Mariah Carey has created a tradition, of sorts, of getting even ditzier than usual around the holidays, so it’s no surprise that this year she took the opportunity to show the world she has the math skills of a barnyard animal. Mimi’s most recent album is entitled E=MC2 (the 2 should be a superscript, but WordPress doesn’t hold with superscripting), and recently someone asked her precisely what the hell that meant in the context of a pop album. The diva/screen legend cheerfully explained that it meant “emancipation equals Mariah Carey times two.” Wrong, bozoette. That little 2 means the term is multiplied by itself, something you might have learned if you hadn’t spent fourth grade memorizing tunes from Josie and the Pussycats. Predictably, a group of highly scientific bedwetters called Mimi on the error and pronounced themselves highly disturbed by the whole thing. Ellen Raphael, UK director of Sense About Science, explained how very serious this is:
The problem comes when [celebrities] don’t consider checking it or asking a few questions before they speak out,” she said, adding that celebrities’ incorrect statements “travel widely” and “add disproportionately to the stock of misinformation that we all then have to wade through to make sense of a subject”.
Hard to say who comes off worse here. Sure, Mariah Carey is a dolt, but that’s no surprise and she generally seems cheerful and pleasant in her buttonheaded way. Ellen Raphael is factually correct, but she makes it vividly clear just how easy it is to spell “science” without “F-U-N.” It seems unlikely that Ms. Raphael has ever jumped into a hot tub while wearing a Santa hat, so in some important ways Mariah is way ahead of her.