Wednesday 6 May 2020 by James Backhouse

Social Media users hold back from judging Prof Neil Ferguson until they’ve seen what books he’s got on his shelves


bookcase on zoom meeting

It has been revealed that the scientist behind the advice that led to the UK’s lockdown, Professor Neil Ferguson, has hypocritically broken those rules himself, though social media users are waiting to see what he’s been reading before criticising him.

Instead of the expected moral outrage, social media users have struck a note of caution, insisting that the only valid basis for judging someone these days is by what’s displayed on their bookshelves in a Zoom meeting.

“There are two big dangers with this story,” explained self-appointed moral arbiter Simon Williams.

“The first danger is that Professor Ferguson’s actions damage public perception of the lockdown, and the second is that we wade into this thorny issue without knowing whether his shelves hold nice, wholesome books which I approve of – or ones that make me say ‘oo-er, that looks a bit dodgy’.

“Someone needs to scour the internet for Zoom meeting footage to see what books he’s got, or we could just ask the married woman who’s repeatedly been round to his house in breach of the rules which books he recommended.

“For example if he’s got a book with ‘Hitler’ on the spine in big red letters then the public should all hate him. Because, y’know, Nazis, innit. Stands to reason.

“On the other hand if his shelves contain only picture books of frolicking Labrador puppies then everyone should love and forgive him, and feel bad that we ever brought this up.

“It’s all too easy to judge a public figure solely based on their well-documented words and actions, but we need to think carefully about this, and ensure we reach a calm, creepy, totally illogical conclusion.”

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