Thursday, February 16, 2006

Scaring the Bushies

Via the all-powerful Carpetbagger we read this from the LA Times:

Perhaps inadvertently, Barnes also includes plenty of evidence likely to horrify those who oppose Bush (for instance, Barnes reports that the president fundamentally doesn't accept the theory of global warming and was reinforced in that belief by a private meeting not with any scientist but rather with novelist Michael Crichton, whose novel "State of Fear" revolves around the issue).

I’m hoping the writer meant that as a joke, but shouldn’t this also horrify those who support Bush, too?  In fact, if I were a Bush supporter, this kind of thing would bother me more than if I hated him.  But I guess that’s part of the problem; that nothing he does seems to bother them.

But what bothers me even more is Brownstein’s use of “those who oppose Bush”.  Because that’s the exact framing that the Bushies use.  That if you’re scared by Bush, it’s because you already didn’t like him.  But that’s not how it works.  Because Bush really is scary, and this Crichton thing should be yet another warning sign.  And the only folks who aren’t scared by this are the Bush loyalists and the folks who didn’t hear about it.  But all sensible people should be scared.  And the fact that even an obvious “Bush opposer” like Brownstein uses this framing is disturbing, and is a sign that the Bushies have won.

For the record, there are novelists like Arthur C. Clarke who did effectively influence science on the political scene.  But Clarke was a science-minded guy who used his writings to argue in support of science, and did so from a science-based perspective; while Crichton is an anti-science guy who uses his writings to scare people away from science.  So while Arthur C. Clarke was a brilliant mind (and perhaps the greatest of science fiction writers) who strove to further science; Crichton is a hack who likes to scare people.  I should mention that I’ve never read any Crichton books (though I have seen some of the movies); but I really don’t like anyone who tries to warn us away from science.  While science can lead to dangerous things, the idea of scaring people away from science is an offense to all intelligent people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i have read several of chrichton's books, including his first, in 68, under another name, titled 'a case of need', which believe it of not, was about a botched illegal abortion by a reapected doc!

chrichton is in fact (or was at one time), a medical doctor--one of the reasons 'the andromeda strain" was so gripping, i think.

which makes his screed about global warming so puzzling to me. this guy is extremely bright and technically savvy.