I’ve been following the atheist blogosphere reaction to the movie EXPELLED closely. Last night, PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins tried to enter an advance screening. Myers was asked to leave by security and rushed out gleefully to blog about it. As a pro-life activist, I have to admire his moxie, but I would have gone the whole way and gotten arrested if it were his event.
There is a rich, deep kind of irony that must be shared. I’m blogging this from the Apple store in the Mall of America, because I’m too amused to want to wait until I get back to my hotel room. I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn’t going to cause any trouble.
Here is my open letter to PZ Myers:
As a big proponent of the film EXPELLED, I don’t see any irony here at all. If anyone wants to see the Myers and Dawkins clips that badly, you can just go to my blog.
I saw the movie on Tuesday and was given a DVD with over 30 minutes of raw clips. We were told as teachers to show it in class and use it as a debate opportunity for our students to discuss the issue of censorship, and so on. Of course, they want it to go to people who will promote it and get our friends to come out to see the movie. (Yes, it’s a vast right wing conspiracy!)
The DVD has the infamous PZ Myers interview in which you say your goal is to destroy or marginalize religion. (If I was really smart, I would have bought 100 of these and sold them to on EBay to militant atheists for $20 a piece as “movie contraband.”) Movie producers often do promotional test screenings before the release. Certain types of people are invited and some are not. It would be no different if you tried to crash an advance test screening of Indiana Jones or Star Trek except the security would have been tighter. And yes, you should have been arrested if you trespassed in any private function. On the other hand, you are making a mountain out of a molehill, the clip you wanted to see is already on my website.
What is ironic is that you can see the parts you really want to see the most — there are numerous clips out there already — and you are making it sound as though it’s a huge conspiracy to bar you from the debate. What is happening with EXPELLED though is that some movie reviewers want to crash the gates early so they can pan the film and pronounce it DOA — as did Roger Moore (no, not 007 — he would have gotten in) the Orlando Sentinel reviewer.
It strikes me as odd because most reviewers who are allowed into advance screenings have the professional courtesy not to publish their reviews until the week the movie premieres. No such courtesy here. The political stakes are too high.
The MAIN reason the media is not invited to these screenings is because the film is in raw form and is not ready for the general public yet. We saw a high-res DVD version that was not quite cinema quality.
All the secrecy and the buzz is working toward a big box office. I know all you anti-ID-ers are warming your insides over this imagined “incident,” but how does it really work in your favor?
Controversy sells. More people are going to see the movie as a result. That’s what we all want, right?
If I didn’t believe in a higher intelligent design, I’d see it as a great cosmic irony.
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