A telescopic look at Twitter’s intergalactic troll: Neil deGrasse Tyson
Final straws can sometimes surprise you.
When it comes to the universe’s most famous astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, I would never have guessed my breaking point would be a tweet about Friday the 13th. Yet here we are.
Not that anybody asked, but “Friday the 6th” is exactly as rare as “Friday the 13th”, itself arriving seven days later.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 6, 2020
As if anyone was interested in Friday the 13th because of its rarity!
Personally, I have no special attachment to the multi-annual spooky holiday. I do, however, feel strongly about letting people have their dumb things. Being pedantic about Friday the 13th, lest anyone plan on treating themselves to a horror movie festival or whatever, means going far out of one’s way just to be mildly mean for no point whatsoever.
Unfortunately, that’s Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exact MO. He appears, on Twitter at least, to live exclusively for yucking your yum. Each new day to him is a challenge to find the most innocuous thing that people frivolously enjoy, and “debunk” it with straight talk filtered through a genuine galaxy brain. (Do you like using the “Roses are red” construction? I have some bad news.)
Every now and then, Tyson offers a legitimately insightful, topical tidbit—on Leap Day or the Equinox, for example. Mostly, though, between all the corny jokes and empty aphorisms, he’s just obsessed with letting you know that everything that has ever been said about the moon in pop culture is factually inaccurate.
Like the expression “once in a blue moon.”
A Blue Moon, the second full moon in a calendar month, occurs on average every two and a half years. So “once in a blue moon” is not entirely rare. I’m just saying.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 20, 2019
Or the song “Fly Me to the Moon.”
The song “Fly Me to the Moon” also references Jupiter Mars & the Stars:
Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
And let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars.
FYI: Due to its axial tilt, Mars does actually experience Spring. Jupiter, not so much.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 19, 2019
Or the album Dark Side of the Moon.
Regardless of what Pink Floyd ever told you, there is no “Dark Side of the Moon” — all sides receive sunlight. Lunar days last a month. But there is, however, a permanent Far Side & Near Side. pic.twitter.com/oRxPPrQx9W
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 18, 2019
Or the way the moon must have looked the night Ted Kennedy killed a lady.
Chappaquiddick occurred just 2 days before the first lunar landing. So you’d think the Film producers would get the Moon right for July 18, 1969. Kennedy sees it full, but the actual phase was a 4-day old waxing crescent that set long before the midnight tragedy. I’m just saying.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) May 10, 2018
I would say that the sight of anyone enjoying themselves whatsoever is like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s bat signal, but that would probably only lead to Tyson somehow appearing before me to explain why the bat signal is impossible, because of the moon. He just loves letting people know about technical goofs in movies.
The film “Ad Astra” loves showing weightless astronauts. But space is not inherently weightless. If your engines fire constantly because you’re in a hurry to get to the Moon or to Mars, then the acceleration creates artificial gravity — at the rear-end of the ship. Always.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) February 27, 2020
In “The Martian” (2015) the Rocket gets rattled by a raging wind storm forcing them to launch from Mars without Mark Watney. But at only 1% that of Earth, the Martian atmosphere is so thin, 100 mph winds would feel like a gentle breeze. pic.twitter.com/WQNcQ1J2bc
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) February 25, 2020
The film “A Marriage Story” (2019) should instead have been named “A Divorce Story” pic.twitter.com/5mKGgCzb08
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) February 24, 2020
His insistence on inserting physics-derived snowflake-accuracy into Frozen II’s marketing campaign is a perfect example of how his misguided efforts at expanding young minds just amounts to cramming teachable moments into spaces where they need not exist.
Dear @Disney, You got it right the first time. Water crystals have hexagonal “six-fold” symmetry.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 22, 2019
FYI: I actually don’t care whether you break the laws of physics to tell a story.
e.g. I’m “cool” with talking snowmen and roly-poly frozen trolls.
What matters most is the consistency of creative worlds within a story and across sequels.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 22, 2019
The problem with debunking everything using the cold, bleak logic of science is that eventually you turn that technique toward emotional matters, the kind whose significance can’t be sketched out on a chalkboard.
In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.
On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…
500 to Medical errors
300 to the Flu
250 to Suicide
200 to Car Accidents
40 to Homicide via Handgun
Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 4, 2019
Knowing that grieving is technically insignificant in a cold, unfeeling universe is of no comfort while you’re grieving. Tyson apologized for his cruelly insensitive tweet last summer, but the incident apparently did not convince him to retire his “Buzzkill Lightyear” brand. Considering that 13 million people still follow his Twitter account, perhaps it was the right decision. But the question of why all those millions of people want a direct pipeline to his thoughts remains a scientific anomaly.