Back when I was growing up in the early 1980s, kid-oriented television was mostly junk. Crap cartoons, followed by more crap cartoons, followed by more crap cartoons.
Then, in 1982, Voyagers! came along. The show combined two of my interests—history and the idea of traveling through time—and starred a pair of likable characters. The adult time traveler, named Phineas Bogg, was played by Jon-Erik Hexum, a handsome, charismatic 25-year-old model/actor. The kid time traveler, Jeffrey Jones, was portrayed by a boy with moppy dark hair and a high-pitched voice. His name was Meeno Peluce.
Voyagers! was axed after one season, then Hexum died tragically in 1984, but I never completely forgot about the show. Whenever there happened to be a re-run or some inane Where are They Now? segment, I’d find myself hooked. Specifically, I wondered about the plight of Peluce, the oddly named lad also happened to:
A. Be the brother of Soleil Moon Frye, the star of Punky Brewster.
B. Guest star in a gazillion different 70s and 80s programs.
C. Leave acting to become a high school teacher.
D. Turn out to be a dazzling photographer (his current profession).
Meeno and I have struck up something of a friendship via Facebook, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have him take part in The Quaz. I’ve interviewed thousands of people in my career, but none who’d ever uttered a sentence as brilliant as, “When offered the panacea of the A-Team you realize why TV really is the deadening opiate of anything great America may aspire to.”
Meeno Peluce enters The Quaz …
JEFF PEARLMAN: You were a child actor in the 1970s and 80s, and, as far as I can tell, you’ve never killed a cat, robbed a convenience store, appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew or snorted cocaine off of a hooker’s left ass cheek. In other words: What the hell is wrong with you?
MEENO PELUCE: There may have been some cocaine when I was about 15 with Bobby Blotzer, the drummer for Ratt, in the VIP lounge of Limelight, a cathedral turned nightclub in Midtown Manhattan. But that’s an unsubstantiated claim and my mom was a few tables away and it was all in the name of fellowship and I was pretty much over heavy metal by then anyway and I was never able to develop a taste for the go-fast. I’ve had the freedom and opportunity to go to many extremes in this world. And I’ve also been blessed with a general sense of morality that has sent me chasing after the big good things instead of the big bad.
I owe it all to my mom. She saw to it that my childhood was not painted over with the neuroses of adults. She let things stay childishly simple for both my sister and I. That she did the same for her men wasn’t necessarily such a positive thing, but at any rate, we were just kids growing up in apartment buildings in Hollywood, poor without knowing we were poor. I was six years older than my sister and had become a successful kid actor when she was still in diapers.
I believed I could do anything, and that’s pretty much what I did. I rode my big wheel down the slide and my mom applauded me. I starred in 4 television series and guest starred on every piece of shlock the big three networks could dream up. That was fun too. Fun and games. And I could afford to buy my own skateboards and guitars.
J.P.: You starred in my favorite childhood show, Voyagers!, which lasted for 20 episodes in 1982-83. For those not in the know, you played Jeffrey Jones, a young history buff randomly plucked to travel through time and correct history gone wrong. A few things: A. How’d you land the gig? B. In hindsight, was it a good show? C. Was it a fun experience?
M.P.: By the time I was cast in Voyagers! at 12 I had been a successfully working actor for almost half my life. I was an old pro. I seem to remember somehow skipping the whole cattle call process of early interviews—I was probably shooting something else—and the casting was quickly rounded down to two kids and two swashbuckling guys, all of us dueling it out for the parts of Jeffry Jones and Phineas Bogg. The four of us made very different pairings the day we went in to audition for the network brass. The other kid was blond and nerdy with glasses. The other guy who didn’t get the show was older, more Harrison Ford. He and I read together first and it was solid. Then Jon-Erik and the other kid went in and I’m sure they were fine.
Picture it, we’re in these stolid network offices with the decor of the 70′s aging in the cubicles around us and we’re running lines, pretending to be actors in the midst of all the other shows, eras past and present, staring down at us from framed posters. You have a sense that you’re about to have a shot at contributing to that same pantheon of telegogic puff and you’re not sure which you want to be more real, the sandy banks of the Nile River that you’re conjuring up in the scene or the nubbly brown upholstery that you’re actually sitting on. That could be high stakes, unnerving. Unless you’re just a kid and you don’t take any of it seriously, it’s all just play to you and you’ve been doing it so long that you know that if you don’t get this show today you’ll be rollerskating, fast, downhill, in the tuck you’ve been perfecting all week and that’s what really matters, getting that tuck just right, and then next week you’ll probably be shooting something else. But then there’s also that possibility that there’ll be magic.
And that’s what happened. The other two went in and Jon-Erik and I started running the lines. We knew we had it licked right then. We were just too perfect together. We went in to the room full of execs with their chairs pulled into a semi-circle all staring at you, waiting on something great that they’ve certainly got all their hopes and dreams pinned on, and we gave it to them, served it up steaming, hot and golden. Jon and I looked at each other as we went out. We knew we had it and we did. It was that glance between us that the whole show was based on.
It was the most amazing working relationship I’ve ever know. We were like two jazz virtuosos constantly riffing off each other, and add to that we were total naturals. I had no formal training and he had no experience: his entire resume was faked. The first day on the set he took me aside and asked, “How come you’re on the other side of the camera?” “Jon-Erik,” I told him, “this is your close up.”
J.P.: Here’s a truly random one: If I recall correctly, there was a Voyagers! episode where you and Phineas Bogg go to the Titanic. Bogg falls in love and wants to save a women from dying on the boat—but is convinced (by you, I think) that you can’t interfere with the correct course of history. That Titanic is supposed to sink, etc. I don’t know if I had this thought watching Voyagers (I was just a kid), but I definitely did during the film, Titanic—when we’re talking about a tragedy where 1,517 people died, is it OK to create a fun, fictional narrative about the situation? Like, I enjoyed the whole Jack-Rose saga of Titanic. But truth is, that was a horrific nightmare without a redeeming aftermath. Nobody’s heart went on—the people either died, or were traumatized for life. Should we be toying with that for entertainment?
M.P.: Always fuck with the dark side for entertainment. That way you might, underline might, get drama. TV rarely did that back then, things were so prickly safe and when they got the slightest bit actual prickly—see my episodes of Eight Is Enough or better yet, The Love Boat where Captain Stubing rips off my shirt only to find the bruising of parents rotten enough that I’d stow away to be done with them—drama!
And in the Titanic episode it was me that wanted to stop the disaster. And then, even after being counseled by Bogg that you absolutely cannot change history, I try anyway. I run with news of the impending iceberg to the bridge to tell the Captain—this time not the cocky young boy’s clothes ripping Stubing but the actual Captain of the Titanic herself—and he wont hear it, writes it off as just the rantings of a kid. Only one old lady listens to me, Molly. I turn to her, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown?” “Considering the alternative, I certainly hope so,” she says. And we make it to the life boats.
But yes, if you don’t want to go to the dark side, I highly recommend re-runs of the Christmas Special with Dirk Bogarde and Charo and Julie and Isaac, Gopher and Doc and the whole crew on that loveliest of all steamers along the coast of Puerto Vallarta. And me, of course. Though somehow I got gypped and didn’t get to be on the episode with Andy Warhol.
J.P.: Your co-star, Jon-Erik Hexum, was an incredibly dashing, handsome man who died tragically at age 26 in 1984 when he accidentally shot himself. What do you remember about Jon? What was your relationship like—adult actor, child actor? Do you recall where you were when you learned of his death? And how did it/does it impact you? Does he enter your mind with any sort of frequency?
M.P.: The best working relationship I ever knew. The most seamless and fun interaction. The work was all pure bluff and goof and all the while we were shooting at Nazis or fighting alongside Spartacus. Towering good nonsense. The crew was infected by our special camaraderie and we all were one big family. It was an interesting situation in that it was a big production but with only two main characters. Everyone else was a guest star, coming into our uniquely working machine for a few days. Even the directors changed with every show. But the writers, producers, crew and Jon-Erik and I had this way of playing off each other. Each new person was ushered in and encouraged to engage in the same improvisational simplicity.
Most of them got it and the thing worked really well—as far as TV pap goes. It was overly broad, as was most entertainment of the 80′s. But it wasn’t overtly violent or too queazy emotional. And it had this one really cool trick, it taught kids something in a way that seems to have stuck, according to the fan mail that I still get to this day.
A big part of that was Jon-Erik’s innate charisma. You couldn’t help but love the guy. And I think most of the women who played that week’s love interest did. He was funny and magnanimous and totally self-effacing, never took himself or his gift or his luck seriously.
I can only imagine—hope—he was just fooling around when he carelessly put that prop gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He was already on to his next series, Cover Up, where he played a male model who’s really an undercover dick—you’ve got to unabashedly give it up to the 80′s for that one—and the story goes that he was fooling around when he pulled the trigger. A blank is a cartridge with a little gunpowder in it so it goes pop. Instead of a bullet, there’s a wad of paper to hold the gunpowder in. At point blank that wad coming out can bruise you as many a stunt man will attest to. But against the soft of your temple …
“Something’s happened, there’s been an accident and Jon-Erik’s in the hospital,” I was woken one Saturday morning. I can remember it well. My first thought was that he’d stupidly hurt himself, the price for always kidding around, we were always hurting ourselves, and we always healed. Especially him, he was the closest thing I’d ever know to a real-life super hero. Later that day I heard the term “brain dead” and it was the first time I’d ever heard that. I pictured him running around, with that smile, catching a football, and those blue eyes, and just no brain, but all the other happy, light heartedness still intact. And then that thought passed and I realized the first person I ever knew to die was now dead, and he was the best, least deserving to die, most full of life person I had ever known. You grow up a bit in that moment.
J.P.: Your sister is Soleil Moon Frye, the one-time star of Punky Brewster. [Jeff's note: Meeno poses above with his mother, Sondra, Soleil and Jon-Erik Hexum] and I’ve gotta think, to some degree, that you benefit by being in a show that didn’t last so long. I mean, Punky Brewster was sort of iconic for an era—which means Soleil remains, in many minds, Punky. Did your sister ever tire of being known for the show? And does it still follow her?
M.P.: An irony of early 80s TV lore: No preponderance of cable yet. People still wanted to get what felt like unvarnished info from the box. 60 Minutes was king. No. 1 on the Nielsen Ratings list every week. Voyagers! was up against it and thus at the other end of the Nielsen’s. Voyagers! was expensive to make and so with consistently bad ratings—and despite rave reviews and a huge fan following—we were soon canned. A little show took our time slot, the only show to ever flourish there: Punky Brewster.
It was the zeitgeist. Punky was inevitable and with Soleil at the helm when she was that natural and cute and sincere, that’s the pure magic every creator, big or small, hopes for. She had only recently come out of a shell of being extremely shy and introverted. She had grown up on sets with me, she tiny, mostly hiding behind my leg and then one day stepping forward and saying, “Now it’s my turn.” I was nearing the end of my acting career as hers began to take off. It was a passing of the baton as I moved on to rock-n-roll and girls and the general excitements of being a teenager. I never did the celebrity angle but it took her by storm and without her ever seeking it—she was just a tiny kid. But mom leveraged it into family vacations all around the world masked as press junkets and I even once got to strum a guitar in Puerto Rico to a thousand screaming girls in the Telemundo studios—that means many million more screaming across Latin America, a zenith of sorts for me …
Soleil is always best when being Soleil and that’s why Punky was such a hit: that was Soleil’s true and innate sass and guileless gentility. Girls glommed onto that roll model. And to this day Soleil is able to sell herself as a role model. She’s just become Target’s Mommy-Ambassador, making all things Mommy cool. She has a line of eco-friendly children’s clothing called The Little Seed that’s become a huge hit and that I do all the photography for. And she’s got a book coming out this summer called Happy Chaos that’s all about her celebrity youth and transition into adulthood and mom-hood.
Her daughters and my daughters are growing up together and our mom is a very proud grandma. Her success from an early age didn’t warp her, it taught her that all she had to do was dream shit up and she could make it happen, that the Soleil brand was applicable everywhere. She’s still little and cute and bright-eyed and more enthusiastic about any given week’s proposition than you can imagine. I’m not even allowed to say the two things she’s got schemed up for next week. But very fortunately I get to take pictures of it all and keeping it a family affair seems apropos to the kind of grounded-ness we’ve ultimately been taught to seek.
She can really light up a room and she still uses that to her advantage. I’ve seen it in senator’s offices in DC when we went to lobby for Alzheimer’s benefits—her dad’s got pugilistic dementia bad. And I’ve seen it when she’s gotten us comp’ed in to some very swank places, just like our mom once did, turning celebrity leverage into family vacations. I’m still tickled when grown women admit that they were hugely influenced by Punky, and I’m even more tickled when a newly grown woman recently remarked to me, “Who’s Punky Brewster?” We’re all getting old, and one would hope to do it with as much honest panache as Punky always brought to the table.
J.P.: I’m just gonna throw this in here, because it’s total random and I’m feeling super funky. I’m sitting in my nearby coffee shop, and an employee just approached me with his idea for a video game where you go through all the Biblical stories—Noah’s arc, David and Goliath—until you reach the end and travel to heaven with Jesus. He thinks it’ll sell a million copies. I think it’s really stupid. What should I tell him?
M.P.: Make sure to add lots of war-play. Every war that’s been waged in God’s name has been hugely profitable.
J.P.: I don’t think there was an 80s TV show that you didn’t appear on at some point: Happy Days, The Incredible Hulk, The A-Team, The Jeffersons, Silver Spoons, Diff’rent Strokes, Benson, Starsky & Hutch. Give me you absolute best experience as a childhood guest star. And how about your worst?
M.P.: Remember, half of those or more were 70s shows. The only one I never bagged was Charlie’s Angeles and deep down I’m still trying to get into that club.
J.P.: I’m a fan of childhood actors who grow up and say, “Fuck it.” It seems to me you said, “Fuck it.” You went on to become a high school history teacher, and now are an insanely talented—and, judging from your work—successful photographer. How hard was it to walk away? And do you ever itch to go back?
M.P.: Watch. Go back with me. I’m little with big dark loop-curly hair and eyes to match. I’m going to the set with my mom who’s catering. I pop my hands through Styrofoam cups to make wrist bands, grab a stick and duel with the air for hours. They see me and want me to be in this or that. My mom says, “No. He’s too young.” When I find out about this I’m pissed. All I want to do is make believe. “Can I act?” “No.” My mom knows Hollywood’s a racket, “You’re too young.”
I get a play at school with Milton Katselas‘ wife directing and I don’t tell my mom about it. They call to ask if I can stay late to rehearse. “Rehearse what?” she asks. So it comes out and I ask again, “Can I act?” “If you wait till you’re seven, you can give it a try,” she says. And on my seventh birthday I went to an agent, they signed me up and I got Starsky & Hutch the next week. I didn’t even have front teeth when I did that one. Shortly thereafter I had to get tiny dentures and that was my sole concession, ever, to being different because I was a child actor.
Things never got any more or less weird than it was for any latchkey child of divorce in a big city in Southern California in that era, with the added piece that sometimes I was on set shooting. There was football in the street and summer camp. There was this really cool little hippy school that was a constant for me to come back to after each job. There was my bike and step-parents and long weekends up in Topanga and my mom piling all the kids into the back of her pick-up to drop us at Grease playing in a theater on Hollywood Blvd. where we’d watch it over and over again till she picked us up that night. There were the first hard-ons and a million subsequent hard-ons and there was the time I walked into Margot Kidder‘s trailer to find her stark naked. Very dark bush, mesmerizing. And there was a baseball team, only it was called the Bad News Bears and we preferred football, tackle, between takes. There were the Wright brothers and Babe Ruth and Cleopatra and Abe Lincoln, only they weren’t in history books, they were in the dressing room next to my motorhome. And then there was me inside that little box on the shows that I’d be watching anyway. It was all make believe. On set it was scripted, off set mom made it up as we went along.
By the time I was a young man though, I wanted to make real. I went off to college and gave myself a critical education and then I traveled and grew my own set of morals and friends and ideals and then won myself a wife, the amazing Ilse, and we made daughters, our CHICKS, Bindi and Mette, children to set the clock of your life by and we built a home beyond any make believe—see our Los Angeles Times articles here and here and the one that really gets it from Edible LA here—and all the while I taught myself a craft that I could make business and constant poetry out of, see meenophoto.com for the body of it, my Tumblr diary, and my blog with such chronicles as our recent trip to India where we took our girls to see the floating palace where their parents were married a decade ago covered in marigolds in a Hindu ceremony at dusk.
Acting on TV was never something I wanted to do—creation, on a big scale, was always what I wanted to do. Professional acting was the first expression of that. Photography and writing and childrearing and homebuilding and merry making with the music ringing are all the matured expressions of that original urge.
J.P.: Your mom is named Sondra. Your sister is Soleil. Your dad is named Floyd—which isn’t so exciting. But, hey, he’s a CPA. I know you’ve been asked this a gazillion times—but what’s with your family and funkadelic names? And what’s the background of “Meeno”?
M.P.: My parents split the country when I was conceived. They traveled across Europe looking for the perfect place to have their perfect child. It was 1969, a voice had spoken to my mom. It said, “Go to India.” Then a short time later it said, “You’re pregnant.” They had been married 10 years and my mom was not supposed to be able to have kids. But the voice spoke and so they left America behind and headed for the world. They made great friends in Yugoslavia, one had the perfect name. Miroslav, Man of Peace. So I was named after him, but not in Yugoslavia. We were thrown out when my mom tried to throw a party for the People at the People’s Hotel and the People’s Police showed up and said we couldn’t do that and that we’d have to be moving on.
My folks pulled into Amsterdam on a snowy night with all the lights glistening and my mom knew it was the perfect place and that’s where I was born, their little man of peace, Miro.
A couple years later we were in Katmandu at the foot of Swayambhunath where Buddha had come to make his last speeches. A monk came over, picked me up, and asked my name. “Miro,” my mother told him. “No,” I corrected her. “No more Miro, only Meeno, only Meeno.” And I wouldn’t answer to anything else. Once one ordains oneself, one aught never to go back on it.
J.P.: The photo of your daughter Mette reacting to her first love note is priceless. Absolutely priceless. As a photographer, how do you know when a moment is about to happen? Do you just shoot everything? Do you have a sense of anticipation? Can you feel something about to bubble over? Or is it just dumb luck?
M.P.: There is always a moment on the horizon. One of my gifts is the ability to tune into it and use the science of photography to capture it. Discipline and intuition. Science and artistry. Yang and it’s perturbative, quicksilver, sexy and quixotic mate yin. You’ve got to zen it out. Be present and do the thing that is to be done well. That’s the secret to parenting, to business, to a happy marriage, to art, to life.
QUAZ EXPRESS WITH MEENO PELUCE:
• Number of TVs in your house?: One little screen, in the girls’ room hooked up to a dvd player so they can watch movies. No cable. No commercial television. But ever since the box set came out, Voyagers! has been in heavy rotation.
• Better show—A-Team or Silver Spoons: Who fucking cares? Sit-coms post The Jeffersons generally suck, but when offered the panacea of the A-Team you realize why TV really is the deadening opiate of anything great America may aspire to. Hell of a lot of fun to shoot that A-Team nonsense though [Jeff's note: Watch Meeno and Mr. T right here]. And lest it be forgotten, Joel Higgins was my father first in Best of The West before he was Ricky Schroder’s.
• Someone calls with this offer: “Meeno, we want you to be in the upcoming Voyagers! made-for-TV movie. You’ll be co-starring with John Goodman as Phineas Bogg’s older brother, Fred Bogg.” Do you consider?: Free money and a month with John Goodman? The only thing better would be if we could spend the whole show dealing with Lebowski’s historical arc, and beverages.
A few years ago a casting agent called to ask if I’d come in to read for a character called Meeno. Turned out the writer was a childhood fan and had actually written the part for me, based on me. I hadn’t acted in years but it was a Bermuda Triangle show and that meant taking the family to the beach and getting paid to do it. Of course I’d come in and read for the part. Didn’t get it. Too old.
• Coolest person you’ve ever photographed—family members not included: Courtney Love was the heaviest experience. Gut wrenching to bear witness to such a tormented genius and burnt out soul, but that’s good in artistic terms.
• You would/wound not steer your children toward a career in acting: I believe you do not steer your children. I apply myself to the Holden Caulfield school of parenting. I’m the catcher in the rye. I stand in a field of tall grass, at the edge of a precipice. When the kids get too close to the edge I push them back into the field. They are free within the boundaries of safety I set for them. I want them to feel as limitless as I did as a kid, and I want them to know that I’m constantly there for them, but not in their face about it.
If they want to act, they can give it a try. They’ve been comfortable in front of the camera since birth, because that’s where they’ve been since birth, in front of my camera. And they’re really good models in that they know how to turn it on without being cheesy. They could do all of it professionally really well, if they were so inclined. But as yet neither has expressed an urge to do it. It was my choice to act as a kid, it was my sister’s choice when she began. If our kids want it, the impetus will have to come from them.
• Celine Dion or Styx?: Never owned albums of either. And wouldn’t. But I just discovered a version of Joni Mitchell’s This Flight Tonight by Nazareth that really rocks. And now that I’m grown and wizened Leonard Cohn makes a world of sense to me. And I can listen to Nick Cave all day or a new favorite I’ve just discovered: The New Mastersounds. And I’ve recently been teaching myself all of Beggar’s Banquet in all the open tuning. Keith’s Richards’ book Life was a tremendously good read.
• How do you have such a great Afro?: I work on it all night.
• How’d you meet your wife: It’s my favorite brilliant love story. On the day I got dumped from the big love affair of my 20′s, I saw this beautiful woman. But I said to myself, “Of all days, this is the day you do not need a beautiful woman.” She went home and mentioned to her then boyfriend that she’d been snubbed.
Four years and a lot of soul searching later I was finally ready for love again but didn’t have it. I had been substitute teaching through this lost period of my life, drawn in because the kids needed me and I had no one else in the world to be needed by. I had fallen in to teaching history at Hollywood High for a couple years and it was good. But I new I had to get back to being an artist so I had finished the semester and said goodbye to teaching. But just before the new semester started I was having a beer with my pal from the History Dept. and he said the the position wasn’t filled yet, that they still needed me. So I went.
But the morning I got there the woman in the office says, “We’re so glad to have you back. But you’re not the history teacher anymore. Now you’re the Ballet teacher.” What the fuck?
At that moment I asked the universe, “Why? Why am I here in this room, on this day, at this hour? Why?”
And as I turned to leave the new art teacher walked in. “Oh, that’s why.” I didn’t remember her, but it was the woman from four years earlier. All I knew was that this was the reason for my whole journey to that moment. I’m thinking to myself, “Here’s the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.” And she’s thinking, “Not that asshole.”
That was January. We became fast friends. I learned ballet in order to see her everyday. By spring we were in love, in June I proposed in Thailand and we were married that December in India. We came home from a three-month odyssey and promptly started our first child. I knew instantly, genetically, that I could create with this woman, and that’s what we’ve been doing for a dozen years now. We make art and family and home, and our daughters star in all of it.
• Number of times Voyagers! is mentioned to you a year?: If I read my fan mail or the hundreds of Facebook friend requests it would be quite a few, and from all over the world. But my life as a child actor is a lifetime away and not something I truck on at all. I’m working constantly at becoming known for my photography, seeking a celebrity of sorts that will open the doors to shooting everything, all the time, even wider.
• Bigger concern for you: Global warming or scratched lens?: I’m not a simpering ass and I’m not some cruel, short-sighted conservative. Climate change is real, it’s here, and we’re really, really fucked, all the more so because protocols to reverse the effects of pollution are not being enacted by leading industrial nations, and in many cases they’re being poo-poo’d.
That kind of skepticism is allowable under two world views: 1. You come from such a place of privilege that you can’t imagine that aprés-moi-le-deluge being taken away from you, and certainly not your oil revenues or 2. You are among the world’s majority of impoverished people who just need to get through today at any cost and can’t really fathom what things will be like when they get worse, much worse.
But when you’re in the middle and you’re sane and you make some daily bread and plan for the future and you desperately love your children and you’ve seen the awesome beauty of this planet and the awful mess that man’s footprint can place upon it and you are bright enough to read between the lines when your government subsides oil and coal and gas fracking and tar sands and even in the face of Godzilla nightmares coming to fruition more nuclear power and all the while spends zip on alternative energy infrastructure development, because it’s too costly, but you can do a little math and realize that the cost of climate change and the devastating weather it will bring dwarfs everything, but business can’t factor those kind of numbers in, and the government’s interests are too swayed by those lousy math businesses and for the time being there’s money to be made still on oil and then there’ll be money to be made off catastrophe well …
It’s called profiteering and it’s what’s steered our national agenda for at least the last 200 years. Very hard to overcome that kind of mindset. But read this month’s Discover magazine. The climate models show that we’re fucked, especially because we’re not doing anything about it. But there are some different scenarios that the models churn out, and they hinge on only 2 degrees difference. If we heat up only 2 degrees, things get this bad. But if we heat up 4 degrees we kick in an astronomical number of positive feedback loops and then the process gets really supercharged and things really begin to change.
Tremendous climate changes have occurred many times in earth’s history and the fossil records show that with every huge change there is the ascendance of a new form of life taking top dog on the food chain. This is because whoever else was in charge dies off, usually in huge sudden calamitous events that lay waste to a broad swath of what’s living at the moment because they’re tied to how things are and then things change. Life goes on, but with a very different face. How do I explain to my daughters that their hegemony over the planet may be supplanted by jellyfish?