Kansas State University recently released the results of a study of the geographic distribution of the Seven Deadly Sins (Ugh, the movie was better than the book!). As you’ve come to expect from Kansas, it shows tremendous intellectual depth and rigor. It’s also, by NO MEANS, influenced by oversimplified judgments derived from ideas about goodness that’ve been reshuffled by 2000+ years of translation quirks and the shifting needs of whoever was doing the translating. But enough about how bulletproof it is, let’s jump straight into the belly of the beast and eat up all those smart conclusions — based on fast food, income, and warts– til we get sick, six, six!
*GREED was a simple comparison of average incomes versus the number of people living below the poverty line. The brilliant thing about this is that it omits the real greed (Kansas is not part of a country where 90% of the wealth is in 10% of the hands or anything like that) and instead insinuates that anyone who doesn’t have a socialist policy of redistributing his or her wealth towards the median is greedy as opposed to supporting a family/ pissing it all into cocaine and or bad contemporary art.
*Theft was used to gauge ENVY. Since poverty doesn’t encourage crime, this means that anyone who steals is doing it because they’re jealous. Couldn’t they have at least dropped some leading questions about white privilege or stuck a thermometer in our collective ass, rigged up one of those “Clockwork Orange” style forced-viewing contraptions, and started playing an episode of “Cribs?”
*LUST was based on the number of STDs reported per capita. You know, responsible fucking with a basic degree of respect for each other’s junk doesn’t ever constitute solidly lusty fun.
*Fast food restaurants per capita were the metric for GLUTTONY. I like this idea because I don’t think that obesity statistics, which would be a totally obscure way to measure how much gluttony is actually afoot, have been kept in decades. In a world truly committed to fighting sin, news outlets would run scare stories about how available fast food is in this country every time there’s a slow news day.
*SLOTH is my favorite; it was computed by comparing expenditures on arts, entertainment, and recreation with employment rates! This is on point because striving is in no way involved when a writer sets out to create something emotionally resonant, thematically rich, and dramatically engaging, just as musical instruments don’t take years to master and the visual arts are nothin’ but highfaulautin’ doodles and gubmint funded pawn-ah-grafee. People who put money and time into allowing these things to enrich their lives and perceptions are traitors for not putting that money into savings bonds, survival kits, or canned moon pies.
*Violent crimes per capita were used to calculate WRATH. Kansas, if you bring me the head of Gwyneth Paltrow all your caveman calculations are forgiven.
*Finally, PRIDE; that toxic acorn of arrogance that lies at the root of all sin was calculated by averaging the other six. You know, because there’s nothing remotely arrogant about making biblically presumptuous judgments that mostly elide the things they claim to cover on a fucking basic, denotative level and then using the whole miscarriage of science to wring money out the state for something that’s a religiously framed exercise. If evolving weren’t an affront to God, our Kansan scientists would be far too evolved to ever try to pull a lazy scam like that… Maybe the next study will be a little more intelligently designed.