Today is the Roman Catholic feast day for Canute IV, also known as Canute the Holy. This cove is not to be confused with Canute II, aka Cnut the Great.
It’s Cnut the Great who, according to legend, famously failed to hold back the incoming tide at Bosham.
The story goes that his sycophantic courtiers thought of Cnut as all-powerful, and Cnut decided to demonstrate the absurdity of that position by showing that he couldn’t hold back the tide.
I see a parallel with what many science writers and science communicators are trying to do. If there is a sea of (honest) ignorance (and yes, mixed through stupidity and sheer boneheadedness) out there, these people try to hold it back. Yes, I’m thinking of our apparently futile fight against homeopathy, anti-vaxxers, and the like.
We can also note that Cnut the Great successfully ruled over a united and peaceful England, also protecting the kingdom against Viking raids. So maybe there’s a parallel there too, something to which we can aspire.
It’s for these reasons that I propose science writers and communicators adopt Cnut the Great as their ‘patron saint’ (or ‘mascot’, if you prefer).
Holding back the tide of ignorance for 1000 years.
(Note: this is written tongue-in-cheek, in case it wasn’t obvious. It was inspired by realizing that the anti-vaxxers had found a Certain Post elsewhere. And thanks to JJS for proof-reading.)
I guess that would work for pelagic scientists too (maybe near Cromer?): “Getting our feet wet for 1,000 years”.
Ha ha! See? This thing’s got legs. Or wings, maybe. Water wings.
I don’t know about pelagic. Not at this time of year. Planktonic, possibly. I once thought that were I ever to have a butler, I’d call him Plankton. Just sayin’.
Holding back the tide, indeed. What a silly cnut.
(this comment brought to you by the Bureau of Obvious Jokes)
Aw, you’ve gone and spoiled it all now, R’pus.
Cnut’s then demonstrating the phenomenon of not holding back the tide also goes nicely with the Royal Society’s motto.
But then again if it weren’t for the vikings we wouldn’t have such awesome hair.
Two superlative points, yes.
awwww 🙂 I love Canute Cnut…. in the Britannia game (link here: http://pulsiphergames.com/britannia/index.htm) Cnut is fighting the Danes when they take their boats and want to invade… I’m sure you can find some Picts or so for other type of inspiration too?! ^^
Chall. I dare you to wear that t-shirt in public