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Wednesday, March 23, 2005


The nut-case Michael Crichton once again has sold lots of copy with his anti-global warming novel "State of Fear". More than anything else, Crichton appears filled with hate and venom, and likely embarrassment and envy, as he did not name his book with the obvious title "Climate of Fear". Really, how could he or his legions of publicists miss out giving it such an alliterative and allegorical name as that potential hit title? (soon to be a major motion picture!)

Probably because Nobel Prize in Literature winner Wole Soyinka already laid claim to that title with his series of lectures Climate of Fear : The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World. The Nobel laureate appeared on Majority Report Radio (mp3) the other night.
Fear can be bearable, even a force for good, for example bringing a community together to fight a common threat from the natural world like a forest fire, "a kind of fear one can live with, shrug off, one that may actually be absorbed as a therapeutic incidence".
This philosophy basically puts people like Crichton in their place, without any kind of leg to stand on. You have to wonder if Crichton and company actually spout their lunacy because they really wish to project onto their opponents their own feelings of inadequacy and the unknown.
Other kinds of fear, though, are "downright degrading". Crucially, they involve a loss of human dignity and freedom to act. First we had the fear of nuclear war between the superpowers, now "the fear is one of furtive, invisible power, the power of the quasi state, one that is not open to any negotiating structure."
I really believe that important issues like climate change and oil depletion involve a healthy kind of fear, and not the projected fear that Crichton wants us to believe -- that some sort of cabal of global warming activists want to strip us of our dignities and freedoms. But, true to the ways of projection, Crichton can only claiming the moral and ethical high ground via reverse psychology. In fact, the non-negotiable quasi-state we deal with rests in his world-view and those power-brokers he shares this view with.

But then again, maybe Crichton just wants to sell some books.


Professor Blogger Heading out said...

Unfortunately the impact that authors such as Crichton have on public opinion is then reflected in the ways that the government treats different subjects. I haven't read this one yet but I am aware of the problem because of the impact that "Prey" had on some research areas.

7:06 PM  
Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

I liked the way Greg Benford spoke out against being misrepresented in State of Fear with his article "Fear Of Reason". Benford is a real scientist and a better science fiction author than Crichton, but unfortunately speaks to a much smaller audience.

One good thing about State of Fear is that whenever you find yourself arguing with some freeper nutcase who is claiming that global warming isn't real and he brings up this book, you can immediately change the topic to the real state of fear (ie. war on terror) that we're kept in - with predicatable but amusing results...

2:23 AM  

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