On a lighter note: Tattooed Rosetta space scientist tears up over titillating tee-shirt

by | Nov 14, 2014 | ESA, On a Lighter Note, Seradata News | 0 comments

After the ESA Philae lander landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to great plaudits, there was great surprise when Dr Matt Taylor, lead scientist on the successful Rosetta-Philae mission, showed the world that he already had artwork showing the successfully landed Philae lander tattooed on his leg.

While some will find Dr Taylor’s sleeve and leg tattoos a little unsightly, Taylor briefly became a hero with some social commentators for making science more accessible the younger generation.  They point out that in showing his tattoos, he was showing the tattooed sections of society (which also include the UK Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron) that they too could one day become senior space scientists at ESA.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Dr Taylor’s cartoon tee-shirt/Hawaiian shirt which he decided to wear for post comet landing TV interviews.  This caused offence to critics who noted that it portrayed sexist cartoon images of women “in bondage gear and firing guns”.   Following strong criticism of his shirt, Dr Taylor subsequently tearfully apologised for his sartorial choice.

In response, others defended the scientist, noting that the criticism was yet another example of overly strong political correctness and puritanism.

In his Daily Telegraph newspaper column, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, defended Dr Taylor from his critics likening them to religious zealots.  While admitting  that he found its colours “a bit garish,” Johnson went on to say: “I suppose there are women with long flowing hair and a certain amount of décolletage. But let’s not mince our words: there are no nipples; there are no buttocks; there is not even an exposed midriff, as far as I can see.”

Sounding almost slightly regretful, Mr Johnson is, of course, an expert on such matters. 🙂

Comment by David Todd: Political correctness has its heart in the right place as it tries to defend women from sexism and harassment, but sometimes it can be a little too po-faced and censorious. Worse, it is often inconsistent in its vilification.  There is, after all, much worse out there that Dr Taylor’s slightly suggestive short-sleeved shirt.

We hope that Dr Taylor can, at least, see the funny side, especially given that Frankie Howerd’s “Francis Bigger” character had similar trouble convincing Hattie Jacques’ Matron of the artistic nature of his similarly decorated boxer shorts in the hospital comedy ‘Carry On Doctor’ (1967).   His excuse was that they were “a present from my mother”.  Perhaps Matt Taylor should try that one next time.

At least Dr Taylor was able to easily take the offending tee-shirt off by himself.  Poor Frankie had his shorts ripped off by Matron.

Thankfully Matt Taylor chose not to have any similarly sensuous ladies permanently tattooed to his chest. For then, surely, and alliteratively speaking, it would have been much more difficult for Taylor to say “ta-ta” to his titillating torso tattoos.  And titter ye not at that one. 🙂



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