Even lovely Sandra Bullock and lovelier Kate Winslet must be wondering if there's actually is a curse attached to the Best Actress Oscar. If they've caught a glimpse of a newspaper this week, they'll have seen the endless pics of those other actresses who've won the Oscar but lost their man: Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, that nice Reese Witherspoon. Well, I'm sorry to point this out, especially when Jesse James (Mr Sandra Bullock) has just apologised so nicely and publicly for his affair with a tattooed lady, but I think it's worse than a curse. A curse can be reversed. If it were just a curse, the contenders for best actress could make a pilgrimage up into the Hollywood hills and beg some shaman – Shirley MacLaine perhaps – to break the spell.
But what we're dealing with here is irreversible biology. The more you look at studies done on male brains, usually rat brains (pleasantly apt), the more obvious it becomes that though evolution has equipped this awesome organ to triumph over many fearsome challenges, it just can't and will never be able to cope with having an Oscar-winning wife. It's an underexplored field, celebrity neuroscience, but given the acres of expensive, glossy paper devoted to scrutinising every move any actor makes, I think, perhaps, I'm on to a winner.
The first thing to know is that male brains, even the smaller ones preferred by celebrities, really do get most of their kicks from success. A woman's brain is built to take pleasure from a variety of different things: work, family life, good friendships. So Sandra Bullock, though pleased with her Oscar, will also feel content if her husband's happy (though maybe not right now). Not so Jesse James. A bloke's testosterone-filled brain compels him to get ahead – that's what makes him happy. But success is relative, especially in LA. And what's your own TV show when your wife's face is on billboards worldwide? For a man, being married to an Oscar-winning actress is to be trapped as the underdog in a two-man hierarchy, forced to smile for the cameras and for your adoring wife, while inside you crave dominance, perhaps carnage.
Don't believe me? Just Google that Sarah Jessica Parker, and watch for pics of her miserable, white-faced husband, the much, much less successful Matthew Broderick, trailing behind, muttering pleasantries, plotting murder.
So pity the poor Hollywood love rats. To add to their misery, there's the impossibility of ever being able to express it. A man's relatively shallow limbic system means that he's unlikely to understand his emotions, let alone be able to articulate them. And even if he could, there's no hope of a solution. It's not as if Jesse can say to Sandra: well look, darling, it's your success that's making me suicidal – can you quit the day job and run a cake shop instead?
So-called "friends" of Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes explained their split as a difference in temperament: when they got back from work, Kate wanted to pour a glass of wine and yak on, whereas Sam wanted to watch baseball. But that's not temperament, that's just gender. A woman's brain releases delicious, calming oxytocin during a nice heart-to-heart; a male brain relaxes only when switched off entirely. And whereas a normal couple might reach an unspoken compromise – you babble away dear, while I pretend to listen – a male celeb always has other options. Any husband of an Oscar-level actress will be besieged by girls, all driven out of their monkey minds with desire to sleep with a more famous woman's man. Sam, Jesse, Brad, Ryan, Chad, Benjamin – did you think it was just your personal appeal?
Perhaps celebrity neuroscience isn't such a good idea after all; it leads you too soon to the universal chemical truth behind what looks like individual decisions. And also to the awful catch-22s inherent in celebrity life: a chap may think he wants to bag one of the world's most beautiful and talented actresses, but marrying her will most likely drive him to despair. An actress will inevitably want to be successful in work and in love, but the nearer that golden Oscar comes, the more compelled her husband will feel to stray.
Big isn't always better in hospitals
Sometimes it's best not to read the awful reports of disease-ridden hospitals, and the deadly viruses inspectors find in the corners. If you do end up in casualty, it'll only add anxiety to injury. But in this case it's worth taking in the latest report by the Care Quality Commission, not so much for its findings as for its conclusions.
The CQC is a new health watchdog, and it's sniffed out evidence of substandard services in two NHS trusts – Mid Staffordshire and Milton Keynes. In the hospitals run by these trusts, the CQC found dirty instruments and unflushed toilets, rampant disease and overworked staff. So what does the CQC do?
To universal approval, it has threatened the two hospitals with hefty fines, up to £50,000 each. But for the life of me, I can't work out what good a fine will do. These hospitals are grubby and unsafe because they're vast and short-staffed. Won't less money make them worse? Perhaps a better question is: why are none of the major political parties brave enough to admit that the era of big hospitals may be over?
Across the country there are clean little clinics (run for the NHS by private providers) which treat patients so well and efficiently that far fewer of them end up on bug-infested wards. Why not have more of them and fewer hospitals, and solve the problem by helping people to avoid MRSA altogether?
Not everyone would kill for immortality
Robert Pattinson, aka Edward the Twilight vampire, has been out and about getting wrecked. Even so, he turns out to be a more sensible man than most. "Would I want to live for ever, like Edward? No way," he said to one interviewer. "Not under any circumstances. I don't think anyone would want to, would they?"
Over the years, I've done a bit of unofficial polling on the subject of immortality and made an odd discovery. Whereas about 90 per cent of women say they'd rather be dead than have to live for ever, 90 per cent of men say they'd leap at the chance. Can it really be that much more fun to be a bloke? Or do they think it's wimpy to admit to being daunted by eternity.
Take it from Tina
The wisest words of the week come from the excellent Tina Fey, the American comedian whose impression of Sarah Palin is almost as famous as Palin herself. On the endlessly disputed subject of plastic surgery – is it worth it? How young should I start? – Tina has the final word, a crushing and inescapable truth: "You've got a simple choice, girls," she said this week. "Either look old or look creepy. That's it."Reuse content