We like Alec Baldwin, from his younger days playing both gentle fellows (as in Beetlejuice) or more frequently as a sleazy type (as in Married to the Mob and Malice). He seemed to just miss the boat, almost but not quite graduating to A-list status and the nineties were not kind to him.
But he acquired considerable good will anyway, by reconfiguring himself as a comic actor and moving into television. In some ways, he may be a model for young actors who have talent but not quite enough starriness to stay in the top tiers of show business – that is, if actors aren’t replaced with 3-D simulacra. His career suggests there are all kinds of paths that can keep an actor afloat and even thriving.
One thing Baldwin likes to do, and has for a long time, is pontificate on the issues of the day – he’s been reported to have an interest in politics, though it seems to have faded – and The Huffington Post has proven a reliable place for thoughtful Hollywood folk to share those thoughts.
But not all thoughts are golden:
I met many people while working on the [Brookhaven National Labs] issue, as well as other battles involving nuclear power. One of them was Randy Snell, a Long Island resident who raised his family near Brookhaven. Snell's daughter developed a rare form of cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, which was found in several other children living near BNL. The total number of cases was fifteen times the national average.
Alarming if true, but annoying if false:
In 1998, a study released by the Suffolk County Environmental Task Force, a group that included some of the Laboratory's most ardent critics, found "there is no statistical evidence showing higher than normal rates in either Suffolk County or a 15-mile radius of the Lab. In fact, there were fewer cases of rhabdomyosarcoma in Suffolk County from 1979 through 1993 than there were on average in other New York State counties, including Nassau, Brooklyn and Queens."
The problem here is simply the constant replay of discredited ideas as though they had never been discredited. For example, it’s been a long time that we’ve seen this one:
The "Tooth Fairy Project" supports a simple idea. Strontium 90, emitted by conventional utility reactors, mimics calcium in the body and is termed "bone-seeking." It deposits itself in the bones and marrow, after the larger amount of food-ingested strontium 90 is excreted by the body. In the developing fetuses of pregnant women, strontium 90 (again, mimicking calcium) is deposited in the teeth. Once in the teeth, it decays into a "daughter element", yttrium, the element that researchers like Stenglass look for as the marker for elevated exposure to radiation.
NEI has a full fact sheet, including links to supporting evidence,on the “tooth fairy.” A taster:
None of the “tooth fairy project” claims has been substantiated by state and/or federal authorities. But during that time, the claims have been refuted or questioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute, the NRC, the American Cancer Society, and state and local health officials.
And so on. Now, you might expect us to pooh-pooh the dumb actor and his desire to be considered a serious, thoughtful person. Well, Alec Baldwin is a serious, thoughtful guy. We have to grant him that. But he’s engaging in a rather old-fashioned line of attack: because nuclear annihilation hung over people for so long during the cold war, there can’t be anything good about fission. It’s always malignant, in all forms. So any evidence of cancer near a nuclear plant must be caused by the plant – despite the dispersion of cancer in society.
So good for Alec Baldwin for engaging on the issue. But he really needs to do more research.