of us had expressed reservations about some of Ms. Herz’s notions earlier in this forum. It’s nice to see a more detailed critique.

  • Sy2502

    I am so glad somebody called about eye balls… for me it’s so bad I have actually passed out at the doctor’s office a few times. I am glad to know I am not the only one. 

  • Jean

    It disgusts me when people spit especially in places like train stations.  Alot of people do it and many are women.  It really grosses me out.

  • Chris Reilly

    people cracking their necks. i can’t even be around it

  • http://motherwouldknow.com/ Laura @MotherWouldKnow

    Listening to it shortly after dinner may not have been my best move, but it was a fascinating show. 

  • Pingback: Yuck! That’s disgusting! | Single. Sassy. Smart. Sophisticated?

  • Republicans

    Republican$ disgust me

    • GatorMum

      Liberals disgust me.

      • bollox

        americans disgust me

  • Davesa

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

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Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

 
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

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Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

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