Cousteau, facts

Kerry Clark kclark at
Fri Jun 27 00:14:12 EDT 1997

Jamie Bechtel wrote:
>I have been reading commentaries about Jacques Cousteau for two days now.
>As scientists, we know he made mistakes.  It is now time to pay our
>respects, not critique and critize his work. His contributions were far
>greater than many of ours have been. Please, let us have this time to
>reinvoke our awe and inspiration of a truly amazing person.

    My posting was not intended as a criticism of Cousteau, which should
have been obvious from the initial words "In balance...," nor did it
contain any comments directly pertaining to Cousteau, other than the title,
which was necessary to provide continuity with a preceding post. Rather, it
addressed problems with the nature film industry in general, which
effectively initiated a new "thread," one which I felt qualified to address
as an advisor on one completed film and another in progress.
   However, the posting of anecdotes about famous  recent decedents has a
long tradition in our culture.  Even when construed as negative by some,
these help us to develop a more intimate image of the life and
accomplishments of persons whom we may not have had the fortune to know
personally.  I don't think these detract from the reputation or
accomplishments of such individuals, but by humanizing them, bring them
closer. Many would consider this a helpful part of the grieving process, as
well as part of historical contextualizaton.
   I think the following definition is quite pertinent:
   "Anecdote: item of unpublished or secret history or biography; a usually
short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or curious incident, often
biographical, and generally characterized by human interest."  (Webster's
3rd New International).

- -
Kerry Bruce Clark, F.A.A.A.S.,  Professor of Biological Sciences
Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL 32901-6988
Phone 1-407-768-8000 x8195
-- Proud Member of the Impoverished Gentry --
Visit the Cambrian in 3D at ""
Metazoa website at ""  -- "Bytes of Nature,"
producing the best in natural history software

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