This is another archival repost from the old blog, originally from january 2009.
I’ve heard it said several times. Usually it’s when I scold an acquaintance for being in possession of a copy. They will say something like, “I only bought it because it’s a convenient size,” or, “I just found it on the bus,” or, “it belongs to my grandmother, who supported Hitler during the war — she’ll be dead soon, so it’s OK.”
“Oh lighten up, it’s just a bit of fun,” they will sometimes say. “Of course every word of it is bullshit, but everyone knows that, so it can’t do any harm.”
Trouble is, that isn’t true. Sure everyone knows that everything in the Daily Mail is bullshit, but they don’t realise that this is because the DM has made it up. Take last week’s story, “Men who don’t find curvy women attractive ‘could father children with autism’.” (I know, I know, the DM has surpassed itself. It is beyond parody.) The readers in the comments thread are not so thoroughly witless that they can not see immediately that what they are being delivered by the DM is the purest grade ‘A’ Colombian bullshit. They are as outraged as I am — more so, as evidenced by their hurried comments, sent without time to proofread their words for spelling, flow or sanity. But to whom is the blame always assigned?
What upper poppycock! Whoever gave them a research grant to carry out such a study needs their head read…As do the researchers. However did they dream up the idea? How did they make this link? Are they saying there is something wrong with men who fancy thin women?
– Suzanne, Dorchester
Utter nonsense – and more wasted money spent on useless research. I think the university researchers just create the headlines themselves just to keep themselves in work.
– DBA, Crediton, Devon
What I want to know is who the hell thinks up these studies and who funds them and exactly what is this supposed to prove anyway?? Dont marry an athleticly framed woman as you will havel autistic children??
– Colette, Bowmanville Ontario, Canada
Cognitive dissonance: “I couldn’t have such consistently bad judgement as to subscribe to a newspaper with such a transparently and humiliatingly pisspoor excuse for journalism as this, therefore, the journalism must be good and the source of the bullshit must be the scientists.”
These people are considered qualified to vote, and their beliefs eventually influence research funding. The next step is politicians standing up to mock scientists for their interest in fruit flies.