Proposal: The War on Science

When searching for topics to take on for my mash-up, I asked myself, “When is the last time I wanted to throw my shoe at the television?” A fitting question for the project at hand. I kept the question in the corner of my mind as I did a good hour of news-surfing until I found my topic in this picture:

Neil Degrass Tyson

Love it.

This picture raises two main issues: climate change, and a broader-spanning one, the politicization of science. For this project, I’m particularly interested in the latter. I hate to use political buzz phrases, but I have trouble seeing how there isn’t a war on science in America. Political and cultural forces have been very aggressive behind the scenes to push religious ideologies into classrooms while defunding and undermine legitimate science to push political agendas. From the push for creationism to enter science classrooms to the piles of money invested in boosting up climate change skeptics, it’s clear that science is under attack.

I’d like to arrange clips of speeches and audio clips over images that illustrate the issue while corresponding to what is being said. A couple of clips come to mind initially: Rep. Michelle Bachman on the house floor explaining that carbon dioxide is just “a part of life” and Rep. Paul Braun calling evolution and the big bang theory “lies from the pit of hell.”

I think I could use these quotes (among other things) to make some very powerful juxtapositions. For instance, these quotes would attain new meaning when placed next to quotes of great scientists, images of children in classrooms, pictures of space and melting ice caps, etc. I think images of the dark ages would pack a strong rhetorical punch as well.

Eventually, I imagine a hazy narrative could emerge, just as it did in some of the other mash-ups we’ve watched so far: science fighting off irrationality and special interest. The conflict would be very clear. I’m also open to having music playing over my mash-up, but I’m not sure what song it would be yet. That would take some careful picking.

I know the idea seems vague now, but I think it has to be. I anticipate that my ideas will become a lot more solid as I shuffle around pictures and ideas while I work on my story board—enabling me to visualize my way through the pieces I’ve assembled by that point. I think I have enough of an idea at this point, though, to starting moving forward to that shuffling stage of the process.


One comment

  1. Phil,

    This is a good and important topic for today. Though, it can be one that leans toward repeating the same kinds of images representing metaphors of war and science and the bible. Be wary of getting into a situation where the video through the images repeats the refrain “war on science is happening” “war on science is happening” “war on science is happening.” That tends to happen to students who are doing political issues (Mitt Romney sucks, heath care is good, guns are bad, and so on). The Ain’t No Place for a Hero mashup nicely straddles the line there:

    Looking forward to seeing what you create!


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