LIONEL PODCAST: When Pop Star Scientists and Magicians Drift Into Areas They Know Nothing About

 

The perfect analogy. Detective Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) is an imposter, an undercover cop pretending he’s a major league umpire and hoping no one catches on. He’s a cop in an area and venue he knows nothing of and about. But once he says the right thing and hears the roar of the audience’s applause he’s off and running. Repeating that which inspired the ovation even though he has no idea of what he’s doing or what it even means. Classic operant conditioning meeting Pavlov head-on.

Today’s media Drebins. Now, let’s meet these guys. Today’s crop of talented folks — in their own specific fields — often stray beyond their ken and bailiwick. Take the inimitable troika of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Penn Jillette and Bill Nye: astrophysicist, magician and mechanical engineer, respectively. Media darlings and popular among the throngs of doting admirers. Fine. And since they’re the darlings of the nescient, impressionable and easily duped left, they debunk and validate a host of ideas and concepts, often with serious political and international global consequences, without the slightest idea of what they’re speaking of or about. GMOs, aliens, climate change, global warming, conspiracy theories, Big Brother, surveillance, glyphosate, JFK’s assassination, 9/11 . . . the list is endless. And as for aliens, Tyson mockingly derides those who claim EBEs exist or have visited, thus calling into question a host of notables, including astronauts, military personnel, heads of state and even (though this probably means nothing) the Vatican astronomer. Watch his aliens schtick here and you tell me if this guy’s Shecky status hasn’t gone a little too far.To be fair, Sagan the Great also provided yeoman’s work in gatekeeping but with a certain degree of elegant aplomb.

It’s a free country. And it’s not that they are not allowed to opine on a subject, it’s that they provide the lamest and weakest of substantiation either for or against a topic without any understanding of the deeper issues and implications. Not to mention, Nye’s 180 as to GMOs after attending a meeting with Monsanto execs redefines suspicious. And as for Jillette, well, Penn believes there’s nothing to anything, except for his half-baked and diluted attempts at refutation. But one must admire his deftness in dropping F-bombs with a frequency and verve that’s unequaled.

It happens. Because, when you enter the world of rock star, media darling and pop culture icon, it can affect you. Look no further than Noam Chomsky, who, in addition to some pretty brilliant observations, provides a jaw-dropping dismissive explication of 9/11, the Fed and JFK’s assassination.

Oh, yes, one more thing. The incredible complexity of Yemen.

 

 

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