Like just about every adult who is able to read at or above a fourth grade level, we devoured Freakonomics when it came out back in 2005. In fact, we loved the book so much that we even suggested that Hollywood turn it into a rom-com starring Drew Barrymore. Our reaction to the book was shared by many, which goes a long way towards explaining why its sequel, SuperFreakonomics, raced to the top of the sales charts when it was released yesterday. However, Flavorwire points out that there is already a brewing storm of controversy surrounding Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s second attempt at capturing the zeitgeist. Specifically, some environmental bloggers and even one of the duo’s colleagues at the New York Times have accused them of bungling some facts about Al Gore’s favorite topic of dinnertime conversation: Global warming.
The problems initially arose when a sneak peak of the global warming chapter of Levitt and Dubner’s book was published online (it has since been taken down). Blogger Joseph Romm penned a takedown piece (one, mind you, that we barely understood) on the environmental website Grist. In his post, he described their stance as being “staggeringly illogical” and even went as far as to invent an acronym called FAKER (which stands for “Famous “Authorities” whose Knowledge is Extremely Rudimentary”) to describe the authors. As you might expect, the SuperFreakonomics guys didn’t take this playground name calling well and posted a point-by-point rebuttal to the “smear” piece (their words) on their New York Times hosted website.
Now, it’s important to note that your friendly Vulture editors stopped taking hard science courses in high school and instead focused our energies on memorizing trivial things like the lyrics to the Saved By The Bell theme song. In other words, we’re not really in a position to say who’s right and who’s wrong in this war of words. That said, there is one thing about the publishing industry that we do know: A little bit of controversy has never hurt book sales. And for that, we’re betting Levitt and Dubner are feeling at least a little bit optimistic about the prospects for their first week sales.
Superfreaking Out [Flavorwire]