Toxoplasmosis or Super PAC? How to Tell Them Apart

Fruit is good for you, but not after you drop it in your cat's litter box. (Image courtesy of the CDC

Have you found yourself acting contrary to your own self-interest lately? Do you ever get the feeling that some external force is exerting undue influence on your behavior? Well, you may be right. Scientists have theorized that infection by Toxoplasma Gondii, a parasite found in raw meat and cat feces (yum!) might affect human behavior. And it’s an election year in the US, so if you live here, you’re probably being bombarded by political advertisements created by Super PACs, a particularly hardy strain of political action committee. This simple comparison chart will help you figure out which one you’re dealing with:

T. Gondii Super PAC
A type of protozoa discovered independently in 1908 by scientists in Tunis and Brazil. A type of political action committee created in 2010 by the US Supreme court.
Forms unhealthy relationships with cats. Forms unhealthy relationships with political candidates.
Cats are unaware of the presence of T. Gondii and have little or no control over the parasite’s behavior. Candidates are aware of the presence of Super PACs and communicate with them via the media; however, they’re not allowed to “coordinate” with them.
Also infects humans, influencing them to behave in ways that benefit cats and, ultimately, T. Gondii. Influences humans to behave in ways that benefit  specific candidates and, ultimately, the Super PAC.
Also infects mice, causing them to behave in ways that make them easy prey for cats. Has no known effect on mice.
Millions of T. Gondii protozoa create cysts within the human body.* Millions of Super PAC dollars create commercials transmitted to television sets within the human home.
T. Gondii protozoa are difficult to see. Super PAC donors are often difficult to identify.
Makes you love cats. Makes you hate people.

It’s important to remember that most cats are not infected with T. Gondii and that infected cats are innocent victims. Also, cats are adorable. Don’t you just love cats?

*I actually have no idea how many T. Gondii it takes to cause an infection.

26 thoughts on “Toxoplasmosis or Super PAC? How to Tell Them Apart

  1. WHat if someone has both? Lots of Super Pac’s have listed as their main ingredient: Shit. But I guess that would be bullshit, so maybe the Super Pacs are in the clear when it comes to toxoplasmosis. Can we infect the bulls with this and hope to bring down the Super Pacs?

  2. This is ground-breaking, hard-hitting scientific/political information right here. I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of lower bowel discomfort lately, and, of course, I’ve wondered…

    Did you do that schematic? Crazy, mad drawing skills!

    1. Thanks — I like to think of this blog as people’s go-to resource for hard-hitting science.

      The diagram is a public domain image from the CDC’s parasite library. I’ve updated the caption to make that a little more clear.

      1. The artist just graduated from NYU with a Masters in Fine Arts and is trying to explain his new job to his mom, “So you craft images for the CDC parasite library, hmm? Is there any money in that? Will you be able to repay your student loans?”

  3. Excellent information. Next time I’m feeling queasy I’ll stop to determine if I have licked Kitten Thunder’s litter box recently, or if I’ve just watched too many political commercials. The other differentiating symptom, I suppose, is whether I’d rather lay in a sunbeam or jab my eye out with a spork.

  4. I am a little overwhelmed by the complexity of US politics . . . About the Super PACs: Does this mean that it’s less about the best candidate winning, and more about whose parasite (Super PAC) is meaner and more infectious?

  5. This is a truly brilliant post. I am humbled and found my way here through the Good Greatsby. And it is so very funny, that now I will have another brilliant blog to try to live up to. Not to mention another dangling participle.

    1. Thanks. Your comment had more compliments than dangling participles, so I’ll forgive you for not saying “up to which I will have to try to live”. This time.

    1. This post was inspired by the disparity between the headline and substance of that article (the headline blames cats; the article itself blames T. Gondii).

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