Currently very much enjoying this article Freddy sent me, which is a review of Jurassic Park written in 1993 by Stephen Jay Gould, who begins by extensively quoting Macbeth, and later reveals that as a child he was called “fossil-face.”
He also casually mentions a question he would love to know the answer to but doesn’t have the tools to research, stating that it is a “good theme for cultural historians.” So tragic that even as recently as 1993 a noted scientist could seem to take the humanities seriously as a useful field of inquiry. Whither, science??
SJG is so cool. All speculative movies should be reviewed by noted scholars who study their content. I remember a New Yorker article in which a bunch of archeologists went to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull or whatever and laughed and laughed at all these places where it was really unclear what was funny.
“As a paleontologist, I could not possibly feel more ambivalent about the result—marveling and cursing, laughing and moaning. One can hardly pay greater tribute to the importance of an event than to proclaim the impossibility of neutrality before it.”
He says most of the dinosaurs in JP are actually Cretaceous. What would the world be like today had the book/movie been titled “Cretaceous Park”? I think it sounds badass, like a punk band.
“If all this welcome scientific activity gives people the idea that dinosaurs might actually be re-created by Crichton’s narrative, I hasten (with regret) to pour frigid water upon this greatest reverie of any aficionado of past life.”
ha ha ha
He says he likes the book version more than the movie, which I agree with!! The book is honestly pretty good (from what I remember, having read it in biology class my senior year of high school, so that is admittedly maybe not that great of a recommendation). I liked how the book had villains. The movie displaces all villainry onto Dennis Nedry, who was neither terrifying nor even that evil. He was just venal and cocky. The book is more like a horror story about entrepreneurial capitalism run amok, which I like.
“The dinosaurs themselves certainly delivered. As a practicing paleontologist, I confess to wry amusement at the roman-à-cleffery embedded in the reconstructions. ”
omg ha ha ha
“Velociraptor is everything that modern corporate life values in a tough competitor—mean, lean, lithe, and intelligent. ”
He is a genius. I mean duh, but seriously, his deft critique of the movie’s version of Ian Malcolm is KILLING:
“If “nature selected them for extinction,” and if later mammals therefore represent such an improvement, why can the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park beat any mammal in the place, including the most arrogant primate of them all. You can’t have it both ways. If you take dinosaur revisionism seriously, and portray them as smart and capable creatures able to hold their own with mammals, then you can’t argue against reviving them by claiming that their extinction was both predictable and appointed as life ratcheted onward to greater complexity.”
Today is a SNOW DAY and though not a flake has yet fallen the sky is looming down upon us oppressively and I am worried about running some errands before everything goes to hell