Hip Hop meets Climatology in this bizarre ‘art mirrors life’ twist. A rap classic becomes the anthem in science’s great courtroom battle.
‘It’s All About the Benjamins,’ a rap song by famous American rapper, Puff Daddy, depicting sleaze and immorality has become an anthem among global warming skeptics as one of their leading climate scientists faces a critical legal battle defending himself in a costly high profile libel suit.
Dr. Tim Ball, a 72-year-old retired scientist, who only learned about the skit earlier today, could not have imagined that his grassroots supporters would lend this case such irreverent incongruity. But with all the twists and turns in the ongoing climate wars anything is plausible and the words of an urbane and avuncular septuagenarian are now freakishly juxtaposed with misogynist rap lyrics.
Where Penn State University meets State Penitentiary
Skeptic music lovers found their muse in Verse Five, Line 6 of the song where Diddy proclaims, “F**k the state pen, f**k hoes at Penn State (c’mon).”
The missive closely mirrors a comment made by Dr. Tim Ball about fellow climatologist, Dr. Michael Mann in a controversial article by Ball published on February 9, 2011. According to the court summons Ball defamed Penn State University professor, Michael Mann with the statement:
"Michael Mann should be in the State Pen not Penn. State.”
The rap song continues, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby, Brawlers — who be dippin in the Benz wit the spoilers, It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”
"Benjamins" is street slang for $100 bills, a reference to Benjamin Franklin’s image on the bills. The song evinces the corruptive desire to live rich and have money. An unkind inference being that Mann’s main motive is to immorally obtain money and fame rather than pursue honest science. ‘It’s All About the Benjamins’ is the fourth single released from the Puff Daddy album No Way Out.
Any Similarity Between Reality and Fiction Just Coincidence
Verse Five of the track was written not by Diddy but by now deceased rapper, Biggie Smalls aka ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ who was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. Thus it is highly improbable there was any intended slur by the rappers on Michael Mann. There are also no suggestions that Mann was in the Los Angeles area at the time or that Dr. Ball is familiar with the Hip Hop music genre let alone this song by Harlem’s talented maestro.
P Diddy, the founder of Bad Boy Records, released the album in June 1998, which ironically is the year Mann got his “rushed” Ph.D from Yale University. Immediately thereafter Mann was recruited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as Lead Author to write his paper on tree ring proxy data. The IPCC paper contains Mann’s notorious ‘hockey stick’ shaped graph that is purported to show how tree ring proxy data proves that humans cause global warming.
Suspicion of Fraud Won’t Go Away
The hockey stick graph was the most iconic image in the 2001 IPCC Report but was quietly dropped for their 2007 version after the Wegman Congressional Report and independent auditors discovered Mann had based his conclusions on results from just one tree that gave data that conveniently depicted a hockey stick shape.
Climate skeptics have since accused Mann of falsifying his data after Mann refused to release details of his calculations for independent audit.
The Mann-v-Ball libel suit is scheduled to be heard in the Vancouver Supreme Court, British Columbia. Lawyers acting for Ball are upbeat about his chances. A legal fund to help financially pinched Ball with his spiraling fees has been set up. Donations may be made here.