Friday, July 27, 2012

Incredibly Stupid Letters to the Editor #1: Dream Team Nightmare

I have been planning this series of occasional blog posts for some time now.  My local newspaper, the Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre, PA often features very silly letters to the editors.  In fact, I had planned that they would provide the source material for the inaugural post in this series until I read something incredibly stupid in the July 30, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated.  

Earlier in the month, SI ran a very interesting article about the 1992 United States Men's Olympic Basketball team, otherwise known as the "Dream Team".  This was this first Olympics when NBA players were allowed to compete, and the Dream Team dominated the Barcelona Olympics.  In this week's issue, SI ran the following incredibly stupid letter to the editor:

What Could've Been
With all the hype over the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team, most fans are forgetting that there were two squads, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, that could have given the Dream Team a run for its money had their countries not dissolved just before the Barcelona Games.  The Soviets were the defending gold medalist from the 1988 Games, and Yugoslavia was the '90 FIBA  world champion.  It is a tragedy that colossal matchups among the three basketball superpowers never occurred in '92.
                                                     C. Fred Bergsten, Annandale, VA

If you just read the letter, I am sure that you can spot the stupidity:  essentially Mr. Bergsten is upset that the Iron Curtain fell because it cost him the chance to watch a basketball game.   Hey, any sports fan can relate to a certain degree.  I mean, what baseball fan wouldn't want to have the chance to see Ty Cobb bat against Roger Clemens?  What devotee of the sweet science wouldn't want to see how Joe Louis would handle himself against Mike Tyson?  But of course, this is impossible because time travel doesn't exist.  

On the other hand, Mr. Bergsten is not wishing for the chance to see long dead legends compete against modern stars; instead, he thinks it is a "tragedy" that the USSR couldn't put together a basketball team in 1992.  Most normal people would think it was a "tragedy" that the USSR was a communist, totalitarian state that jailed, persecuted and killed millions of its citizens in its seven decades of existence.  Most normal people would think that the end of the USSR was a victory for freedom and human rights, as well as the end of the Cold War that had forced the world to live under the threat of global thermonuclear war since the 1950's.

But C. Fred Bergsten is not "normal people".  I don't say this because I am trying to score cheap rhetorical points on a benighted basketball fan.  No.  This guy is actually a famous famous man.  In fact, I have given him short shrift above--I should have called him "Dr. Bergsten".

According to our friends at Wikipedia, there is a C. Fred Bergsten who "is an American economist, author, and political adviser. He has served as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department and has been director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, formerly the Institute for International Economics, since its founding in 1981. In addition to his academic work he makes his opinions known to the policy making community and engages with the public with television appearances writing for influential periodicals such as Foreign Affairs magazine and by writing books."  That is pretty interesting, but there is no way that THIS C. Fred Bergsten could possibly be the person who wrote our incredibly stupid letter to the editor, right?

So then I used Google to search for "C. Fred Bergsten" and "Annandale".  It seems that there is a Mrs. Virginia Wood Bergsten who lives in Annandale with her husband Dr. C. Fred Bergsten.  That was confirmed in the Wikipedia entry.  And there seems to only be one C. Bergsten in Annandale, who lives in a very nice brick house built in 1964.  According to the Petersen Institute website, Dr. Bergsten "was the most widely quoted think-tank economist in the world during 1997–2005 ".  He is a prolific author as well.  But nowhere does it mention that this man, who "during 1969–71, starting at age 27...coordinated US foreign economic policy in the White House as assistant for international economic affairs to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council." was sorry to see the end of the Soviet Union.  

Dr. Bergsten is still in the news, including a nice article in the recent edition of Foreign Policy, in which the  "éminence grise in the world of international political economics" complains that "[t]he problem is that the individuals who are at the top of the foreign-policy hierarchy, both at State and at the National Security Council, tend to be less than sophisticated, shall we say, about economic issues."  But fortunately these unsophisticated, naïve buffoons can turn to Dr. Bergsten.  Because there certainly has never been a more sophisticated analysis of the geopolitics of the Cold War than this:

It is a tragedy that colossal matchups among the three basketball superpowers never occurred in '92.
                                                     C. Fred Bergsten, Annandale, VA


Monday, July 23, 2012

Vacation--Gotta Get Away (NCAA remix)

As I write this (almost 1:00 PM on July 23), the NCAA penalties to Penn State's football program have been blowing up the Twitterverse and the rest of the interwebs.  A Google search turns up over 200,000 hits for "Penn State" and NCAA in just the past 24 hours.  Three of the top trending topics on Twitter are "Penn State", "PSU" and "NCAA".

There is little need to recap the events that led up to this, including the firing of the University's President, Vice-President, Athletic Director and legendary football coach Joe Paterno (who died shortly after from lung cancer) and the precipitating events, which were the decades of repeated cases of sexual abuse committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky (recently convicted and facing centuries in prison).   The full details of the penalties are rather striking:  Penn State will lose 20 scholarships over the next four years.  During that time they will be on probation, which means that they cannot play in bowl games (even totally meaningless ones) during that time.  In addition the Big 10 conference (of which PSU was the 11th member) will withhold bowl revenue during the four years (estimated to be about $13 million).   The university is also required to contribute $60 million (estimated to be one year's normal football revenue) to charities dealing with prevention of child sexual abuse (the Big 10 money will go to that cause as well).    It will be a small victory if the scandals at Penn State can help prevent future cases of child abuse and exploitation.

But what is getting the most attention today is the other part of the sanctions:  specifically, every game Penn State won from the time Paterno, et al first ignored Sandusky's actions until Paterno's death will have the outcome retroactively overturned.  Penn State will "vacate" all of their victories between 1998-2011.

While some people are mostly hot and bothered because this means that Paterno will no longer officially be the winningest college football coach (welcome back on top, Eddie Robinson!), I am disturbed by something else:  the idea of revisionist history.

Ever since I read 1984 back in 1983 (I wanted to be prepared), I have been struck by the idea of "doublethink".  Why people ranging from the leadership of totalitarian Communist states to the leadership of an intercollegiate athletic oversight organization can't understand that there is no such thing as a "memory hole" is beyond me.  Because here is the thing:  saying something is true ("We have always been at war with Eastasia"; "Penn State was winless for 15 years") doesn't make it true.

The NCAA seems to use this punishment often.  Whether the sport is basketball, football, or even less popular activities such as volleyball, this penalty has been used to show the ultimate repudiation of a coach's actions (or inactions) in the case of impermissible activities (illegal or otherwise).  And in some cases, it has been used to remove an award, as happened in 2010 to 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.  Bush had violated some NCAA rules and so he was retroactively denied the award he justifiably won for being the outstanding college football player of the year. 

The problem with this is that everyone remembers the truth.  We KNOW that Penn State won those games, just like we know who won the Heisman.  And it is not like the teams that lost to Penn State will suddenly feel vindicated for their bad Saturday afternoons.  Heck, Vince Young (runner up in the 2005 Heisman votes) is well regarded as one of the dumbest football players ever, and even he knows what's what.

As a history teacher, this really concerns me.  I spend a lot of time teaching students to research using old newspapers and magazines.  As time has moved on, I have had to incorporate teaching how to assess other primary sources, such as web pages.  There are countless (as in, the number is too high to count) sources that refer to results of games, records, and other events that the NCAA would now have us believe never happened, or that the result was the opposite.  And there is no Ministry of Truth to expunge our records, and thus our memories.  How will people of the future reconcile the "new" record books with the "real" records of events?

I am not the first person to write about this, of course.  The following are just a few other examples:

"The Theory and Practice of Vacating Games" tries to explain the rationale behind this punishment.  The key quote is "The Division I Manual allows for the result of a game to be changed after the fact."

"If NCAA Violator's Victories Are Vacated, Did They Really Happen?" in which the writer (from the Bradenton, Florida Herald) notes somewhat alarmingly that "The NCAA is on a “vacate” rampage, and it has put a stranglehold on America."  He also raises an interesting point: "You wake up and the wins are vacated. It creates another dilemma; does that mean your bookie gives you 48 hours to make good on what you owe him?"

In "Vacating Wins: An Empty Punishment" the writer notes that in many cases people and institutions ignore the punishment.  Referring to the University of Massachusetts basketball program once led by John Calipari (who takes a lot of vacations) he observes: "Because of [Marcus] Camby’s “dealings” with an agent during his time in Amherst, Mass., the NCAA vacated UMass’ men’s basketball 1996 Final Four appearance. They also asked the school to remove the banner that commemorated the event, but UMass declined. If you go to the Mullins Center today, you will see a banner in honor of the 1996 Final Four run. This banner serves as a constant reminder of the ineffectual nature of the NCAA’s enforcement of its own rules."

The New York Times  weighed in on this topic a year ago in their article "NCAA Penalties Erase Records, Not Memories".  They mention USC's response to the Reggie Bush scandal in a way that sounds like they are looking for a memory hole: "Beyond that, all references at U.S.C. to Bush had to be removed. The university returned its copy of his Heisman Trophy, took down his jersey from display and even changed the wallpaper that featured Bush and other Trojans. “We’re not trying to erase history,” Tessalone said. “We’re trying to notate history. It’s appropriate. And it’s confusing. We had to vacate our appearance in the B.C.S. title game. In essence, we never lost to Texas.”

And then this morning, Forbes opined "On The Absurdity of Vacating Penn State's Wins".   Their author complained that  "The NCAA doesn’t like to treat anyone like an adult. Yes, Joe Paterno turned out to be a really bad person. But he won more games than any college coach in history. That’s a fact.Barry Bonds holds both the all-time and single season home run records in baseball. That’s a fact.We might not like either fact. But we should also be treated as mature and adult enough to be able to discern on our own the difference between sports heroes and villains."
Sigh. It is enough to make me want to take a vacation.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Everything I Needed To Know I Learned From Pro Wrestling (Pt. 3--The Original Pearl Harbor Job)

As you may have seen from my previous posts, I have been a fan of pro wrestling for most of my life.  I have already written about the art and artistry of cage matches, but today I want to write about tag teams.  In wrestling, a "tag team" involves teams of two or more wrestlers, only one of whom can (legally) be in the ring at the same time.  To switch places, the wrestlers must "tag" each other (usually on the hand). In most televised pro wrestling, the "babyface" or good guy team is in the upper left of your screen, while the "heel" or bad guy team is in the lower right.  Often during a tag match something will happen to "distract" the referee;  while his back is turned, the heels work over the face in full view of the fans.  Meanwhile the other babyface is emotionally worked up, waiting for the "hot tag" to come in and "clean house". 

It should be obvious by now that there is lots of specialized jargon in professional wrestling.  This has always been part of what I loved about "sports entertainment".  For instance, when I was a kid we boys would often play a game called "mercy", where we would try to twist the other person's hands until they cried for surcease.  Well, the others called it "mercy", but as a wrestling fan, I always thought of it as "the test of strength".  I have also picked up other catch phrases from wrestling broadcasters.  In my youth, a prominent commentator on wrestling shows was the late, legendary Gorilla Monsoon.  Monsoon, who grew up in the 1940's did not have a "politically correct" bone in his body, and so some of his expressions were tinged with what would nowadays be an unacceptable level of, shall we say, ethnic references.  One of them is when a wrestler (a heel, or a former face becoming bad who was making a "heel turn") would make an unexpected sneak attack on the babyface.  Monsoon called this a "Pearl Harbor Job".

I have written previously about a match that I have never forgotten, which to me was the ORIGINAL "Pearl Harbor Job".  The end of the match is indelibly burned into my brain as the prime example of wrestling treachery.  Well, thanks to the magic of YouTube, I just watched the match again for the first time in 31 years.  It is as I remembered, but there were so many other awesome details, that I thought I would do an in-depth analysis of the match.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The tape begins with Gorilla Monsoon giving an overview of the match.  The announcers of the match appear to be Vince McMahon (the owner of the company, though that was not public knowledge in those days) and Pat Patterson (with the French-Canadian accent). This match is for the Tag Team Championship, pitting the babyface champs Tony Garea and Rick Martel against the heel team of Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito, accompanied by their manager Captain Lou Albano (two years before gaining mainstream appeal thanks to Cyndi Lauper).

The videotape states that the match took place on October 31, 1981 in "Philidelphia" [sic].  In other sources I have seen the date written as October 13th, in Allentown.   But regardless, the show went on air when I was 11 years old, in sixth grade. Mr. Fuji (who is really American) and Mr. Saito are introduced as two "international stars", though Garea and Martel (New Zealander and Canadian) are implied to be American.  Monsoon mentions that the challengers are joined by Captain Lou, seeking to once again manage tag team champs.  Albano is wearing a kimono of sorts, which probably explains Monsoon's anachronistic description ("Captain Louis Albano, who as you will see, has gone completely Oriental").  Prior to the match, Fuji and Saito bless the ring with salt in the manner of Japanese sumo wrestlers.  Mr. Fuji even wrestles barefoot to strengthen the reference to sumo, though he is not nearly heavy enough to look like a sumo wrestler.

The match starts out with Mr. Fuji facing Rick Martel.  They circle each other warily, but Martel, 20 years younger and world champ, has a confident spring in his step.  A leapfrog, followed by an arm drag, followed by a body slam followed by another arm drag has Martel dancing in the ring, while Mr. Fuji tags out to Mr. Saito.  It makes no difference, as Martel immediately drops his opponent with an arm drag followed by an arm bar.  Tony Garea tags in, while the announcers tell us that he and his partner are "fighting champions" who are not reluctant to defend their titles in a "series of matches with Fuji and Saito".   Garea continued to dominate Saito, and after a tag to Fuji, rapidly took down the fresh man, stomping on his shoulder over by the babyface corner.  Martel tags back in and continues to work on Fuji's shoulder.  Fuji throws Martel off the ropes, but Rick counters with a cross body press that gets a count of two for a near fall.  Then right back to the attack on Mr. Fuji's right arm. 

What with that move, and all the arm bars, it would seem that the champions' strategy was to focus on weakening the shoulders of their opponents.  In wrestling, the grapplers try to tell a story and utilize "ring psychology".  In other words, spectators should be able to discern the wrestlers' tactics and see for themselves what is happening (and why) without the benefit of announcers.  And for the TV audience, the announcers should reinforce this with graphic descriptions of the pain and suffering of the combatants.  Something interesting about this video is that there are long stretches where the announcers are silent, but the crowd is constantly cheering, whistling and exclaiming their interest.  Clearly these tag teams managed to "get over" with the audience.

About three minutes into the match, things turn about suddenly when Mr. Saito took Tony Garea into the corner and chopped him hard across the chest, followed by running him over to the heel corner, where he slammed the champ's head into Mr. Fuji's fist.  At this point the heels went to work in classic fashion.  Saito tagged in Fuji, but on his way out distracted the referee, who did not see Fuji chop Garea across the windpipe.  When I was young I would get SO ANGRY about distracted refs in tag team matches.  Which is exactly the point: "marks" should be taken in and made upset by the bad guys breaking the rules. 

Things began to get very bad for Tony Garea.  Mr. Fuji took him down with a vicious chop to the chest followed by a head slam to the turnbuckle.  Mr. Saito came in and got a near fall, but Garea valiantly kicked out.  The champ tried (for the first of many times) to crawl to his corner for a tag, but Mr. Saito stopped him just short of Martel's outstretched hand.  At this point (Act II, if you will), the story of the match changed.  Tony Garea played the role of "the face in peril".  In the middle of most tag matches, the heels gang up on one of the faces and never let him tag out.  Meanwhile, his partner is desperately trying for the "hot tag", where he saves his partner and takes out his (and the fans') frustrations (listen to the oohs and ahs of the audience during the failed tags--it is awesome!).

Garea keeps getting beaten from pillar to post, kicking out of pinning predicaments and constantly failing to  make the tag.  Patterson reminds us that "Tony needs to make the tag soon or it will be big trouble", but the challengers just get stronger and stronger.   Patterson tells us that "Fuji and Saito are very vicious, very sneaky, you never know what they are going to do, you can never turn your back to them", just as Mr. Fuji makes another illegal chop to Garea's throat.

Racial and ethnic stereotypes are a key part of pro wrestling.  Part of the way that wrestlers can carry out their non-verbal communication with an audience of thousands (or millions) is by playing off the preconceived notions stuck in our lizard brains.  The WWE has shown us Iranian heels (the Iron Sheik) in the 1970's and 80's, Russian heels in the Cold War period (Nikolai Volkoff), and even French heels in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  While the US has not been enemies with Japan since the Second World War, that epoch is emblazoned in our brains thanks to movies and TV shows.  And, of course, as Gorilla Monsoon pointed out, nothing was more "vicious" and "sneaky", than the events of the "Day that Will Live In Infamy".

The beating of Tony Garea continues, as we are told that "it looks like Garea is hurt...he seems to be in a daze".  But he refuses to give in.  Patterson muses that "Rick Martel must be frustrated...he cannot come in the ring to save Tony Garea, but once he does...I hope he does..." indicating that the announcers also support the babyfaces.   At this point, as Mr. Saito is blatantly choking Garea (though the ref cannot see it), Rick Martel has had enough, and comes charging in to break the hold.  But he is hoist on his own petard as the referee immediately sends him back to his corner.  And of course, while this is going on, Mr. Fuji and Captain Lou both join in the torture of Tony Garea.

After this is broken up, Saito and Albano leave the ring, leaving Mr. Fuji to continue the attack.  As Vince tells us, "Mr. Fuji should not be in there...he's not the legal man in the ring!"  To explain things for us, Patterson resorts to some cultural blindness: "Well, they both have the same color tights and they almost look alike, a little bit...they are very sneaky, there's no question about it".  Besides the fact that only one man was barefoot (Fuji) and only one had a full beard (Saito), this is pretty far fetched.  But the referee was fooled, and the attack continued.

Meanwhile, Rick Martel was on the ring apron loudly exhorting his partner, and the crowd got into it.  The whole building was chanting "let's go Tony", and it seemed to work.  Garea seemed to derive new energy from the fans, pulling himself to his feet, punching Fuji twice with strong right hands, and finally scooping him up and slamming him to the canvas!   Unfortunately, instead of running for the tag, he pushed his luck by trying for a dropkick.  But the canny Mr. Fuji foiled the move, and he and Mr. Saito continued to punish Tony Garea.   Vince admiringly told us that "you've gotta take your hat off to Tony Garea.  It's like he's going on pure instinct...he's had the bejeezus knocked out of him", but it was clear that Vince thought Garea was a spent force.  Then another double team in the heel corner led a frustrated Martel to rush the ring.  While the official was pushing him away, Captain Lou joined in for another 3 on 1 beatdown of the champ.

But then, a miracle!  Mr. Saito threw Garea into the corner, but Tony avoided his big splash.  Garea crawled to his corner and dove for the hot tag.  The crowd erupted in release of the tension that had been building for over five minutes.  Rick Martel came in like a house afire, clapping and dancing while "cleaning house on Mr. Saito" and slugging Mr. Fuji off the apron for good measure.  Martel gets a dropkick on Mr. Saito, and Tony Garea runs in to save his partner from Mr. Fuji's illegal entry.

Then, while the referee pushes Garea out of the ring, Mr. Fuji (still in the ring) seems to be getting some advice from Captain Lou.  He is still in the ring as Rick Martel runs to the heel corner to go to the top rope and leap onto Mr. Saito.  But as he is mounting the turnbuckle, Mr. Fuji reaches into the waistband of his tights and pulls out a foreign object of some sort.  What could it be?  Martel goes out on the apron and climbs up, while the crowd reaches a fever pitch.  But the treacherous Mr. Fuji has risen to his feet and we see that he has a handful of salt!  Just as Martel dives off the ropes Fuji throws the salt full force into the champion's face.  He lands on Saito, but the challenger rolls him over for a quick three count and there are new tag team champs!  Fuji, Saito and Captain Lou get the belts while Martel writhes in agony on the mat, impotently gripped by his partner.  All the while, Vince and Pat are saying "I can't believe it...Did you see what Mr. Fuji did?...The referee did not see what happened...

 I am not trying to convince you that this is the greatest match of all-time.  But in nine minutes and forty-eight seconds, we were able to see a match that fulfilled nearly all the tropes of an effective tag team matchup while also displaying traditional ethnic stereotypes.  The match is neat to watch for what is different back then (the ring is lower to the ground, the wrestlers' moves are more conservative) and what is surprisingly the same (both Fuji and Garea have tattoos, which was much rarer in 1981).  But for me, it is unbelievably satisfying to realize that this match imprinted itself permanently in my 11 year old mind.  And now you can see it for yourself.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 34 Update--Getting Back To Normal

Well, I had my "1-month" checkup today following my microdiscectomy operation.  The surgeon wants to see me for follow-ups at intervals of 1 month, 3 months, six months and 12 months post-surgery.  In addition to checking on me, part of the routine involves filling out forms where I assess my current pain status and describe how the disc problem is affecting my life.  I filled out these forms when I first met with the surgeon five months before the operation, then three weeks before, and then on the day of the operation.  I guess they keep track of these self-assessments for statistical tracking purposes.

Anyway, I am feeling wonderful!  No back pain, no nerve pain down my leg, and I feel like I can do anything!  But to be on the safe side I am going to follow all of the restrictions to the letter.  Here is a list of things that I still can't do:

  • ride the lawnmower (too bumpy)
  • use the weed whacker (too heavy/too twisty)
  • run (too bumpy)
  • swing a baseball bat (too twisty)
  • vacuum (too heavy, too twisty)
  • carry anything over 15 pounds
On the bright side, here are the things that I can resume doing:
  • pushups
  • pullups
  • Total Gym exercises
  • floor based core strengthening 
and most importantly, now that I can lift more than five pounds, I can play my electric guitars again!

When I talked to the surgeon today, he agreed that my hives were caused by an allergy to chlorhexidine, which was used as the antiseptic wash during my operation.  Furthermore, he said that my allergy was a "type 4 reaction", indicating that it was delayed onset (two weeks post-op) and NOT histamine related.  Which suddenly explains why I had no relief despite taking two Benadryls every four hours for two weeks (all I got relief from was ice).  It turns out that these reactions are related to the T-lymphocytes, and antihistamines are not effective.  

I did a little reading on the subject, and found an article that explained this in medical jargon (I've included a quote below).  Anyway, after reading about the serious reactions to chlorhexidine (some have died from anaphylactic shock!) I am definitely going to make sure that every doctor and dentist I see in the future knows that I am allergic to this substance.

There are four mechanisms of hypersensitivity, which are classified according to the components of the immune system involved. Type one, hypersensitivity reactions/anaphylactic reactions: This occurs in individuals who have inherited very high levels of a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). When exposed to an antigen, these high levels of antibodies activate mast cells and basophils, which release their granular contents. Physiologically the most important substance released is histamine, which constricts smooth muscle within the bronchioles, activates vasodilation and increases vascular permeability (leading to exudation of fluid and proteins into tissues). Examples of type 1 reactions include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic asthma and penicillin-induced anaphylaxis.
Type two, hypersensitivity reactions/cytotoxic hypersensitivity: when an antibody reacts with an antigen on a cell surface, that cell is marked for destruction via a number of mechanisms, for example: phagocytosis, or destruction by lytic enzymes. This is the usual procedure in the elimination of bacteria. If antibodies are directed against self-antigens the result is destruction of the body’s own tissues (autoimmune destruction). Conditions of particular concern within this area are blood transfusion reactions and haemolytic disease of the newborn.
Type three, hypersensitivity reactions/immune complex mediated hypersensitivity: Antibody-antigen complexes are usually cleared efficiently from the blood by phagocytosis. If this process fails; the complexes can be deposited within the body’s tissues, where upon an inflammatory response is initiated. The kidneys are often affected because they receive a large proportion of the cardiac output, and filter the blood. Immune complexes block the glomeruli, impairing renal function (glomerulonephritis). Penicillin sensitivity can also lead to a type three reaction; the body’s antibodies bind to penicillin, which is the offending antigen, the symptoms are the result of deposition of immune complexes in the tissues. Examples include, rashes, joint pains and haematuria. Infectious diseases such as malaria and viral hepatitis can lead to a type three hypersensitivity reaction. This form of hypersensitivity has been implicated in causing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (Taylor and Reide, 1998).
Type four, hypersensitivity reactions/delayed hypersensitivity: unlike the earlier mentioned reactions, type four reactions do not involve antibodies. The reaction is mediated by T-lymphocytes, which overreact to an antigen. When an antigen is detected in the blood it provokes clonal expansion of the T-lymphocyte cells and large numbers of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes are released to terminate the antigen. If the T-lymphocytes are over stimulated and the response becomes inappropriate the aggressive cytotoxic T-lymphocytes will damage normal body cells/tissues. Examples include contact dermatitis, and organ rejection. It is important to note that all of the above hypersensitivity reactions have the potential to induce a state of physiological shock to the individual affected by them.