No matter who she is, she’s got my vote for prez

Elton Wong

I saw Elizabeth Dole speak a few weeks ago. I must admit that I, a fairly liberal person, saw Dole in hopes that she might say something that would make me vote for her. I really wanted to vote for a woman president.

Unfortunately, her speech was made up mostly of vague generalizations about family, morals and tradition. What I could pick up, I didn’t like.

A week or two later, I hoped I would be cheered up by skipping biology again (sorry Dr. Rodermel) to see Al Gore, with whom I was more likely to agree. In spite of the way the media have portrayed him, Gore was surprisingly lifelike.

He was coherent and charismatic, and his platform of civil rights, education and environmental concern won him my vote. Or so I thought.

My change of heart came when I was playing Goldeneye on the N64 with my housemates.

For those of you who may not be familiar with this video game, it basically involves killing people in varied settings with varied weapons.

In multiplayer mode, four different guys can run four different characters around a virtual board and kill each other multiple times. Games last about 10 minutes, each packed with blood, twitching, spectacular displays of violence and screamed obscenities. The stuff on the screen is pretty violent too.

The scary part is how addictive and fun the game is. I don’t have a single male friend who isn’t pretty good at it.

Guys take it very seriously; I think the longest strings of expletives I’ve ever heard in my life have come from people who were losing a round. Truly, this humble video game, a meaningless form of competition, has tapped into the dark recesses of the male psyche.

For another example, the other night I spent more than an hour in my basement playing with throwing knives. My housemates and I bought them from a catalog.

My girlfriend called and made fun of me when I told her what I was doing, but that didn’t stop me. In spite of being pointless and dumb, it was really, really cool.

I’m willing to bet that most guys reading this are interested in getting throwing knives now that I’ve brought their attention to the subject. I’m also willing to bet that no women are.

Obviously, there is a trend to be found here. I don’t normally like to use phrases like “absolute genetic determinism,” but I think in this case, the evidence is too strong to ignore. Although scientists like Stephen J. Gould have dismissed evolutionary psychology as a product of a scientific hindsight bias, the evolutionary explanation for this observed phenomena is so plausible that it is frightening.

Consider this possibility: While male proto-humans were teaching themselves how to throw things, hunt, kill, and grunt threateningly, female proto-humans were developing the refined social structure and codes of conduct that would someday make civilization possible. I may be wrong on some of the details, but they don’t teach us this kind of stuff in 302.

Guy behavior must be a result of natural selection.

I haven’t done any studies to prove this, but here’s my offer to any anthropology grad students who want to make a name for themselves: Travel the world and visit the most remote, isolated societies that still exist.

Grab a couple of male specimens from each, and invite them over to my house to play some N64.

I’m willing to bet my reputation as a columnist that within a round or two, each of these guys will be talking about how they are “pimps” and offering obscene dining suggestions to one another.

After realizing this, it became easy to imagine Al Gore, in his crazy college days, breaking into his engineering building and playing Pong on a computer mainframe the size of Catt Hall. True, it’s silly to imagine anyone getting worked up over two block paddles and a square that acts like a ball, but I’m sure I would have too, had I been there.

That’s why I can’t vote for Gore. When it comes down to it, a lot of politics stops being about platforms and starts resembling a series of tests of manhood — games, if you will.

Countries compete to see who can spend more on the military, who can raise tariffs more, who can dictate economic terms to who and so on.

This system was surely created by guys. This system is perpetuated by guys. Al Gore is a guy. That’s enough for me to be afraid already.

So what, then, is the alternative? I admit my research is incomplete on the subject. Women are a total mystery to me, as they are to just about all guys.

But a mystery can be better than the certainty of something bad. I’m going to take my chances and vote for Liddy Dole.

It’s time to bring the system down.

Elton Wong is a sophomore in biology from Ames.