I’m a bit like a magpie when I surf the internet, forever scanning the terrain for the next shiny bottle top or ring-pull that attracts my attention. But my radar, of course, is set on science and science fiction and fantasy and where those worlds collide, since that’s what I write (SEE HERE). That is the way my brain is wired.
So when I saw a headline proclaiming a school district had banned a ‘Fake science’ book, my interest was piqued. Said book, Fake Science 101, which includes blurbs–ahem–from famous scientists of this ilk:
“If I’d read this book, I probably wouldn’t have eaten so much uranium.”
– is clearly not pretending to be anything other than a giggle. So why, then, would a School district see fit to ban it. Here’s a quote from the report: ‘An administrator replied negatively to a teacher’s request to use the book, saying, “A book like that may be intended humorously, but it is mocking the quality of education in our district.”
I am not going to comment on the book, nor comment on whether I think it’s funny or not. I am more interested in people’s reaction to it. On the one hand, the quality of the humour is open to completely subjective interpretation. On the other, it seems that the school district has taken umbrage to the fact that it somehow denigrates the teaching of science, or that science is too serious to be made fun of.
I am a scientist by training, albeit medical science, and we are trained to be sympathetic and caring. I would argue that a big part of that is knowing when to laugh and when not to take ourselves too seriously.
Us writers could do worse than listen to that little nugget.