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Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema [Book Review]

Labinger, Jay A. (2005) Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema [Book Review]. Science, 310 (5755). pp. 1770-1771. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.1121899.

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French philosopher Jean Baudrillard has given us the simulacrum as one of the defining characteristics of (post)modern society. A simulacrum is a representation that has completely displaced the original it is meant to represent; it has come to seem much more real than its underlying reality (1). Christopher Frayling’s Mad, Bad and Dangerous?—according to the author, the first fulllength book to tackle the portrayal of the scientist in popular culture—neatly reflects Baudrillard’s conception. Frayling argues that the current popular image of science and the scientist is almost entirely defined by the cinema and other mass media. The power of cinematic images to penetrate the collective psyche, coupled with the fact that scientists have generally been unwilling and/or unable to compete with convincing narratives of their own (culture, like nature, abhors a vacuum), has brought us to the point where “the public’s view of science is shaped more by film and television and newspaper headlines than by anything else.”

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Review Review
Labinger, Jay A.0000-0002-1942-9232
Alternate Title:Two-Dimensional Science
Additional Information:© 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Book review of: Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling Reaktion, London, 2005. 239 pp. ISBN 1-86189-255-1.
Issue or Number:5755
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141117-153444509
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51873
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Nov 2014 18:09
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:17

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