Friday, December 21, 2007

Women and Unicycles

I'd be angry if I wasn't laughing so hard at this pathetic BBC article. It claims that an "expert" - Sam Shuster (should that be shit-ster?) from (wait for it) the University of Norfolk reckons men are funnier than women because "humour comes from testosterone". Well so far already I'm smelling a bit of a rat because the whole issue of what is and isn't funny is very personal. Some people might like a testosterone-charged angry act. Others would rather watch the Mighty Boosh or Jimmy Carr - hardly likely to be taking Ricky Hatton on in the ring any time soon.

But now lets talk about his research method. Apparently he went round the country on a unicycle and noticed that men made more jeering comments at him. That doesn't sound to me like a good test of who has a sense of humour. It might be a good test of who has had too much to drink today already or who has the least self-respect, but I hardly think jeering a unicycle is the indicator of a superior sense of humour. His other claim is that there are more male comedians. True enough but there are more male plumbers too and that doesn't necessarily mean testosterone makes you more interested in human excrement.

And of course this idiot has been funded by money from us the taxpayers to do this "research". Now I'm all in favour of funding education and research. I think we should encourage scientists. However I would really rather my personal taxes were spent on those scientists curing cancer and AIDS and figuring out how to slow down global warming, not unicycling round the country seeing how many jeers he gets. I mean was there seriously a conversation with Shuster in a careers office somewhere along the lines of "Well Sam, the bad news is the circus won't take you - they've got too many unicyclists, they're only hiring tightrope walkers at the moment. But the good news is the University of Norfolk are interested..."

Even more pathetic the BBC, also funded by my money, through the license fees then goes and prints the story, as though it were a piece of important conclusive research. Which is how the headline-only reading public may well take it, especially those who already wanted an excuse to think that anyway...

I was on BBC Leeds earlier talking about this though and we did talk about some of the great comediennes - Jo Brand and Victoria Wood. Then when asked to name the best up-and-coming comediennes one of the other panellists said Sarah Millican (pictured) and ... me!


patrickBrady said...

I think Shuster's getting some undeserved venom from people reacting to this crummy article. As you may have already read in the comments section at Feministing, this "study" never actually happened and was published in BMJ's annual holiday joke issue, alongside articles like "Are Magical Powers Inherited?"
The real problem here involves lazy journalists stirring the controversy pot by throwing out cracked-up gender-bias-confirming studies they find while perusing journals without doing any fact checking.

Cruella said...

Ah ok, I didn't know BMJ did an annual joke issue. I'm totally unsurprised the BBC and the Daily Mail took it seriously and have already had it quoted back to me as "fact" by misogynists. So ho ho ho everyone - lets spread some more lies about women.

I mean you can argue they're highlighting how shit the press is but in the process they're doing yet more damage to the women's movement.

STILL not a good use of my tax money...