I’m sure most of you are already aware of the humorous tweets physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sent out on Christmas. If you’re not, I’m linking a news article about them here. The linked article comes from Fox News, which I was pleasantly surprised to learn allows comments (last time I checked, about two years ago, they didn’t). So I did that thing I do and, after reading the article, I clicked on the comments section. And, whoa, was I entertained!
Fox News doesn’t show all of his tweets. To see the ones they omitted, click here.
First, to sum up: Tyson tweeted a series of observations about Christmas using humor to entertain his followers on Twitter. None of them made fun of Christians; they did, however, make fun of Christmas. But the “mockery” was hidden beneath facts. The only tweet that resembles an attack against Christians is actually making fun of consumerism. Furthermore, the tweet Fox omitted praised Santa for knowing about physics.* Not everyone agrees with me. Many of Fox’s readers jumped in on the comment board to unleash their fury and racism. Below I’ve screen capped some of the offending responses.
*The tweet about Santa using a red nosed rain deer as opposed to a blue nosed rain deer is based on light scattering. Longer wavelengths (red) penetrate through fog much easier than shorter wavelengths (blue). I’m not certain why Fox News would leave out this tweet.
Some were pleading.
Some were anti-anti-hypocritical.
Some used ad hominems.
Some clearly didn’t peruse the scientific literature prior to posting.
Some were just idiotic.
Some were actually funny.
Unfortunately, many turned racist.
And probably the most racist one of all:
I wish I could say that these comments were extreme outliers in a forum of mostly reasonable responses to an article on Fox News about Tyson, but unfortunately they weren’t. I’m very aware that Fox News is where some of the right-of-center folks end up getting their news, so I was not surprised at the level of vitriolic words aimed at one of our most highly esteemed thinkers. I just wish they didn’t take his humor as personal attacks against them.