The Right Coast

March 06, 2004
FAQ for persons about to delve into the Blackmun Tapes
By Tom Smith

Q: Is there really such a thing as "permanent boredom injury"?

A: The existence of PBI is still controversial among neurologists and psychiatrists. Toll booth operators, security guards in quiet neighborhoods, and of course, some lawyers have experienced symptoms of what some experts refer to as PBI. Inability to concentrate, sobbing, hysterical laughter and various kinds of substance abuse are all possible symptoms. Others regard PBI as merely a special case of post traumatic stress syndrome.

Q: Is there any relationship between PBI and Justice Blackmun?

A: Whether coincidentally or not, reported incidence of PBI is much higher than expected among groups that have been exposed to a Blackmun speech, especially one in which the topic of Roe v. Wade comes up, which includes every known speech given by the late justice after his emergence from obscurity after the famous decision permitting the non-killing killing of non-person persons.

Q: Is there any hard evidence that listening to Blackmun causes PBI?

A: No. However, this answer should be qualified by noting that some promising cases (in the research sense) were unable to respond to queries because they had been institutionalized. And of course, there is the well-known and sad case of the suicide mid-way through a speech by Justice Blackmun.

Q: Is there anything I can do to take precautions against PBI if I am determined to listen to the Blackmun Tapes?

A: Yes. First, you should consider your own risk factors to determine what level of precautions is advisable. Persons from the mid-West, especially Minnesota, persons who think Justice Blackmun was a hero, and persons who can honestly say "I enjoyed that summary of the consolidated return regulations of the Internal Revenue Code" may get by with lower levels of precaution. However, persons who know that they often say (or think to themselves) phrases such as "rubbish," "self-serving cant," "what an idiot" or cognate phrases, are particularly at risk. Second, if you are a high risk person, you should consider exposure only after appropriate pre-medication. A dose of Valium or similar benzodiazapine, sufficient so you could say on a commercial flight "we're going to crash and I don't care" is a reasonable rule of thumb. By combining this with a caffeine dose equivalent to about 5 shots of espresso, PBI is likely to be avoided. Third, however, and this must be borne in mind, there are no guarantees.

Q: Do you believe persons about to have to listen to a Blackmun speech, or to the Blackmun tapes, should have the right to commit suicide?

A: This question is much debated within the "right-to-life", anti-so-called-"abortion"-(but only of non-person persons) community. Some believe that self-euthanasia is morally justified given the grave threat of PBI and similar injuries. Other, especially religious, pro- so-called "life" activists see this view as inconsistent with valuing life, even when it has been reduced to a pathetic, slavering shell of its former self, that can only mumble "how can that man . . . he couldn't think his way out of a . . . why do we bother having a constitution if . . . " Ultimately, this is decision that can only be made for us by second rate minds who stumbled into history by weird quirks of fate.