For the Uninitiated: #Shirtstorm

The sad story that is #Shirtstorm had quite a long lead in time, over a decade in fact.  It’s origins can be traced back at least as far as March 2004 when the European Space Agency launched a robotic space probe named Rosetta.  Two days later, Rosetta (along with a very special payload called Philae) commenced a ten year journey into deep space towards a comet named 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, travelling a culmative 6.4 billion kilometres to get there.  This sweet little animation will tell you what happened next…

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And as the humanity watched on nervously, little Philae made her final descent…

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I think most of humanity would forgive a little bit of emotion from  ‘Professional Scientists’ in the wake of such a ground breaking achievement, welcome it even.  After all, some of these people had committed practically their entire career lifetime to this one project. Heck, in the time honoured tradition of mad scientists, the zany project leader even expressed his own personal commitment to the belief that the project would succeed by tattooing that very outcome on his leg…

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and then this happened…

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 14.01.34

Leading to ‘sexist STEM scientist shirt shame’ headlines, best personified by this one: I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing (That’s one small step for man, three steps back for humankind)

Which in turn lead to this:

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I must confess to wondering if the guy had made the most sensible wardrobe choice when I saw the interview but, then again, I do work in an incredibly politically correct environment which encourages an extremely conservative dress code… so I’m probably more tuned into this sort of thing than the average big bang theorist.

I certainly understand that in Europe there are laws to protect the dignity of any of Dr Taylor’s colleagues, should they feel genuinely offended by his fashion sense (on grounds of sexism, as apposed to style).  In fact, such statutory protection has been available for over four times the lifetime of the project, that they all so brilliantly and joyously carried across the line together.  It even extends protection to third parties such as the numerous female journalists who interviewed him.  And yet not one of these adult professional women complained, assumingly because none of them experienced the sensation of genuine offence at the sight of some scantily clad cartoon space ladies (once again, I’ll emphasise that’s protection on grounds of sex, as opposed to fashion sensibilities).

Cheerfully most of his colleagues appear to have been nothing but supportive and sympathetic towards Dr Taylor’s predicament.  Understandably, the majority of social media commentators, including many feminists, expressed regret at his unfortunate forced crashed landing back to planet earth at the precise moment he could, not unreasonably, have expected to be celebrating, possibly, the greatest achievement of his lifetime and certainly a massive contribution to humankind.

I’m sure that Dr Taylor chose ‘that’ particular shirt to wear on his big day for a number of reasons.  One of them was certainly because it was a birthday / good luck with the mission gift from a female friend who lovingly designed and hand stitched this quite unique and once ‘one off’ bowling shirt.

I say, once ‘one off’ because in a happy ending to this once upon a time tale of twitch forking terror, his hipster rockabilly friend has managed to turn a one time hobby and labour of love into a full-time job, as a direct consequence of the torrent of orders that followed in the wake of the storm.  Now we all have the equal opportunity to wear designer clothing that created a #shirtstorm and before anyone starts getting their twitter in a twist, yes that does include the ladies.

Shirtstorm-Ladies-Shirt

Next \ #Twirlgate

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