What the Incredible Hulk Can Teach Us About Hydrofracking

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 7 2012 1:24 PM

What the Incredible Hulk Can Teach Us About Hydrofracking  

Jon Lentz talks to Mark Ruffalo, currently co-starring as Bruce Banner in The Avengers. The result: A standard-raising success at getting an actor to hype his political cause.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

CS: You play the Incredible Hulk, who was created by a freak accident during a bomb test. Does that kind of cautionary tale relate to hydrofracking and its repercussions?
MR: There’s a long line of scientific experiments gone bad in history and in storytelling, and it’s something we go back to all the time. It’s all over the comic books. It’s in our consciousness and our subconscious as a culture. We personify it in our mythologies as superheroes and we live next to it in our lives, such as Fukushima and what’s happening at Dimock... These are the new norm, and they’re incredibly dangerous, incredibly toxic, and they’re accelerating global warming at an unprecedented rate. And that’s what we’re going to be stuck with. Just like the superhero disasters.
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Worth noting: In the comics, the gamma bomb explosion that turns Banner into the Hulk is a weapons test. In current Marvel Studios continuity, the Hulkification was the result of a botched Super Soldier experiment. Neither of these experiments were as well-intentioned as that of the frackers.

This is only my second favorite Avengers tie-in of the day. The prize goes to Spencer Ackerman, for asking the Pentagon why they didn't co-operate more with the film.

“We couldn’t reconcile the unreality of this international organization and our place in it,” Phil Strub, the Defense Department’s Hollywood liaison, tells Danger Room. “To whom did S.H.I.E.L.D. answer? Did we work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? We hit that roadblock and decided we couldn’t do anything” with the film.

Seriously, keep reading.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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