Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Rag and Bone"

I love this song. Only the White Stripes have both the chops and the charm to write a great hard rock song about going garage sailing.

I got really excited about the eclipse last night, calling both Alex and my Mom and Dad to talk about it. Eclipses are great. But here's what depresses me about them:

Everyone can relate to an eclipse. Songs, Pink Floyd albums and surely many other endeavors have been named in their honor. Scientists have used them to test hypotheses about all sorts of things. Mostly, they're just really cool. I mean, did you see that thing last night?

But we know most of what there is to know about an eclipse, if not nearly all. It shouldn't be a surprise that during the Enlightenment era, scientists went after the things right in front of them. The Sun, the moon, the laws of motion. The things with which man has had an intimate relationship for millennia. So now, much of that stuff has been found out.

This worries me. Am I doomed, if I stay in science writing, to mediating between the public and the universe of minutia -- quantum mechanics and microbiology -- and the macro -- astronomical phenomena way the hell and gone away from Earth? It's hard. You might care about medicine stories because they affect your life, or astronomy stories just because they're gee-whiz cool. But you don't really relate to those things because they don't exist on the human scale. You don't relate to ultraviolet light, even though it can hurt you, because you can't see it.

There is plenty of opportunity as the ends extend into perpetuity. But sometimes you just miss those high school school physics experiments.

3 comments:

Chris Jones said...

All the science in the world didn't keep Bonnie Tyler from doing "Total Eclipse of the Heart." There is still room to mythologize.

And now, ladies and gentlement, Mr. Conway Twitty!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG5MBer9xXI

chaviva said...

I was listening to the White Stripes all day yesterday ... we're kindred spirits. Or something. I texted John to say that listening to them makes me feel like a badass. Because it does. Perhaps I should have issued that text to you.

A.G. said...

I don't get texts. Save your fingers.