My friend Chris Mooney wonders about critical reviews of Sizzle:

Could it be that, for some of these hypercritical bloggers, Randy Olson’s documentarian character in Sizzle is really their reflection in the mirror? After all, the character is basically a caricature of someone who repeatedly demands facts, facts, facts, and can’t relate to non-scientists, have a good laugh, enjoy a good story.

No. Anyone who read those reviews would know that most of the critics agree that scientists are mostly crappy communicators, and many agree with Randy that there should be more emphasis on story-telling rather than dull facts.

This leads to my insulting question to Chris, Randy and any other pro-Sizzle bloggers:

Isn’t it possible that, however valid Randy’s broad points, he still didn’t make a good movie?

Bear in mind that there’s more to a good story than being right. You have to tell the story well. I don’t think Randy did.

(N.B.: I’m not saying he did a bad job; there were moments of real beauty in the film. It just didn’t tell a very good story. At best, it told lots of stories, one of which ? post-Katrina New Orleans was a good story told well. Another ? how does the public judge between scientific consensus and crackpottery ? was a good story told poorly, and the other ? scientists suck as communicators ? was an indifferent, dog-bites-man story told tolerably well.)

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