Friday, February 10, 2006

Tropic of Truth

Nahm beat me to the punch on (re)instituting some intellection at the Tropic of Food. Our Frey coincidence went further than (1) speakin’ out about values of truth regarding the Frey scandal, and (2) an indulgence for wikipedic hypertextual cross-referencing. Also, I promise, I meant to post my thoughts to the blog a couple weeks ago, but instead I wimped-out and slapped the whole thing at the end of a promotional mass-email; not only that, but presented it in such a way that no one but me would get my meaning (as if anyone clicks on all the links, as if anyone then reads them) – for fun.

None of which is to accuse Nahm of ‘biting’ – amazed we were so unwittingly on the same page – plus, our chosen subjects were not identical: his was about the life of the imagination and mine was about concern over the survival of historical veracity (if such a thing ever existed, blah blah blah).

All of which is a self-congratulating preamble to the fiction-v.-truth hoax du jour. Last night the “Colbert Report” mocked the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for awarding Michael Crichton’s recent novel, State of Fear, their national *journalism* award. In his novel, Crichton “…dismisses global warming as a largely imaginary threat embraced by malignant scientists for their own ends.” (NY Times) The Times’ article is good, fun truth, so I’ll paste it at the bottom in case the link doesn’t work for non-NYtimes-members – basically some pot v. kettle re blackness.

Now, what I find lacking in David’s (albeit brief) rant on Frey-hating is specifically addressing the matter of intention w/r/t a good, healthy hoax. Maybe Frey was pushed by the publisher to change his novel into a memoir in order to sell more copies (because apparently, bad memoirs sell better’n bad novels). Anyway, there’s an important and obvious difference between Kent Johnson faking some non-existent Japanese poetry for postmodern effect and James Frey fibbing here and there to make his memoir more saleable.

But anyway, to keep things off-point, back to global warming. Always wondered what the goal(s) of those supposedly malignant scientists' Global Warming Hoax would be, googled it, and found this. This is just one of many items, but let’s run with it. Proponents of Global Warming want to “…control the world economies, dictate development, and redistribute the world's wealth” and the KYOTO treaty was (gasp) “really about redistribution of wealth, from America to the rest of the world.” I wonder if that’s what Crichton’s on too. Point being that this’d qualify as another hoax that could not be judged as at least healthy for our imagination/intellect, even if destructive to a purist's sense of veracity. And another one being Holocaust Revisionism. These are all too easy targets.

[Too bloggy?]



Truth? Fiction? Journalism? Award Goes to . . .

Published: February 9, 2006

Journalists like to think of themselves as presenting as accurate a picture as they can of the real world.
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists takes a broader view. It is presenting its annual journalism award this year to Michael Crichton, the science fiction writer whose latest book, "State of Fear," dismisses global warming as a largely imaginary threat embraced by malignant scientists for their own ends.
"It is fiction," conceded Larry Nation, communications director for the association. "But it has the absolute ring of truth."
That is not the way leading climate scientists see it. When the book was published in 2004, climate experts condemned it as dangerously divorced from reality. Most of these scientists believe human activity, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels, is changing the atmosphere's chemistry in ways that threaten unpredictable, potentially damaging effects.
The book is "demonstrably garbage," Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford climatologist, said in an interview yesterday. Petroleum geologists may like it, he said, but only because "they are ideologically connected to their product, which fills up the gas tanks of Hummers."
Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who directs the Harvard University Center for the Environment, called the award "a total embarrassment" that he said "reflects the politics of the oil industry and a lack of professionalism" on the association's part.
As for the book, he added, "I think it is unfortunate when somebody who has the audience that Crichton has shows such profound ignorance."
The book has high-profile admirers, though. One is Senator James M. Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, who calls global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
Mr. Nation said there had been "some pushback" on the award from association members who had written to association publications to protest it. "Whenever you get to the global warming issue you have legitimate scientists on both sides of the issue, as we do in our own membership," he said.
But he praised Mr. Crichton as "a high-profile writer" who had brought attention to the topic "to really create some good." He said readers would "have a very good informational read" about science and sometimes the way science is made."

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