Critical Thinking

That’s one small step for NDT, one giant leap for Joe Rogan

In my last article there was a passing reference to some tweets by one of my favorite champions of science and reason, Neil deGrasse Tyson. NDT, as those who know him least call him, was tweeting about the recent space movie, Gravity. Having just seen the movie myself, and enjoying it quite thoroughly, it was with some concern with which I read NDT’s rather pejorative comments on the movie.

It must be said, however, that while I did really enjoy Gravity, it does not take much in the way of science fiction to get me to watch a movie. Take for example the 1978 Italian scifi masterpiece Starcrash (originally titled, Scontri contri stellari oltre la terze  dimensione – Stellar clashes beyond the third dimension). Click for trailer. I dare you to find a scifi movie  that pays less attention to the laws of physics as we understand them and stars the Hoff. David Fucking Hasselhof. Sat through the whole thing

While my penchant for scifi movies remains strong, I still thought Gravity, with its flaws, was a worthy attempt at making a great space movie. So, why would NDT, a man known to champion all things space and science have to knock this Hollywood blockbuster?

Let’s come back to that.

Continuing with my NDT theme, have you heard his radio show, StarTalk? Perhaps it’s the melodic sound of his voice, or his ability to remain patient in the face of utter stupidity that keeps me listening week after week. A few episodes back, NDT had Joe Rogan as his guest. If you have not heard Mr. Rogan’s views on the moon landings, listen to this. I’ll wait.

Needless to say, I was excited to hear NDT put the smackdown on Joe Rogan regarding his views on the moon landings. To my dismay, NDT was nothing but a calm, patient gentleman when confronting Mr. Rogan on his views.

It seems that Mr. Rogan may have backed down from his previous assertions that the moon landings were entirely faked, but throughout that part of the conversation there was definitely hesitations on his part regarding the truth of the moon landings. Yet, NDT was rather magnanimous in his attempts to quell Joe’s misconceptions about the landings.

The end of the radio show is a short monologue by Neil discussing the long conversation he had with Joe Rogan, and expressed his admiration for Joe. While admitting that on some aspects of science Joe may be misguided, his general curiosity about the world and science was admirable. Damn you Neil! You with your kindness, tolerance, and understanding. Makes me sick.

Ok, back to the beginning of the article.

My dismay at NDT’s comments on Gravity, was, well, illogical. Of course, NDT’s tweets were not meant to mock the movie industry’s attempt at making space exciting, beautiful, and somewhat realistic. Yet, me, like many others out there, mistook his tweets for slander towards the movie. So much so, NDT had to ‘publicly complement’ the movie to appease jackasses like myself, and pose the idea that:


This made a lot of sense to me, as I often find while critiquing student projects in art, the best projects are those that earn the most critique and create the most dialogue between the students. This shows a student has done the assignment to such a high degree that we actually have some concrete ideas to discuss about the work.

The events above all happened in chronological order. I read NDT’s tweets on Gravity, then heard his interview with Joe Rogan, and finally saw NDT’s statements complementing the movie. I’m not sure what all this means, but I feel better having written it down.

As famous grafitti artist Banksy admits in his selfmade documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, ‘It’s not Gone with the Wind, but there probably is a moral in there somewhere.’


Featured Image: RIchard

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Richard teaches art at a Catholic school, and spends most of his days coloring and pretending he is not an atheist. He likes vintage furniture and french bulldogs.

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