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Monday, 12 August 2013

image for Statistically speaking, someone in the world thinks "White Chicks" is the greatest film ever made - an opinion piece

Statistics is a funny science. The process of collecting and interpreting data can often lead to some unpleasant, odd, or belief-defying answers. It doesn't always yield perfect results, but like any scientific endeavor, we can be sure more often than not that our work, if done correctly, leads us to the truth. But of all the claims we can make using statistics, perhaps the most outrageous is the almost-certain probability that someone in the world thinks White Chicks is the greatest film ever made.

You read that correctly. Simple statistical analysis leads to the unavoidable conclusions that there exists a human being who considers The Wayans Brothers' White Chicks to be his or her all-time favorite movie. This person probably watches the film at least once a week and can recite every line from memory.

It's a fact. To be blunt, from a purely numbers perspective, it's actually almost impossible there's only one. Yes, that's right: there are at least two people--perhaps as many as four or five--who believe that White Chicks is humanity's greatest cinematic achievement. Right this very second, somebody somewhere on Earth is watching the film that Roger Ebert said was
"so dreary and conventional that it took an act of will to keep me in the theater" and is enjoying every second of it.

We're used to hearing extraordinary statistical claims. Every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies of malaria. Only three percent of rapes result in jail time for the perpetrator. There are two million drunk drivers on the road at any given time. But I can't think of an observation that illustrates the uncertainty and chaotic nature of this world like the mathematically-guaranteed fact that someone has watched multiple Razzie-nominee White Chicks over 100 times. By choice. And in different formats for different viewing experiences.

There are 7,000,000,000 people in this world. And at least one of them, if they were forced to move to a desert island and bring only one movie to watch, would take White Chicks. Given the fact that only a few hundred movies get mainstream international exposure every generation, this is not so much an implausible claim as a scientific reality.

I would like to go on the record as saying I feel there is stronger evidence for the existence of somebody who watches White Chicks multiple times a month than there is for the existence of God.

We don't need to limit our methodical exploration to White Chicks. Frankly, using statistical analysis, we can also reasonable expect that various people inhabiting our world believe James Buchannan was the greatest American president, believe "Mr. Moonlight" was the best song The Beatles ever recorded, and think that Michelangelo's David is the absolute ugliest surviving piece of art from the 16th Century.

I want to impress upon you the seriousness of these findings. Even if we narrow ourselves down to just the United States and its 310,000,000 people, the odds remain largely intact. There is an individual or individuals who freely spends disposable income on White Chicks memorabilia and collectibles, and casually types "White Chicks 2004 clips" into YouTube on a regular basis. There is probably someone devoted to starting a grass-roots campaign to make White Chicks 2. Somebody has probably invested considerable time and energy writing letters to the Wayans Brothers and to studio executives pleading for White Chicks to be re-released into theaters. You may never meet this person, but you can be damn sure he or she is out there somewhere, watching and waiting to tell you that the high point of Western artistic expression was White Chicks.

I hope this gives you insight as to why the human race will not survive another century.

By James Pidge, mathematician

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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