Monday, June 12, 2006

I just got back from covering Stephen Hawking's arrival at the HK airport. What a grotesque moment, in that HK's paparazzi nearly crushed and ate the celebrated quadriplegic scientist.
They are celebrity starved here and there was a moment or two that I feared for what little remains of Hawking's life, though he's apparently fit enough to deliver a lecture on Wednesday.
"Hong Kong photogs stomp, devour paralyzed scientist"
"...after tearing shreds of the whithered flesh from the remains of the celebrated physicist, the frenzied shutterbugs were seen devouring it with their bloody, bare hands, while exclaiming: 'It will make me a genius person, also!' Remains of Hawking's computer operated wheel chair and bits of his broken spectacles were also fought over by the rabid press pack."
In real life there was one nice moment. As Hawking disappeared under the media crush, I saw a young Western guy watching the scene and he asked me
``Who's that? Someone famous?"
When told it was Hawking, the guy, a 22-year old San Diego college student here on vacation, paused a minute.
``Stephen Hawking? The scientist on The Simpsons? Sweet!''
The final quote in this entry summarizes contemporary popular consicousness in a nutshell.

Ok, yes that was bad but I couldn't help myself. Did you get a chance to talk to the man? I've never had the pleasure (yes I know he uses a special apparatus to do this).


Funny or not, I can't believe the ignorance of some people. I read A Brief History of Time a few years ago. It made me realize that I just don't have a brain for hard science. I hope none of the HK reporters ask him what kind of accident landed him in the wheelchair.
du yisa, No chance to talk with him in the airport madness and though I'm going to a press conference for him today, I can't think of what I could possibly ask him.
He's said through a written (and undoubtedly carefully groomed by the university sponsoring his visit) that he's looking forward to "stimulating questions."
About black holes, maybe? My frigging brain is a black hole.
And Stuart, the kid wasn't ignorant. One thing I like about Hawking is that he is a huge Simpsons fan and his persona and real syntho-voice has been featured in at least two episodes. Here's a link that tells more if you]re curious.
I also have the deepest respect for celebs appearing in The Simpsons. I got somewhat of a shocker though, as I saw Tony Blair's name rolling by after one episode. I never expected him to be one of the "cool guys".
I think maybe I wasn't entirely clear. Of course, I know that Hawking appeared on the Simpsons (and also on Futurama), and that, absolutely, is the epitome of cool. I just meant to say that if that's the only place the kid knew Hawking from, it's kind of sad is all.

Oh, and even Bush Sr. was on it once, but no Bush Jr. so far (if I'm not mistaken). Though, I'm sure he'll show up someday.
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