Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crichton Died Before He Could Take It Back

It is thoroughly disheartening that Michael Crichton, one of the more entertaining and sometimes enlightening novelists of our generation, died before clearing up the State of Fear mess. That's the book where this man, whose science had been widely respected for years, denied our species' contribution to global warming. He did it in the book and he did it again before a Senate committee, giving credibility to a bunch of right-wing nutcases.

Crichton had earned considerable credibility beginning with The Andromeda Strain, written as a 22-year-old college student in the 1960s (he was 66 when he died yesterday of cancer). His books often combined great action with a philosophical approach to science. Jurassic Park is an excellent example of marvelous entertainment with a captivating and important message about fooling with mother nature. It was trivialized as a movie (though it was thoroughly entertaining), but I'm not so sure that was a bad thing. The book's still there to read.

I was mightily put out with Crichton for State of Fear because it was such a thorough sellout and I could never figure why he did it. I simply refuse to believe he believed what he was saying and I'm astonished he allowed himself to be used by the forces of greed and denial. One of them was Senator James Inhofe, a delusional Oklahoma Republican who has called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

Crichton, a lanky 6-foot-6 Harvard medical school graduate, never took the time to debunk his debunk of global warming, and I wish he had. I wish he had written one final book that would have pulled him out of that mud State of Fear plopped him in and told that buffoon Inhofe to go breathe some exhaust.

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