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Scopes Monkey Trial, part 2?

The Scopes Monkey Trial in 1926 challenged a state law that made it illegal to teach evolution in public schools. But now, evolution is being challenged in a much more insidious way.

A new movie about Charles Darwin, from BBC Films and the UK Film Council is being released this weekend, and although it was directed by oscar-winner Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence), and has received rave reviews, it has been unable to find a US distributor. No US distributor will touch it because evolution is too controversial. The movie has had no problems finding distributors in pretty much every other country in the world, and has even been picked to open the Toronto Film Festival (one of the most prestigious in the world).

But not here. According to Thomas:

The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

The film is being widely attacked on US Christian websites, despite the fact that it is actually fairly even handed. Most of the attacks are against evolution (not the film itself) with one site calling evolution “a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying.” Surveys have shown that only 39% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

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12 Comments

  1. Bit Torrent.

    I don’t pirate stuff. But when something comes out in another country and I can’t get it here, I become highly tempted. (Why yes, I do understand some French, and I do follow movies some. Oh, and I like anime too. …)

    I hate the distribution system: it’s a hold over from the old studio systems, and it needs to be rebuilt.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 5:00 am | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    My suggestion: all of those people who do not believe in evolution are not allowed to receive ANY flu vaccine. These people are also not to receive any life-saving, expensive medical care when they contract a drug resistant infection. Because the theory of evolution is so silly and these diseases are acts of God.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  3. Eva wrote:

    I was just reading that the Afghanistans can’t defend their own country because they are illiterate. I.E. under the Taliban that Reagan hired to rid Afghanistan of the Russians in the 80s, education stopped. A whole generation is illiterate. Afghanistan was a very developed country in the 1950s before extremism made its way to the country.

    We are now seeing just that. Read any comments on any other site. People don’t know how to spell which is just the beginning. Fox News is funded by those extremists in this country. Fox News is the most watched news station on Television. Keep the country uneducated, you have a malleable Audience. We are headed the way of Nazi Germany and Afghanistan=backwards. We need to find a way to stop this happening=for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, etc.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink
  4. Eva wrote:

    I realized during the election why creationism is so wide spread in the south. If there is no evolution, then we did not evole from people in Africa. Therefore, those that came here from Africa as a different species from us. Therefore the Eric Kantors, the Joe Wilsons of this world can be disrespectful to those who came from Africa because they are not of the human species. Makes me sick.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink
  5. Eva. Ouch. Given my ongoing spelling problems (I have a learning disability that made me mute until I was 4), I am a bit sensitive the “can’t even spell” cliche.

    I wound prefer the meme to turn into “can’t even present a basic, logical argument”. 😉

    Otherwise, yes. Agreed on your first comment. I suspect that the read on the South in the second comment is a bit over-simplified/over-generalized, but there are times that I’m disgusted enough with that sort of Southern Pride + Willful Idiocy that I feel the same way. It’s not accurate to the real people, mostly. But there’s something insidious in the culture that is, frankly, embarrassing.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Expecting people to be able to make basic, logical arguments might be asking too much. I’d be happy if people were able to decide if other people are making logical arguments. In other words, people need better bullshit meters.

    Also, I was a victim of the great phonetic spelling experiment in California public schools when I was a child, and thus have been rendered totally unable to spell things correctly. Luckily, my computer’s spelling checker has saved my life.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  7. capierso wrote:

    Spell chek, you r ma only fren!

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  8. K!M wrote:

    it’s Eric Cantor, he’s my representative, though I’ve been voting against him ever since I was legally able to.

    And just a question, why all the hate on southern pride? Anyone who has ever lived in the south knows that there are more differences between southerners and northerners than those that spring from the church. I’m an atheist liberal, and quite proud to be from the south [but not so proud of Cantor].

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink
  9. K!m. Sorry, I was trying to make that sort of point. Though some Southerners, like other groups from other areas, need to give themselves a good looking at, many certainly don’t. I did my PhD in North Carolina, even though I’m NYC born and bread. I “get” how cool (hot, actually) the South and southerners can be.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  10. K!M wrote:

    TD: My remarks were made more towards Eva. And rereading Eva’s 650 note: I’ve never actually heard that perspective on conservative religious racism. And being a minority who grew up in a rather rural part of the state, I know, and I hope Eva knows, that racism knows no one religion [Cantor is jewish, but that’s besides the point because I don’t think he’s racist, I think he’s just republican, which is bad enough sometimes] nor any one political leaning or party.

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  11. Adam wrote:

    Something about this really doesn’t add up. Controversy makes money. “Fahrenheit 9/11” was hated by about half the country, and loved by (probably) substantially less than half, but despite that — or more likely, because of it — it did very well. Sure this would be controversial, but probably every atheist in the country would see it; I would think any distributor would be scrambling to secure US rights for it.

    The only thing I can think of is that the potential distributors are worried about being physically targeted by religious right-wingers. Could that be it?

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    Not to be suspicious of my own post, but another explanation is that the owners of the film are trying to drum up publicity for the film, before they make an even better distribution deal with a US distributor.

    Am I jaded or what?

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink