AFP is running a story which gravely warns that The Simpsons may promote smoking by showing it in so many episodes. Coincidentally, I watched about four episodes of the TV series last night, and this morning I very nearly joined my colleagues for a smoke break. Oh no, wait…that’s not true; I just ate breakfast as usual. SEE HOW CLOSE I WAS TO JOINING THE RANKS OF THE SMOKERS?!?!
Perhaps this is of interest to protective parents and evangelicals. What is of interest to ME is that this Australian researcher – public health specialist Guy Eslick – managed to convince whoever was involved, that this would be a valuable way to spend scientific research AUS dollars, and that the Medical Journal of Australia elected to publish the results.
I imagine Eslick, after deciding that he wanted to watch 18 seasons of The Simpsons instead of working, might have applied for funding in the following way:
Eslick: Leesten, Oi’m a beeet taa-yerd of working for a leeving. Oi’d rather be watching 400 episodes of The Simpsons and get paid for that instead. How about you pay me to do that?
Funder: Erm, listen Eslick, I have lots of cash to throw at you, but you have to come up with something vaguely measurable for me to justify this to the Board. What about the incidence and prevalence of blue hair in the show, and how it has spawned a new generation of Punk?
Eslick: Naaaa, mate, that’s just seelly.
Funder: Alright, well, how about the soaring costs of orthodontic treatment as a result of mimickry of the Simpson overbite?
Eslick: Mate!! Oi’ve got it! You know what the University of Seedney hasn’t concentrated on in a whoile? Smoking!!! Yeah, that’s perfect!
Funder: Super! Alright, I’ll organise petty cash to give you enough to buy 400 episodes and100 bags of microwave popcorn for your, ahem, research.
Eslick: Don’t forget lollies. See you in a few months, bye!