For my birthday way back a month, Fiance got tickets to a Neil deGasse Tyson thing, which happened last night. neither one of us knew what the topic was, but it didn't matter because it was Neil de fucking Grasse Tyson and you don't say no to that.
Anyway, the show was incredible. It was Neil dGT goes to the Movies, and basically he talked for two hours on short bits about movies and science and science in movies (and beer comercials) -- both the ones that get it right and the ones that get it wrong and some of his twitter storms that he didn't mean to be twitter storms.
I already knew what a great speaker he was, and I'd seen him before at an impromptu thing at my work which was great, but the show was so worth everything. He's hilarious, he explains the science bits so clearly, he's so enthusiastic, he had a running conversation with the crowd, he didn't hold back his opinions but he did them in a considerate way, especially when questions came up about religion, and just so many other things.
As a science nerd crowd, we got to be in on science jokes/movie faux pas and he explained others that we didn't know about. I laughed a lot. It was so much fun, and at the end he took questions.
The last one was from a 9-year-old who asked who his hero was (he was hers), and he had a really great answer that started with how every human on Earth is related to every other human on Earth. You go back far enough and we have a common ancestor. He doesn't have one hero, but he tries to model himself and aspires to be like aspects of humans past and present, finding the good, and trying to keep that going.... Okay, I'm tearing up again writing this (it's been a bit of a day for me), but just... the context for this question, the subtext that was in that theater last night that Neil didn't shy away from was that we were there while Hillary Clinton was on stage debating Donald Trump. While one of the vilest human beings runs for our presidency, who has legitimized neo-nazis and hate crimes, has glorified sexual assualt, has demonized immigrants and Muslims and ... well, you all know. Amidst this year, 2016, that so often has felt like it will never end, and that the whole world is just waiting to throw itself on a burning fire... Here is Neil de Grasse Tyson reminding us that there's a lot of good in this world. That there are people who have followed their curiosity, who have done things that have brought us forward, and that we are all related, that we're all together in this. The good in people hasn't gone away. And doing it much more eloquently than I am now.
It made me think not just of the science greats that he cited, but also Michelle Obama, and Hillary, who over the course of this election cycle, I've gone from not knowing a whole lot about except the headlines, to admiring a hell of a lot.