Science-Pop Won't Make Climate Science Pop-Science

by | May 12, 2011

What is worse than pop stars preaching about climate science?

[youtube EkBS7Sw5BaA]

[Thom Yorke, lead singer of crap miserablist act, Radiohead, wondering what he’s doing on Age of Stupid director, Franny Armstrong’s Stupid Show]

It’s climate scientists expressing themselves through the medium of popular music…

[youtube LiYZxOlCN10]

How embarrassing.

Auto-tuning is to pop-music what ‘hiding the decline’ is to paleoclimatology. And the lyrics are pretty bad too.


  1. Luis Dias

    Ahhh you were blogging so well and now you accuse thom yorke of being “crap” and I just facepalm. He may be miserabilistic, he may be utterly confused about this thing called reality, but he’s no crap musician.

  2. Ben Pile

    I guess it’s a matter of taste; I don’t think whining one’s self-loathing into a microphone is a particularly impressive feat of musicianship.

    I’ve always thought Radiohead were crap. Even when I thought ‘climate change was happening’, I thought they were crap. This was my reasoning:

    Take the most banal, insipid musical attempt at forced jollity (here’s an example). Now merely invert the sentiment. I believe that is what the likes of Radiohead produce.

    If they wrote anything that celebrated life — or even just Rock and Roll — it would be called ‘cheesy’, or perhaps ‘corny’ in the USA. Artists such as Yorke can only contrive depth through misery. They get away with it because misery is that much harder to identify as soulless masturbation. And it’s not even as if there’s any pay-off. It’s not like it’s even cathartic, let alone some resolution to the misery.

    Of course, millions of people would say I’m wrong; they’ve bought Yorke’s albums. But it hasn’t made him any happier.

  3. Peter S

    Hooray. Whenever I have seen Yorke on TV I have always had the overwhelming urge to take a swing at him with a large wet fish. It’s not uncommon to come across a man who doesn’t want to grow up… but to have to suffer his self-indulgent, morose, dribbling protests at the prospect – as a sort of never-ending sick-note pleading to be let off the task – is all too much the bear.

    Never has a man so epitomised ‘WANK’ in the arts as Yorke.

  4. Jack Hughes

    Is the second vid a parody? They slalom in and out of the same tired old cliches.

  5. Alex Cull

    I call it the Curse of Climate Change – the tendency of any work of art, cinema, theatre, music or literature deliberately composed to promote the alarmist/orthodox position on CAGW to be one, or a combination, of the following: shrill, propagandistic, preachy, dull, irritating, disjointed, embarrassing, uninspiring, tedious, clumsy, tone-deaf, deeply unfunny or unintentionally very funny, arrogant, crass or offensive.

  6. Pirran

    I know, let’s encourage the formation of an Eco-Super-Group with Thom Yorke on vocals, Sting on bass (the wet fish), mighty misery Mr Gwyneth Paltrow on keyboards and the whole of Green Day filling out the irrelevancies behind. Oh yes, and Bono endlessly floating around the stage in a bubble of his own hot gas like that revolving fat bloke from Dune.

    The sheer weight of portentous misery and self-righteous despair might create a critical mass of such lugubrious density that all eco-luvvies within a half-mile radius (they’ll all be there, waving their lighters and glow-sticks in the air) would be sucked into the somber singularity. WE CAN BUT DREAM.

  7. Pirran

    Sorry, that should be WE CAN BUT D-REAM.

    Professor “I’m too pretty to die in the tidal waves of evil deniers” Bloody Brian Cox will also have to be on stage, of course.

  8. Pirran

    Slightly OT, but doesn’t Brian Cox remind you of one of those evil shop-store mannequins come to life from a British ’60’s Hammer Horror film? Or perhaps Dr. Who? I dunno, there’s just something smoothly sinister, stretched and plastic about his face…like cling-film over a botched plastic surgery op.

  9. Sceptical Guardian Reader

    Musicians often look like uninformed fools when they talk about politics. Politicians often look like uninformed fools when they talk about music.
    Ben, you may not be a politician, but this is a political blog….

  10. Ben Pile

    Ben, you may not be a politician, but this is a political blog….

    It’s a blog whose argument is that environmentalism is an expression of a wider, deeper, social and cultural malaise…

    one… two… three… four…. << { exhibit #1… }

    I don't believe Radiohead are talented. I think they are miserable, and for some reason, misery speaks to people.

  11. Pirran

    “Sceptical Guardian Reader” is an oxymoron. The cognitive dissonance required to believe that is wholly consistent with the assumption that Ben isn’t entitled to an opinion on music because you’ve decided that this is a political blog.

  12. Sceptical Guardian Reader

    Ben is entitled to an opinion. I just wanted to point out there are lots of blogs which discuss music, I thought this blog was about climate change.
    Re – my “handle”; surely you understand there is a difference between reading something and believing something?

  13. Lewis Deane

    If, as you rightly believe, Ben, this is irrationalnality in essence, what, therefore, is it’s ‘reason’? I’m gathering a theory that ‘High finance’ and the bankers wankers. the politicians, are getting together to stitch us up – in an highly capitilzed world, were money seeks profit and cannot find it, a kind of degenerate western capitalism, it must corrupt (and ultimately bankrupt), the market? And, as I say, in the mean time a viscous croneism happens – capital must find profit and, if it can’t, then it must invent means to produce it. Am I right?

  14. Ben Pile

    Lewis, does your comment belong under a different post?

    Irrationality vs reason… I don’t think it’s so simple.

    Capital… I don’t think it’s right to say there’s a concerted, conscious effort to stitch us up. However, the deal between governments, energy companies, and eco-finance doesn’t seem to be designed in our interests. It also seems apparent that some of the loudest voices against ‘rent-seeking’ are coming from the right, with the clear majority of the left strangely mute.

  15. Lewis Deane

    Ben, a day late and a penny short (as they say!), it probably is in the wrong thread but you’ve probably got used to my intrusions.
    No, I don’t believe in ‘conspiracies’, rather that typical, human ‘confederacy of dunces’.I think it’s quite cogent to believe in a kind of concertenation of ‘interests’ without believing in the ‘Protocols’ or whatever viscous nonsense people come up with. If I can be clearer, I know there are certain ‘drifts’ in history that cannot be avoided. The difference between you and I is that you suffer that Hegelian, Marxist disease of ‘infamous’ optimism, as Schopenhauer called it. But who knows?

    And, of course, we live almost completely in a rentier world, a kind of ‘parasitism’ of which our advertised ‘generosity’ is merely a sign. Is this, therefore, Ernest Mandels’ ‘Late Capitilism’ – and, if it is, maybe the Arab revolutions are a beginning of ‘something’? We being so old and degenerate?


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