Making us stupid, right and left
Vail CO, Colorado
Right next to the Tooth Fairy’s birthplace and the National Unicorn Farm, is America’s own Creation Museum.
This sinkhole in the nation’s intellect is located outside Cincinnati and, according to its Web site, means to show visitors how god created the world and to “equip Christians to better evangelize the lost with a sense of urgency, through a combination of exhibits, research and educational presentations.”
The museum aims to do this by “providing culturally relevant biblical and scientific answers from a biblical worldview.”
All those lost, misguided scientists ” some of them believers ” with their indisputable proof of evolution; their incontrovertible evidence that man didn’t get chased around by dinosaurs; the incontestable fact that the planet is way more than 6,000 years old (unless “The Designer” is trying to trick us with all those ancient fossils).
And I didn’t know the Bible had peer reviewed biological experiments. I didn’t realize the prophets had spent decades studying the slight changes in the beaks of finches in the Galapagos Islands.
The attempt by this “museum” to conflate religion with science would be offensive if it weren’t so silly, so backwards, so medieval. But I suppose it belongs on Americans’ summer-travel itineraries, right between visits to the Bigfoot Caves and the Mermaid Pools.
I’m a huge advocate of encouraging imagination in kids ” I love watching Sesame Street with my daughter, I can’t wait until she’s old enough to enjoy Dr. Seuss and, eventually, Monty Python.
But taking a child to the Creation Museum seems to be a form of intellectual abuse on par with teaching kids that the world is flat or that the sun revolves around the Earth or that two plus two is seven or that elephants can fly or that rivers flow upwards or that, yes, there are monsters under the bed and in the closet.
The religious right and Hollywood aren’t often blamed for causing the same problems, but the media’s slobbering over celebrities is more intense than ever and also is helping to making America stupider.
Not only is the media astonished by the famous, it can’t contain it’s amazement with a group of dopey young actresses and pseudo-celebrities who can’t seem to manage not to get drunk and crash their cars into various inanimate objects around Los Angeles.
A few of these “celebrities” ” Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie ” are famous for no reason other than that they’re rich, dangerously skinny and can’t be accused of spending too much time studying the contrasting symbolism of the white whale in “Moby Dick.”
At least Britney Spears has put out some records and done a ton of concerts. At least Lindsey Lohan is a pretty decent actress when she’s got a thoughtful role.
The media, by spending hour after hour gushing over these girls, glorifies behavior that’s pathetic and dangerous.
And what does the media’s obsession with these screw-ups tell young girls? That it’s OK to ruin one’s life as long as one is pretty and shown on TV regularly? In Paris Hilton’s case, it tells young girls you don’t even have to have any talent to fritter away on drugs and alcohol as long as your trip to jail is covered live by dozens of reporters.
But perhaps this culture isn’t surprising in a country with a president who puts acting tough over acting intelligent, and a 24-hour TV “news” cycle that’s more interested in shallow, round-the-clock “analysis” of a dead centerfold model’s illegitimate child than getting their hands dirty getting to the bottom of genocide in places like Darfur.
Thanks to the president and the media, we know way more about a hapless wannabe rock star named Sanjaya than we do about any of the 3,500 of our soldiers killed in Iraq. Sept. 11 was supposed to have changed everything ” we were supposed to be more in tune with world events.
But Americans have taken the president’s advice and not allowed radical religious terrorists to scare us into awareness of either the pitfalls of fundamentalism or the superficialities of celebrity.
Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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