Talk about big mistakes! The National Review has decided to pick a fight with, of all people, Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
First of all, if you are a National Review reader, then it is safe to say that Dr Neil Degrasse Tyson (BA: Physics, Harvard University; MA: Astronomy, UT Austin; MPhil: Astrophysics, Columbia University; PhD: Astrophysics, Columbia University) is smarter than you. He's smarter than me. He's pretty much smarter than anybody (antipodeans not counted) you'll meet.
That out of the way, Dr Tyson always seems to be very diplomatic when it comes to political issues, and even praised Republicans when it came to funding science- I'll note that funding projects in astrophysics funnels money into the Military Industrial Complex, due to all of the hardware involved. By dragging Dr Tyson, who is a popular, charismatic figure, into a political brawl, conservatives can only lose. Bill Maher offered up Tyson's combination of race, intelligence, and charisma as a reason for the conservative hate-on for Dr Tyson, while D.R. Tucker opined that it is Dr Tyson's belief in anthropogenic climate change.
Sadly, only the opening of Chucky Cooke's article is available on the web for free, and I absolutely refuse to pay money to kill my brain cells unless alcohol is involved. The smart Charles, Mr Pierce, took the dumb one to the woodshed.
I've met Dr Tyson on two occasions, and he is as nice a gentleman as he is a brilliant populizer of science. I don't think he'd want to be dragged into a pointless Left/Right "battle", but if the Conservative establishment wants to pick this fight, all I can say is, "Please proceed, conservatives!"
Edit: Special thanks to Buddy McCue, who not only clued me in to this article, but linked to a thread in which the article was cut-and-pasted. Yeah, it's even worse than you think. My favorite part was this:
"Science and 'geeky' subjects," the pop-culture writer Maddox observes, "are perceived as being hip, cool and intellectual." And so people who are, or wish to be, hip, cool, and intellectual "glom onto these labels and call themselves 'geeks' or 'nerds' every chance they get."
Which is to say that the nerds of MSNBC and beyond are not actually nerds but the popular kids indulging in a fad. To a person, they are attractive, accomplished, well paid, and loved, listened to, and cited by a good portion of the general public.
It's a funny juxtaposition, especially since people like Rachel Maddow are actual scholars. The real news is that the actual nerds won the culture war- we're living in Gary's world now. Chuckie Cooke goes on to whine:
In this manner has a word with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I'm smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past.
To that I say, there's nothing that says that a person who is "southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past" needs to be stupid, but conservatives like Representative Paul Broun choose stupidity. The whole article is merely a whine that the Movement Conservative base chooses to let the stupid people not only speak to them, but to set the policy goals for political conservatives. If Cooke has a beef, it should be with the knuckle-draggers, not the "smart set" that ridicules them.