What is it about the brain? Mine just won’t do as it’s told; it insists on waking me up with vague and waffly ideas somewhere a long way south of Proper Morning and then when I want it to work it’s half-asleep again. It’s very vexing, but you simply cannot make a creative brain work when you want it to. You can encourage it, coax it with tidbits like a wild hedgehog, call it with soft murmurs, sing little songs to it – but nope: my brain, bouncy and happy at five in the morning, simply folds its arms and says nah. Not playing. It’s like a recalcitrant toddler who won’t go to bed at night and then wakes you in the wee small hours wanting to play.
But we need this brain because it knows stuff. It is wise and intuitive and sometimes it wakes you early for a reason. I just wish I knew what it was … *sigh*.
So – what does Tuesday have in store? Well, it’s pretty much like Monday really only without University Challenge. Incidentally, though I love the intellectual rigour of this quiz, I continue to be amazed by the lack of diversity of the contestants. Last night was typical: two all-white teams and only one woman among eight participants. You do sometimes get Asian or East Asian contestants but black team members are as rare as hens’ teeth. Why is this? There are two obvious answers, both of which I reject as too simplistic: the first, that women and black people are not up to the job, is prejudiced, and the second, that universities are reluctant to take on female and/or black students, is not true – or at least much less true than it once was. I suspect it’s down to a number of complex cultural factors, such as women being less likely to put ourselves forward than men and black people being less likely to go to the kind of schools that teach you what you need to know to get on University Challenge. The question therefore arises as to whether it’s an elitist programme. Is the kind of knowledge required more likely to be found in elite institutions? It’s certainly dominated by Oxbridge, though that’s more down to the fact that each Oxbridge college counts as a separate university – but what’s interesting is that in the Christmas series when they have now-successful alumni, the gender and race balance is more equal. So perhaps it’s just about where people are at a certain age. Anyway, much as I enjoy UC I do sometimes watch it with gritted teeth.
And gritted brain. Actually last night I got six or seven answers right, which is not too bad considering.