John Hodgman: I Hear They're Going to Make Evolution Legal

By Carl Zimmer | June 20, 2009 3:36 pm

I just loved this speech John Hodgman made at the Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner yesterday. Hodgman spoke for all us nerds, perhaps even including the president himself. And best of all, while talking about that fine nerd novel Dune, he showed the president a painting of a giant sand worm from Dune by John Schoenherr. (It shows up at 11:20.)

I grew up a couple miles from Schoenherr and spent much of my nerdy youth with his son Ian, hanging out in his fabulous old barn-slash-studio, filled with his classic science fiction art, new paintings of bears and geese, assorted Japanese swords, many cameras, a complete collection of National Geographic, and lots of bones and stuffed animal heads. I’m grateful to Hodgman for bringing back  those times, and for showing off the work of a wonderful artist. I return Hodgman the final words of his speech: I extend that most American of greetings–I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, General

Comments (12)

  1. Jonas, Stockholm, Sweden

    A wonderfully witty and highly inspired speech, though I’m only slightly affected by nerdishness myself :)

    But doesn’t the president play his part gracefully, while many of the members of the audience look bored, boring and awkward. What were they expecting?

  2. ColinB

    @Jonas – they must have been under the delusion that they were jocks…

  3. John Kwok

    If you think he’s funny here, then there’s a film floating around in which he read from his entry in a state by state almanac published last year.

    On a more serious note, he has done his share writing against evolution denialists, which, I am sure, Carl can attest to.

  4. johnk

    Is there a secret Hodgman-Zimmer link we don’t know about, like Yale or Connecticut or Macs?

    I liked the speech, too. Bush was/is really a jock. I went to Andover the year after Bush left; the nerd-jock schism was the major organizer of student life. “Head cheerleader” (Bush) was the center of the jock world. Somehow, Hodgman knew this. Even with his basketsball, Obama has a lot of nerd-geek in him.

    Recommendation: Jon Coulton, a frequent Hodgman collaborator, is a very funny and talented singer-songwriter who has a number of great songs about or derived from nerd life (; “Code Monkey”, “Your Brains”, “Mandelbrot Set”). Also a Connecticut Yalie.

  5. John Kwok

    @ johnk –

    Well if there’s a secret link, then I’m sure it would have to include Rick Moody (His entry in the “State By State” almanac is CT; while Hodgman’s is on MA.). Both Moody and Hodgman are featured in a short film produced by Portland, OR’s famous Powells bookstore, and I think Hodgman is absolutely hilarious in it. (For more information about the film, you can look here:

  6. And left unanswered: Shai Hulud, thumper, and Water of Life.

  7. Julian

    Freakin’ Awesome!


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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