Thursday, December 14, 2006


It's Not Pettiness, It's Art

Hey, have you looked at this screenplay I'm putting together? Yeah, it's pretty good! Hey, take a look at this one character; the kind-hearted defense lawyer is sick that he has to defend this Mike Crichton, a futurist science fiction writer whose attempts at transhuman research led to the death of five homeless "test subjects." Oh, and he, uh, raped goats or something, between the homeless people deaths.

Yeah, you see that? That's tasteless, crude, and about as subtle as an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. Of course, that doesn't mean it'll stop "Mike" Crichton himself:

The next page contains fleeting references to Crowley as a "weasel" and a "dickhead," and, later, "that political reporter who likes little boys." But that's it--Crowley comes and goes without affecting the plot. He is not a character so much as a voodoo doll. Knowing that Crichton had used prior books to attack very real-seeming people, I was suspicious. Who was this Mick Crowley? A Google search turned up an Irish Workers Party politician in Knocknaheeny, Ireland. But Crowley's tireless advocacy for County Cork's disabled seemed to make him an unlikely target of Crichton's ire. And that's when it dawned on me: I happen to be a Washington political journalist. And, yes, I did attend Yale University. And, come to think of it, I had recently written a critical 3,700-word cover story about Crichton. In lieu of a letter to the editor, Crichton had fictionalized me as a child rapist. And, perhaps worse, falsely branded me a pharmaceutical-industry profiteer.

That's right, folks; Michael Crichton didn't like the fact that Michael Crowley pointed out holes in his research for State of Fear (speaking of Crichton's trademark subtlety, apparently, environmentalists aren't beyond mass murder, and Martin Sheen is a clueless liberal who will likely get eaten by cannibals). So Crichton spends all of two pages in his next book painting "Mick" Crowley as a child molester with no self control whatsoever. Oh, and a tiny penis.

Y'know, I wonder what would happen if we stuck Aaron Sorkin and Michael Crichton in a sealed vault. Would they rant about the many injustices against them until they run out of oxygen? Go against each other like fighting dogs? Or would they explode, like overly pretentions matter exposed to self-entitled antimatter?

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