Thunberg Derangement Syndrome

How sad to see my fellow old white men melting down over Greta Thunberg. They seem to be offended about the fact that she is chastising us for inaction, and worse, contributing to the ongoing problem. Learn to take criticism better, people!

Every day I seem to discover yet another old guy exposing the rot in their brain. The latest victim: Dan Simmons. That’s disappointing, since I read his book, The Terror, and enjoyed it, and heard that he’d written other good books that were on my list of future explorations. But now, no, I’ve scratched him off the list, I won’t bother — there are so many good authors and good books out there that I don’t need to patronize some weird ranty science denialist.

Not only is he petty and sneering at a young girl, he’s a climate change denialist. I looked at some of the other stuff he’s put online, and he’s also a bit of a gun nut and political reactionary, but it’s the scoffing at the science that kills his reputation for me. You know, if you’re going to spit on someone whose message on the climate is “listen to the scientists”, I’m not going to listen to you.

Greta Thunberg certainly has been an excellent crank detector.


  1. aziraphale says

    That is really sad. He has written several SF novels that I liked very much. But I suppose that was decades ago now. There does seem to be a tendency for authors to get more cranky with age.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    It all boils down the old adage “Children should be seen, not heard,” especially when those children want to point out what greedy, selfish shits their elders are being.

  3. voidhawk says

    You can bet your bottom dollar that if she were crusading against the things THEY think are important, they’d be lauding her.

  4. bcwebb says

    What seemed really impressive: he really captured the thinking of a magical and repressive and paranoid world and people in a way I never could becomes less so when you realize that’s only the way he thinks himself.

  5. kome says

    Nothing brings out cancerous men like the outrageous idea that maybe a girl or woman has something important or interesting to say.

  6. PaulBC says

    Let’s see. You know you’re over the hill when the best you can come up with is “She’s a brat.” Though when I reach codgerhood, I plan to use expressions like “impertinent young whippersnapper.” Call me a traditionalist, but if I’m gonna be grouchy I might as well have some fun with it.

    Second, it’s true that sixteen year olds have a lot left to learn. That’s kind of the point: global warming is not a difficult concept to grasp, well within the ability of a sixteen year old or younger (and Thunberg was younger when she got started). As she said, don’t listen to her. Listen to scientists. It is climate change denial that requires difficult motivated reasoning to argue counter to obvious evidence and well understood theories of greenhouse gases. (And no, scientists still can’t predict exactly what will happen, but any non-motivated analysis looks bad.)

    I would note that sometimes kids are a lot a smarter about something. At 14 I was already a better computer programmer than my father, who was an applied mathematician and had coded now and then in Fortran. He knew a lot more about other things, but I had picked up a skill that he recognized (and told me). My 13 year old daughter is a much better artist than either of her parents. She knows how to get certain visual effects in drawing and knows how to explain the technique she’s using. Kids often know a lot at a young age. It is true they don’t know everything and (speaking from personal experience) they may know much less than they think. Greta Thunberg knows as much as she needs to about global warming. The sad part is the number of “educated” adults who refuse to learn a fact that contradicts their plan to make money.

    Finally, the adults of the world needed a good scolding from a petulant teen. I think Thunberg is absolutely amazing.

  7. call me mark says

    And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through

  8. Rob Grigjanis says

    Simmons rattles on about Thunberg and others not “knowing a shred of actual science”. I’d love to know which actual scientists Simmons gets his “actual science” from, and how he justifies ignoring the actual scientists Thunberg references.

  9. raven says

    I just scratched Dan Simmons off of my authors to read.
    His rant was beyond pathetic.
    It is mentally sick, morally reprehensible, wrong, and cowardly.

    There are some major misstatements of fact of a climate change denialist.
    But mostly what stands out is a wealthy, famous adult cisgender white male is verbally beating up on a 16 year old girl by stringing together a huge number of mindless insults.
    For no other reason that he can.
    Fuck you Dan Simmons.
    I even bought some of your books once and never again.

  10. Gregory Greenwood says

    It is hardly unreasonable that a young person like Greta Thunberg might be concerned, and indeed justifiably angry, that the reckless greed of the current adult generation is destroying the world her generation will have to live in, and might well leave no world at all for the children born to her generation to inherit.

    Anger is an entirely legitimate response to injustice, and the way the wealthiest in the world are converting catastrophic climate damage into unprecedented profit is one of the greatest injustices in history. This is not a difficult concept to grasp, and most sixteen year olds are quite capable of understanding it. So indeed are the vast majority of adults, but a powerful and influential subset of them choose not to do so. It has often been said that nothing guarantees a lack of understanding more certainly than when someone’s livelihood depends upon them failing to understand that thing, and that seems to apply just as readily when the thing under notional threat is not an individual’s livelihood but a multinational corporation’s share value.

    If people like Dan Simmons are so concerned about a youngster like Great Thunberg feeling obliged to address the issue of climate change, and are so offended that she is chiding adults for their wilful inaction while the world we all rely on to survive is poisoned around us, then maybe they should look with an unbiased eye at the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, see that is is utterly overwhelming, and then stand up and make themselves heard so that teenager’s don’t have to. But of course that would require that they bother to look at the evidence, have the wit and objectivity to understand and accept it, and then have the motivation to do something about it. That would require more than a shred of respect for the actual scientific consensus among climate scientists (as opposed to Simmons’ anti-scientific denialism), along with a considerable dollop of personal integrity and empathy for your fellow humans, especially those most vulnerable to climate change today and those who will suffer from it after you yourself are gone.

    On his prior form, I somehow doubt that Simmons’ is up to that particular challenge, so perhaps he should just stop carping and step aside for people like Great Thunberg who, despite her youth, is clearly a more ethically functional human being than he is.

  11. says

    He mentions far left leaning adults in the media. He must not be talking about the US media. Well, okay, I know he is, and it’s a good tell that Simmons is pretty clueless.

  12. robro says

    As I was loading a puzzle last night, the website ran a PragerU “ad” that Thunberg is being exploited by adults. I didn’t pay close attention, but I will be filing complaints if I see this propaganda again.

  13. raven says

    It’s ironic that I’ve read at least half of Dan Simmon’s books and liked them.
    He wrote Hyperion and its three sequels.
    The Ilium/Olympos series.

    Oh well.
    It’s a big world and there are many other good authors to read.
    Gaiman and Iain Banks are better writers and better people by far.
    I like some of Seanan McGuire’s books a whole lot.
    The Every Heart a Doorway series resonates with a fundamental truth.
    We all feel out of place in this world and it would be nice if there was a
    doorway to a world more suitable for us.
    Dan Simmons and Trump wouldn’t be in my new world.

  14. raven says

    Dan Simmons “the unbelievably bratty child”.
    This is just an insult.
    Dan Simmons is “the unbelievably mentally twisted adult” who likes to bully children.

    Dan Simmons “knowing almost nothing”.
    Another insult.
    He doesn’t know that.
    Simmons is clearly a scientifically illiterate idiot.
    He is the one who demonstrates that he “knows almost nothing.”

    FWIW, this is yet again a non sequitur linked to an ad hominem attack by a bottom of the intellectual barrel climate change denialist

  15. says

    It’s the “unearned arrogance” remark that strikes me. Well, I suppose more so when combined with the “kids are just on the beginning of a long, long road to figuring things out” that really does it. Is he trying to suggest that, since he’s older, he’s further down that road? Speak of “unearned arrogance!” But I note, too, that he speaks of “know-nothing adults,” so maybe Dan Simmons is special!?! What a jerk!

  16. PaulBC says

    I haven’t read anything by Dan Simmons, and I’m in no hurry now. His comments don’t sound like the work of a professional writer, though I understand nobody’s on all the time.

    The phrase “unbelievably bratty child” and later “absolute brat” reveal very little besides his frustration. He’s the one who sounds petulant. For that matter, is the alleged brattiness really “unbelievable”? I find adolescent outrage very believable. I have seen it happen in my own house, and once engaged in it myself–over much lower-stakes issues than the fate of the planet.

    Lazy hyperboles such as “unbelievable” (and derived adverbs) are a staple of Trump’s semi-literate method of communication. Has it now spread to published authors who ought to know better? Sad!

  17. pilgham says

    I did read one of those books of his about 30 years ago. He was a talent-less hack then. I doubt he’s gotten any better. And a climate change denier too? I kind of expected that.

  18. Ridana says

    Why is he using the maturity and knowledge of sixth graders to castigate Thunberg, who is 4-5 years older? Is he suggesting there’s no difference between an 11-12 year old and a 16 year old? What an odd position for an ex-teacher to take. At least we can be grateful he’s no longer teaching.

  19. gijoel says

    @20 Yeah, I read Hyperion years ago and found it… meh. Glad I never bothered reading any more of his stuff.

  20. Stuart Smith says

    I think the best thing about her is the way she triggers conservatives. Young, female, and neuroatypical… And she’s ACTING LIKE HER OPINION MATTERS!!! The perfidy!

  21. redwood says

    Add me to the list of people who read one of his books (Hyperion) and was less than impressed. Never felt like reading more after that. Glad I didn’t.

  22. Eric O says

    Aw, damn. I read and liked Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos, Ilium/Olympos and The Terror. I’m strangely happy that I’ve read them all before learning that he’s such an asshole because I know that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy or even bring myself to read them had I known. Feels like I got in under the wire, having just finished The Terror a few months ago.

    Oh well, plenty of sci-fi authors out there who aren’t awful people. It’s been a long time since I’ve read me some Kim Stanley Robinson – over a decade, come to think of it. I should pick up something of his next.

  23. Ryan says

    Man, a bit upsetting, not a fan of most of his work but “fires of eden” was one of the funniest and best books I’ve ever read. It was great. And weirdly enough one of the protagonists was a bat shit crazy real estate developer from New York. Very obviously based on Trump. It was set in Hawaii and dealt with issues ranging from slavery to environment and over development. While it wasn’t radically against them the impression I got was the writer was not in favor of them. The trump like character was an anti hero type, and bat shit crazy, greedy etc. I haven’t read much else of his work so can’t comment to much. And I did the book a long time ago so perhaps my memory has gone, but I can’t reconcile that book with that tweet. Seems like he got crazy with age…

  24. rrutis1 says

    If you want to know how he (Simmons) feels about climate change, Muslims, and even the Japanese, read Flashback. I was deeply disappointed when his (rotten) attitudes and beliefs became clear. Although he did predict the election of Trump in this book and Trumps eventual impeachment, but only after tanking the world economy….