Foreign Accents, Brain Damage and Madonna

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I was thumbing through edits this weekend of mental_floss' upcoming Med School in a Box (kudos to Mary and her husband Tim for churning out such a wonderful project!), when I came across a fact that completely intrigued me. I mean, *ahem* there were plenty of facts in there that intrigued me, but I found the one on Foreign Accent Syndrome particularly fascinating.
Apparently, the condition is the result of a rare, highly localized stroke that "strips the patient of her native accent and instead leaves her with vocal patterns that can sound Scottish, Spanish or French." In fact, according to the Internet (and I believe everything I read online), the accent can even take on Jamaican and Slovakian overtones, and often leaves the victim completely dismayed. I am curious however, if in the future doctors will ever conduct minor brain surgeries to give people more exotic accents. In a culture where we get calf implants and inject botulism in our faces to do away with wrinkles, a little snipping of the brain for the added sexiness of say, a Mongolian accent, doesn't seem so outrageous.
Of course the larger question is whether Madonna's most recent accent is the result of clever PR/image positioning or simply a little brain damage? Either way, I'm going on record as saying it's a stroke of genius.

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July 17, 2006 - 5:46am
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