Meretricious Hidden Secret

/ Letters /

Re: Pathetic Fallacies for the Kids at PBS

I just emailed bk & theMarcus:

Jaques Cousteau started “nature” films, great. David Attenborough & the BBC went them 1, 2 better. Fabulous. But if Jaques or David could make great films from great science, great photography, brave venturing, whole staffs of whores could saturate the nets with dreck: George Page symbolized the degeneration.

I’ve long loved decentralized explanations of things, some writers who talked about these things actually got published, Bruce Sterling made great fiction out of it and related phenomena: Swarm.

I’m now watched a nature doc called The Gathering Swarms, and it’s good-except:.
Good except for the large swaths that seem to have been written by George Page: the unctuous insister on pathetic fallacies.

swarms
thanx broadwayworld

Here monarch butterflies don’t just gather in a forest in Mexico for the winter, they gather in a “hidden” forest in Mexico.
Their meeting place is hidden? by whom? from whom? not from the monarchs! Not from the film crews.

Then these clowns have 17 year cicadas emerge from underground on some “SECRET” something or other.

What would Joe Friday make of these Facts? If Flaubert wrote le mot juste, and preferred fewer words, the right words, to more words, inflated meaningless balderdash words, what principal guides George Page and his ilk? monetary inflation?

The educators supervise what they don’t understand and pollute it.

This version of the email sent this morning actually corrects a half-dozen typos that had escaped my original pre-pub edit.

I wrote it paused midway through the cicada portion. On returning I found another gratuitous use of the word hidden: the 17 year cicadas emerge from the soil and climb a tree. Aloft the males call for females. The film’s sound track said that the noise producing drum of the males is “hidden” in the males’ abdomen. That’s not quite so bad as the previous use: I’ll comment in general and hope you pick up my meaning: “hidden” implies a hider: the miser hid his gold behind a board in the wall: there’s an intelligence involved, an intelligence with an intention, an intention to deceive, to mislead: like God hiding something from Adam. Meantime, consider other things that have been called hidden: the immature male’s testes, for example. Prior to puberty the human testes are inside the abdominal cavity. They’re not hidden, they’re located. Still, the interior location protects them. As the boy matures the testes descend. They come to hang in the scrotum, where they can keep a slightly cooler than average body temperature. Similarly the all-important ovaries of the female are located inside, within layers of other organs. Safe: or at least safer. But there’s no prime mover involved, no deceiving intelligence.

Hive intelligence, emergent intelligence, is not Creator intelligence. There’s no James Bond, no M, no Q.

The George Page phenomenon results from a fundamentalist insistence that nothing be learned from our learning: we’ll still make the intentional Designer fallacy: assuring that the science students will fundamentally misunderstand the science of the last couple of centuries.

The pathetic fallacy here is a betrayal of charter, typical of our cretin institutions.

Meretricious Hidden Secret
Pathetic Science

Writing

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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