A Guide to QI. Series I, Episode 8 'inequality and injustice'

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The idea of a show about 'injustice' came about directly after we read about the story of George Spencer 'who didst lie with a beast'.  It was such an incredible story, that we decided to build a show around it.

If you want to read more about bestiality in Early America, then what's wrong with you?  But here is a great snippet anyway:


So what else about the puritans was a myth?  Here's a list of many misconceptions, of which we chose the clothing, as it is one that is certainly well known in the UK:


Our resident historian goes even further to debunk the Pilgrim Fathers story:

Firstly the Pilgrim Fathers were not Puritans. Puritans stayed in the old country (and the old church) to 'purify' it. Those who simply couldn't bear to stay with all those heathens or in their horrible church but decided to set up their own church or just bugger off to pastures new instead were known as 'Seperatists'. Puritans don't really start emigrating until after 1630. The New Haven colony were Puritans.

The Pilgrim Fathers were also not known at the time as Pilgrim Fathers (although William Bradford used the imagery of Hebrews 11:13-16, about Old Testament "strangers and pilgrims". The first documented use of Pilgrims (that was not simply quoting Bradford) was at a December 22, 1798 celebration of Forefathers' Day, in Boston. The crew of the Mayflower called them "Psalm-singing puke stockings". The 28 most fervent in the group were known as 'the saints' and the rest as 'strangers'.

The Mayflower first dropped anchor at Provincetown, not Plymouth, nor was Plymouth named by the Pilgrims after the English port from which they left. That was just a co-incidence as the settlement had already been named Plymouth by John Smith from the Charlestown expedition who had petitioned the king to be allowed to give the coastal settlements what he considered proper English names.

For more on whipping boys and scapegoats, check out this article from the excellent www.phrases.org


And here's the full story on Louis Pasteur's "Beer of Revenge":


Here's some evidence of the power of 'Stickum' which was widely used in American Football until it was banned:

And here's the story of Eddie Gaedel - the shortest ever player to play Major League Baseball - his great nephew Kyle is currently playing the sport:

And finally on cheating in sport, here's an article that mentions large-bat-gate, as well as more information on the various measurements in cricket than you can ever likely need:


We're not sure why the lady at the Old Bailey has no blindfold.  Their website is particularly unhelpful, simply saying:

On top of the 67 foot high dome a 12 foot gold leaf statue was placed of a "lady of justice" holding a sword in one hand and the scales of justice in the other; she is not, as is conventional with such figures, blindfolded

While Supreme Court in the US says:

During the 16th century, Justice was often portrayed with a blindfold. The origin of the blindfold is unclear, but it seems to have been added to indicate the tolerance of, or ignorance to, abuse of the law by the judicial system. Today, the blindfold is generally accepted as a symbol of impartiality, but may be used to signify these other traits in political cartoons.

What we did find out was that the answer to our question: "What is Lady Justice looking at" is pretty much "Fleet Street" which is somewhat ironic given the current climate of blame aimed at the fourth estate.

The fact that people with Hansen's Disease (the more correct name for the disease known as leprosy) carried bells to gain alms came from our reading of the book: Leprosy in Medieval England by Carole Rawcliffe


We have since had a couple of messages complaining that we used the word "Leper" which is generally thought to be outdated and unhelpful to those with the disease.  Apologies to anyone offended, but thankfully some of those who complained did say that we represented the disease fairly in all other respects, so hopefully that is at least some comfort.

And finally, when we read that new hairs in bald men become microscopic rather than disappearing completely we couldn't wait to see what our folically-challenged panelists thought about it.  It was just too perfect a General Ignorance question to be true... Sorry Clive.


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by eggshaped published on October 31, 2011 12:35 PM.

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