Novelist John Scalzi Has Published his Findings from his Visit to the Creation Museum
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 12:16:53 AM EST
I changed my mind.  

I plugged this remarkable account of novelist John Scalzi's bemused tour of the new Creation Museum in Kentucky in the last edition of Short Takes -- but it really merits a full blown post of its own. Suffice to say, it speaks for itself.

I have posted a few excerpts on the flip, but there is much, much more.

Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we're not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we're talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.

And you look at it and you say, "Wow, what a load of horseshit."

But seriously, the ability to just come out and put on a placard that the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt - well, there's a word for that, and that word is chutzpah. Because, look, that's something you really have to sell if you want anyone to buy it. It's one thing to say to people that God directly created the dinosaurs and that they lived in the Garden of Eden. It's another thing to suggest they lived long enough to harass the Minoans, and do it with a straight face. It's horseshit, pure and simple, but that's not to suggest I can't admire the hucksterism.

To be clear, the "horseshit" I've been speaking of is not Christianity, it's creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ. Now, the Creation Museum rather emphatically argues that a literal reading of the Bible is essential for true Christianity - it's got a whole red-lit section that suggests the ills of society are directly related to folks deciding that maybe some parts of the Bible are, you know, metaphorical - but that's just more horseshit, of a slightly different flavor. There are lots of Christians who clearly don't need to twist their brain like a pretzel to get around the idea that the universe is billions of years old and that we've evolved from earlier forms. For those folks, the Creation Museum is probably about culture, to the extent any installation largely created by someone who previously worked for Universal Studios can be about culture.

To read the whole story, click here.

I notice that all the wax figures of ancient Jewish prophets and kings and what-not don't look very, well, Jewish. Or Arabic. Or Semitic at all. In fact, they seem more than anything else to resemble 19th century MidWestern farmers with beards or the kind of guys you would have found at the Rotary Club in 1924 (no Jews allowed). With beards.

And where are the women? Did the dinosaurs eat them all? I didn't go through the whole slideshow - in fact, I didn't get even halfway through - but short as my tour was, I saw a lot of wax figures in dioramas and not one of them was female. Wouldn't you consider that an oversight? I would.

But on balance I think Scalzi is right. The Creation Museum isn't so much disturbing as just, ah, silly. It's a giant Fred Flinstones cartoon without the humor. Most people will probably take it about as seriously.

Except, of course, for the kind of people who get a letter from Ed McMahon and think they've actually won something, or their close cousins - the people who take a Universal tour and think that's really Harrison Ford running away from the boulder at the Indiana Jones exhibit.

- mick -

by mick arran on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 02:18:00 AM EST

...against the big lie. Remember, 24% of Americans believe Elvis is still alive.

by justintime on Sun Nov 25, 2007 at 01:48:27 PM EST

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