The death of journalism and some very poor jokes

In the deadtime between Christmas and New Year The Guardian published a fairly fluffy story on scientist’s favourite jokes. Without any seeming hierarchy they asked a number of scientists which jokes about their discipline tickled them and posted fifteen or so. Some were good, some poor and they mostly split into simple plays on words that had little to do with science and ones that actually required some understanding of the discipline. I’ve thought about this article, which can be seen here, an awful lot over the subsequent weeks. Partly this has come from mentioning it to colleagues but also through my interest in independent schools marketing it strikes me as the kind of quick and easy win that could be tweeted out every day or appear on the homepage and, for a minimum of effort, bring in lots of interest and credit. From a TOK point of view it shows another interesting way in which knowledge works. Perhaps most interestingly though it seems to me to presage the slow death of journalism. As I said the jokes in the article are OK but they are followed by over 600 jokes in the comments section many of which are infinitely funnier and smarter. The wisdom of crowds is often cited as one way the internet is making us all smarter, the wit of crowds also seems to be worth keeping tabs on. For what it’s worth, my favourite is this one,

A labourer walks into a bar and goes to order. The scientist in front of him says to the barman: “I’ve had a tough day, can I have a glass of H20 please?” The barman hands him his drink and the scientist happily sips away. Not wanting to seem stupid, the labourer says to the barman: “Yeah, can I have a glass of H20 too please?” His funeral’s tomorrow.


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