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“Brownian Reflex,” Triggered by James Brown's Songs, Strikes Only Adult Males
Dr. Carl Weatherford, lead researcher on the project, described the symptoms in an emergency press conference at the CDC’s headquarters. “The onset is rapid and usually occurs during the strummed guitar introduction or during the first blast from the horns. Though occasionally accompanied by hand gestures, lifted shoulders, clapping, or twitching, the primary symptom is a series of guttural expulsions of air. These vocalizations generally present as a “hut” or “huh” sound and are often mistaken for a gathering of mucus at the base of the throat prior to a voluntary discharge. What makes these particular sounds unique—and defines the Brownian Reflex--is their involuntary nature. The subject is generally unaware that he is vocalizing; this lack of awareness may be complete when, by mid song, the vocalizations become increasingly rapid and guttural, often transforming themselves into a series of barking growls or even, in severe cases, a sustained yowling.”
Dr. Weatherford’s staff is currently investigating various drug therapies, all of which have shown limited success in experimental trials. Weatherford suggests that removal of the stimulus—the music of James Brown—will result in diminished symptoms. However, the aftereffects of exposure to “Sex Machine” or “I Feel Good” may linger for days, even weeks, and, for some, the apparently unprovoked “huhs” and “huts” may prove more embarrassing than those plosive utterances more clearly linked to the Godfather of Soul’s audible productions. One victim, suffering from an advanced form of the Brownian Reflex, reported acute embarrassment followed by prolonged depression when he found himself shouting “popcorn,” “huh,” and “good God, y’all” at a crowded Manhattan dinner party.