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Science and Entertainment

November 12, 1994

Regarding "Jurassic Park" and Alan H. Goldstein's assertion that its message is anti-science and anti-technology ("The Anti-Science Message in the Media," Saturday Letters, Nov. 5):

With all due respect, Mr. Goldstein, I think you should realize, first of all, that those of us who are not research scientists are ignorant of the fact that the same technology that brought the dinosaurs to life in the film could also have been used to cure cancer, grow new limbs or develop disease-resistant crops. Concerns such as yours do not, for better or worse, trouble our feeble minds when we crack open a book or sit down with our popcorn in a darkened theater to enjoy what is quite simply a darn good story.

I also must wonder why it is Steven Spielberg and his colleagues that you take to task, when they actually are only the messengers who bring to life on screen the story created by someone else, in this case, Michael Crichton.

Writers of fiction have effectively achieved their craft by asking the mind-stretching question, "What if?" Crichton has done this brilliantly in his numerous novels, with results that thrill and chill millions who are willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

Of course, if this offends you, why not demonstrate the proper depiction of science in your own story? Hire a writer to pen a bestseller about the new technology for disease-free wheat. I'm sure it will give Crichton a run for his money.

JULIE GILBART

Tuscany Hills

*

It is a shame that Goldstein viewed a movie about science and showmanship and greed and nature and man's place in the world and decided that it was nothing more than anti-science.

For a film to be "violently anti-science," its unmistakable message should be that science is bad--or, at least, that scientists are bad. Yet the protagonists of the story include two good-hearted paleontologists who recognize the dangers of what has been wrought on that remote island yet still are filled with wonder at the creatures around them whose lives science has made possible.

And Jeff Goldblum's character, a chaotician, is wise enough to warn of the presumption that one can control nature. The problem begins when scientists or anybody with power ignores such humbling lessons and commences playing God.

"Jurassic Park" could just as easily--and with more justification--be derided as anti-lawyer, since the lawyer, although a minor character, is without redeeming qualities. Or how about an "anti-fat-guy" message, given that the most loathsome figure in the movie--who plots to smuggle the dangerous DNA off the island for money and deactivates the computer and security--is overweight.

Hollywood does not as a community treat scientists with "fear and loathing," at least on screen. It may operate from the most superficial understandings, and it certainly "exploit(s) . . . technology for a cheap thrill," but, hey, let's face it, that's what Hollywood's all about.

BRUCE NOVOTNY

Ventura

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