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According to a story in the Telegraph of the U.K., a movie entitled "Creation" about the person Charles Darwin is not being picked up by distributors for theaters in the US, possibly because of criticism by Christian groups.

There are several questions here.  

Has the far right wing Christian anti-science movement become too powerful?  

How come progressives, in a nation founded by progressive reformers, do not have equal say in this sort of thing?  

What is going on here, really?

The Bible is the creation of a conference in 300AD in which a variety of texts deemed worthy of concern were edited into a selection, leaving some writings on the cutting room floor and elevating others.  It was partly a religious exercise, but mostly political.  The purpose was to effect a way to control populations so that nation states could become more powerful, and economic forces could be harnessed.  A good share of this was done by turning nature-worshipping, independent thinking Celts across Europe into peasants who owed loyalty to the state and paid for existence in the form of being soldiers when called on.  

Now, we seem to have a situation in which there is a reaction against science and the attempt to set the mind of man free - in an age of unprecedented scientific advance.  

In a society in which education has become all important, education is being undermined.

The Texas State Board of Education has been under assault by the Christian far right for about the last 30 years, as textbooks adopted by this large state (nearly 20 million) are a standard that publishers follow in other states.  YOUR state, by the way.  

Now, 7 members of the 15 member board, elected statewide, are creationists.  Gov Perry, in an attempt to be more appealing to the evangelical right wing, appointed a creationism activist as chair.  Now there are efforts on the part of the board to re-write history and civics texts as well as elevate creationism to the status of a science classroom element.  History is to be re-envisioned.  The Founders intended to give evangelical Christianity more of a central place in the Constitutional framework.  The wall of separation between church and state is a mistaken interpretation...

The reaction among reactionaries to the Obama school speech was another dot that should be connected.  This can become, if allowed, a general assault on education itself, moving society backwards by dumbing down science education and attacking critical reasoning as well as clear understanding of history and civics.

Having read recently a bunch of short essay answers to high school standardized social studies test questions, it seemed to me that, only a year or so away from becoming voters, the basis for understanding American civics was not necessarily coming from teachers and classrooms, but somewhat from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the like.  

How is it that this small and anomalous segment of the population has gained such an outsized influence?

In the Texas situation, the creationists were eager to get into the system, so they filed for the election and got on the ballot.  They ran unopposed.  No progressives were similarly eager to get into the system to make sure that the education system reflects contemporary thinking at its best.

That may be the issue along the spectrum.  It may be that progressives just don't see education as being important enough to actually put energy into competing with the forces of backwardism.  We may regret that in the long run.  It isn't just about another British drawing room drama romanticizing the personal side of an historical figure.  

After all, it apparently is "Christian" movie reviewers who initially blacklisted the movie for US distributors.  Where are the pro-science voices in this?

Originally posted to Stuart Heady on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:26 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

  •  Has it been actually banned???? (10+ / 0-)

    Or has it just failed to find a distributor?

    Significant difference.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:29:05 AM PDT

    •  soft ban. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      first ammendment would kind of prevent any movie from being BANNED banned, but the end result is the same.

      You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

      by DawnG on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:30:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nobody is willing to pay what they are asking (3+ / 0-)

        and that's somehow a "soft ban"??!!!

        Hey, tell you what.  I'll let you read my next DKos post for a mere $5000, which has to be a lot less than that movie company wants for that Darwin film.  What, no takers?!  WAAAAH, a SOFT BAN!!!  I'm being CENNNSORRRRREDDDD!!!!!

        Sheesh, get a life.  Notice that Michael Moore's new movie is doing just fine.  This Darwin movie simply had business terms that distributors didn't find attractive, so they passed.  One can say that the whole distribution system sucks and we should just use Bit Torrent, but at the moment, as far as I can tell, it's completely about dollars and not about politics.

      •  'soft' ban? (0+ / 0-)

        first ammendment would kind of prevent any movie from being BANNED banned, but the end result is the same.

        That's like saying being struck dead by lightning is 'soft murder' because the end result is the same.

        But, in fact, the end result is not the same in the case of this movie.  The movie can be shown, distributor or not.  The movie can be sold.  DVDs of the movie can be sold.

        It's no more a ban that if someone writes a book and no publisher will publish it.

        It's not a ban in any way, shape or form.

        •  not a perfect analogy. (0+ / 0-)

          Since no one actually makes a decision to strike someone with lighting.

          However if someone accidently hits a pedestrian with his car, that can still be considered vehicular homicide whether it was intentional or not.

          I hope that helps.

          You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

          by DawnG on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 11:22:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

            You're the one who made the silly claim that equivalent outcomes means one mechanism is equivalent to another.  Live with it.  Or don't make silly claims.

            Just as in the book/publisher analogy.  You know, the one you conveniently ignored (apparently because it involves people making decisions, so it doesn't jibe with your irrelevant amendment to your silly claim).

            •  Look. (0+ / 0-)

              Analogies are my thing.  If you're going to make an analogy to refute my statement it needs to be logically identical.  If this, then this.

              Yours wasn't.  It was a false analogy.  So I corrected it.

              Live with it.

              You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

              by DawnG on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 12:21:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The latter... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ScienceMom, DennisMorrison, ryan81

      there's no ban, but no one's interested in picking it up, in part because of the furor it might be greeted with, and in part because it's not commercial.  The title should be changed.

      •  I don't think it was received very well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by audiences in Toronto either. So when you combine that with it possibly being controversial, and not commercial its going to be difficult for it to pick up a distributor.

        All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.- Bokonon

        by ryan81 on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The article says early reviews have "raved" (0+ / 0-)

          about it.

          But the mere fact that you think it might be "controversial" says everything we need to know about America doesn't it?

          What's the controversy?

          As far as commercial, the US distributors pick up plenty of films that make little or no money and they know that they're going to make little or no money. They just limit the distribution to art houses.

          Rub raw the sores of discontent - Saul Alinsky

          by JayGR on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 12:34:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I just don't get this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady, DennisMorrison

    You have the "Da Vinci Code" which basicly tries to disprove some of the founding tennants of Christianity and THAT is okay, but a film about the life of Charles Darwin is too controversial because....why exactly?

    If "Christian groups" don't want to watch it, then they don't have to.  But it should be banned in the US (and technically not banned, just no one will distribute it) just because it'd cause some people to get in a twist over it.

    What ever happened to "There is no such thing as bad publicity"?  It being controversial should be a selling point.

    And I saw the trailers, it looks to be a hollywood-quality movie.

    I just don't get it.

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:29:28 AM PDT

  •  I think this story isnt quite true (6+ / 0-)

    There have been several stories in the trades re the Toronto Fest. Many many indie films are having a hard time finding US distribution this year. Tough times make for timid studios. This will probably turn up on PBS and/or DVD in the next year.

  •  my understanding is that it was not banned (5+ / 0-)

    it just was not picked up by a distributor. because it's a boring damn movie.

    maybe you should pick it up.

    "A lie isn't a side of a story. It's just a lie." The Wire

    by glutz78 on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:30:18 AM PDT

  •  Sometimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clyde, seanflynn

    distributors pass on movies because they don't think there will be enough interest/market for them.  Controversial movies are sometimes picked up because they sell tickets.  Do we know anything about the quality of this film?  Could there be more to this story, from the industry point of view?  

    I've enjoyed many, many rental movies that didn't make it in, or to, theaters.  I've rented other obscure movies that were unwatchable.  Sorry for the ramble.

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clyde, ozarkspark, cee4

      Do you really think there is an audience for a film about a 19th century English scientist with no sex in it?

      This is one of the most ridiculous stories of the year.

      Many films that premiere at Toronto don't have distributors, and don't get them for some time.

      One way of the other, this film will be seen in the US.

  •  Please think straight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clyde, Larry Madill

    This is a movie where some not-too-well-known actors walk around in victorian garb in a story where a guy essentially writes a sciencey book and wrestles with some really important ethical questions.

    No giant war machines, no explosions, no cute cartoon characters and no Will Smith as a funny sidekick. The chances of Mrs. Darwin posing without a bra are rather slim, too. Doesn't sound like a blockbuster to me.

    So why not kick up some kind of controversy while we're at it? Everyone expect americans to be stupid creationist jerks, after all.

    Seriously, there will be a distributor "brave enough" to show this "controversial" movie even to americans by the end of next week. LOL.

  •  If Fundies can define controversy (0+ / 0-)

    so easily, then that should be somewhat alarming, methinks.

    Othewise, why should this be considered controversial?  The quote in the piece from the Christian publication apparently set up as a sort of Variety for the right wing, indicates something of an attempt to create conflict that seems to be successful.  

  •  Being banned and not being picked up (0+ / 0-)

    by a distributor are two entirely different things.

    Thousands of indie films (most crap, some mediocre, a few quite good) don't get picked up for distribution every year. And even the ones that do get picked up only a small percentage of them will get even a limited theatrical. A smaller percentage still will actually make money in theatrical release and hang around for more than a week (these are the indie films like HURT LOCKER that most people here of).

    So in your logic thousands of films are BANNED EVERY YEAR! Except they aren't -- they simply aren't sold into a wider film market for any number of a dozen reasons.  

    "You Don't Do More With Less. You Do Less with Less. That's Why it's called Less." David Simon

    by Larry Madill on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:40:16 AM PDT

  •  they have such little faith. (0+ / 0-)

    I really don't get it.  If they're so certain that they have "the gospel truth," then why are they afraid to let anyone see alternatives?  If the Bible is the truth -- especially backed by an almighty god -- wouldn't it prevail over Darwin's ideas if someone saw it?  

    The right-wing Christians don't trust their own product, and this is proving it.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 10:46:39 AM PDT

  •  The person appointed by Perry to head the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady

    board was elected from my district.  This district is largely fundamentalist.  Racism is open here in the jokes that I hear at the golf course and in the fact that there are almost no blacks in an area 200 miles long and 100 miles wide in which my hometown is in the northeast corner.  In other words a 20,000 sq. mi. area is filled with racists and funamentalists.  My town has the Creation Evidence Museum just a short distance from my front door.  Churches are everywhere.  One recently hosted the "Great Commission Express" which was a rally to encourage Christians to get out and convert non-Christians like me.  My town hosts an annual passion play, written by citizens and acted by citizens in the local amphitheater.  There are many fundamentalist summer camps and schools.  The local state park has dinosaur tracks in the riverbed and people flock there all summer because they can "see" human footprints alongside the dinosaur tracks.

    So this is the epicenter of the fundamentalist movement in the U.S.  I don't have the courage to run.  I don't want to get shot.

    But you are free to move here and run.  I'll help you find a house.  

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning.

    by hestal on Wed Sep 16, 2009 at 11:19:14 AM PDT

  •  Umm... Time-Warner (0+ / 0-)

    Have a reputation of being hard core right wing. Add to that Disney is the same. Maybe a smaller distributor will see an opportunity here.

  •  Oh, bad (0+ / 0-)

    I notice in the comments above that the movie has no sex or scenes of Mrs. Darwin topless. This won't do. This movie is called "Creation". How do we evolve? How do we reproduce? SEX! This movie is about sex but there's none in it! Dud. Michael Moore would have known better. snark.

  •  This is not small segement of the population (0+ / 0-)

    Our Constitution was written by progressives, but our country was originally settled by people who were kicked out of Britian for being too uptight.

    Let me say that again in case you missed it. Kicked out of Britian. For being too uptight.

    Believe me when I tell you, true progressives are the minority here, not the other way around. Those people breed like rabbits.

  •  Lazy producers making excuses (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, if a movie like Religulous can come out in the USA, then this one can.  I'm guessing the producer just didn't find distributors who would guarantee the return he wanted, and decided to blame Idiot America instead.

    If it's over the subject matter that the movie can't find a distributor, that's one thing, but maybe it's just a dull movie that indie distributors ran from in droves.

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