Words & Deeds

Idaho radio host gets epic beatdown from Neil deGrasse Tyson (updated)

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Mark Watney v. Hal from “2001”

After Tyson's performance of "An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies," he answered one final geek question backstage at the Morrison Center in Boise, Idaho.
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After Tyson's performance of "An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies," he answered one final geek question backstage at the Morrison Center in Boise, Idaho.

Update: This fine Idaho moment has spread across the internet to Huffington Post, Raw Story, Reddit and beyond.

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Say what you will about Neil deGrasse Tyson. That he’s a Christmas-dissing Scrooge. That he picks on “Star Wars.”

Or that the $85 tickets to his June performance at the Morrison Center in Boise were too spendy for the proletariat. (Steve Martin and Martin Short suddenly make Tyson’s tickets look like bargain-bin pricing.)

Just don’t call Tyson “a horse’s astrophysicist” and follow it up with flawed reasoning.

Idaho Falls conservative talk-show host Neal Larson discovered this the hard way Tuesday.

In an ill-fated opinion piece published in the (Twin Falls) Times-News — in which he refers to Tyson as a “jackass” — Larson clumsily attempts to criticize the celebrity brainiac. Worse yet, he gets facts wrong. Larson’s diatribe finally implodes into a black hole of nonsense when he claims the rock-star science spokesman repeatedly mocked a little girl for wanting to live on Jupiter. This made-up scenario was created by the satirical website Clickhole, which is run by parody purveyor The Onion. In his hastily researched outrage, Larson got duped.

Basically, Larson places his own head on a tee and waits for somebody to show up with a large golf club. So it’s fitting that the first commenter at the Times-News website is Neil deGrasse Tyson himself.

“Hello Neal,” the reply from user “neiltyson” begins. “First, I’ll forgive you for not spelling your name correctly.”

FORE!

Go to magicvalley.com to read the rest. Tyson’s patient, methodical obliteration of the article is a rebuttal of galactic proportions. The dozens of readers piling on afterward are pretty gut-busting, too.

I almost feel bad for Larson, a host at KID Newsradio. Neal. Buddy! It’s OK to climb atop a soapbox. But I always try to remember to take potshots at people I can hang with intellectually. (And I fail all too often.)

Larson’s Twitter feed won’t draw much sympathy. In a tweet, he pretends to be remorseful: “... my deep apology here,” he writes, linking to a headline chiding, “Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson.”

Just stop, dude. It hurts as an Idahoan to watch.

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