Still, It Moves

After living in Texas for 21 years, Buzz has grown sort of fond of the place and is a little defensive when friends and family from out of state (damn Yankees) refer to Texans as a bunch of gun-totin' truck-drivin' ignorant goobers. That's why, as we read a story in the March 19 New York Times about how some IMAX theaters in Southern states are refusing to screen science documentaries that mention evolution for fear of offending fundamentalists, we said a silent prayer: "Please not in Texas."

We got six paragraphs in before the inevitable hit. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History was one of the museums that declined to screen Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, in part because of comments from some members of a 137-person sample audience who found it blasphemous or distasteful for its references to evolution, the Times reported. "I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact," one wrote.

Welcome to Gooberville. In 1633, Galileo had to be shown the implements of torture before he recanted his "theory" that Earth revolves around the sun. In 2005 Gooberville, Galileo would have been shot down by a marketing survey.

It was all very depressing and filled our head with dreams of a cozy home in Toronto. Then something wonderful happened. Non-gooberian North Texans rose up in protest, and the museum changed its mind. "It is frankly exciting, and it is so gratifying," museum President Van Romans told Buzz. "We received so many letters from people who were concerned. It's very gratifying to learn they care."

Romans says the comments about the movie's evolutionary content were not why the museum originally rejected screening it. The movie simply didn't impress viewers that much on its general content and production. "It just ranked fairly low," says Romans, who points out the museum is showing and has shown other films that feature evolution. Still, after receiving scores of messages of protest after the Times story was published, the museum decided to give Volcanoes a shot. It opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the museum's Omni Theater for a one-month engagement, followed by a longer run in the fall.

And that, we suppose, must be very gratifying to the good fundamentalists who went to a science museum and criticized a movie for mentioning science. What goobers.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams