Why I won’t miss Michael Crichton

Crichton, who died earlier this week of cancer, was a brilliant author who should have left it at that. But he used his enormous influence to become one of the primary skeptics of humanity’s role in global warming (in spite of his non-specialist status, and in flagrant disregard of the emerging scientific consensus), happily testifying before Congressional committees as to what bunk the whole thing was. The fact that he won’t be testifying anymore is good news for the planet. I wish the silencing of his voice had occurred because he had changed his mind, but it’s not something I can truly regret.  And if it had happened even sooner, I’d be just fine with that.

And I realize that will come across as harsh. But I’m tired of our tendency to turn obituaries into sentimental hagiographies, and I think it’s important that we testify. We’re accountable to future generations, for whom we hold this planet in a sacred trust. We owe the dead respect, but we also owe them the truth. And the truth of the matter is that Michael Crichton was a man who convinced himself that his mastery of fiction extended to fact as well.  He did this as our species enters its critical hour. He did us all a terrible disservice. And that’s why I decline to mourn.

4 Responses to “Why I won’t miss Michael Crichton”

  1. neth Says:

    I think what was even worse than him becoming a self-declared expert on global warming was the way he treated Crowley, a critic of his novel. It was petty, nasty and completely deplorable.

  2. narciso Says:

    Really David, is that a decent thing to do, at this time. Or has decency lost its place since Nov 4th. What happened to the Diebold machines, the inevitable riots referenced by Erica Jong, the inevitable round of BDS, World Can’t Wait

  3. jW Says:

    Thank you, David, for the bravery to resist the path of the Crichton praise-lemmings .

    If there were any lessons to be learned from the past 8 years, it’s one of the importance of accountability. Using one’s celebrity status to undermine the scientific majority is not something that can be ignored, considering what’s ultimately at stake.

  4. David Williams Says:

    Narciso- decency has nothing to do with it.

    And on the Diebold issue, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.