Researchers at prestigious Dalston University (previously the East London College of Remedial Learning and Basket Weaving) have produced a ‘groundbreaking’ report aimed at securing sensationalist newspaper headlines that will be completely forgotten by tomorrow morning.
‘Yes,’ said report author Dr Silas Floride, while doing anything he could think of to grab our attention, ‘our findings are totally groundbreaking. I mean really, really completely groundbreaking.’
Grabbing our lapels to stop us wandering off, he continued: ‘After literally hours of idle speculation and a bit of typing we have established – definitively and for all time – that dental floss definitely causes cancer.’
‘Really, it does. Stop laughing.’
In coming to their click-bait friendly conclusions, Dr Floride and his team took the unusual steps of not bothering to check anybody’s teeth or asking how they caught cancer. Instead they chose to work in close collaboration with the university’s English Literature department, which happened to be next door to the bar.
‘The evidence was there all along,’ said Dr Floride, who suffers from near fatal gingivitis, ‘the pantheon of great literary works provides conclusive evidence for the Floss / Cancer Paradigm of Contiguousness, as we like to call it.’
Apparently Dr Floride first noticed the killer potential of dental floss while watching a student production of King Lear last week.
‘Yeah, the thing is,’ he told the Mercury, ‘people die of all kinds of cool stuff in Shakespeare, yeah? Eyes gouged out, drowned in butts of Malmsey, poisoned ears, all that. But no cancer. And – when you think about it – no dental floss either.’
Dr Floride’s findings led him to ask colleagues in the English department whether they could think of anyone in Jane Austin or the Brontës ever getting cancer, a line of research which returned negative results. Then he asked them whether Cathy and Heathcliff ever did any flossing or engaged in other forms of interdental cleansing. They said no, don’t be so bloody stupid.
And, after exhaustively browsing through some Coles Notes on Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Dr Floride determined that cancer had not existed in Russia either, prior to the invention of dental floss. He was going to do Moby Dick too until he saw how long it was.
‘So, there you have it,’ he told us triumphantly, ‘QED. No floss, no cancer. Inarguable.’
So far, 19 major international news organisations – including this one – have blindly disseminated Dr Floride’s crazed ravings in a desperate race for content and click-throughs. 300 oral hygienists in America have thrown themselves off tall buildings, although the report has encouraged several others to re-read Northanger Abbey.