We’ve all heard about crazy research grants.
I’m talking about the money that goes to studies of things like the urine output of the rhesus monkey and the sex life of the Japanese quail. (Yes, these are actual funded projects.)
But I just heard about one that sounds much better to me.
AFP reports that a student in New Zealand has won a government grant to investigate the lifestyles of metal music fans, including everything from tattoos and body piercings to dancing. Over the course of three years, the people of New Zealand will be paying the kiwi equivalent of almost U.S. $70,000 for this study.
It’s about time! Why waste money on water treatment, conflict resolution, or cancer cures when research on metal has been so tragically neglected?
I’m glad professional researchers are turning to one of my favorite genres. This New Zealand study comes on the heels of anthropologist and metal fan San Dunn’s documentary, “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.”. If you haven’t seen it, keep your eyes out for this entertaining two-hour show on VH1 Classic.
A step in the right direction. But, of course, there is a downside.
And that downside is the possibility we’ll see this trend taken too far, with a proliferation of such investigations. Watch out for these studies:
Decisions to run for president: Let’s review the facts. It’s a job that brings criticism no matter what you do. People will accuse you of evil motives for even your most well-intentioned acts—and the road to get there is full of non-stop campaigning and personal attacks. The brightest minds may not be able to figure out why people clamor to do it.
Country music: What exactly IS it in the water in the Southern U.S. and rural areas across the country that compels people to listen to this drivel? Of course, if they actually do find this odd elixir, what’s to stop those still fighting the Civil War from spreading it to all of our water supplies?
Blogging: We’re all in trouble if they research our pet phenomenon and discover that it’s harmful to our health. What will we do if this hobby actually has negative side effects?
Maybe they’ll make us pay for crazy research studies.