Friday, January 04, 2013

Remaking "Cosmos" (Ugh)

Apparently they are going to remake Cosmos -- the heralded television series hosted by Carl Sagan, who was infamous for his talk about "billions and billions," but which actually did a damn good job of popularizing science -- with Neil deGrasse Tyson as host.

That's like remaking Citizen Kane -- it can't be done, and should never be attempted.

But it seems Tyson (deGrasse Tyson?) is more interested in being popular than being scientific. He just told the Columbia Journalism Review:
"I tweet random thoughts I have. I don’t have a lesson plan. In fact, people say, ‘Can you tell me the latest on this discovery?’, and it’s like, no, that’s not why I’m tweeting. I occasionally will reflect on a discovery, but I’m not your news service. The 140 characters are giving you access to how my brain is wired in any day of my life, how I see things."
This is disappointing. Science is the antithesis of Twitter-thinking -- it requires deep thinking about all the angles. And, when you're done, thinking about it all over again.

Ray Pierrehumbert put it well on the dedication page of his textbook Principles of Planetary Climate -- "For Arnold E Ross, who taught us to think deeply of simple things."

Tyson ought to be explaining how science requires such thinking, good and deep thinking, which is never done in X numbers of characters.

This is an opportunity missed.

1 comment:

Chris_Winter said...

I suppose it depends on the production team. If Ann Druyan is involved, I'd tend to hope for the best.

Of course there's no guarantee of quality. But I would wait to evaluate the final result.