ABC's "Earth 2100" a Triumph of the Dumb Down

So I managed to stoop and watch some actual network television last night, with enough commercial breaks to make me want to throw a Christian Bale-like tantrum at the tube, and caught another much ballyhooed glimpse of a grim future titled “Earth 2100.”  It featured sound bites from some excellent writers/scientists, including E.O. Wilson, Eugene Linden, and Jared Diamond, as well as the more marginal James Howard Kunstler. But a serious and thoughtful discussion of looming problems it wasn’t. The cheasiest technique: It used comic-book-style animation of a fictitious character’s life, born in this decade, to chart the various catastrophes portrayed, including global warming, pandemic, immigration wars, and resource depletion. At times this was truly absurd, as when the comic book heroine has a look of anguish on her face as she and her family are being accosted by gunpoint in the Southwest, circa 2070-something. Like much of what the networks do, it dumbed down a complex issue to the point of borderline idiocy and/or unconvincing distortion. It seemed to lean heavily on Kunstler’s vision toward the end, as well, and he’s one of the more alarmist, less-convincing writers on this subject. At times he certainly seems to be milking the fears of a coming ‘apocalypse,’ which puts him in the kook/charlatan camp, along with the Left Behind authors. Of all the talk about ‘collapse,’ read Jared Diamond’s excellent book, Collapse (better than Guns, Germs, and Steel, his other best seller), and it will wash away all the fear-mongering. He makes no doomsday claims himself, and leaves it to the reader to draw the scarier conclusions.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *