Same as many people my age, Ben Stein first came into my life not as a Nixon speechwriter/lawyer/cultist, but as Ferris Bueller’s Econ teacher, and then Fred Savage’s overmorose history teacher in The Wonder Years. I guess it makes sense that I was lulled into a false security by his amusing facade. Win Ben Stein’s Money, the Visene commercials, it was easy to think of him as sort of an uncle figure. Amusing, dry delivery, all around good guy, right?
So, when I heard he produced personal finance columns for Yahoo! I was naturally excited. I read them feverishly, savoring the occasional advice and theory of his wealth philosophy. I bought a copy of his retirement book for my father. I ignored the occasional retrospective of his role in and continued defense of a presidential regime that, at the time, had no rival to it’s paranoiac levels of secrecy, public and media exclusion, and destruction of personal liberty. I read about his troubles with American Airlines, and his issues trying to buy a new Cadillac. And, as the market started to falter, I read about his increasingly vague and dime store advice about the market (in short, buy low, sell high. Invest in the long term.).
But then I heard about Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and thought I should take a look at it. At first, it looked like the same old tired donkey that everyone trots out about Intelligent Design. Evolution doesn’t explain everything perfectly. Evolution is just a theory. Evolution has holes in it. Evolution isn’t exact. Evolution had to start somewhere (Pro Tip : this is one of the few ideas that I’ll entertain conversation on, in case you ever want to talk to me about how you think God works). We’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater if we throw God out of science. My response to this is always going to be the same. OK. We accept that we should teach creationism as an alternate theory to evolution. We can’t give it equal time, because in all reality, all of your dipshit creationism comes down to two sentences. Big super thing exists. Big super thing makes everything else. Anything taught in a classroom beyond that will be unfairly tilted towards one religion or another, and while I’m sure you’d be fine with it being heavy on whatever brand of faith you have, you probably wouldn’t like it if the teacher went heavy on the Islam, Bokonon, or Pastafari. Being a creature gifted with the ability to put himself in another persons shoes (one of the advanced features of the human brain that a lot of people don’t fucking use) you should be able to see how this can be upsetting. Nobody wants their kids learning someone elses religion, everybody wants them to be able to get a good job, so shut your fucking whine hole.
We’ll see how the movie plays out, I’m interested to see it, because I’d like to see someone make an argument for intelligent design that wasn’t simply a feint around their own personal faith, but given Ben Stein’s history of unending faith (in Nixon), I am not hopeful that this will be the movie that does it.