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DRAWING THE LINE BETWEEN SCIENCE AND POPULAR CULTURE
Jason Kennedy wrote:
> Screenwriters and authors should use full names and classifacations.
>Just a > thought.
Well, not even I am advocating going that far. How people who create
fiction deal with the facts (scientific or otherwise) is entirely up to
them. Here's the problem, though: Most of the time, if they choose to
ignore the facts in a movie or book about, say, a historical event or
famous person, that's fine; somewhere out there you can still get the
straight poop. But what's happened with JP and TLW is that the nonsense
from those books/films has slopped over into the real science area. I do
not blame Crichton/Spielberg for creating this mess; as I said in my RAPTOR
WRONG rant, they are creators of fiction, and as such cannot be held
accountable for playing fast and loose with fact; it's what they do. There
is, however, a codicil to that statement, and that is: that they can't be
held accountable AS LONG AS THE WORK IS CLEARLY PORTRAYED AS BEING
COMPLETELY FICTIONAL. If there was no pretense whatsoever that the JP
movie(s) contained any real scientific content, then I would have been
happy to just accept them as more in a long line of monster movies that
used dinosaurs. This is not the case with JP and TLW, however. In both
instances, a deliberate attempt was made to convince the public that these
movies did indeed portray dinosaurs in a realistic manner, and that what
was on the screen reflected current scientific thinking on the subject. On
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 10:46:54-0800 Steven Lazarus wrote: > Jurassic Park is
*NOT* and never was supposed to be a realisitic movie. <
To which I have to respond: Then why did they bother going through the
motion of hiring someone of Jack Horner's reputation as Scientific
Consultant? The only reason he was on the payroll was to give the movie(s)
an air of scientific respectibility. The public's perception is that if
they hired Jack to consult, then the movie's dinosaurs must be accurate.
This, of course, is hogwash.
Maia <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I think you guys are overeacting to the raptor stuff, I wonder if you
> feel the same way about armadillo (for me it's a lizard). And when you
> guys talk about the platypus aren't you really talking about the
> ornithorhynchus?. It got to the public (yes people have "interacted"
> with them) prepare yourself for that kind of thing: T.Rex, raptors,
> compys, trikes, etc. You should be flattered, people talk/read more
> about dinosaurs than about birds of prey.
to which Mr. Lazarus responded:
> You are right, Maia. It's called intellectual snobbery. Although I'm not
> sure how intellectual it is, seems pretty juvenile and stupid to nit-pick
> about nicknames.
So now I'm an intellectual snob. Interesting. Just for the record, Mister
Lazarus: in responses to my posts to the list since February, you have
called me (directly or indirectly) an ugly-headed cynic, a chowderhead,
uptight, and now we can add juvenile and stupid to list as well. I would
suggest in future a more civil tone might make your arguments seem less
strident. It would also be more polite.
Mister Lazarus also wrote, in response to my _T. rex_/T-Rex post...
> I think nicknames and colloquillisms and terms of endearment in pop culture
> whether they relate to dinosaurs or house pets or whatever are no big deal
> and should be a non-issue.
Fine. As long as those nicknames and colloquialisms and terms of endearment
REMAIN in pop culture. Beyond that, it *is* a big deal, and a very serious
issue. While it may seem trivial to some, the use of the word "raptor" to
mean dromaeosaur and the substitution of T-Rex for _T. rex_ are symptomatic
of a far larger, far more serious problem, and that is the blurring of the
line between science (reality) and popular culture (fantasy). I have
nothing against over-the-top dinosaur movies; have fun, enjoy them if
that's your cup of tea. All I ask is that the nonsense portrayed there be
KEPT there and not mixed-up with REAL science. Anyone who would call this
"intellectual snobbery" needs to examine their own motivations in this