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The Contemplations, Rants & Reminiscences of DavidB327

Something Sensational To Read On The Train

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You Can Not Be Serious
Body Painting1

I am grateful to lobsterfox for making me aware of this news report, concerning the observations of a unicycling academic.




Were it not for the fact that it is now late December and not early April, I might have come to the rapid conclusion that this was an April fool joke.  Feeling a rant coming on I thought I should try to find the original article, in case it had been distorted by the media (which of course they so often do, given the constant need to grab the next headline, however badly it may be presented).  So here it is:




So basically the retired dermatoligist had begun this study after observing gender sterreotypical response to his unicycling around the streets of Newcastle: ‘…I soon found that the responses to them were stereotyped and predictable. I realised that this indicated an underlying biological phenomenon and set about its study. 


Nothing of what has been observed is exactly a revelation.  What the former Professor of Dermatology does not seem to have considered is that he may have provoked some of the more aggressive reactions in his unicycling activities.  Unless the streets that he was cycling down were completely devoid of traffic, then this mode of transport does seem to be a bit on the dangerous side, if not illegal on the public highway.


Ignoring the somewhat dodgy methodlogy for a moment, the concluions are not justified.  There have been many nature versus nurture debates on a wide range of topics, but nurture has not even been considered in this case.  The simplistic analysis is a result of someone pontificating on a subject about which he has no experise.


Still Sam Shuster is entitled to his opinions like anyone else, and he has expressed them reasonably well.  However I do find it annoying that the BMJ published this article.  It’s not a serious piece of academic research, and has no real merit other than recording gender stereotypical responses to someone who ‘stands out from the crowd’.  As someone who suffered from verbal and physical abuse for many years (though fortunately not these days) because of the way I am, I could certainly testify that these response came overwhelmingly from men.  Somehow I doubt that the BMJ would be interested in publishing my observations.


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Yes, I found it kind of a circuitous route to his conclusion that men are funny while women are not because, as you said, it gauged reactions to someone who stands out from a crowd. It's certainly not something to take too seriously, but still kind of annoying. I would much prefer reading any article you might write on your experiences in standing out.

Now that would be an interesting project. I may well indeed write such an article.

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