The scientist as pioneer hero: Hollywood’s mythological reconciliations in Twister and Contact

  • Author(s): Geoff King
  • When: 1999-07
  • Where: Science as Culture
  • The hero of Twister (1996) sniffs the wind, picks up a handful of dust and lets it fall slowly through his flagon before looking op into the sky, instinctively reading the natural signs that tell him when and when a tornado is brewing. His colleagues—a motley crew of scientism and computer wizards—are equipped with banks of computerized cracking technology, but these rennin strictly secondary to the unmediated instincts of their leader. His arch rival, in contrast, relies on several vanloads of expensive technology paid for by corporate funds. 'The days of sniffing the dirt are over', the bad guy asserts, and it comes as no surprise that he ends up biting it instead. The moral? Science and technology are important, but need to be kept in their place. A human dimension—essentialized and defined in terms of contact with 'nature'—is vital if the promise of rationality is not to lead to our doom.

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