Tim Minchin's Storm

19/12/19

About 10 years ago, Australian comedian, actor, writer, musician, composer, lyricist, and director Tim Minchin was at a London dinner party with friends and encountered someone who championed homeopathy and alternative medicine. Minchin, although a rationalist, skeptic and no lover of alt-med, didn't want to be THAT bully, so held his tongue. But he later used the encounter as the basis for what became a 10 minute beat-poem that became a staple of his stage show, and later,Tracy King and DC Turner created an animation to go with it. That then formed the basis of a graphic novel with a forward by Neil Gaiman.

The poem tells the story of Minchin's encounter with 'Storm', the fictionalised woman encountered at the dinner party. Storm is someone who holds that knowledge is all opinions and that you can't know anything. She believes that science cannot explain mysteries and that there is more to the world than we can ever know. Her opinions on medicine and health would make Gwyneth Paltrow step away and she happily holds forth about why science is wrong, "like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition". Minchin, despite his wife reminding him to hold back, starts to have cracks appearing in his 'diplomacy dyke' and eventually lets loose about why science and skepticism is not only necessary, it is the basis of knowledge. The poem continues as a dialogue between them. Minchin champions skeptical and rational arguments, whilst deftly weaving them into rhymes and off-beats, in just these 10 minutes better than most science communicators can do in whole books.

The video has been widely viewed but always deserves further exposure. The reviews for it are excellent. Adam Savage of Mythbusters said: “Tim Minchin’s Storm is a masterpiece of poetry, songwriting, performance. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. The world sorely needs more articulate civilized rants like this. In any form.” Jane Goldman called Storm Minchin's 'Masterpiece'. We've linked to video below. If you've never seen it then you really should; if you have, go remind yourself how good it is. Then share it widely.

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