The AutoCue Says Keep Filling:
It’s all going to end in tears.
Crazy-assed political bellendery this week, as the UK Government declares unilateral war on Science. For our Yanqui chums, here’s how the Sabre Rattled:
Back in July, the thoroughly likeable Professor David Nutt — a psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist (that’s a real fucking word, kiss my arse) with 37 years’ experience — made a Shocking And Frightening Announcement. Marijuana, he declared, is in fact not a Satanic poison — turgid with Eldritch Vapours and malign transformative Eeevil — but a comparatively mild brainshitter which is, according to his findings, Only Slightly Bad For You. This came on the back of his proclamation in February that, statistically speaking, an addiction to Ecstasy is significantly less dangerous than an addiction to Horse Riding. But this time round he went further still: apologetically reporting that certain Other chemical yumyums like baccy and booze — hilariously lucrative in taxable revenue though they may be — are not only a gajillion times worse than weed, but cost the taxpayer a grimnillion times more in healthcare. And, frankly, aren’t as much Fun.
So far so HeardItAllBefore, right? And, really, nobody wants a world full of smug stoners, so under other circumstances this particular Storm would’ve fizzled into its personal teacup like hash into hot chocolate. End of story.
But what the good Professor had rather embarrassingly neglected to take into account, in publically announcing his Gasp-free Conclusions, was that he — at the time — was the head of the very official Drugs Advisory Board: a panel of scientists tasked with providing narcotic-based FAKT for the Eager and Not At All Biased, Ha Ha Ha, Just Imagine, ears of the Government. Whoops.
Still, Nutt did all that could be expected of him: submitting his findings with all the dour-faced sincerity of a bloke who didn’t especially like the results he’d received, and certainly didn’t imagine his bosses were going to shower him with honey and sex-hormone in thanks, but wasn’t going to let a little thing like Job Security shit on the sanctity of his hard, thrusting Data.
He is our Science Hero. Love him hard.
The Government didn’t take it well. The idea that whole crowds of British Humans could smoke Green Combustible Artfuel and not undergo the dreaded spasm of arcane metamorphosis which — they’d spent years suggesting — would instantly transform otherwise Normal™ Voters into hoody-wearing remtards with schizophrenic tendencies and a penchant for the word “Dude”, blew their collective brandy-swilling brains. This week, in fine leaderly tradition, they mowed down the Messenger.
Nutt was fired: ostensibly for “lobbying against government policy”; actually (if you believe him) for accidentally highlighting just how brain-fuckingly stupid government policy is.The media got wind of it (mostly courtesy of the good Professor himself, who diligently trekked between Newsrooms to shrug good-naturedly and make us all love him a little more), and a succession of smirking journos composed increasingly rubbish jokes around the words “Nutt” and “sack”.
(Actually I’m being unfair: that’s pretty funny. The first time I heard it I giggled so hard I nearly choked on my odd-tasting Hot Chocolate.)
Still, if there’s any justice in the world, I know exactly how things will go from here. See, Politics The Entity — which, if you’re looking for a synaesthetic visual, I tend to imagine as a Paisley-patterned Hippo in an Armani Suit, with tusks made of money and an erection shaped like a ballotbox — has basically told Science (slobbishly-dressed TreeFrog; rubber gloves; eye-goggles; bad hair) that it reserves the right to Ignore It whenever it wants. “Your so-called Discoveries,” Politics has imperiously decreed, stroking its bloated scrotum with a moist expenses-form, “are welcomed only so long as they Discover things which Please Us. All Else shall be consigned to the bin of Wrong.” Fine. Good. Therefore, in our hypothetical Ideal World, and according to the International rules of Playground Psychology, it really only remains for Science to respond in kind:
“Your politics,” it croaks, “are useful to us only so long as they let us Find Out, Cut Apart, and Blow Up things we want to Find Out, Cut Apart, and indeed Blow Up.” Let ethics be damned! Let cries of “Ooh, but that might upset Annoying Minority X” be annihilated from the Research Grant Committees! Let hairless rats glow in the dark! Let random Things be grafted onto random convicts! Let sweet, sweet hybrids reign supreme! Let us eat Whalemeat! Let a thousand glorious Atomic Squidmen descend upon parliament, to show the corpulent Hippo Of Hypocrisy exactly how hardy its bureaucuntic spaffings truly are!
(Sorry. I get overexcited. I blame the guy four houses down the street, who leans out of his window to smoke pot at least once a month, and whose noxious clouds of schizodeath have definitely Altered My Mind. I’d litigate if I wasn’t so bloody busy harvesting pineal glands from all these cloned squidmen.)
Anyway: that’s obviously not what’s really going to happen. Nut’ll vanish without trace — or, worse, someone’ll produce a photo of him smoking a Moroccan Fattie during his student days (“Nutt’s Into A Vice!”), and that’ll be his credibility fucked. A couple of other whitecoats on the Advisory Board might resign in Scientific Solidarity, making the perfectly astute observation that if the government doesn’t actually want FAKT, it shouldn’t’ve bloody asked in the first place. A few of the more daring consumers will complain that it’s now fundamentally impossible to take Government-Released Information seriously, and that the whole notion of Objective Data has been undermined, overturned, skinned, unwillingly fucked by a rugby-team, pecked by crows, and left dangling in a vat of lemonjuice.
But it won’t last. Nobody’ll pretend that the Nuttsacking (ha!) incident matters a single figgy fuck in the long-run, because there’ll always be Other Scientists to fill the void. Other cackling experimenters who can be relied-upon to decry Nutt’s methods as Unsafe, reassure us that we should just bally-well go on drinking beer and smoking fags like good little taxpayers, and produce lots and lots of policy-friendly FAKT to keep us nodding like idiots.
…but maybe not forever, right? Because, frankly, no Real scientist would ever willingly conceal an Unexpected And Exciting Result just because it runs the risk of undermining the fundamental value-systems of modern society — not when there’s the chance someone might one day name a Museum after him. So I’m quietly confident that all this spuff will kick-off again in a year or two, when the morally-bankrupt scumfuck who takes-over from Nutt discovers that babies are functionally non-sentient until the age of 3, that abortion should therefore be legalised for all pre-school infants, and can’t keep it to himself.
Really, the absolute best we can hope for in the short term is a world in which Atomic Squidmen do indeed exist, but have to fill-in 18 official forms before going on a rocket-fuelled rampage; and anyone hoping to grow a simple tumour-monster from irradiated Nazi stemcells will have to pay a special Progress Tax first.
Politics, you see, has had millennia to get good at making compromises whilst still getting what it wants, because the Dark And Pagan Gods it secretly worships are the bloated astral twins known only as PublicInterest and PublicGood. Science, which kowtows only to the uncaring, unresponsive and unlovely deity that is Fakt, can’t compete. If Nutt gets any sort of verbal recompense at all it’ll take the form: “He may be right about his Findings, but we in Government have to be Right about our Decisions. So, y’know. Fuck him.”
What is PublicInterest anyway? It’s certainly not Science. The depressing truth, reader, is that it’s probably The X-Factor.
…Which I note, supplanted our poor, forgotten Science-Martyr at the top of the papers within one day of the De-Nutting Incident. Yay news.
This Week I Have Been Mostly Hating:
The phrase “years of age”. As in: “The last journalist I heard using this phrase looked like he was probably about 40 years of age, but — I’m confident — has the mental prowess of a shitwitted guineafowl.
WHAT THE FUCK ELSE CAN YOU BE “YEARS OF”, ARSEHOLE?
“The victim was only 18 years of badger.”
“Today’s lottery winner is 36 years of git.”
“The raping of the English language celebrates a significant anniversary today, having reached 100 years of FUCK OFF MY TELLYSCREEN AND STOP WASTING MY VALUABLE HATE.”
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