At the beginning of the 1993 film Jurassic Park, you are not meant to like Jeff Goldblum’s character. He embodies the type of aggressive intellectualism that kills fun and makes other people feel stupid. He comes off as snarky, where he would like to come off as charming. While the film’s other scientists are paleontologists and botanists — colorful, tangible sciences that children admire! — he is a chaos theorist, and his job is to drop philosophical bombs all over our popcorn film.
It seems like this is probably a public persona he has lived with for most of his life, whether or not that has been justified.
In the film’s first few beats, all of his lines are jarring rebuttals.
John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.
He stomps on delusions of grandeur, thwacking people over the head with pragmatism and forceful rhetoric.
Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet's ever witnessed, yet you wield it like a kid that's found his dad's gun...What's so great about discovery? It's a violent, penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world."
Sometimes, he has to explain something to a recipient so uninterested and unintelligent that selecting words the person can process becomes a struggle unto itself.
Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, uh... well, there it is. Life… finds a way
But Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm is, above all things, regardless of all flaws, right. People who didn’t always like him have to admit that life did "find a way" and the dinosaurs did eat basically everyone. Even people who didn’t want him around at first are happy he’s here now.
Still happy to have seen HIllary culturally appropriate "well, actually."— emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) September 27, 2016
Watching Hillary Clinton face off against Donald Trump in the first presidential debate last night felt like watching a T. rex barrel toward Jeff Goldblum’s Jeep. Even people who insisted that Malcom was nothing but a fun-killer are relieved that someone smart is around to pick up the pieces when it turns out they were wrong. Any flaws they saw in him, even very real ones, are suddenly secondary. I mean, there are dinosaurs to worry about, so who really cares about poorly executed pick-up lines right now!
Hillary Clinton also entered a new era of her public persona yesterday — the one in which she proved that she’s not only extremely intelligent but also possesses superhuman patience. It’s a spin-off of the crowd-sourced Texts from Hillary persona, which was more like "extremely intelligent, disinterested, and otherwise occupied." It’s a little bit softer, just as the giddily misogynist public has been demanding for the last year and a half.
"Never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake" - Napoleon, and also Hillary Clinton's face right now— Sady Doyle (@sadydoyle) September 27, 2016
Apart from being President of the United States soon, Clinton’s job is to stay calm, smiling, and mostly articulate as she slides between the American people and the speeding bigoted fascist T. rex hurtling toward them. She can’t roll her eyes, because it borders on punching down. She just stares directly into the camera, her steady eye contact with the public saying something like "boy, do I hate being right all the time."
It has only been 20 years, but Dr. Ian Malcom has already been written into the mythology of cult classic film as a hero beyond reproach. He’s an enduring and beloved meme. His tinted sunglasses, cynical drawl, and shirtless bod are the stuff of pop culture legend, as is his competency. When shit hits the fan, we love to have competent people around — the same competent people that we were total garbage to before.