Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ghostbusters 3

Dr. Peter Venkman: Oh, my *God*. Look at all the junk science!
Dana Barrett: Oh, dammit. Look, this wasn't here...
Dr. Peter Venkman: You actually eat this?
Dana Barrett: Look, this wasn't here! There was *nothing* here! There was this... space! And there was a building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures writhing around, and they were growling and snarling. And there were flames, and I heard a voice say "Zuul"! It was right here.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Well, I'm sorry, I'm just not getting any reading.
Dana Barrett: Well, are you sure you're using that thing correctly?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Well, I... I think so, but I'm sure there are no animals in there.
Dana Barrett: Well that's just great. Either I have a monster in my kitchen or I'm completely crazy.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [smiles] I don't think you're crazy.
Dana Barrett: [sarcastically] Oh, good, that makes me feel so much better.

Except for substituting "junk science" for "junk food", that exchange comes from a movie that exhibits many interesting and hilarious parallels to the current "Climate-gate" scandal: Ghostbusters. It's a story about three wanna-be scientists who set up shop using outlandish devices and crackpot terminology to convince people they can see and capture ghosts and other demons -- all in their quest to save the world and make a buck.

Ghostbusters wasn't my favorite movie in any sense, but I can't resist taking some actual dialogue from the movie and outlining a new script. Maybe someone cares to remake it in that spirit. If you want to understand the promotion of "Global Warming" by its advocates, this could have been their playbook--just do a little mental switch on the premise and on the good guys and bad guys -- with Prof. Philip Jones, leader of the UK's Climate Research Unit in the role of Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. James Hansen of NASA as Dr. Ray Stantz, and Al Gore in the role of Winston Zeddemore:

Winston Zeddemore: Ray. If someone asks if you are a god, you say, "yes!"

The ghostbusters (or climate scientists) know how to promote their scam:

Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Aka, "The Day After Tomorrow":

Dr. Egon Spengler: I'm worried, Ray. All my readings point to something big on the horizon.
Winston Zeddemore: What do you mean, big?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning's reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Winston Zeddemore: That's a big Twinkie.

Where their spirtual guidance and "higher authority" comes from...

Dr. Egon Spengler: The architect's name was Evo Shandor. I found it in Tobin's Spirit Guide. He was also a doctor, performed a lot of unnecessary surgery. And then in 1920, he started a secret society...
Dr. Peter Venkman: Let me guess: Gozer worshippers.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Right.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Ray] No studying.
Dr. Egon Spengler: After the First World War, Shandor decided that society was too sick to survive.
[He pauses, glancing nervously around at the holding cell crowd]
Dr. Egon Spengler: And he wasn't alone, he had close to a thousand followers when he died. They conducted rituals up on the roof. Bizarre rituals, intended to bring about the *end of the world*, and now it looks like it might actually happen.
[pause. Peter spins around to face another of the inmates, and starts singing]
Dr. Peter Venkman: So be good, for goodness' sake!

I'll give Barack Obama the role of "Gozer", an evil spirit who is out to unleash his demons and take over the world, but the overall approach comes from a bit-character played by Rick Moranis, an average Joe-Blow who eventually gets possessed and turned into a demon:

Dr. Egon Spengler: We'd like to get a sample of your brain tissue.
Louis: Okay.

And once possessed, the faithful keep chanting,

Louis: Aw, don't leave yet. Well, listen, maybe if we start dancing other people will join in!

When Phil Jones and the other scientists analyze the latest computer-generated climate models:

Dr Ray Stantz: [astounded] Wow! Talk about telekinetic activity, look at this mess!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Ray, look at this.
Dr Ray Stantz: Ectoplasmic residue.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Venkman, get a sample of this.
Dr Ray Stantz: It's the real thing.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Someone blows their nose and you want to keep it?
Dr. Egon Spengler: I'd like to analyze it.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [gets the slime on his hand] Whoa, ah.
Dr. Egon Spengler: This way.
[Venkman tries to wipe the slime off of his hand]

Insofar as the computers doing the modeling go,

Dr. Peter Venkman: Generally you don't see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.

There's an element of self-delusion, of course,

Dr. Egon Spengler: This is big, Peter, this is very big. There is definitely something here.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. Remember that?
Dr. Egon Spengler: That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me.

Nothing stops them, and here's how they explain it to the public:

Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

Just between themselves, as they jet from climate conference to climate conference,

Dr. Peter Venkman: As a friend, I have to tell ya you've finally gone around the bend on this ghost business. You guys have been running your ass off, meetin' and greetin' every schizo in the five boroughs who says he has a paranormal experience. What have you seen?
Dr Ray Stantz: Of course you forget, Peter. I was present at an undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Ray, the sponges migrated about a foot-and-a-half.

Or about 0.0001 degree. But they promote mass migrations just the same -- in daily "science" news from AP, Reuters, NYTimes, or CNN:

Larry King: Hi, this is Larry King. The phone-in topic Today: "Ghosts and Ghostbusting." The controversy builds, more sightings are reported, some maintain that these professional paranormal eliminators in New York are the cause of it all.

Well, that's just too much of life imitating art. But when someone in the gullible public notices that their arguments aren't too believable:

Dana Barrett: You know, you don't act like a scientist.
Dr. Peter Venkman: They're usually pretty stiff.
Dana Barrett: You're more like a game show host.

This doesn't prevent Dana (Sigourney Weaver) from being possessed by our version of Zuul, the God of the Global Warming hysteria:

Dana Barrett: [possessed by Zuul, speaking to Venkman] Take me now, subcreature!

The scientists don't really have much affection for the public, however:

[Dana starts passionately making out with him]

Dr. Peter Venkman: I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people.

Game-show hosts or not, beware the coming end-run in Copenhagen:

Dr Ray Stantz: I think we'd better split up.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Good idea.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yeah... we can do more damage that way.

Michael Moore, where are ya? They know how to enlist the support of the rest of the scientific establishment:

Dr. Peter Venkman: We've been going about this all wrong. This Mr. Stay Puft's okay! He's a sailor, he's in New York; we get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble!

Mr. Stay Puft is a Thanksgiving Day blimp in the shape of a scientist in a white lab coat yearning for research grants. All you gotta do is ape the party line to get your green bunch of bananas. So how do you pitch it to the politicians?

Lenny: Do I believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

Dr. Peter Venkman: If I'm wrong, nothing happens! We go to jail - peacefully, quietly. We'll enjoy it! But if I'm *right*, and we *can* stop this thing... Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.

The public becomes entranced and you get people like Ed Begley to evangelize for you...

Dr. Peter Venkman: I just whacked him up with about 300 cc's of Thorazaine... he's gonna take a little nap now. I think we can get him a guest shot on "Wild Kingdom."

Which could be Ed's latest meltdown on Fox the other day. And how do the politicians respond?

Winston Zeddemore: Ah, if there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

Testifying before Congress, Al Gore offers serious evidence and sound scientific foundations for the need to act:

Winston Zeddemore: I'm Winston Zeddmore, Your Honor. I've only been with the company for a couple of weeks, but these things are real. Since I joined these men, I've seen shit that'll turn you white.

For the public, you tell them,

[In a TV commercial]
Dr Ray Stantz: Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre or ghost?
Dr Ray Stantz: If the answer is "yes," then don't wait another minute. Pick up the phone and call the professionals...
Dr Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Peter Venkman: Ghostbusters!
Dr Ray Stantz: Our courteous and efficient staff is on call 24 hours a day to serve all your supernatural elimination needs.
Dr Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Peter Venkman: We're ready to believe you.

The hysteria builds, even among the adherents,

Dr. Peter Venkman: Ray has gone bye-bye, Egon... what've you got left?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.

and Phil Jones asks the Reverend Al Gore,

Dr Ray Stantz: Every ancient religion has its own myth about the end of the world.
Winston Zeddemore: Myth? Ray, has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason we've been so busy lately is because the dead *have* been rising from the grave?

Dr. Spengler speaks for good scientists everywhere:

Dr. Egon Spengler: I feel like the floor of a taxi cab.

But Dr. Venkman speaks for "scientists" like Hansen and Jones,

Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

That's easy! You cross the streams between good and bad, truth and falsehood, fact and fiction...

Dr. Egon Spengler: I have a radical idea. The door swings both ways, we could reverse the particle flow through the gate.
Dr. Peter Venkman: How?
Dr. Egon Spengler: [hesitates] We'll cross the streams!
Dr. Peter Venkman: 'Scuse me Egon? You said crossing the streams was bad!
Dr Ray Stantz: Cross the streams...
Dr. Peter Venkman: You're gonna endanger us, you're gonna endanger our client - the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog...
Dr. Egon Spengler: Not necessarily. There's definitely a *very slim* chance we'll survive.
[pause while they consider this]
Dr. Peter Venkman: [slaps Ray] I love this plan! I'm excited to be a part of it! LET'S DO IT!

This will play in Washington, New York and East Anglia.

Winston Zeddemore: I love this town!

When the demons in Copenhagen vote,

Gozer: The Choice is made!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Whoa! Ho! Ho! Whoa-oa!
Gozer: The Traveller has come!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Nobody choosed anything!
[turns to Egon]
Dr. Peter Venkman: Did you choose anything?
Dr. Egon Spengler: No.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [to Winston] Did YOU?
Winston Zeddemore: My mind is totally blank.
Dr. Peter Venkman: *I* didn't choose anything...
[long pause, Peter, Egon and Winston all look at Ray]
Dr Ray Stantz: I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [angrily] What? *What* "just popped in there?"
Dr Ray Stantz: I... I... I tried to think...
Dr. Egon Spengler: LOOK!
[they all look over one side of the roof]
Dr Ray Stantz: No! It CAN'T be!
Dr. Peter Venkman: What is it?
Dr Ray Stantz: It CAN'T be!
Dr. Peter Venkman: What did you DO, Ray?
Winston Zeddemore: Oh, shit!
[they all see a giant cubic white head topped with a sailor hat, Peter looks at Ray]
Dr Ray Stantz: [somberly] It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

That big inflated scientist in the white lab coat, remember. Out to conquer the world.

Their argument to Congress for Cap and Trade goes something like this:

Dr Ray Stantz: [training Winston] This is where we put all the vapors and entities and slimers that we trap. Quite simple really. Load a trap here, open, unlock the system. Insert the trap, release, close, lock the system. Set your entry grid, neutralize your field and... the light is green, the trap is clean! The ghost is incarcerated here in our custom-made storage facility...

Dr. Peter Venkman: Let's talk serious. For the entrapment, we're gonna ask you for 4 big ones. $4,000 for that, but we are having a special this week on proton charging, and storage of the beast, so we are gonna ask for $1,000 more.
Hotel Manager: $5,000? I don't care if you need so much, I won't pay it!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Oh, that's okay we can just put it right back in there.
Dr Ray Stantz: We most certainly can, Dr. Venkman.
Hotel Manager: [Stops Ray] No, no NO! Anything.

What makes this possible is a public that believes in their divine right to vote any idiocy into law:

Louis: [possessed by Vinz Clortho] I am The Keymaster!
Dana Barrett: [possessed by Zuul] I am The Gatekeeper!

As for Climategate, Phil Jones can't take it anymore:

Dr. Peter Venkman: I don't have to take this abuse from you, I've got hundreds of people dying to abuse me...

Dr Ray Stantz: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.
Dr. Peter Venkman: You're right, no human being would stack books like this.

Or cook the books. For anyone challenging them in peer-reviewed papers,

Dr. Peter Venkman: Alice, I'm going to ask you a couple of standard questions, okay? Have you or any of your family been diagnosed schizophrenic? Mentally incompetant?
Librarian Alice: My uncle thought he was Saint Jerome.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'd call that a big yes. Uh, are you habitually using drugs? Stimulants? Alcohol?
Librarian Alice: No.
Dr. Peter Venkman: No, no. Just asking. Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?
Library Administrator: What's has that got to do with it?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Back off, man. I'm a scientist.

For the mildly annoying critics,

Dr Ray Stantz: Well, this is great. If the ionization-rate is constant for all ectoplasmic entities, we can really bust some heads... in a spiritual sense, of course.

For the really annoying critics, sic the media on them:

Dr. Peter Venkman: All right, this chick is TOAST. Okay; sticks?
Dr Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore: HOLDIN'!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Heat 'em up!
Dr Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore: SMOKIN'!
Dr. Peter Venkman: MAKE 'EM HARD!
Dr Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore: READY!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown.

Don't you dare challenge the gospel of Global Warming, Phil Jones won't take it anymore...

Dr. Peter Venkman: NOBODY steps on a church in my town!

Now we come full circle to "Climate-gate". As I said, you have to do a little switch in your interpretation of the movie, which holds up ghosts as sorta real and mocks the EPA pretty well, but if you stop laughing at the thought of the critics of Global Warming taking on the role of Walter Peck, and pay attention to Venkman's responses, they could be right out of the lips of Phil Jones as he resists Freedom of Information requests for climate data:

Walter Peck: I'm Walter Peck, from the Environmental Protection Agency, the third district. [Peck shakes Venkman's hand and wipes ectoplasm on his jacket]
Dr. Peter Venkman: Great, how's it going down there?
Walter Peck: Are you Peter Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes, I'm *Doctor* Venkman!
Walter Peck: Exactly what are you a doctor of, Mr. Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Well, I have a PhD in parapsychology and psychology.
Walter Peck: And now, you catch ghosts?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yeah, you could say that.
Walter Peck: And how many ghosts have you caught, Mr. Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm not at liberty to say.
Walter Peck: And where do you put these ghosts, once you catch them?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Into a storage facility.
Walter Peck: And would this storage facility be located on these premises?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes.
Walter Peck: And may I see this storage facility?
Dr. Peter Venkman: No.
Walter Peck: And why not, Mr. Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Because you did not use the magic word.
Walter Peck: What is the magic word, Mr. Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: [looking surprised] Please!
Walter Peck: May I *please* see the storage facility, Mr. Venkman?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why do you want to see the storage facility?
Walter Peck: Because I'm curious. I wanna know more about what you do here! Frankly, I've heard alot of wild stories in the media and we want to assess any possibility of dangerous and possibly hazardous waste chemicals in your basement.
[Peck is angered]
Walter Peck: Now you either *show me* what is down there, or I come back with a court order.
Dr. Peter Venkman: [Venkman snaps back] You go get a court order, and I'll sue your funny ass for wrongful prosecution.
Walter Peck: You can have it your way, Mr. Venkman.

What really captures the soul of a Global Warming scientist, however is this:

Dr Ray Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Janine, someone with your qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries.

And what captures the essence of the souls of the Global Warming politicians:

Janine Melnitz: You are so kind to take care of that man. You know, you're a real humanitarian.
Dr. Egon Spengler: I don't think he's human.

For all of the rest of us,

Dr Ray Stantz: You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909!

And the response of the public:

Male Student: [Annoyed] I'm getting a little tired of this.
Dr. Peter Venkman: You volunteered, didn't you? We're paying you, are we?
Male Student: Yeah, but I didn't know you were gonna be giving me electric shocks. What are you trying to prove here, anyway?
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm studying the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP ability.
Male Student: [Aggravated] Effect? I'll tell you the effect is, it's pissing me off!

Which sums up so well how I feel about this and my judgment of these scientists:

Dr Ray Stantz: Hey, Dean Yeager! Are you moving us to a better office on campus?
Dean Yeager: No, you're being moved off campus. The Board of Regents has decided to terminate your grant. You are to vacate these premises immediately.
Dr Ray Stantz: What?
Dr. Peter Venkman: This is preposterous. I demand an explanation.
Dean Yeager: This university will no longer continue any funding for any of your group's activities.
Dr. Peter Venkman: But the kids love us!
Dean Yeager: Doctor... Venkman. The purpose of science is to serve mankind. You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge... or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!
Dr. Peter Venkman: I see.
Dean Yeager: And you have no place in this department, or this university.

Amen. And hopefully, future media interviews with Global Warming advocates will go something like this:

Joe Franklin: As they say in T.V., I'm sure there's one big question on everybody's mind, and I imagine you are the man to answer that. How is Elvis, and have you seen him lately?

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