Friday, April 10, 2009

Surveying Easter

click photo to enlarge
Did you know that 42.379% of statistics are made up on the spot? Really! Including this one! And, although this old joke is a good one, I often wonder if it contains more than a little truth.

A couple of weeks ago I read the results of a survey that said, "only 22 per cent of people we quizzed in Liverpool were able to identify Easter as the day on which Christians celebrate the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ following death on the cross." The report went on to lament that many thought Easter was an opportunity to indulge in chocolate, and quoted representatives of Christian churches bemoaning the lack of focus on the teaching of Christianity in schools: "Teachers and curriculum supervisors should take serious note of these findings" one respondent fulminated.

Now, whilst I can appreciate that Easter bunnies, fluffy yellow chicks, chocolate eggs and bonnets do figure in many children's and adults' idea of Easter, I cannot believe that only just over one fifth of people know that the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ is the reason for this celebration. Especially in Liverpool, for heaven's sake, a city noted for its religious character. The trouble is that today surveys are carried out for reasons other than finding out information. Promoting a brand, creating a headline, instigating a debate, attracting attention, are all reasons that seem to figure larger than finding anything approaching a truth. Surveys are used to confer a spurious authenticity and to mask the real intention. It's very easy to devise a survey that gives you a contentious result, or indeed, the finding that you want. In fact, I wouldn't find it very difficult to produce a survey demonstrating that most people do know the real reason for Easter - all I would need is the power to set the questions.

Today's photograph isn't an example of the barrel distortion of the Zuiko 11-22mm lens, which is very well controlled. It shows an Easter display in the fine bow window of a flower shop at Market Deeping, Lincolnshire. The window itself is probably late C18 or early C19, and lends itself to this sort of thing very well. This establishment always puts on a good display for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween and Easter, and passing by the other day I took this snap of the bunnies, chicks, eggs and sunlit reflected buildings and sky on the other side of the street.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On