Sizzle Rhetoric Chapping My Ass

Jul 22 2008 Published by under Science Communication

Chris Mooney has a post up at The Intersection in which he lauds an LA audience for "getting" Sizzle, for laughing "at all the right moments", and rues the fact that many ScienceBloggers "either didn't like Sizzle or didn't appear to get it".


Mooney is not happy about this relative lack of enthusiasm for the film among ScienceBloggers:

[W]hat I see is far too much negativity, far too much criticism, directed at a film that is funny and damn good and ultimately very profound--all of which the audience in LA clearly appreciated. So why can't we?

Because many ScienceBloggers think the film is not funny, is not "pro-science", and basically sucks shit. I'm not sure I understand what is so fucking complicated about this.
He goes on to assert that even if one doesn't like the film, it deserves support:

But even if you don't agree with me about these observations, I will stand on this point: Randy Olson has the right idea. He's trying, as best he can, to get beyond our relatively narrow community with a message about science. He's trying to reach new audiences, new demographics--new souls. It's really too bad that in order to do that, he can't also bring this community along with him--but that instead, he'll apparently have to leave some of it behind.

Science is about reality, not wishful thinking. It should not be surprising that scientists who think a movie sucks are gonna be honest about it, rather than keeping silent--or even lying--so that the maker of the movie can "bring this community along with him".
Sorry the "Sizzle" astroturfing scheme didn't work out, but such is life.

18 responses so far

  • Patrick says:

    Keep in mind, we're talking about the same guy who called Expelled! a big success.
    I haven't heard anything from Mr. Mooney in months that merits more than a shrug...

  • John Lynch says:

    Yeah, Chris seems to have drunken some mighty fine coolade.

  • Becca says:

    I haven't seen the movie, but from what I've heard I'm not anxious to.
    Still, Science may be about reality, not wishful thinking... but science funding strikes me as the inverse (Ok, let me get back to the bench now, and cure some malaria!)

  • JSinger says:

    Because many ScienceBloggers think the film is not funny...
    Would any ScienceBloggers recognize funny if it bit them on the ass? This movie may well be as unfunny as claimed, but from the "reviews" I glanced at it seemed pretty clear that most of the people simply couldn't get their heads around the idea of mocking more than one side of any issue.

  • Keep in mind, we're talking about the same guy who called Expelled! a big success.

    Olson was about as full of it at Pharyngula, at first:

    Are you folks really this clueless? You make me think of a baseball team that finishes the season in last place, then spends the off season criticizing all the other teams, as if that will address the problem.
    I�m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that is an excellent trailer they have produced. Not some amateurish clunky mess that you would expect from a science organization. The music cue, "Bad to the Bone," would have cost them $25,000 at least (assuming they have paid the rights, someone might want to look into that, but I'm guessing they have). Rights for music in a trailer is more than for using it in the movie.
    Take the pain. Accept it. It already appears to be a much more powerful piece of mass communication than anything from the world of evolution for a long time (much slicker than my humble little movie, light years better than anything from PBS or AIBS). The science world is being out-gunned, both financially and in terms of cleverness.
    What are you gonna do about it? Complain it's not fair?
    Posted by: Randy Olson, Head Dodo | August 22, 2007 03:14 PM

    Oh yeah, implying that scientists are nazis is clever. And "Expelled" was such a powerful piece of mass communication.
    To be fair, Randy had noted that it was pretty much a flop when Mooney was calling "Expelled" a big success.
    Nature also panned Sizzle, for what it's worth (and maybe this has already been noted on this forum--if so, I don't know it). The last thing we ought to be doing is pretending that the flops on our side are somehow fantastic films. That's what the IDiots do.
    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  • Rev Matt says:

    Yea, the Framing crowd have become a cult. If you don't support them 100% in everything then you are the enemy. They are right, you are wrong, end of discussion. I once expected better from Mooney but this sort of thinking has become par for the course with him. Rigid dogma is bad, even 'in support of a good cause', mm'kay?

  • Ace says:

    Dear Drugmonkey & PhysioProf,
    I'm sorry my comment has nothing to do with this post. I wanted to ask your advice about something and could not find a way to e-mail you on the blog.
    You know the kinds of "career development"/"grantwriting" kinds of workshops/events they have at society meetings (e.g., SfN) -- are these worthwhile for senior postdocs/junior faculty? Do you get actually useful skills/advice or networking experiences that you wouldn't otherwise have? Or is it more like stuff everyone tells you but packaged in some sort of "course"?
    I have attended some university/career centre organised job seeking/CV formatting types of courses and have not found them useful. It was usually obvious stuff I already knew from reading books, websites, talking to mentors etc...
    But I am wondering whether events geared more towards grantwriting might actually be useful. I am sure they're not a total waste of time but do you have any opinion as to whether they are truly worthwhile. For example, is it worth attending SfN for the specific goal of enrolling in some career development events at important junctions in our careers, when one might have skipped the meeting for a year otherwise?
    I feel odd putting in a request for a blog post. If you have any opinions on this (and think this advice would benefit more than just me of course) would you consider writing a post about it?
    Sorry again for the unusual manner in which I'm seeking advice!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    There is a "contact" button at the bottom of our banner up there, just about every Sb blog has something of this nature with a page of email addresses. mine is drugmnky and PPs is physioprof, both at the googly one....
    You know the kinds of "career development"/"grantwriting" kinds of workshops/events they have at society meetings (e.g., SfN) -- are these worthwhile for senior postdocs/junior faculty?
    My short answer is hell yes attend these workshops. The medium answer is- Soak in as many sources of career advice as you can, take into account the perspective of who is telling you what bits and try to synthesize what this means for your specific situation.

  • PhysioProf says:

    You know the kinds of "career development"/"grantwriting" kinds of workshops/events they have at society meetings (e.g., SfN) -- are these worthwhile for senior postdocs/junior faculty?

    I think they're a total waste of fucking time.

  • two minutes apart says:

    lolz DM and PP.

  • PhysioProf says:

    We're Fair and Balanced!

  • bill says:

    Which one's which?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Ace, we had this discussion over at writedit's place before...
    http://writedit.wordpress.com/2007/08/02/nida-grantsmanship-ppts/#comments

  • PhysioProf says:

    Which one's which?

    I'm both. DM is a dumbass.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Isn't the real question which one of you just doesn't get it?

  • PhysioProf says:

    I have attempted to bring DM along with me, but I'm afraid I'm just going to have to leave him behind.

  • Ace says:

    I don't know how I missed that bigass "Contact" button. I was looking on the left for some reason. Sorry! Thanks for the replies, and for the link to writedit discussion.

  • Becca says:

    " Isn't the real question which one of you just doesn't get it? "
    Well, they both have said nice and not-nice things to me, therefore I must conclude that they take turns just not getting it.

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