January 13, 2005

Truth through fiction

Debra J. Saunders reviews Michael Crichton’s State of Fear for The Weekly Standard:

Much of his protagonist’s argument can be found in a speech Crichton made last year at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, in which he took on “the disinformation age.” Challenging the belief that this is “a secular society in which many people—the best people, the most enlightened people—do not believe in any religion,” he argued that the religion to which they in fact give themselves is “environmentalism,” a faith-based fact-lite creed. State of Fear is that 2003 speech in a novel.

In response to the book, as if to prove how right Crichton is, the Natural Resources Defense Council sent out a press release that warned media minions not to be fooled. Enviros are quite used to global-warming scare flicks, like The Day After Tomorrow. When the tables are turned on them, however, they feel compelled to warn “media and policymakers” not to “confuse science fiction with science.”

In fact, according to the group, it is as wrong to question whether global warming is human-induced as it once was wrong for Galileo to believe the earth is not the center of the universe. “Journalists can help keep State of Fear from producing a state of confusion by keeping their focus on the real debate: How will we act to solve this problem?” the council scolded. Translation: You’re not supposed to ask questions. Good people keep the faith.

When the Natural Resources Defense Council reverently cited “climate models” and scientists’ “projections” of more warming, as if models and projections were fact, they were behaving just the way Crichton’s fictionalized versions do. And Crichton’s scientist Kenner takes great joy in referring to the predictions made by enviro darlings that didn’t come true.


The Natural Resources Defense Council criticized Crichton for his “peculiar contrarian take on global warming.” It shows you how establishmentarian the environmental lobby has become.

Anyone else in their 30s and beyond remember the sweeping wave of “scientific proof” in the 1970s that the Earth was headed toward another ice age? I certainly do. What is it in the higher brain functions of seemingly intelligent people that has them trying to prove that every bad thing that happens to the environment is a result of humanity’s “intrusion”? Can we not simply accept the fact that nearly all the time, the Earth is simply continuing on as it has since its creation?

I’ve been looking forward to State of Fear since purchasing it up a couple of weeks ago. Having just finished another novel, this review galvanized me to begin it today.

[The link above requires a paid subscription to view the whole article. Sorry. —R]

posted by retrophisch at 02:10 PM in deep thoughts
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December 29, 2004

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

Yeah, let’s hope more leftists get in on this.

posted by retrophisch at 11:50 PM in deep thoughts
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December 28, 2004

Pit Bull or Poodle?

Doug Giles has a note on looking back over the past year and making resolutions for the next. He handily provides the Pit Bull or Poodle test, so you can determine what kind of mutt you are—or want to be—in this dog-eat-dog world. Hope you have a Pit Bull year in 2005!

posted by retrophisch at 11:07 AM in deep thoughts
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August 06, 2004

Mars and Venus

Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time.

A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while, neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

Then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then there is silence in the car…

To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Jeez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that.

Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship. Maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily forward. I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: So that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…lemme check the odometer. Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment. Maybe he has sensed—even before I sensed it—that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. Scumbags!

And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, school girl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their…

“Roger,” Elaine says aloud.

“What?” says Roger, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have… Oh God, I feel so…” (She breaks down, sobbing.)

“What?” says Roger.

“I’m such a fool,” Elaine sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” asks Roger.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine says.

“No!” replies Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

“It’s just that… it’s that I… I need some time,” Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

“Yes,” he answers.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

“Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?” she asks.

“What way?” says Roger.

“That way about time,” says Elaine

“Oh,” says Roger. “Yes.”

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

“Thank you, Roger,” she says.

“Thank you,” replies Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.

Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechs he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say, “Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between men and women.

(Thanks, Rolf!)

posted by retrophisch at 04:38 PM in deep thoughts
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April 14, 2004

Re: The Great American T-shirt

Have you ever noticed that, despite not wearing one any more than the other, that your favorite t-shirt tends to wear out faster than your least favorite? Or is it just me?

posted by retrophisch at 02:14 PM in deep thoughts
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January 17, 2004

What subliminal messages…

…are department stores sending when the lingerie section is located right next to the baby/toddler/children’s department?

Am I the only one to notice this?

posted by retrophisch at 09:06 PM in deep thoughts
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