Don't Mention The C-Word (Not That One!)
By some chance I'd already heard of the fruit-bat paper through Wired magazine's list of the 10 Most Absurd Published Scientific Papers 2009. Just like other enlightened Wired readers, I was amused and also fascinated by the study–and thus horrified by the recent events.
Bock has already taken a lively swing at it over at his place. He has published the original complaint over there too, and it makes for interesting reading. One section in particular caught my eye.
The previous week, he came to my office uninvited [what a weasel word!] to show me a book that he is reading about the life of Casanova. He said he admired Casanova because he had slept with hundreds of women, he was a gambler and that he was able to play different roles in different situations.
Casanova? Is this just written in to bolster her flimsy case?
As it happens, I have several books on Casanova (I've even toyed with writing a musical about his life) and I can tell you he was one of the most fascinating individuals ever to have lived. For a while I was quite the bore on the subject of Casanova, and I can confirm that occasionally, when I mentioned my interest to some closed-minded lady or other, I was subjected to icy stares and the most ignorant of rebukes.
Yes, yes, we all know that Casanova was famous as a lover–and he was a genuine 'lover' of women, not a cruel abuser of them–but there is so much more to the man than is popularly known.
For example, Casanova:
- achieved a degree in law at seventeen
- studied in the seminary and became an abbé (but abandoned religion for women)
- was briefly a military officer
- was a concert violinist
- became a highly successful playwright and author
- introduced the lottery to Paris
- co-wrote the libretto for Mozart's Don Giovanni with Da Ponte
- was at times an alchemist, a silk dealer, and a financier
- was arrested in Venice for blasphemy but escaped over the roof of the Doge's Palace on Halloween night
That's just from memory, and all before he was thirty! It goes on and on, his memoirs take up 3,700 pages. But alas, some people only hear 'Casanova' => 'sex.' I'm quite sure I'd have been done for sexual harassment (if not mental rape!) if I'd mentioned any of this to the 'delicate flower' who brought the case in UCC.
I can genuinely sympathise with Dr. Evans' (the lecturer's) plight, and can sadly advise that there is simply no way to educate some people on interesting topics that have the unwarranted taint of immorality upon them.
Unsurprisingly, I've been told there is a religious aspect to all this. Well, at least the furore in the blogosphere has granted Evans a new hearing in the case, we can all take a polite bow for that. Internets 1 – Idiots NIL.
But Dr. Evans should be very glad he didn't mention that study about Monkeys Paying For Sexy Pics. If anything is likely to cost you your job, it's references to 'monkey porn' showing up in your online search history.