The institute of bad ideas

September 23, 2005

There was once an academic whose remarkable imagination was rivalled only by her ability to grasp the possible. She was fearless, she could think the unthinkable, she was set to change our world. That woman was asked to leave the Institute of Bad Ideas.

Dear Dr Cruickshank

Institute of Bad Ideas

Thank you for the package of August 17. It was a surprise to receive such a comprehensive proposal - a four-volume "thinktionary" kit on the "Biology of Wuthering Heights " with CD-Rom (which I could not get to work).

Unfortunately, your proposal does not fit in with the Science Museum's plans. Yes, we have held exhibitions on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Lord of the Rings , but Emily Bront 's classic does not lend itself so readily to an exposition of "the science facts behind the novel".

With regard to your ingenious suggestions, an interactive display on the genetics of inbreeding seems in rather poor taste, the role-play section combining the effects of alcohol with child cruelty is probably illegal, and the ecological dioramas of heaths and cliffs are a bit dull (and perhaps more appropriate for our neighbour). We also doubt that Kate Bush would be prepared to spend five months in the museum, or that "Bront saurus" action figures depicting dinosaur versions of Emily and her two sisters would sell well in the museum shop. On a more positive note, though, we wholeheartedly support your proposed measures regarding Patrick Kielty.

Yours sincerely Dr Gitsell Science Museum, London

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