It’s been revealed there will be no cheerleaders at the Super Bowl this Sunday. What a perfect opportunity to promote science. As follows.
Last fall Darlene Cavalier presented to the world for the first time, at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C., the first team of 10 “science cheerleaders,” who are or were all NFL cheerleaders with graduate training in science. I shot this video of the event which has scored over 100,000 views on Youtube.
Now there’s a perfect opportunity to scramble a dozen of her Science Cheerleaders, show up in Dallas in the parking lot of the Super Bowl, and put on a show that is both funny and promotes science.
A CHEERLEADERLESS SUPER BOWL: This is a job for the Science Cheerleaders!
Darlene would do it. She has a list of 50 NFL science cheerleaders, a dozen of whom I’m sure would jump at the chance to do it. And I’d do it and could find a cheap video crew through Craigslist, just as I did in D.C. It would be IMPULSIVE, but that’s how you put “the pulse” into a dry subject. Just need a few bucks to support it.
But nooooooooo. This is called spontaneity, something that is not allowed in the heavily cerebral world of science. And yet, spontaneity, as I discussed in my book, is an increasingly powerful part of mass communication and, among other things, is at the core of the massive popularity of reality shows.
You want to know why science communication is so “bo-ho-ho-ring” as I’ve said on Andy Revkin’s NY Times blog more than once (a writer at the Spiegel even picked up on the term)? This is one of the prime factors — no interest or room for fun. And more seriously, SPEED has increasingly become the most important variable in communication. That’s what I’m talking about here.
So … I say, Gooooooo Science! (provided it is carefully thought out months in advance, written up in a proposal that is then sent out to six peer reviewers and supported only when all six can agree there is nothing sufficiently new or unusual in it to offend anyone — “Here’s your money, go do your safe activity”)