Academic Journal Runs Hoax Article About Conservatives’ Bathroom Habits

Gender Neutral High School Toilet
Global Edmonton

An academic journal published a hoax article about the bathroom habits of conservatives and liberals.

Gary Lewis, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, submitted a bizarre article to Crimson Publishers to see if they would run it for publication. The article was about his the bathroom habits of conservatives and liberals, specifically which hand they use to wipe themselves after using the toilet.

The article was accepted by Crimson Publishers and published on July 2 in the Crimson academic journal Psychology and Psychotherapy.

“Politicians from the right wipe their ass with their left hand (and vice versa) – big breakthrough!” Lewis wrote on Twitter. “Manuscript accepted w/o review.”

Lewis’s hoax article was relatively thorough. It utilized all of the right terms and phrases that make up an actual academic research article. Read how Lewis describes the result of his “study.”

The descriptive statistics showed a clear pattern. Politicians of the right were more likely to wipe their bottoms with their left hand (4 out of 4). The opposite pattern was seen for politicians of the left, with 3 of 4 wiping their bottoms with the right hand (Jeremiah Doorbin responded that he used a munchkin from The Sound of Music to do the wiping, but intimated that if did the wiping it would depend on which hand was free at the time). Using structural equation modeling us formally confirmed this finding – the AIC was 1654.23 and the RMSEA was .02. These are excellent fit statistics although the model makes little sense.

Lewis’ hoax article is somewhat similar to “The Conceptual Penis” hoax that was conducted by Prof. Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay. In the paper, the hoaxers argued that the penis is the root of many ill throughout society, including climate change.

Inasmuch as masculinity is essentially performative, so too is the conceptual penis. The penis, in the words of Judith Butler, “can only be understood through reference to what is barred from the signifier within the domain of corporeal legibility” (Butler, 1993). The penis should not be understood as an honest expression of the performer’s intent should it be presented in a performance of masculinity or hypermasculinity. Thus, the isomorphism between the conceptual penis and what’s referred to throughout discursive feminist literature as “toxic hypermasculinity,” is one defined upon a vector of male cultural machismo braggadocio, with the conceptual penis playing the roles of subject, object, and verb of action. The result of this trichotomy of roles is to place hypermasculine men both within and outside of competing discourses whose dynamics, as seen via post-structuralist discourse analysis, enact a systematic interplay of power in which hypermasculine men use the conceptual penis to move themselves from powerless subject positions to powerful ones (confer: Foucault, 1972).

After “The Conceptual Penis” hoax paper was published, a loud debate took place about the issues with academic publishing houses and university research.


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