CSI: Miami’s Real Economy

I watched my first episode of this unbelievably dreadful program last night, and, as luck would have it, it was set in the orange groves of academe. An anthropology professor, fixated on pain as the horizon of human consciousness or expectation, is found strung to a tree (by a small woman using a convenient pulley system that just happened to be there, apparently, after dragging this exsanguinated and much larger man several acres from his office–but let’s not get ahead of ourselves). He’s been expertly tortured, this Svengalite anthropology professor who brings Colombian torturers to his classes and makes his students kiss his shoes (I would think that the phrase here is “lick his boots,” but it was thus); and David Caruso, with help from technicians including the token Southern tv actress, deconstruct the systematic appearance from the chaotic reality using science derived from the Thomas Dolby video. DNA, computer models, the blonde Southerner expertly eye-balling a five-inch ice-pick–it’s really all there. The faith placed on forensic gadgetry–its sheen is so blinding that the alleged crimes compensate with grandeur, with a complete disregard of anything other than fantastic truth, dream logic. Again, this was the first episode of CSI: Anywhere I’ve watched, and I can’t say how typical it was. The clumsy and inaccurate reference to the Stanford prison experiments might have suggested a hopeful gravitas. I don’t know. The tv itself was small and far-away, and I was also diverted by Primary Colors (and disturbed that I was having trouble remembering the clefs, disturbed also by the wretched prose, but still).

2 thoughts on “CSI: Miami’s Real Economy

  1. Dear Jonathan,

    You bring up some interesting points about CSI. While sometimes inaccurate, the real problem lies in the nature of the television as a medium for communicating science in 44 minutes or less.

    Because of this, the show must compensate with simplistic plot situations; yet, to achieve its ratings, it must also entertain (hence, the “alleged crimes compensate with grandeur”, as you so eloquently state).

    I could easily bemoan the show for these faults as a scientist myself, but I actually embrace it. Why? Although it overlooks some critical elements (see my post http://scienceoversociety.blogspot.com/2006/10/csi-science-real-or-fantasy.html for more on this), overall it paints the profession in a positive light. It shows society that science can be fun, exciting, and worthy, and hopefully encouraging young people to get excited about it.

    Now, whether CSI is appropriate for young people to watch is a subject for an entirely different post…

    Sincerely,

    Science Over Society

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