Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Carson debate

A well-written article here on the real impact of Rachel Carson. Its premise is that stasists idolize her incorrectly, while dynamists vilify her, mistakenly:
  • Both sides employ pure hyperbole and overlook the facts. Green supporters of Carson claim she 'changed the world' and conveniently ignore all the things she got so wrong about pesticides and chemicals. Right-wing critics of Carson also claim that she changed the world (but for the worse), and in their rush to blame Carson for malaria overlook all the other factors that contribute to the spread of disease in the developing world, such as dire poverty, underdevelopment, conflict and so on. Both sides overestimate Carson's contribution to world history, and fail to interrogate the origins of today's misanthropic outlook, of which Carson was merely one small part.
  • Forget the Culture Wars; these are the Carson Wars. And it is time we settled them once and for all.
It's a good article that places Carson's contribution and effects into a broader context, both societal and temporal.

Now all we need is for the Hollywood movie version to appear and officially seal Carson's real legacy into public consciousness: movie biopics rarely stay true to the real events -- "for dramatic purposes" -- but become the popular history around which myths crystallize.

But what role would Al Gore play in his sequel, and would he win another Oscar?

Paris Hilton as Rachel Carson? Sorry, too flippant?