I expect that by now we’ve all learned to be a little wary of X 2.0, just like we wonder what’s being oversimplified when we see “the New X” or, worse yet, “X is the new Y.” We know that anything 2.0 should be approached with curiosity, skepticism and a sense of humor. Such is the spirit I would like to evoke for the following post, which I’m recycling from this Memoirs of a Skepchick comment.
The subject was brought back to my attention, oddly enough, by the Time Magazine list of most hoopla-ed people about which I already ranted. In addition to bashing my head against my desk thanks to the Dawkins profile, I happened to check Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s write-up (authored by Michael Lemonick). I could only think that Lemonick exaggerates Tyson’s name-recognition factor and meme-market capitalization. He fits Tyson neatly into the “next Carl Sagan” slot, but in my humble (cough, cough) estimation, Tyson has a fair way to go. As I mentioned a few days ago, the subject of “science superstars” came up during my breakfast chat with PZ Myers. Not long after I arrived, before the others showed up, we got to talking about how one invents a scientist persona for the mass media. Adam Bly, Seed Magazine’s founder and Editor-in-Chief, appears to be taking Sagan as his archetype. Notice that we’re all still looking for “the next Carl Sagan,” not somebody who is “bigger and badder and sexier than Neil deGrasse Tyson.” In other words, I wish Tyson were as famous as Lemonick makes him out to be.
(I was also a trifle irked by Lemonick’s statement that Sagan guest-starred on Johnny Carson’s show while Tyson trades jokes with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Apples and tangerines! Three decades ago, was satire the only channel of intellect TV provided?)
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