Bernard Manning, James Watson and Tim Hunt walk into a bar. Someone spots them and everyone looks up.
The barman says to Watson and Hunt- hey fellas, you’re the brightest guys we’ve had in here, it’d be a privilege if you’d give us a bit of wisdom.
Well, Watson, ever the showman, says to Bernard, “Bernie, why don’t you warm them up a bit for us?”
To this Bernard says ‘surely’ and breaks into his routine:
“My mother in law is a right old battleaxe…” he begins.
The barman stops him as the pub-crowd are just drawing breath.
“Not sure we want any of your sort of stuff in here mate. It’s pretty sexist and not really on anymore.”
Bernard reponds, “But it’s just a bit of a laugh!”
“Yeah, maybe a while ago but not anymore” the barman replies and Bernard Manning shuffles off into a corner to pick over some scampi fries.
James Watson slurps on his pint and then turns to face the crowd. “Well, in all my experience, I’ve never understood this PC nonsense”, he begins. “I mean, it’s like when I pointed out that my experience shows me that Africans just aren’t as intelligent as whi…”
The barman is quick to cut him off – “I’d hoped you wouldn’t go there man! It’s way not cool! Look, maybe you’d better just drink your pint and keep quiet.”
Watson replies with petulant air, “But I’m just being factual! My experience is… ”
The barman is for none of it, and neither are the crowd.
And so it falls to Tim Hunt. None daunted, he adjusts his glasses and sweeps his hair back. Addressing the disquieted crowd he starts, “let me tell you about my trouble with girls… ”
Within a few moments, the crowd are even more unxious. There are shouts for the trio to leave, get out!
Tim Hunt raises his hands and appeals for calm and the crowd quietens just enough for him to explain himself.
“Come on folks, it’s just a joke! And of course, it’s perfectly true you know. I’m just being factual.”
The crowd mulls this over for a bit. Someone cries out from the back that they should leave, but the crowd shushes that person, says they’re making too much of it, maybe they should leave if they’ve got a problem. I mean, Tim Hunt is clearly a decent fellow and there’s no reason for him to leave – it was just a joke, ironic. And of course, there are genetic differences between folks, and he’d know.
Within a few moments, Tim Hunt is regailing the crowd with tales of the genome, cell division and the proteome… and everyone lived happily ever after.