While America suffers from a 30% high school dropout rate and ranks dead last in every education statistic we cannot afford to perpetuate easy-to-write stereotypes of “absent minded professors,” “science geeks,” and “socially inept engineers.”
Advocacy organizations attract and reward extroverted, dynamic, socially savvy personalities: even among space advocacy organizations the charisma and optimism of Mars Society leadership stands out. Humor is a constant feature of presentations at Mars Society conventions. The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station was designed and constructed by Franz Schubert, former lead guitarist for the band Devo. Under the guidance of Gerry Williams the San Diego Chapter presents an award winning Mars Movie Night. Conventions often close with impromptu bands composed of members who are gifted, professional musicians. There are always pannel presentations by novelists and artists.
Rhetoric aside, this blog does not insult individual persons or their irremediable attributes; no one should be called a “dork” in real life. The actor Jack Haley, playing Zachary Walzer, is interviewed halfway through this Pioneer One production diary: http://vimeo.com/16290264 It is frustrating to see in person he is not at all like his socially inept Walzer character, or even physically out of shape, but for some reason adds a whiny veneer to an otherwise exceptional fun caricature of Zubrin. Ironically, Jack Haley provides one of the best performances in this series; unfortunately, rather than incorporating Zubrin’s personality quirks into a cool, hip, charismatic, proactive engineer (with a strong, heavyset, commanding presence) — we are instead insulted by an old, tired, easy-to-convey cliché of “clueless science guy” (with a frumpy, blinkered, goofball demeanor). The talented crew of Pioneer One worked hard to create this successful indie series; please encourage them to improve its portrayal of scientists and the value of science.
See this page for more on “how to write a film about Mars”
From an email response by Pioneer One’s writer and co-director, Josh Bernhard: