Showing posts from August, 2010

Know your science

Except for the TV show "The Big Bang Theory", popular culture gets science wrong. We all know that.
But there's a way it tends to get science wrong that upsets me more than most. That is when it misuses the tools of science by willfully ignoring what science actually means.
One common example is celebrity equations, wherein some mathematical-looking expression mixes two or more celebrities together, as in (I'm making this one up and I'm not a cultural critic, let alone a comic, so please bear with me): Lady Gaga = (2*Madonna + Carrot Top)/3. Mathematically savvy readers will recognize that I normalized that equation. If you don't know what that means, you shouldn't be writing celebrity equations, because mathematical equations mean something, they're not just symbols. Like musical comedy based on bad notes, bogus mathematical equations are not funny, just lazy.
Some years ago I even wrote a letter to Entertainment Weekly when they had a long article…