Barbie, bollocks and the life of Brian

Bollocks, Barbie and the Life of Brian

In his book ‘Bad Science’ Ben Goldacre does a good job of drawing attention to what I’m going to call ‘science bollocks’.

He tells us that cosmetics companies making pseudoscientific claims are not entirely harmless.  For one thing, they sell the idea that science is incomprehensible, and they sell this idea mainly to attractive young women who are disappointingly underrepresented in the sciences.  This seems a bit self-serving, but I do like the example he gives:

Mattel’s Teen Talk Barbie had a sweet voice circuit so she could say things like “math class is tough”, “I love shopping” and “will we ever have enough clothes?”  In December 1992 the Barbie Liberation organisation (I’m so happy this body even exists, it has made my day) switched the voice circuits in hundreds Teen Talk Barbies and GI Joe dolls in American shops.  On Christmas Day, Barbie said “Dead men tell no lies” in a nice assertive voice, and the boys got soldiers under the tree telling them “math class is tough” and “wanna go shopping?”

The work of the BLO is not yet done.

For some reason I am left with a mental picture of Eric Idle saying “From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta”