I remember Federal Way! It was just up the hill from where I grew up, and although it was never a destination of interest, we would pass through its majestic strip malls on the way to Dash Point or Saltwater State Park. Now Federal Way is in the news as a haven for a few wingnuts. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised, but this one does express a point of view I find both novel and incoherent.
They’re protesting the showing of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth in the schools up there. I could understand the complaints if they were objecting to the presentation of a partisan campaign film for a presidential candidate (there is a bit too much of that in the movie), but they don’t—they never seem to find that angle troubling. Instead, the vomit all over the science, the part that’s pretty darn good and unobjectionable.
This is the quote that is so strangely wacky.
“Condoms don’t belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He’s not a schoolteacher,” said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. “The information that’s being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. … The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn’t in the DVD.”
“Frosty”? Will he disappear come the spring?
I don’t know why condoms come up in the discussion, but a parent of seven might have benefited from a little instruction in their use back in high school.
It’s also strange to object that Gore is “not a schoolteacher”. He taught college! Hardison isn’t a teacher (he’s an “information technology consultant”, and from the sound of it, a professional pompous pain in the ass), but he seems to think he can issue proclamations about pedagogy.
I’m fascinated by his date. It’s curious enough that he presents his bizarre and irrelevant opinions on geology as if perversity is a credential (actually, not an uncommon phenomenon in the crackpot category), but usually, the biblical chronologists will tell you it’s around 6,000 years, or under 10,000. 14,000 is weird enough to not only annoy rational people, but to alienate many of his fellow fringe kooks.
And the real kicker: it sounds as if he isn’t objecting to the interpretation of global warming, it’s that we aren’t giving enough credit to the biblical prophecies he has invented that support it. That’s a new one to me; are there many freaky Christians running around claiming, “global warming is real, and god is doing it to punish you”?
His wife expresses the other side of the usual denialist motive: unthinking patriotism. Love of country means never, ever criticizing anything ever done by it (or, more accurately, anything supported by its businesses and more conservative denizens. It’s still patriotic to slam the damn dirty hippies.)
“From what I’ve seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of ‘bad America, bad America,’ I don’t think it should be shown at all,” Gayle Hardison said. “If you’re going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don’t think the video should be shown.”
Scientists say that Americans, with about 5 percent of the world’s population, emit about 25 percent of the globe-warming gases.
So, what has she seen of the movie? It sounds like she hasn’t actually seen much of it at all, but is going by reports and short clips and of course, what dear old Frosty tells her. Typical. It’s also a nonsensical objection: if America does something bad, we’re not allowed to discuss it because, well, it’s America? How about if we criticized China for doing the same thing?
Now I’m wondering—I’ve got family living just a few miles east of Federal Way, and there have to be similar crazies afflicting the school district there. Would the family tell me about it? Or would they hide the story from me out of fear that I’d come out there and embarrass them publicly? (Although, I confess, there was also one member of my family who’d probably have gotten along well with ol’ Frosty…).