Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chris Hayes on Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously Tonight

No one needs another show to watch on Sunday night these days.  In addition to Mad Men and Game of Thrones, which I watch and regularly review, there's also The Good Wife and Turn, which I watch and sometimes review, and Mr. Selfridge, which I watch and enjoy and usually don't review, because enough is enough.   On the other hand, to paraphrase the Victorian poet Robert Browning, one's reach on TV should exceed one's grasp, or what's a DVR for?   And Years of Living Dangerously, whose third episode is on tonight, is also On Demand.

I'm looking forward to Chris Hayes' contribution to this high-tech broadside on the need to wake up to the dangers of global warming.  Just to be clear, though I think Hayes is one of the brightest and most cogent voices on television, I don't agree with everything he says.  For example, I'm not too worried about the apocalypse to democracy thought to be engendered by Citizens United, seeing as how Obama - whom I voted for twice, and strongly support - handily won reelection in 2012, or two years after that much derided Supreme Court decision.   This confirms to me, once again, that Milton and Jefferson were right that people are inherently rational and vote their best interests - now in the 21st century, regardless of the mega-bucks spent on political advertising.

But Hayes and James Cameron and the all-star cast both in front of and behind the camera in Years of Living Dangerously are completely right that we need to do something about what is going on in the climate around us.   Look, even if all the evidence that the world is slowly heating up is wrong, wouldn't we be better off having some control over our climate and the temperature of the world?  To say, as do some Republicans, that the climate is in God's hands, misses the point that God or natural selection or whatever brought us here left us with minds and the capacity not to just accept the natural world around us but improve it, for us,  and most living denizens of this planet.   Surely, we're better off now than in ancient Rome, with its average lifespan of 20-30 years (45-47 for those who made it to the age of 10) - a result of science and medicine and its invention and application via human mentality.

The Scientific Revolution in the Renaissance was borne on the wings of the printing press (as I detail in The Soft Edge: A Natural History and Future of the Information Revolution).  Television in America, though it's had its moments with Nova and the original Carl Sagan Cosmos series and the reboot now on Fox, has by and large not risen to the task.   It's good to see Years of Living Dangerously and some of the best minds on the planet join the ranks.

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