I love astrophysics. I understand very little of it, but I do indeed love it. Neil DeGrasse Tyson seems to be the de facto celebrity on all matters that come to astrophysics — and it’s well deserved.
He has a BA from Harvard, an MA from Texas, and a PhD from Columbia. I’ve seen him interviewed by Stephen Colbert and seen him debate a myriad of folks on Real Time with Bill Maher. I’ve read his multiple Reddit AMAs (consistently voted “Best Of” by Redditors everywhere), and on occasion have listened to his podcast, aptly titled “StarTalk Radio.” I’ve watched his The Most Astonishing Fact video about a billion times, and each time I get chills and have no choice but to contemplate the meaning of life.
Unfortunately, Neil is an active member on Twitter. And with each and every tweet, I can only think one thing:
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is kind of an ass.
This was exemplified perfectly this past weekend with Neil’s critique of the new film Gravity. Here are a select few tweets to give you the general picture:
The film #Gravity should be renamed “Zero Gravity”
Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock’s hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.
Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.
Mysteries of #Gravity: Nearly all satellites orbit Earth west to east yet all satellite debris portrayed orbited east to west.
Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space.
Now, minus the obvious opinion tweets, everything he said is true–at least, I assume it’s true (I generally conclude that anyone with Harvard, Texas, and Columbia on the resume knows what he’s talking about). But that doesn’t hide the fact that those tweets are soaked in a bath of dickishness.
Remember when you were little kid, and you’d get in trouble for hitting your sister? And your parents would say, “You’re not allowed to touch your sister.” So you’d wave your hands about an inch from her face and repeat several times, “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you. Nananananananananana,” and then she’d go crying to your parents? Well, that’s what Neil was essentially doing there, and this is me crying to my parents.
Neil, we get it. You’re a genius. The knowledge of the cosmos that you have in the tip of your pinky is more than than I’ll ever know. But please, just let us mere mortals enjoy our scientifically incorrect works of fiction. I can’t help but think of what The Dude says in The Big Lebowski: “Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.”