Saturday, September 9, 2017

Script Doctor Needed

So depending on which media bubble surrounds you and your opinion, you have probably heard about two Hollywood showfolk offering opinions on the causes of the devastating hurricane which hit southeast Texas and another which is about to hit Florida. Jim Culver, writing as JimmyC on the Threedonia blog, compares the two here. Threedonia's a pop culture site written from a mostly conservative perspective that I often like to read even if it does sometimes show less charity towards people holding other points of view than I'd hope to see.

But Culver is about the only writer who's drawn the comparisons between press coverage of comments from Kirk Cameron and Jennifer Lawrence on the brutal storms and their impact on the United States. He points out that Cameron's comments have drawn the usual derision from the usual suspects who claim that the born-again actor says Harvey and Irma are signs of God's wrath against a US that has fallen away from God. This repugnant and wrongheaded view is a lot more common than it should be, usually voiced by folks like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell or others blessedly lesser known.

The only problem, Culver says, is that Cameron didn't say the hurricanes were God's punishment. He said we don't know the reason behind them -- other than understanding the basic meteorological processes involved -- and so the best response is a humble acknowledgement of the awesome power involved and a commitment to pray for and help the victims.

Lawrence, on the other hand, is characterized in the Fox News story about her comments as having said that the hurricanes are Mother Nature's wrath against the us for having elected Donald Trump. Now if supernatural beings were in fact punishing the U.S. for things, it's hard to argue that they would just gloss over electing a venomous charlatan to its highest office (TM George Will).

But watching the original interview with Lawrence or reading the quotes from the stories makes it hard to characterize them as "blaming Trump for the hurricanes." There's a connection, but it's pretty round-about. Lawrence suggests that climate change has made hurricanes worse, human beings cause some of the worst of that change and need to take it seriously, but the nation's leader denies such a connection. The fever swamp of outrage in response to his immaturity and shoot from the lip Tweeting is depressing enough. Combine it with the images of devastating flooding and damage and it's all a lot for people to take.

Now, is that the kind of gauzy reasoning one might expect of a 27-year-old asked about subjects on the public radar but a little beyond her expertise? Pretty much. Is it, "Jennifer Lawrence blames hurricanes on nature's wrath over Trump election?" Nope. Not even close enough for horseshoes.

Script doctors are writers brought into a production to fix problem areas or scenes, or occasionally by actors who want a favorite scribe to reconfigure their dialogue into styles they have an easier time working. In the current situation, the popular wisdom is probably that Lawrence and Cameron need script doctors to stop them from crediting physical phenomena to vengeful deities.

Since neither of them really said what the popular wisdom says they did, then the real need for a script doctor is for the media outlets which inexplicably pay attention to what folks of everyday intelligence say about stuff, just because those folks happen to be famous. And then get it wrong.

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