Poems of the Week

The Scale of Disgust

by Julia Griffin

“[Participants] were also asked to rate on a scale how disgusted they were by a collection of statements linked to body odours such as ‘You are sitting next to a friend and notice that your feet smell strongly,’ and how emphatically they agreed with 15 statements linked to rightwing authoritarianism such as ‘Our country needs a powerful leader, in order to destroy the radical and immoral currents prevailing in society today.’ … The results reveal that rightwing authoritarianism was linked to a feeling of repulsion towards body odours, and that the link also underpinned a weak association between such feelings of disgust and support for Donald Trump.”—The Guardian

You’re sitting by a friend at a professional retreat,
And notice, rather forcefully, the odor of your feet.
Percentage-wise, how probably would you elect to say:
“A strong man at the helm is what our country needs today!”

You’ve come to see Miss Pimpleton for picking on your son,
And just as you’re correcting her, your nose begins to run.
Inspect your heart: statistically, what chance is there you’d wail:
“We need a chief, or these immoral currents will prevail!”

You’re dressed up in your Sunday best, just heading for your pew,
And something noisy happens and you’re pretty sure it’s you.
Please tell us how emphatically you think you would agree:
“Authoritative leadership’s the only kind for me!”

You’re waiting at the doctor’s, watching interviews on Fox,
When suddenly you feel a rash suggestive of the pox.
Now on a scale from one to ten: how loudly would you yell:
“Get out and vote for Trump or else this nation’s bound for Hell!”