The Admiration and compassion that everyone should have for physicist Stephen Hawking is apparently lacking in British journalism. In The Independent, one Simon Usborne seems to think Mr. Hawking should not be doing advertisements, at least not for money.
cosmologist tells a rapt audience that he has “calculated and formalised the
exact conditions needed to generate a supermassive black hole”. A man asks what
the professor will do with it. Cut to Gio, who aurally assaults a couple on a
high street before a black hole appears and consumes him. Hawking, the latest
celebrity to dispatch the singer (Barker did it with a rocket launcher) ends
the ad with a computer-generated “Ha ha ha.” Cambridge
It is approaching funny, to be fair to Hawking, but that a figure of his stature is shilling for a price comparison website shows how pervasive the celebrity ads have become. Why? There are the obvious financial incentives. . . .. But Hawking? Surely he’s still raking in Brief History royalties. Just last month he won a £2m science prize after earlier confirming his eminence with a stirring plea for curiosity at the Paralympics opening ceremony.
While Mr. Hawking has been and is acknowledged as a brilliant man, he has for the last several decades been living in a body that is wracked by a horrible disease. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, known in this country as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the great New York Yankee who died from it. The disease twists the body into almost unbearable contortions and destroys all sorts of bodily functions, like the ability to speak.
Here are some of Mr. Hawking's awards
And here are some of the awards won by Simon Usborne
As far as this Forum is concerned Mr. Hawking can do any damn thing he wants, and as for Simon Usborne, well, let’s hope the gods of irony do not give him anything like ALS. But if they do, and he becomes famous let’s see how quickly he goes for the fast buck. As Mr. Hawking might say, “at something less than the speed of light, only because nothing can go faster than the speed of light.”