Our thanks to Nick and others for this (video, 28:47), broadcast by the BBC last night. You’ll need a BBC licence to watch it, and it will only be available to watch for the next 29 days.
This series of University Challenge is between teams of ‘distinguished alumni’ of various universities. The BBC considers Special Snowflake a distinguished alumna of St John’s College, Cambridge, what must their undistinguished alumini look like? She graduated in English in 2007 and has been a whiny pain in the neck ever since, winning several of our Lying Feminist of the Month and Whiny Feminist of the Month awards.
Special Snowflake was the only woman in the Cambridge team in this episode of the programme, the semi-final in the series. A ridiculously large proportion of the questions were about literature and prominent women, presumably in a desperate bid to make her contribution appear significant. She answered none of them.
At 20:47 the question was (for just five points) to identify the chemical symbol of HCl, an acid. If you look carefully at the ensuing footage, you’ll note both Laura Bates and Jamie Barber (who answered many questions correctly over the programme) correctly identified it as hydrocholoric acid, and said so to Giles Foden, who was required to give the answer to Jeremy Paxman. Foden chose Laura Bates to give the answer, maybe in a desperate attempt to pretend she was making a contribution to the team’s performance, maybe also because Barber had confirmed the silly woman had actually got an answer right, against all the odds. Even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.
Since Jamie Barber also clearly knew the answer, we’re left with this inevitable conclusion:
Laura Bates was the definition of a ‘token woman’ on this programme. If she had been replaced by a pot plant, her side would not have scored any fewer points.
The three men in the Cambridge team scored no more points after Special Snowflake’s correct answer, presumably being in utter shock.
The only question which I remembering her answering correctly was essentially what does ‘HCl’ stand for. Even I managed to get that one with my C grade chemistry O level!
The opposing team, from Keble College, Oxford, won by 160 points to 105.