Maybe it’s the bug I caught when I moved to LA. But increasingly, I’ve been thinking about how well science connects–or perhaps rather, fails to connect–to the entertainment industry.
It seems to me that there’s evidence on both sides of this issue. Positives:
1. Hollywood made a science movie, An Inconvenient Truth, into a smash success that changed the global warming debate forever.
2. Many popular films and television shows–Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and CSI come to mind–have plotlines that are driven by science and technology.
3. There is certainly nothing virulently anti-science about Hollywood–prominent actors like Brad Pitt, for example, were instrumental in the California stem cell initiative.
1. The Expelled phenomenon–you can make a virulently anti-science film and get pretty far marketing it, if you have enough money.
2. The Michael Crichton/Jurassic Park phenomenon–many of the narratives about scientists that seem to catch on most powerfully depict them as “playing God,” crossing moral boundaries, turning into Dr. Frankenstein. I know it’s a good story, but aren’t there other good stories we can tell about science?
3. The Crystal Skull/X-Files phenomenon–the entertainment industry is seemingly obsessed with the paranormal.
What do you think? How does it balance out?