799: Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) was a renowned theoretical physicist. He was almost completely paralyzed due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and communicated with a speech-generating device, as shown in the first panel. In this comic, he mentions to Cueball and Megan maybe they could go to a movie together later, but they take it as a scientific declaration that they should go see a movie and have it published in a newspaper, which portrays it in hyperbolic tones, vastly exaggerating and misinterpreting his actual intent. In the final panel, Hawking is shown hanging his head in sadness since all he wanted to do was see a movie with his friends.
This can be taken as a satire of sensationalism of science in popular media, particularly in emphasizing the viewpoints of well-known and popular personalities in science. A similar theme was used in 1206: Einstein.
The title text continues the joke, with innocuous comments by Hawking interpreted as important revelations.
The Town is a movie which was released 10 days before this comic's release. Hawking tries to suggest they go see The Town which should be good, as he may know since it both received positive reviews and was a box office hit. But instead the newspapers again sensationalize his statements and declare The Town to be the best in the universe.
When Hawking then tries to state that this was just something he had heard, the newspaper asks if science should play a role in judging Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck directed, wrote and starred (top billing) in this movie, so any judgment of this film would reflect on Affleck. The media asks if science should have an opinion on art, in this case Ben Affleck, and thus judge it. It could be argued that it should not as art is not necessarily based on anything scientific, but to thus state that a scientist must now have an opinion on art is a completely different story. Hawking is here defined as Science. If he says so then it is the opinion of the Scientific community and not just his personal opinion.
Before Hawking even gets close to finishing his next sentence, the media asks what about Matt Damon -- should he judge him as well. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have a long history together and came to prominence together as screenwriters of Good Will Hunting, winning an Oscar for the script. They also co-starred in the movie, with Matt Damon in a main role opposite Robin Williams. Following that, Matt Damon's acting career has been more commercially successful than Affleck's, causing speculation that their friendship could be in trouble over such details. But they have kept working together and are co-owners of the production company Pearl Street Films, so this is probably not the case.
But still more than ten years after their shared Oscar moment for best script for Good Will Hunting, many people think of Damon when they hear of Affleck and the other way around. This is the reason for the last question by the press.
Those of you feeling bad for Steven Hawking might feel good to know that he had a healthy social life in reality, and had even dabbled in a brief acting career (typically as cameo appearances).
A drawing of Stephen Hawking also appeared in 1000: 1000 Comics. If you wish to try and find him yourself first then do not read on or click the links below. If you need a bit of help to find him then this link will show you which number of 1000 he is in. Else you can find him fast as he is no. 49 in this numbered image.
- [Stephen Hawking with glasses and dark hair is sitting in his special wheelchair with a computer screen in front stuck to the chair and a large black rear wheel with four large white spokes. He is facing Cueball and Megan. His voice appears in a square machine readable font.]
- Stephen Hawking: I thought maybe later we should go see a movie.
- Cueball and Megan: !!!
- [Cueball and Megan are running right.]
- [The top half of a front page of a folded newspaper is shown in a frame-less panel. There are wavy plants on either side of the papers name at the top. Below this there is a big headline covering the page width in three rows. Below this is the article that covers the rest of the front page in five columns. The first column is the broadest and it is the beginning of the articles main body of text which is unreadable all the way trough. This columns has text all the way down. The top of the second and third column has a close up picture of Stephen Hawking face, he is sitting in his chair, but it can only be seen down to the top of the screen. The picture sits in the center of the article. Below there is a large caption. The rest of these two columns is more unreadable text. The fourth and fifth column begins with another large sub heading that covers an area of the same size as the picture to the left of it. Above this text there is a line that aligns with the top of the picture, so that it with the picture and the first line of text to the left makes a kind of division line all across the paper below the heading. The rest of these two columns is more unreadable text, except in the fifth column just above the middle where a small heading, with a frame around, raises a question which is just readable.]
- The Times
- Physicist Stephen Hawking suggests we see more films
- Caption: Smartest man alive
- Secondary headline: What could he know that we don't?
- Question: Is this a warning?
- [Stephen Hawking is sitting alone in his chair (like in the first image), looking down.]
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