Buzz Aldrin who was the second man to walk on the moon is now on the TV reality show Dancing With The Stars.
Aldrin told reporters that he agreed to participate on the show as a way to bring attention to space travel and to encourage science education.
Unfortunately, the only actual quotes I could find from Buzz from the show were, “I hope when people think about voting they think about not just the most talented, energetic people with the sexiest uniforms and outfits, but who they want to see develop the next week’s dance.” And when asked about his dance partner he said, “This is a really cute babe…â€
Ah, yes! Never have more inspirational science quotes been uttered. Come along children, we must go study the moons of Saturn now! I too want to be an astronaut!
Sadly, Buzz received the lowest score on the show’s premiere and one of the judges said of his dance skills, “It looked like you still had your moon boots on.”
More after the click!
Of course in Mr. Aldrinâ€™s defense he is 80 years old, still kicks total ass and has done plenty in his lifetime to encourage interest in space travel and in science education. If at this point in his life he wants to do the cha-cha-cha on TV with a cute babe, well then I say good for him. It is also not his fault that Dancing With The Stars is far more interested in sexy dance moves than any intellectual endeavors. They could give a rat’s ass about science. They will edit and stage the show in order to express their views. They have no intention of inspiring anything other than tight sparkly-dresses and getting you to tune in next week to see what happens!
This story brings to mind a topic that is often tossed around behind the scenes here at Skepchick and among other skeptical groups that I participate in. The question is should we put ourselves out there in a more aggressive fashion? Should we search out the limelight? Should we go after media opportunities simply to get our names and maybe our messages out there?
Approximately once a month a call for â€œskepticsâ€ gets passed around the skeptical community. I put skeptics in quotes because while the casting companies and various pilot TV shows approach us claiming that they want a skeptic what they usually really want is someone they can edit to look like a naysayer, a contrarian or a grumpy cynic. Occasionally they also want a PHD or specialist to lend credibility to their production. Most of the time all the stereotypes that the skeptical community wishes to avoid are what casting directors want. In fact many of these types of shows have in fact cultivated the stereotypes we wish to shake.
Most of the time skeptics ignore these requests but I sometimes wonder if it would help the skeptical movement if we tried to jump in the ring with the ghost hunters and psychics now and then. My guess is that if they decided to ever use any of us on a paranormal show the stage choreography and editing would be designed to make us look like jerks. Our message would be diminished and whatever the point of the show is would be promoted. Any words of skeptical wisdom would end up on the cutting room floor. As many of us realize, reality TV is not reality at all. And I fear it could do more harm than good, as our collective reputations would be at stake.
What do you think? Should we try to get the skeptical message out there even if we may be edited to look like the fool? Is all publicity good publicity or should we stick with writing and podcasting where we have creative control over the messages we send?
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.