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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Famed Astrophysicist, Total Gravity Buzzkill

Illustration for article titled Neil deGrasse Tyson: Famed Astrophysicist, Total emGravity/em Buzzkill

If you recently watched Alfonso Cuaron's marvelous outer-space odyssey Gravity, you probably walked out of the theater with your mind just a little bit blown. Or, if you're renowned astrophysicist and science distributor Neil deGrasse Tyson, you came out and decided to kill everyone's buzz by nitpicking the film.


Heads up, some of these tweets contain spoilers.

Tyson's observations—mostly framed as cheeky/smarmy "mysteries"—ran a full gamut, from being prickly but informative:

Advertisement just sort of annoyingly nitpicky:

Advertisement non-annoying and fully interesting:

Advertisement, on a couple of occasions, just flat-out annoying:


Sheesh, you'd think a scientist would get the concept of a false equivalency!

In the end, Tyson reassured the world that he enjoyed the movie, too:


As much as I'd like to bag on Tyson for killing everyone's buzz, for the most part I enjoyed his Twitter fact-checking tirade. I'd imagine watching Gravity as Neil deGrasse Tyson is a bit like watching The Wizard as a hardcore gamer—you see every little thing they got wrong, and can't help but want to tell people.

I tend to be with The Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek, who writes, "Incidentally, the first person who tries to tell me Gravity is "unrealistic" or "implausible" is going to get a mock-Vulcan salute and a kick in the pants." But okay, okay. Astrophysicists get a pass.

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I appreciate knowledge, but I don't think any of this is important, because facts aren't important to narrative. Drama is. If you're enjoying stories because they're "realistic," you're missing the point by a wide, wide margin. The Epic of Gilgamesh isn't realistic at all, but it has a lot to say about what it is to be a thing that will die, and how we, as humans, can live forever. It's a work that's ultimately about A) dealing with other people and B) examining culture, particularly the notion of cultural immortality.

If you go "oh, well, it's not realistic that Gilgamesh did these things," then you miss the point.

It's why guys like Tyson honestly bug me quite a bit. The facts are irrelevant. The drama is everything.