UPDATE: The connection in Crownies to me is unmistakeable now, see update below.
Stranger than fiction shades of Ben Santer:
“Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.” – Dr. Ben Santer in a Climategate email
I was aware of this TV show last week as a couple of alert readers brought it to my attention, but unfortunately I couldn’t comment on it for two reasons: 1) The draconian ABC (Australia) copyright policy prevents it from being viewed in the USA, so I couldn’t see the scene or get the dialog and 2) If I commented on it, people would say I was the only one who sees the comparison, and that it was self serving. Tim Blair of the Daily Telegraph solves both problems. He transcripts the dialog and writes:
Idealistic young lawyer: “He’s a lead author for the IPCC. He’s a climatologist who put together a global temperature reconstruction going back 12,000 years!”
Legal secretary: “So he’s a geek.”
Idealistic young lawyer: “He’s been on Four Corners.”
Legal secretary: “A huge geek.”
Idealistic young lawyer: “And on Oprah.”
Legal secretary: “Slightly cool. And the alleged assault?”
Idealistic young lawyer: “He punched a climate change sceptic, James Watt. Watt runs a blog, CO2 Fraud, a bunch of anti-science crap.”
Legal secretary: “Sounds like a fun day in court. You haven’t had a win yet, have you?”
Continue viewing to see the impressive physical differences between doddery old denier and punchy professor, who must be the only climatologist in history with a $250 haircut.
Former Greens candidate Clive Hamilton loved it:
At last, the ABC has broadcast a program that accurately reflects the debate over climate science.
Yep – cool guys versus jabbering idiots who deserve a beating!
The program in question is the episode of Crownies aired last Thursday night. In it, DPP solicitor Richard Stirling (played by Hamish Michael and one of Crownies’ real stars) reluctantly has to prosecute an eminent climate scientist who allegedly punched a climate denier in the face. The denier James Watt (played with disconcerting accuracy by Richard Healy) had been harassing Professor Tim Coghburn for years, turning up at every public event to demand answers to his inane questions lifted uncritically from some denialist website.
Hamilton didn’t watch very carefully. The Watt character – possibly a dig at Anthony Watts – runs his own site. And the climatologist is Steve Coburn, not Tim Coghburn. Clive can’t even get TV credits right.
When Watt, after disrupting a public lecture, followed Coghburn out of the venue haranguing, insulting and poking him in the chest, the scientist finally lost his rag and lashed out. Who hasn’t wanted to do that?
Read it all here at Tim Blair’s column
Strangeness abounds. I’m not sure what to make of this. At least there is some comfort, according to my friends in Australia, the Crownies TV show appears to be tanking in the ratings. In a way though, the Watt character is an everyman, representing those who have doubts about the state of the science.
For anyone in Australia, here’s the episode, number thirteen.
Here’s the preview writeup.
UPDATE: I still can’t watch this show, but commenter “pwl” did, and adds some transcript. It seems unmistakeable now that I am the inspiration for the character:
From the show at about 15:20 into it.
“Was he aware that the modern temperature record was utterly corrupt? They put thermometers next to air conditioning units and on airport tarmacs.” – Fictional James Watts
“So you think a few thermometers at airports accounts for the late 20th century rise in recorded temperatures globally?” – Fake Idealistic young lawyer DPP solicitor Richard Stirling
“With El Nino thrown in, yes.” – Fictional James Watts
“And the rise in ocean temperatures, the receding glaciers, the earlier spring flowering, the earlier bird and animal migration, the collapse of arctic summer ice cover?” – Fake Idealistic young lawyer DPP solicitor Richard Stirling
“Was that in my police statement?” – Fictional James Watts
“Not really.” – Fake Idealistic young lawyer DPP solicitor Richard Stirling
“Oh, then why ask it?” – Fictional James Watts
“I’m demonstrating how upset professor may have been with your line of questioning. It goes to motive.” – Fake Idealistic young lawyer DPP solicitor Richard Stirling
“Hm.. right.” – Fictional James Watts
Oh, the professors book was being launched at the meeting where the fictional punch took place. The funny part is that the book is entitled “Boiling Frogs”.