Baker, Robert A. A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown and Other Essays for a

 

Baker, Robert A. A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown and Other Essays for a
Scientific Age. Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1969. (Originally, Prentice-Hall,
1963)

This editor-psychologist has a sense of humor. He has pulled together 31 satirical pieces - from a
variety of sources including Harper's and Astounding Science Fiction, bearing on science.
Outrageous overstatements of scientific principles, practices, and structures. The points of attack
vary considerably by science involved, technologies, specialization, social structure, bureaucracy
and so on.

It is very hard to single out one piece as "the best." Included here, for example, is the oft-printed
H. Minor, "Body Ritual..." but Nicholas Vanserg, "Mathmanship," (pp. 157-162) is superb.
Mathmanship refers to keeping your ideas confused so that the reader cannot follow your math.
Vanserg provides excellent examples of "How to..." in the way of Stephen Potter and
Gamesmanship. It is a primer for those who wish to obfuscate.

Satire is, in this sense, outrageous truth and can dramatize beautifully what otherwise cannot be
said.