Movie Critics Drag Limbaugh and the Pope Into 'The Martian' Reviews

Movie critics were mostly impressed with the new Matt Damon movie The Martian, but a few critics took the movie’s boosterism of scientific nerdiness to make a point against those alleged science-hating conservatives.

Ann Hornaday at The Washington Post concluded her review: “at a time when a kid can get busted for bringing a DIY clock to school, presidential candidates seriously debate the value of vaccinations and even the Pope can’t win over global warming skeptics, the problem-solving valorized in The Martian provides a simultaneously stirring and spirited example of how cool science can be. As NASA-Hollywood plots go, this one is worth lapping up like all the water on Mars.”

Andrew O’Hehir at Salon made a pitch for very expensive Mars space programs at NASA:

Yes, it will cost fabulous, almost unimaginable sums to develop and execute a human Mars mission like the one that goes awry in The Martian. If anyone were to propose a concrete number — $100 billion has repeatedly been floated, but given the history of the space program that is almost certainly a lowball estimate – the inner Grover Norquist within all of us would rise up and vow to drown this pointless scheme in the cosmic bathtub. But that’s small-minded thinking from a nation that has grown distressingly hunched and small....

I can hear those murmurs of prudence and caution coming from the liberal quadrant too, which has grown hunched and small in its own distinctive way. As I was about to wrap up this article, I heard about Rush Limbaugh’s pronouncement that NASA was lying about the discovery of water on Mars in order to push a “leftist agenda,” and I could just rest my case right there. To a certain disturbingly widespread mind-set, scientific discovery and the advancement of human knowledge are suspicious in themselves, and likely to produce culturally unhealthy outcomes. Look at the mess Galileo and Darwin got us into!

Tim Graham's picture

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