A Dangerous Gulf
Dorset's Chief Scientist Sir Partytrick Imbalance [BSc, MSc University of Afpuddle, Diploma in Intermediate Information Management, Goathill Technical Institute] and Chief Medical Officer Professor DimWhitty [Intermediate Labwork NVQ and Cycling Proficiency Certificate, Canford Cliffs Technical College] have issued a new joint statement following yesterday's joint statement by Professor Dimwhitty and Deputy Chief Scientist Professor Em Pirical.
"Re-reading yesterday's CONTRIK-69 pronouncements in the cold light of print has made us aware - as empirical scientists steeped in a culture of objectivity - of the strange alchemical process whereby the tone of any communication can be unintentionally altered in transmission, particularly when deprived of the visual signals (serious face, sincere expression, concerned demeanour, national flag etc) necessary to provide an interpretive frame within which the proper reception of the intended message can be guaranteed. In short, a worldwide inter-web site - an environment in which ribaldry is allowed to flourish unchecked - may be an inadequate and inappropriate platform via which to deliver a message carrying the extreme gravity of our previous joint statement.
We are aware therefore that read in a casual, sceptical or disrespectfully jocular frame of mind [possibly in sceptical company and after a "dodgy sausage"*] some of our pronouncements may come across as sarcastic, tongue in cheek and even overwraught. To allow any such misinterpretation to go unchecked would be a dangerous development similar to and no less threatening to public safety than the devastating impact of CONTRIK-69 itself.
* A Dorset expression [origins unknown] denoting a person whose temper and objectivity has become impaired by virtue of a bad experience.
So, to be clear: you are all going to die unless you do exactly what we say and even then you still might if, as scientists, we decide that it it's in the interest of Science and the scientific community to make sure you do so."
Our up to the minute science correspondent Flo Jiston writes:
Feedback from extensive audience research (16 year old Guy's Marsh Community College student Watt Ever) has led Government advisors to conclude that the “CONTRIK-69 is going to do for you” line is beginning to wear a bit thin and that the public just doesn’t believe it anymore. There is, in other words, a growing credibility gap between what the scientists are saying and what the public is experiencing on a day-to-day basis and this threatens the integrity and jobs of scientists countywide. Obviously if the Science is to triumph over observational and empirical experience as well and put aside all common-sense then something has got to give. Keeping people indoors and cut off from all sources of information other than those the authorities want them to have is obviously key - so expect a lockdown on all communications not sanctioned either by the Government, the Office of Authorised Propaganda [Dorset Broadcasting Corporation] or the RDC's Message Enforcement Task Force. Tuning to any other television or radio station, accessing the world wide interweb [dark or light] or reading a newspaper is likely to attract mandatory £100,000 fines and, if repeated, widespread public hangings - all of which will be recorded, naturally, as CONTRIK-69-related deaths. This will not only reinforce the serious of the disease and it's perception; it will also confirm the Science.
Explaining Dorset's Chief Scientist Sir Partytrick Imbalance's co-authoring of today's announcement, the authorities have said that Deputy Chief Scientist Professor Em Pirical is self-isolating and in a programme of voluntarily shielding from public scrutiny.