Answers in Genesis is advertising heavily, but all of the ads I’ve seen miss the mark…or undermine their point. I was sent this link to their evangelism show, which is apparently shown at the Ark Park itself, in one of their rooms with a screen. You don’t need to watch it, I’ll explain what’s in it (at least, the first three quarters, before I gave up in disgust).
Ada, a British woman who works as a journalist for the Progressive Independent Tabloid (PIT) in New York, hates her job. She is sent, with a film crew, to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky — she is not happy about it. The first bit of the video is all about setting her up as a cynical, jaded person who is not impressed by anything. When they arrive, she is interviewing the general manager, who is, in contrast, constantly smiling and optimistic and cheerful. He gives his standard spiel. The Ark replica is really big, and it’s all about bringing God’s word, and…she keeps interrupting him to say she doesn’t want to hear all this, she wants to know about how taxes were used to fund the monstrosity. He says they weren’t (they were), and finally says he’ll stop preaching at her and will show her what it’s all about. So they go inside.
They go into a big empty room with a screen on the wall. Let me just say this is what the whole Ark thing is about — it’s really big and there’s a huge amount of empty space. This part is representative of the whole Ark experience. It’s a great big wooden box with very little content, and everyone spends a lot of time telling you how big it is, as if that should impress you and make you believe in God.
So they go into an empty theater after the reporter expresses her exasperation at the general manager’s preachiness, and they play a movie at her. And the move is…Ray Comfort preaching at the audience, with the familiar, boring Ray Comfort schtick (“Have you ever told a lie?” etc.) Unbelievably, it works, she becomes a convert, sheds her cynicism, and nods along with the general manager, and I threw up my hands and turned off the 25 minute long commercial. Ken Ham must think his potential audience are all a bunch of gullible dumbasses. He might be right.
The other thing I’m seeing a lot of suddenly are YouTube ads for the Ark Park — and I should have warned you, if you watch that terrible video, YouTube will start feeding these things to you (jesus, but I fucking hate the “algorithm”). These are 15 second clips featuring an animated cartoon giraffe who is very enthusiastic about visiting the big wooden box. That’s all they ever show you, that the talking giraffe thinks the Ark is really big. They have shots of him posed in the interior, and it really hammers home the impression that it is a really big wooden box with very little in it.
I don’t know how this advertising works. It’s like the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, and sure, if I were passing by I might stop by out of curiosity, but this particular odd roadside attraction will charge you a hundred dollars to park and go inside, and once you’re there, a recording of Ray Comfort will yammer at you about Jesus.
Don’t go. Worst vacation destination ever.
Ray Ceeya says
The other thing I’m seeing a lot of suddenly are YouTube ads for the Ark Park
That’s the algorithm for you. Every once in a while, if I’ve made a lot of politically charged comments, I start seeing ads for Epoch Times and Blaze TV. No one told me the AI of the future would be more “A” and not so much “I”.
Akira MacKenzie says
This is not meant for us.
Even though it’s supposed to be an “ad” for Ham’s shitty park, it’s meant to be propaganda. It’s designed to reinforce the fundamentalist Christian belief that secular, “progressive” forces are aligned against them. However, their religious dogma is just so correct and irrefutable, that all their enemies need is to hear “The Word” of their godhead and they’ll throw aside their false, worldly beliefs and accept JEEZ-us as their super-special best friend. Of course, they can’t do that without your generous tithing and patronage.
PZ Myers says
It’s not for us, but they think it is. At the beginning of the video clip, the general manager claims he wants to reach all believers, agnostics, and atheists. It is true that only the True Believers will find his shitty commercials persuasive, but these are his attempts to draw in a broader audience. It won’t work.
It’s weird how they have to lie to get these things through. You would think god would disapprove.
As a side note, if I see signs about the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, I’d just sing the song, rather than stopping by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcw326PJuDw&ab_channel=SWBattlefrontGuru
Marcus Ranum says
Someone once referred to another person as “a stupid person’s idea of what smart sounds like.” I love that put-down and it’s also opened up philosophical vistas for me: a stupid person doesn’t know what smart is because if they did, they wouldn’t be stupid. That’s how William F. Buckley existed. So if you have a stupid con-artist they think they are being clever, because they don’t know what clever feels like. I.e.: Ken Ham. And, since his scams have worked, he probably feels pretty clever. Actually, he’s an apex predator of stupidity.
Bad Bart says
If you want a sisal-based roadside attraction, you can stay local with the largest twine ball by one person: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/worlds-largest-ball-twine-rolled-one-man. It is everything it advertises to be and had a fine gift shop/museum.
Well, they know you’re Americans.
Literally, an unreliable narrator. In the vein of Akira MacKenzie, I’d think AiG wants to specifically make Evangelicals believe that they’re successfully reaching out to the heathens, or at least trying to. As for it being an ad vs. propaganda, that’s more or less the same thing.
I’ve seen it happening close to home, though. Mother of a friend of my eldest, went from staunch atheist to excited-to-be-baptised Christian during the pandemic. It’s weird.
Akira MacKenzie says
lumipuna nailed it.
Rich Woods says
@Ray Ceeya #1:
That’s because it’s all ML, not AI. There’s just the standard quantity of M applying a variable level of L. It’d be nice to think the L would get better over time, but personally I’m not seeing much evidence of it. It’s almost like the entire approach has a fundamental flaw. Hmmm.
Pierce R. Butler says
Unbelievably, it works, she becomes a convert, …
Mr. Ham’s screenwriters took a
pagescript from The Master.
I see they’re still claiming to be, ” the largest timber frame structure” even though that’s so easily shown to be a lie (two lies, actually – it’s neither timber framed nor is it the largest anything except maybe for being the largest under-roof grift in Kentucky).
Ian King says
The emptiness is emblematic of the serious lack of imagination, or information, available. I’ve never known a science museum to have too much space, usually they cram every corner with something or other and replace things with new things all the time. Perhaps there are structural reasons, the whole thing is barely standing, but I think it’s probably just that they don’t have anything more to say.
Frederic Bourgault-Christie says
I love how Christians not only transparently think that one or two successfully answered questions will convince people (even though it won’t to them) but also that they apparently really think that an actual journalist will be so easily convinced by “Uhhh, no, it wasn’t funded by taxes”. Okay, so… what was it funded by? Was there any public involvement? How’s your funds looking? Even in the universe when they’re not lying, it would be easy to find sketchy things by pushing. But despite apparently being the reason they came to the boring boat, they don’t maintain followup. Guys, you know that’s a lie. You know you keep getting grilled on the money thing.
Of course, the fact that Christians seem to lie so readily now does help refuting their propaganda that they were so honest in the past…