Monday, March 28, 2005

Suggested rewording to Charleston, South Carolina IMAX's "education is our focus" policy

The Charleston, South Carolina IMAX claims that education is its focus.

In the interests of enlightenment, I have reworded their claim slightly to more accurately reflect their actual concerns.


The IMAX ® Theatre at Aquarium Wharf, with IMAX ® technology, offers students and teachers the chance to explore the world and its wonders. Our specially-designed 422 seat auditorium guarantees that every seat is the best seat in the house. Our state-of-the-art technology will take your group into the heart of the film's action, allowing them to live the adventure. With a screen five stories high, comfortable leather stadium seating, and 12,000 watts of digital surround sound, your group will share a unique experience.

Large-format films are designed to educate and enlighten, provided that "enlightenment" doesn't involve any theory of creation conceived any time after, ah, The Enlightenment, as much as they are to entertain. They offer educators, who wish to steer clear of controversial topics like evolution, a powerful teaching tool that is easily integrated into an existing evolutioncontent-free curriculum, providing students with unique and exciting opportunities to explore new worlds and new ideas consistent with our community's existing Faith.

The IMAX Theatre at Aquarium Wharf with IMAX and IMAX 3D technology offers students and teachers the chance to focus on a broad range of subjects including the ocean, the environment, nature, geography, the arts, technology and space exploration. In addition to meeting recognized educational standards (i.e. we won't show your children anything that even dares to mention evolution), large-format films and education programs are often produced in collaboration with prestigious organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, National Geographic, WGBH/Nova and Discovery - except where those organizations make the mistake of including references to evolution in their films. By participating in a boycott of all content that discusses or promotes evolution, we are doing our bit to keep you, and millions of Americans like you, eternally in the dark - just like we know you like it.


Blogger felix_montgomery said...

Very interesting! So I take it that this place isn't at all balanced? Does it only portray creationism and not evolution? I guess I could see the opportunity for bias in an area that is highly religious, but to go so far as to not include anything in an opposing view is just crazy if you ask me! Who and where do I write my letter to????

28 March 2005 at 17:28  
Blogger Jon Seymour said...

If I am to be completely fair, this blog entry is a caricature of their actual position. They are showing another film, "Aliens Of The Deep" which does have some evolutionary assumptions.

The blog entries were inspired by a recent piece in the NYT, reproduced
here which discussed the self-censorship of this film going on in IMAX theatres throughout the American south.

The director of this particular theatre openly admitted that a film's evolutionary content "weighs heavily" in her decision about whether to program it. The fact that there might be some people who might enjoy it, or that even others -- who might have seizures while watching it -- may learn something, doesn't appear to way so heavily.

This from an institution whose stated aim is to "focus on education".

There was a particularly embarassing example involving an IMAX theatre associated with a science museum in Fort Worth where the director of marketing
admitted she was not going to screen the film because it might offend people with opposing religious beliefs - this from a director of marketing of a science museum! [ Fortunately, the museum board was rightfully embarrassed about this reasoning and saw fit to overturn the decision once they became aware of it ]

The truly scary thing about this is the fact that it has now become normal practice - censorship is being done voluntarily by commercial enterprises which are fearful of provoking a backlash from the more extremists sections of their public. Organizations that on the surface appear committed to promoting science, education and the spirit of wonder and enquiry but which, when it comes down to it, are just commercial organizations who will sacrify the principles of a secular society at the alter of commercial pragmatism.

It's not as if "Volcanoes Of The Deep Sea" is a deeply political diatribe about evolution. It is merely a film about these strange places and the scientists who study them - scientists who happen to be evolutionists.

My interest in this is to oppose systems of thought which take a scorched earth approach to alternative world views. These are dangerous systems of thought - you just have to look at the Afghani Taliban to understand that.

The Creationist mindset is just such a mindset but because it is amongst us, compromising systems of rational thought wherever it encounters them, it is a much more dangerous one.

I am an atheist who finds Christian propaganda tiring. Yet, I still went to see Passion of The Christ. Awful, propagandistic bullsh*t. Yet I wouldn't advocate a programming policy at my local cinema which banned the screening of such a film. Why can't fundamentalist Christians be more tolerant of conflicting world views?

28 March 2005 at 19:00  
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