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Friday, February 24, 2006

Fun and yet somehow . . . arbitrary

All right, I know we’ve been having altogether too much fun on this grimly irreverent blog this week, but honestly, it’s not my fault.  I’m merely sitting here in my study doing my taxes and getting ready for the momentous month of March (I’ll explain its momentousness next week), and the fun just keeps on coming my way.

Today the fun comes my way thanks to the fine work of Dean Esmay.  To follow the sinuous Trail of Fun, you have to go back to this past Sunday’s post, in which I wrote of Michael Crichton’s meeting with President Bush in 2004.  Allow me, dear readers, to refresh your memory of the final two paragraphs of that post:

Curiously, however, Christian conservatives have also expressed concern.  “The president met with Michael Crichton for an hour and they never discussed the dangers of genetic research?  That’s an outrage,” said the Rev. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family.  “While we understand that the president needs to stay informed about global-warming charlatans, sexually predatory women and dangerous talking gorillas, we strongly believe that he should take a stand against scientific research conducted by atheistic madmen.  The president needs to reassure Christians that the Culture of Life® will not be threatened by genetically engineered dinosaurs, human-animal hybrids, or deranged robots with Yul Brynner’s face.”

Toxic, rapidly-reproducing crystalline organisms from outer space could not be reached for comment.

Well, it appears that Mr. Esmay learned about Christians’ objections to the Crichton-Bush Summit, and here’s what he had to say:

Michael Bérubé notes that environmentalists and Christian groups are alarmed that President Bush met and chatted with author Michael Crichton at the White House. I’m not surprised to see some Christian groups unhappy with the President—despite paranoid claims to the contrary, he’s no lock-step fundamentalist and never has been—but I’m amused that some people don’t like the idea that the President might actually think for himself or question scientific authority.

You’re amused?  Perhaps so, Mr. Esmay, but I believe I can assure you that your amusement is but a paltry thing when set next to the richly textured layers of our amusement.

Now, here’s why Dean champions the President’s bold questioning of scientific authority:

because so much science these days is funded by the U.S. government (i.e. the taxpayers) it is outright obscene to suggest that scientists shouldn’t answer to our elected leaders. You do not have a right to demand billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers, then slap a label on your chest and say, “We are scientists! You are not allowed to question us! Just give us your money and accept whatever we tell you!”

Well said, my boy!  Those stuffed-shirt scientists think they know so much, and just like the media elite, they never stop to ask what real people think.  And no one understands their barbaric jargon anyway!  Just look at the contempt with which they treat ordinary folks who want their tax dollars to fund the Noonan Institute for Empathic Communication with Magic Dolphins, or the Very Scientific Discovery Institute for the Discovery that Adam and Eve Rode Dinosaurs to Church, or, indeed, the Esmay Center for Speculating that AIDS is Caused by Toxic, Rapidly-Reproducing Crystalline Organisms From Outer Space.

No wonder they hate it when the President thinks for himself.  And no wonder Christian groups are also upset with him!


Whew, what a week.  Thanks to all 158,884 of you for choosing me as America’s Worst Professor® in the past 36 hours!  I will strive to be worthy of the honor, and I pledge to you that I will always historicize.

But for now, it’s Friday, and that means it’s time to be Arbitrary.  This week’s post on the mysterious Tristero got me thinking about that famous scene in The Crying of Lot 49 in which Mucho Maas tells his wife Oedipa that he can hear, in the ambient Muzak of a restaurant, seventeen violins . . . one of which has an E string a few cycles sharp.  Mucho, of course, has been getting acquainted with the effects of Dr. Hofmann’s important discovery, and this strictly law-abiding blog does not encourage you to follow in his footsteps.

However, this pointlessly curious blog would like to ask you all to share your Strangest Muzak Experience.  Here’s mine.  Norfolk International Airport, December 1980, “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” I am not making this up.  I wouldn’t know how—after all, it’s not like I’m Thomas Pynchon or Michael Crichton or somebody.

Posted by Michael on 02/24 at 02:33 PM
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