During a recent appearance on On the Verge, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked by host Joshua Topolsky how it feels to be an internet meme, someone whose image appears in animated gifs and other contexts completely separate from his own identity.
“Initially it was really weird and creepy,” Tyson replied, “because my image would just be the fodder for artists to distort at their leisure. So initially, I was creeped out by it, and then I said, ‘This in total is a celebration, so I should not object.’”
Tyson has been a leading popularizer of science, with frequent appearances on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher. According to Wikipedia, Colbert’s book I Am America (And So Can You!) even accompanies a description of most scientists as “decent, well-intentioned people” with a sidebar noting, “However, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an absolute monster.”
Compared to that, there may be very little more that the Internet can do to Tyson. “There’s a cut-out figure with me in underwear and you put a different vest of mine on top of it,” he told Pokolsky with amusement. “I’m in boxer shorts, and you just put on the clothing. You dress me in paper dolls’ clothes.”
This video was uploaded to YouTube by TheVerge on March 24, 2012.