A National Embarrassment

While this certainly doesn’t rank up with Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project or the Tea Party Express on the Embarrassed to be an American scale, it’s a far sight higher than Bacon Mania.

The UK based Icon Films has produced a critically acclaimed movie called Creation. It is based on the book, Annie’s Box, by Charles Darwin’s great-great-grandson, and it chronicles the struggle of Darwin’s life as he tried to reconcile his deeply held religious beliefs with his scientific discoveries. As a former seminary student, Darwin was well aware of the firestorm that would be created when his work was published. A storm which apparently rages unabated into the 21st century.

The film has met with a fair bit of critical acclaim, and was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival. It premiers later this week in the U.K., and has been sold to countries all over the world… with a notable exception. No film distributor in the good ol’ U.S. of A. has been willing to pick up the title. Ostensibly out of fear of the Christian extremist backlash.

On the one hand, this is no great loss. This is a 19th century period piece. It’s an art house film that likely wouldn’t have even shown up at the 16-screen mega-plex. Yet for that same reason, if everyone just kept their cool, the film would have just flown by under the radar. I doubt I’d have bothered to see it. On the other hand, I’m a little surprised that someone didn’t pick up the film entirely because it would have generated a backlash. That publicity likely would have pushed the film into the mega-plex and have attracted many who otherwise never would have heard of it.

Still, that this is even an issue in America in 2009 is an embarrassment. Granted, companies are free to make decisions they think benefit their business, and not bringing the move here was a business decision. Granted, people are free to think what they want about Darwin, and they are free to ignore evolution, gravity, electromagnetism or any other scientific theories that don’t sit well with them. So I can’t claim there was any great wrong committed here. It’s just embarrassing. Embarrassing that we are not only becoming less tolerant, but we are no longer ashamed of it either.

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