Pharyngula

I get email

This is some email I suspect a lot of you have already received; look at it through new eyes, though.

It’s from Premise Media (I’m on their mailing list, and have been for a long time…how else could I have gotten an invitation to their premiere?), and I present it here as I received it, except that I stripped out most of the links. Notice anything familiar?

Ben Stein’s movie is now in danger of being “Expelled” from theaters

Despite:
A “Top 10” box office opening…
Standing ovations in theaters…
Scathing critics and raving fans…

Expelled is being sued by YOKO ONO – and she’s demanding that it be booted from THEATERS NOW!

If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE SEE EXPELLED NOW; its future relies on you.

Check HERE to see where EXPELLED
is playing near you (1,000 screens nationwide)

Click HERE to hear a special message from Ben Stein

>Despite harsh reviews from liberal critics, predictions of box
office failure and ridiculous lawsuits, EXPELLED has become
a FAN FAVORITE:

  • > #5 in per screen box office ($3,000 per screen)
  • > #9 overall, despite being on only half the screens of its competitors
  • > EXPELLED may become one of the top 10 box-office performing documentaries of all time.

>"It opened as one of the most commercially successful releases for any documentary film," said the Christian Post.

BUT BEN STEIN NEEDS YOUR HELP…

>Secular critics, atheist groups, and now the beloved Yoko Ono are black balling EXPELLED and trying to get it out of theaters.

Without strong support from leaders like you, EXPELLED could get tossed from the theaters.

>PLEASE get out to SEE EXPELLED THIS WEEK. Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone – he needs your support.

CLICK HERE to take a GROUP to see EXPELLED.

Please forward this email to friends and contacts!

 

Font size changes, random underlining, random color changes — it is so typical of creationist email. If I didn’t know that these gomers had millions of dollars at their disposal, I’d consider this to be yet another rant from a lone fruitcake living in his mother’s basement.

Notice too the palpable hysteria and desperation. “Oh noes! Our movie is tanking!!! You have to come see it!” It’s also rife with contradictions; it’s a “fan favorite”, but at the same time it needs more people to come to the theater, its future relies on it. Attendance will not influence the course of the lawsuit from Yoko Ono, despite their complaints. This whole thing is laughably incoherent.

Have you seen any “blackballing” of this movie by atheist groups? No, none at all. There have been no picket lines, no harrassment of attendees, no threats to theater owners — atheist groups, such as Minnesota Atheists, have even held group trips to see this bad movie, the better to critique it. The reason there aren’t any butts in the seats is that they made a lousy movie. If you want to know why it’s sinking fast, look to the reviews.

They undermine their own premise, too. They need more people to attend so that the movie isn’t “expelled” — apparently, “expelled” is now a synonym for “flopped”. I can agree with their idea now: Sternberg, Crocker, Gonzalez, etc., are all failures in the competition for ideas, just as their movie is a failure in the competition for attendance.

Comments

  1. #1 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    I think my favorite part of that ridiculous e-mail was this:

    the beloved Yoko Ono

    Beloved?! These people really are totally out of touch with reality…

    ((disclaimer: I personally don’t take issue with Yoko, but the fact of the matter is that she’s not exactly beloved in the public eye….))

  2. #2 Ames
    April 27, 2008

    PZ,
    Yeah, I got this too, and I think it’s great news! It means that they think they’re going to lose. I wrote a blog post about it… I’m crossing my fingers.

    http://acandidworld.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/expelled-expelled/

  3. #3 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    You know, this e-mail actually did convince me of something, though:

    PLEASE get out to SEE EXPELLED THIS WEEK. Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone – he needs your support.

    I was considering going out and seeing the movie sometime this week (out of the same masochistic inclination that compels me to “debate” creobots and and read the Left Behind books), but now I’m pretty sure I won’t…though I suppose theater hopping is still an option…but doing as these people ask, even partially, seems abhorrent…

  4. #4 BlueIndependent
    April 27, 2008

    Perhaps these people have never heard of the marketplace of ideas, and the competition therein. Now, markets in reality don’t always “expel” the worst ideas. If they did, my guess is the world would be a lot bright place to live. It just is dumbfounding though, to see how these fools act out of self-righteous, oozing, banal fear. They do normal everyday things like everyone else, yet when it comes to rubbing two brain cells together and thinking, they react like most of the world’s got ebola and they’re about to be infected.

  5. #5 alex
    April 27, 2008

    i like this:

    Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone – he needs your support.

    yeh! i too will risk my career to help you take on those Leading Atheists, Ben!

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    April 27, 2008

    Plus they completely leave out the fact that its numbers have been boosted by the kickback scheme to force children in Xian schools to see it. I believe that the time runs out ten days after opening, so that source of inflating their numbers is soon to disappear.

    Of course they’re scared, they might have to pay for what they’ve stolen, and it’s a pathetic movie by any standards. Even the egregious DI fellow Michael Medved believes that it goes too far in comparing “Big Science” to Nazis (still gave it 3 out of 4 stars), though he doesn’t exactly advertise the fact.

    They know their audience, though. The writing is paranoid tabloid screed, both in format and in content.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  7. #7 Paul Lundgren
    April 27, 2008

    These people remind me of the Clintons: we can’t be failing on our own merits; it must be someone else’s fault.

    Oh, and Dr. Myers, please remember to put the Google bomb link for Expelled in the story someplace. Couldn’t hurt.

  8. #8 Mena
    April 27, 2008

    It’s nice to see natural selection getting its revenge. It’s ok to anthropomorphize it in order for Mathis, Stein, et al to understand what I’m trying to say, isn’t it?

  9. #9 Milo Johnson
    April 27, 2008

    Sounds like the writer just had a big spray can removed…

  10. #10 Matlatzinca
    April 27, 2008

    I agree with #3 above. I barely have time to go to the movie theatre anymore, but was considering going to see this the better to critique the film. I’ll have to wait to netflix this one, though, and let them wallow in financial ruin. Ah, schadenfreude!

  11. #11 Zeno
    April 27, 2008

    Expelled is certain to live forever in DVD form as one of the pinnacles of creationist creativity. In Ben Stein it has a semi-star (okay, so he’s no Kirk Cameron) and its budget was big enough (filmed on more than one continent!) so that it doesn’t entirely look like a spare-bedroom production. Eager creationists will buy up copies and press it on their friends as unwanted gifts. Groups of true believers will gather to watch it together and shake their heads in wonderment that it did not succeed in converting the whole world with its brilliance.

    Its commercial success, however, will be decidedly second tier. According to Box Office Mojo, Expelled‘s receipts for Friday were nearly 63% lower than the take for Friday a week okay. Virtually all films do worse in their second week of release, but for a documentary film that finished back in the pack on its opening weekend, it’s an indication that the movie doesn’t have strong legs. DVDs will be out soon. DVDs and … immortality!

  12. #12 Seth
    April 27, 2008

    Heh, creationist burn. I love that Ben’s antics have caught the attention of my favorite youtuber Thunderf00t and his “Why People Laugh at Creationists parts 23 and 24″

  13. #13 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    [sarcasm] Hey! Capitalism is just another form of Darwinists trying to suppress free speech. By applying their dangerous “survival of the fittest” notions to industries such as the movie business, they’re allowing smart new ideas to be expelled from the supposedly “free” market. [/sarcasm]

  14. #14 MS
    April 27, 2008

    I love it when Christian groups prominently support a Jew (or Jewish cause), without mentioning that if Christian theology is true, the eternal fate of all Jews will be exactly the same as that of the evil atheists they are both abhor. Or when the Jew accepts the Christian support and adulation without, apparently, any qualms. Besides Ben Stein, Michael Medved and Dr. Laura come to mind, and of course most of the neo-cons. I actually saw a rabbi on John Hagee’s show the other day.

    Don’t get me wrong, I certainly want people of all (and no) religion to get along, but I don’t get why Jews so often make common cause with people who believe that they will spend all eternity in unbeable anguish simply because they’re not Christian.

  15. #15 Rich Stage
    April 27, 2008

    The creobots hope that Expelled
    will not be viciously derailed.
    They hope you won’t see
    the truth of the movie:
    in the marketplace of ideas they have failed.

    But one truth I hope lingers on:
    After all is at last said and done
    because of this flick
    and the creationists schtick
    Ben Stein’s credibility is gone.

    I can’t help but to be amused
    at how often these morons confuse
    scientists questioning “why”
    and a zombie Jew in the sky.
    Their IDiocy leaves me bemused.

    Perhaps if they pray hard enough
    (Hey! It could work! Don’t you laugh!)
    Their magic Dad in the air
    will come down from his lair
    and heroically save this dumb stuff.

    But I won’t try holding my breath.
    It’d make more sense freebasing meth.
    I wonder if I
    make them laugh or cry
    as I am mocking their cult of death.

  16. #16 Zeno
    April 27, 2008

    My blog post on Expelled attracted the good folks at Wikipedia and someone cited it in their article on the movie. That’s right! I am now a source for the world’s greatest compendium of human knowledge. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Not long, I’m sure: my fifteen seconds of fame.

  17. #17 386sx
    April 27, 2008

    Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone – he needs your support.

    How is he risking his career? Most people aren’t even atheists. It must be a really really horribly bad movie or something.

  18. #18 Blake Stacey
    April 27, 2008

    Hypothesis 1: Bad publicity from a large number of highly visible, mainstream outlets quashed Expelled‘s chance of succeeding outside its narrow core demographic.

    Hypothesis 2: Nobody reviews a movie these days without Googling it.

    Hypothesis 3: The concerted effort by online science writers to debunk Expelled and make the debunking widely known influenced the aforesaid reviewers, even if it didn’t reach the public directly.

    If these hypotheses are more or less true, then. . . good job, everybody.

  19. #19 Corey Schlueter
    April 27, 2008

    Does anyone know what are top ten box-office documentaries? Probably half of them were directed by Michael Moore.

  20. #20 Inoculated Mind
    April 27, 2008

    It appears that they are admitting that their days are numbered on Expelled remaining in theaters for very long. But it won’t take Yoko Ono to do that for them. During a prime-time Saturday night showing here in the MIDWEST, I counted only 10 audience members, in an already small theater. It’s already dead, down to #13 on Friday, falling fast.
    My review will come this week when there’s more time for me to write it.

  21. #21 JM Inc.
    April 27, 2008

    It’s quite fascinating, though. I think Prof. Dennett is right; religions are wonderfully designed with all sorts of defence mechanisms for every situation.

    When you think about it, one thing that Christianity really did for the world, out doing, I would suggest, the Orthodox Judaism from which it grew, was really developing this whole “Manichaean” (well, ok, I know Manichaeanism was historically thought of as a heresy) notion of Satan, as not merely being the “prosecuting attorney” for God as in Judaism, but as being the seditious enemy. It really allows for a… in a sense, a sort of immunological defence, a rapid mobilisation under strenuous circumstances whereby, if you’re winning, it merely means that you have to keep a watch out for the heresy and satanisms you’re not seeing, and if you’re losing, it’s merely because the satanic elements are all overt and without guile. It’s an excellent motivating factor for something like an irritated inflammation response – freak out, puff up your chest, and throw everything into the defence effort.

    I suspect that one of the prime characteristics of religion is its superlativity; the fact that it provides powerful psychological excuses for throwing yourself into issues that might otherwise consume you in deliberation and reflection.

  22. #22 Chayanov
    April 27, 2008

    Translation: We need this movie to make a lot more money before Yoko Ono owns our asses.

  23. #23 JCG
    April 27, 2008

    I guess this picture is appropriate here too…

    http://www.theonion.com/content/files/images/onionmagazine_1020.article.jpg

  24. #24 Caveat
    April 27, 2008

    Here’s what slays me (among other things):

    “If you haven’t done so already, PLEASE SEE EXPELLED NOW; its future relies on you.”

    Please, please, pretty please with fluffo on top, please see our movie, wontcha?

    It’s hilarious because they are begging PZ to visit their movie – with friends, yet.

    Seems to me he tried to see it with friends but something happened to prevent that.

    What a bunch of nimrods, they don’t even keep their mailing list updated. The only ticket they’ve got is a one-way ride to Loserville – and obviously, they are more than halfway there.

  25. #25 Latina Amor
    April 27, 2008

    The top movies at the North American box office
    Reuters
    Posted: 2008-04-27 13:32:28
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Following are the top 10 films at the North American box office for the three-day weekend beginning April 25, led by the new release “Baby Mama,” according to studio estimates compiled Sunday by Reuters.

    1 (+) Baby Mama …………………. $18.3 million

    2 (+) Harold and Kumar

    Escape from Guantanamo Bay ….. $14.6 million

    3 (1) The Forbidden Kingdom ………. $11.2 million

    4 (2) Forgetting Sarah Marshall …… $11.0 million

    5 (5) Nim’s Island ………………. $ 4.5 million

    6 (3) Prom Night ………………… $ 4.4 million

    7 (6) 21 ……………………….. $ 4.0 million

    8 (4) 88 Minutes ………………… $ 3.6 million

    9 (8) Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! . $ 2.4 million

    10 (+) Deception …………………. $ 2.2 million

    NOTE: Last weekend’s ranking in parentheses. + – new release.

    TOTALS TO DATE

    Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! …. $147.9 million

    21 ………………………….. $ 75.8 million

    Nim’s Island …………………. $ 39.0 million

    The Forbidden Kingdom …………. $ 38.3 million

    Prom Night …………………… $ 38.1 million

    Forgetting Sarah Marshall ……… $ 35.1 million

    Baby Mama ……………………. $ 18.3 million

    Harold and Kumar

    Escape From Guantanamo Bay …….. $ 14.6 million

    88 Minutes …………………… $ 12.6 million

    Deception ……………………. $ 2.2 million

    Expelled? Minime!

  26. #26 Skyblue
    April 27, 2008

    Ben Stein spoke at the University of Vermont on Friday. My daughter texted me an on the spot report. First thing he asked was had “anyone seen Expelled.” Almost no hands. “Good,” he said, “because I don’t want to talk about it.” My daughter said he spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the film claiming that he “had nothing to do with it.” Hmmmm. He was invited by the UVM business school. Guess I’m going to have to write the president a letter asking why my money was being spent to have students listen to lies from such a theocractic, anti-science, anti-academic blowhard.

  27. #27 Brian Schmidt
    April 27, 2008

    What has not been mentioned enough at the science based sites, if at all, is to urge anyone who decided they need to see this garbage in the theaters that they should wait until more than two weeks have passed since Expelled came to the theater they’re considering. Producers get a much larger share of the take in the first two weeks, so waiting two weeks significantly reduces the share of your money that reaches the fools.

    Unfortunately, this movie isn’t a commercial failure, it will likely beat out Roger and Me for the fifth highest ever grossing political documentary. We need to do all we can to cut into its profitability.

  28. #28 Bride of Shrek
    April 27, 2008

    Etha @ #1

    Since they lumped her in with “secular critics” and “atheist groups” I’m reading that “beloved” but to be a snark.

    OTT can I just say welcome to the blog. I know you haven’t been here long but since you have we’ve all been richer for your witty, intelligent and succint comments.

  29. #29 Latina Amor
    April 27, 2008

    Expelled: falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. Gaudeamus igitur!

  30. #30 Bride of Shrek
    April 27, 2008

    …and you succinCt comments too. Oops typo.

  31. #31 Mike O'Risal
    April 27, 2008

    I believe the word they’re looking for here is “expectorated,” as in being spat out. Ptui.

    I haven’t seen Expelled, plan never on watching it, and from all signs it appears to be having no impact on anything. Give it a year or two and it will have been forgotten by all but the most hardcore Neo-Creos… the same ones who still insist on quoting AiG today.

  32. #32 Pierce R. Butler
    April 27, 2008

    Give the hacks at Premise Media credit where due: they didn’t add an extraneous apostrophe to “its” in the fourth & eighth ‘grafs.

  33. #33 MPG
    April 27, 2008

    #19: The top 10 currently stands as follows:

    1. Fahrenheit 9/11 $119,194,771
    2. March of the Penguins $77,437,223
    3. Sicko $24,540,079
    4. An Inconvenient Truth $24,146,161
    5. Bowling for Columbine $21,576,018
    6. Madonna: Truth or Dare $15,012,935
    7. Winged Migration $11,689,053
    8. Super Size Me $11,536,423
    9. Mad Hot Ballroom $8,117,961
    10. Hoop Dreams $7,830,611

    Expelled currently sits at #15, and needs another $2.5m to break into the top 10.

  34. #34 semi
    April 27, 2008

    Attendance will not influence the course of the lawsuit from Yoko Ono, despite their complaints.

    No, but it may influence the size of the copyright infringement damages or settlement ;)

  35. #35 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 27, 2008

    That reeks of desperation. Good.

  36. #36 Sastra
    April 27, 2008

    I think this part is hilarious:

    Despite:
    A “Top 10″ box office opening…
    Standing ovations in theaters…
    Scathing critics and raving fans…

    Yes, despite all THAT — even INCLUDING “Scathing critics” — our film is in trouble!

    You know, most movies don’t actually brag about bad reviews. It makes me wonder if they would have considered it an embarrassing disappointment if the critics had unanimously praised it to high heaven.

    Nah. This is religion. Either your faith is reinforced — or your faith is reinforced even more!

  37. #37 Chris Bell
    April 27, 2008

    semi is exactly right; every person that sees this movie will increase the damages awarded in the copyright infringement suit.

    Fools.

  38. #38 Pierce R. Butler
    April 27, 2008

    BTW: Since Prof. Dr. P.Z. “Big Meanie” Myers viciously and godlessly ripped out the link, can anyone else here with Top Level Expelled Access reveal what the special message from Ben Stein has to tell us?

  39. #39 Will TS
    April 27, 2008

    OK, Ben. I’ll go see your movie. Just as a favor to save your foundering career. Because I care. Oh, wait. The nearest theater showing it is almost two hundred miles away. It’s not exactly ‘nationwide’, is it, Ben? It played in a theater only one hundred miles away last weekend, but it was yanked in favor of Harold and Kumar. I think that’s a political documentary, too. I’ll see that instead. Harold and Kumar can tell me what to think, because the only thoughts I have are ones that I get from movies.

  40. #40 Bride of Shrek
    April 27, 2008

    Probably something like.

    “I need you all to go and see the film, or at least a few of you,
    anyone
    anyone
    ANYONE”

  41. #41 Larry
    April 27, 2008

    #26:

    My daughter said he [Ben Stein] spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the film claiming that he “had nothing to do with it.”

    Like bush/cheney on Iraq and NOLA, letting Stein distance himself from this p.o.s. is something we should never let happen. Tying this turkey around his neck until he disappears forever from the public eye just makes sense.

  42. #42 Kay
    April 27, 2008

    It would help if y’all wandered over to Yahoo! movies and gave it an “f”. It still has a “B” for the movie user reviews!

  43. #43 Sioux Laris
    April 27, 2008

    I like the acknowledgement that their “fans” are “raving.” It’s the first truly honest thing they’ve said.

  44. #44 me2i81
    April 27, 2008

    Subcommandante Yoko gives the orders, we fall in line.

  45. #45 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    @#21 –

    When you think about it, one thing that Christianity really did for the world, out doing, I would suggest, the Orthodox Judaism from which it grew, was really developing this whole “Manichaean” (well, ok, I know Manichaeanism was historically thought of as a heresy) notion of Satan, as not merely being the “prosecuting attorney” for God as in Judaism, but as being the seditious enemy.

    It’s really fascinating how Xianity has conflated the distinct entities of Satan (the adversary or prosecuting attorney of God), Lucifer (the fallen “son of Dawn” of Isaiah 14:12), Beelzebub (a specific form of the “false god” Baal, the Philistine Ba’al Zebub ["Lord of Flies"]), the Greek concept of Diabolos (origin of “devil”), and the serpent of Genesis. Then when they read things like the Book of Job, they get radically different meanings out of the story than were originally intended. It’s one thing to appropriate and alter the meaning of a word for your own religion, but then to go back and apply that new meaning to texts in which it was used with its original meaning — that’s just bizarre.

  46. #46 Moses
    April 27, 2008

    Beloved Yoko Ono? The stupidity, it burns…

  47. #47 negentropyeater
    April 27, 2008

    The latest box office for the week end of the 25 until now shows a total of $ 5.3 M

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=expelled.htm

    (They estimate they will do $ 1.4 M this week end, or a 54% drop over last week end)

    So tentative forecast :

    Week 1 $3.9 M
    Week 2 $1.7 M
    Tail $1.0 M
    Total $6.7 M : 700,000 Tickets 0.2% of population

    Take out 40% distibution costs, remains max $4 M for Premise media to pay for Ben Stein, the production, the huge advertising budget… They’ll recover some of their losses from DVD sales but, what a bad deal.

  48. #48 Moses
    April 27, 2008

    13 10 Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, this weekend’s take: $1,379,000 -53.6%

    Total take: $5,282,000

    Which means they’ve probably gotten about $3 million back to them. Probably not enough to cover costs, though. Oh well. Too bad. So sad.

  49. #49 Blake Stacey
    April 27, 2008

    The Burlington Free Press reports on Ben Stein’s UVM talk:

    Stein took questions after the talk, and the first one was about his new movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The film, playing at the Roxy, is a provocative exploration of the debate — or its stifling, in Stein’s view — between evolution and intelligent design.

    A woman asked Stein how he could say with a straight face that Darwinism can lead to eugenics, which is an assertion made in the movie.

    He responded that he can say it “with an extremely straight face.”

    Just as he can say that two plus two is four.

    No, it doesn’t make more sense in context.

    The article is rather fawning, and not written by a person familiar with the issues, but perhaps that makes the unintentional ironies all the richer:

    If you’re looking for someone to talk about the economy, a comedian is a pretty good choice.

    As opposed to, say, an economist?

    “Not all people on Wall Street are pigs,” [Stein] said. “Some of my best friends are on Wall Street.”

    Enough said.

  50. #50 semi
    April 27, 2008

    Yep, their release prints alone (for 1052 theaters) cost them about $2 million. Doesn’t leave much left does it? :) Especially since all many prints are being pulled.

  51. #51 LeeLeeOne
    April 27, 2008

    This particular “Expelled” bulletin/flyer/appeal reminds me of the hundreds (probably thousands by now – I’ve lost count) of snail mail notices I have received over the years. Bold and color special effects included!

    I took over my grandmother’s account as legal POA. I was frightened when I signed those papers to take over POA for my ex-mom in-law and her newest husband. You can imagine the horror when I was offered (and accepted – yes, by then I understood the legalese) the POA position for my mum and pop as well as one of their adopted ones. The last 13+ years has been a boon to my mail carrier but also to my shredder and recycler.

    My mum and pop would have been horrified to see the actual amount of mail they got via snail mail per year. (They were both blissfully into Alzheimer’s when I agreed to POA status.)

    It’s so much easier to send electronic notices to the “recycle bin”, click of a button and not a second thought. BUT it truly is not “easier” at all. A click means they took up resources to generate the appeal and a click means I took my resources to delete the garbage.

    This is anyone who receives any type of snail mail or electronic mail of any UNWANTED type – please, remove your name from those mailing/e-mail lists BEFORE your legal representatives (your kids, progeny, in-laws, friends, relatives of any sort) are forced to do this.

  52. #52 dogmeatib
    April 27, 2008

    I thought about going to see the movie, apparently due to some deep inner self-loathing that I wasn’t aware of prior to this … but the nearest theater that is showing it is in a suburb on the other side of town, realistically a 130-140 mile round trip. I think not…

  53. #53 James F
    April 27, 2008

    #26
    Ben Stein spoke at the University of Vermont on Friday. My daughter texted me an on the spot report. First thing he asked was had “anyone seen Expelled.” Almost no hands. “Good,” he said, “because I don’t want to talk about it.” My daughter said he spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the film claiming that he “had nothing to do with it.”

    Who does think he is? The Discovery Institute? Thanks for the report, Skyblue.

    #42 Kay,

    If people put the same amount of effort crashing Mike Mathis’ stupid poll as they did into posting reviews and ratings at Yahoo, IMdB, Fandango, Flixster, and BoxOfficeMojo, they would actually make an impact on sites moviegoers read.

    Look at Box Office Mojo:

    As: 181 62.4%
    Bs: 10 3.4%
    Cs: 2 0.7%
    Ds: 3 1.0%
    Fs: 94 32.4%

    But the Expelled myspace poll is 97.69% against ID. Boy, we showed ‘em, on a poll comparatively no one reads!

  54. #54 A lurker
    April 27, 2008

    To be fair if I had a movie that might be forced out of theaters by legal action, I would try to encourage people likely to see my film to see it now instead of waiting. And producers trying to encourage fans to so things to help out a movie/tv show/publication/book/etc. via the internet is not exactly new.

    Heck even if one is not going to be forced off the silver screen, the simple reality is many people get busy doing other things…you know life. There are certainly movies which sound interesting to me that for one reason or another I don’t go to. From any movie producers point of view, it better that someone see the movie now instead waiting for next week which risks turning merely renting it on DVD in several months. And of course the more people see it now the more likely they are to get more screens next week which will result in more ticket sales for them. So in this case the typical creationist modus operandi of trying to panic the faithful really fits well with basic business needs.

    While they are certainly not a hit, they are certainly doing respectably for a low budget movie. Expelled, regrettably. is generating more B.O. per screen then most movies at the multiplex. If they had invested a million or two in better writing and film making they really could have had a real hit on their hands. Maybe an attitude of our sheep will buy tickets for any piece of crap we make has come back to haunt them.

    In any event we all got lucky. A hit could have had bad influence on the political front. And worst of all it would spawn a dozen imitators to spread lies about science. But of course we still need to see how well they do on DVD. Low budget movies these days often go straight to DVD and skip the theaters (or have a token theatrical run) anyhow since DVDs are where the real money can be made. I strongly suspect that they can make a modest profit after the DVDs start shipping. (If could have been mega profit if they considered making a movie that was watchable.)

    Any profit they make can be dangerous though. If you wanted to engage in apologetics which would you prefer: spending money for the cause or spending money for the cause that generates the money back so it can be spent on the cause again? For that reason alone, pro-science organizations need to become more media savvy. And given that real science can be more interesting then saying “God did it” one would think that some low-budget, but well done pro-science films might even be able to make a profit.

  55. #55 Paul Burnett
    April 27, 2008

    “Skyblue’s” daughter reported: “First thing (Ben Stein) asked was had “anyone seen Expelled.” Almost no hands. “Good,” he said, “because I don’t want to talk about it.” My daughter said he spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the film claiming that he “had nothing to do with it.”

    We need more information on this. If Ben is saying this in public, it is really bad news for Premise and the Dishonesty Institute and all the other liars supporting intelligent design creationism.

  56. #56 HP
    April 27, 2008

    #11: (filmed on more than one continent!)

    Slightly off-topic, but I read that and a thought occurred to me: Has anyone contacted the officials at Dachau and other Nazi sites where Mathis and Stein filmed? I’d be curious to know a) whether there was any deception on Premise Media’s part, and b) what the curators think of the Darwin–>Holocaust hypothesis.

    Maybe one of your colleagues at scienceblogs.de could take up the German side of the story.

  57. #57 Laser Potato
    April 27, 2008

    All it needs is annoying animated GIFs and loads of broken links and it’ll meet the standards of your typical fundie site.

  58. #58 semi
    April 27, 2008

    “Skyblue’s” daughter reported: “First thing (Ben Stein) asked was had “anyone seen Expelled.” Almost no hands. “Good,” he said, “because I don’t want to talk about it.” My daughter said he spent a great deal of time distancing himself from the film claiming that he “had nothing to do with it.”

    I guess Stein’s promotional contract with the producers ran only through opening weekend.

  59. #59 Crystal
    April 27, 2008

    I suddenly like Yoko Ono very much. Who would have thought?

  60. #60 A lurker
    April 27, 2008

    Look at Box Office Mojo:

    As: 181 62.4%
    Bs: 10 3.4%
    Cs: 2 0.7%
    Ds: 3 1.0%
    Fs: 94 32.4%

    Not surprising at all. The vast majority of people watching the movie are the true believers who have a reason to give it an A. I am actually surprised that the A/F ratio is not far larger then it is. If anything these numbers are good news for us: look at all those Fs. Non-true believers clearly think it is a bad movie. Also note that Mojo’s poll requires a login so merely using a script to vote a zillion times won’t work. (I really don’t mind that anyways given just how unethical such behavior is anyhow.)

  61. #61 Dennis N
    April 27, 2008

    @ #45 Etha,

    If I remember correctly, the change in Satan comes from the influence of Gnostic teachings at the time of Christianity’s early years. Gnosticism is heavy on the dualism, with an imperfect and evil demiurge being responsible for evil. God is far above and not involved in earthly matters. This makes a lot more cosmic sense for the problem of evil, because an all powerful personal God allowing evil is himself evil. Christianity absorbed this, along with other religious ideas of the time, such as the Greeks and Zoroastrians. It was a real flashpoint of thought in that region, and a new religion like Christianity was all but inevitable. Or it’s God’s holy word, whichever you prefer.

  62. #62 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    @#28 Bride of Shrek –

    Since they lumped her in with “secular critics” and “atheist groups” I’m reading that “beloved” but to be a snark.

    Ah, ok, that makes more sense. After a while of reading ID propaganda, I’m afraid my ability to detect irony may be going :\.

    OTT can I just say welcome to the blog. I know you haven’t been here long but since you have we’ve all been richer for your witty, intelligent and succint comments.

    Thank you. The feeling is reciprocal.

  63. #63 Sastra
    April 27, 2008

    “First thing (Ben Stein) asked was had “anyone seen Expelled.” Almost no hands. “Good,” he said, “because I don’t want to talk about it.”

    Uh huh. And if a whole bunch of hands had gone up, Stein would have said “Good — because that’s exactly what I’m here to talk about.” And so much for speech #2 on economics in his other pocket.

    Maybe not, but this guy’s a former political hack. I wouldn’t read too much into this.

  64. #64 SC
    April 27, 2008

    This movie HELPS Ben Stein.

    …People?

  65. #65 raven
    April 27, 2008

    Boomerang anyone? Expelled could well end up being counterproductive.

    1. It is just a bunch of lies strung together. So Fundie Death Cultists = Liar? Well sure, but while many people know this, more will now.

    2. It is an attack on science. This is the whole basis of our civilization. We brought about the 21st century, which looks a lot different from the Dark Ages. Attacking science makes as much sense as attacking Indoor Plumbing, Modern Medicine, or Electricity.

    The ranting and raving Death Cultists undoubtedly liked it. OTOH, with minds encased in concrete and brains the size of walnuts, any old nonsense would have worked as well. They could have just spliced together Hovind reruns.

  66. #66 Shane Killian
    April 27, 2008

    I wonder how many of these idjits will be out picketing and trying to stop people from seeing “Religulous” when it comes out?

  67. #67 James F
    April 27, 2008

    #60 Lurker,

    You raise a very good point. I’m not suggesting a “flood” like on the MySpace site (come on, hundreds of thousands of votes?), I just wish more people would focus instead on writing a review on Yahoo (if you have a a Yahoo account, you can already post without registering anew), post “ExpelledExposedDOTcom” on there somewhere, not let Ben Stein and company get a free pass on spreading nonsense.

  68. #68 semi
    April 27, 2008

    I find it very interesting that the producers of Expelled are trying to pre-spin the whole copyright infringement charge in the press:

    “Based on the fair use doctrine, news commentators and film documentarians regularly use material in the same way we do,” Premise Media said in a statement. “Unbiased viewers of the film will see that the ‘Imagine’ clip was used as part of a social commentary in the exercise of free speech and freedom of inquiry.”

    A quick trip the US Copyright Office website reveals these little nuggets of wisdom about “Fair Use”:

    Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered “fair,” such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair (emphasis added):

    1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

    3. amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

    4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    The criteria for determining Fair Use are as follows:

    …quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.

    Notice that the use of Imagine doesn’t really fit any of these criteria.

    And I love this section:

    The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material. The Copyright Office cannot give this permission.

    When it is impracticable to obtain permission, use of copyrighted material should be avoided unless the doctrine of “fair use” would clearly apply to the situation. The Copyright Office can neither determine if a certain use may be considered “fair” nor advise on possible copyright violations. If there is any doubt, it is advisable to consult an attorney.

    While it seems that the Premise Media guys are trying to claim that they are providing social commentary about John Lennon’s song Imagine, it seems much more likely that their use of the song will be interpreted instead as commentary toward the greater theme of the movie.

    The song is not the point of the movie, so I think their “commentary on the song” meme is going to have a tough time.

    The producers’ legal exposure is huge in this case, and I think that they will settle quickly and quietly out of court to protect their financial backers from liability.

  69. #69 Kaddath
    April 27, 2008

    >> Ben is risking his career

    Wasn’t aware he had one. Come on, what kind of credibility did Premise Media thought it was garnering by making BS their spokesperson for the former Nixon speech writer.

    I’ve been a lurkerer from quite some time now and just wanted to thank PZ for his highly informative blog.

    Kaddath

  70. #70 Kelsey
    April 27, 2008

    I think it’s funny that the email doesn’t mention WHY Yoko Ono is against the film:

    Ono sues producers for using Lennon song

    Just another slimy move by the producers to add to the list…

  71. #71 Russell Stewart
    April 27, 2008

    “Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists”

    Ben Stein has a career?

  72. #72 SC
    April 27, 2008

    “Despite:
    A “Top 10″ box office opening…
    Standing ovations in theaters…
    Scathing critics and raving fans…

    Expelled is being sued by YOKO ONO – and she’s demanding that it be booted from THEATERS NOW!”

    So much wrong here. First, how do the “scathing critics” fit with the rest of this list? Second, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen “scathing” applied to people; I think it is only supposed to be used to describe reviews, etc. Third, why the “despite”? What would any of these things have to do with Ono’s decision to sue? And fourth, why would they capitalize just “THEATERS NOW” and not “BOOTED FROM THEATERS NOW”?

    Pathetic and ludicrous, start to finish.

  73. #73 Dennis N
    April 27, 2008

    @ #66,

    I wasn’t aware of the movie Religulous but thanks for the mention. Bill Maher is a great guy. I can’t imagine it would take very much effort to make religion look ridiculous.

  74. #74 Bride of Shrek
    April 27, 2008

    What I don’t understand ( or perhaps I do) is how they could be so STUPID. Yoko Ono is famous for her protectionist stance on the copyright of any Lennon songs. She has sued often and quickly in the past and always wins. I’m not in the music/film industry and I know this just from reports in the media. Have these guys been living under a shell to not know this?

  75. #75 Dennis N
    April 27, 2008

    If by shell, you mean massive fundie compound complete with Christian themed tennis courts, cafes, and grocery stores, then yes.

  76. #76 Adrian Hayter
    April 27, 2008

    I didn’t see a contradiction PZ. It really is a “fan favorite”. The problem is, all the “fans” have seen it, and nobody else is going to go. I’m sure all IDiots loved this film, but luckily they are the minority.

  77. #77 Simon G
    April 27, 2008

    Huh. Expelled’s still rated as “B” on Yahoo Movies site. Time to vote, eh?

  78. #78 DonRocko
    April 27, 2008

    Somehow Armin Van Buuren’s “Who is Watching” has more meaning now…

  79. #79 UprightAlice
    April 27, 2008

    Is it just me, or does this e-mail look like it was composed using a Mad-Lib.

    Ben Stein’s NOUN is now in

    danger of being “VERB – PAST TENSE

    from A PLACE – PLURAL

    Despite:

    A “Top-A NUMBER” opening…

    Standing NOUN – PLURAL in A PLACE – PLURAL

    ADJECTIVE critics and raving NOUN – PLURAL

    Make your own embarrassingly desperate e-mail today!

  80. #80 Emmet Caulfield
    April 27, 2008

    If I were Ono’s attorney, I would argue that the use in a Creationist propaganda film like “Expelled” substantially diminishes the value of “Imagine” as a de facto anthem of atheists, agnostics, and humanists, which it is, and that the damages therefore greatly exceed the lost license fee. If I were Ono, I would make it clear that any monetary damages awarded would be given to charity, to send the message that it’s not about lining her own pocket, but about the principle. If I won, I would then choose NCSE as the charity as a final kick in the teeth to Premise Media, the Discovery Institute, and their cronies.

  81. #81 Karley
    April 27, 2008

    I can’t resist Expelled Mad Libs…

    ——————————-

    Ben Stein’s LIVER is now in

    danger of being “POOPED”

    from BUS STOPS

    Despite:

    A “Top-69″ opening…

    Standing CHAINSAWS in BATHROOMS…

    SMELLY critics and raving HYENAS
    ——————

    This could be a new meme! I have to find more people to fill it out…

  82. #82 Kseniya
    April 27, 2008

    “Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists, and he can’t do it alone.”

    Alone? LMAO

    I love how they shamelessly – shamelessly! – paint themselves as underdogs. The quoted sentence illuminates a handful of classicly disingenuous creationist talking points:

  83. 1. Evolution = Atheism
  84. 2. We, the believers in the God of the Bible, are a desperately oppressed – but intrepid, mind you, intrepid – minority here in the secular world [usually meaning: the USA]. Every time we speak out, we risk… well, everything!
  85. 3. In case you missed it: Evolution = Atheism

    It’s so transparent. And yet……………..

  • #83 Etha Williams
    April 27, 2008

    @#82 Kseniya –

    I love how they shamelessly – shamelessly! – paint themselves as underdogs.

    It really is shameless and transparent. And to add to the absurdity of it all, these same people will turn around and use the fallacy of argumentum ad populum (“most people in America believe in God! most people belief ID is a valid theory! therefore, ID should be taught and considered science….”). It’s bad enough that IDiots are so willfully ignorant, but when you pick and choose what you consider as “truth” and still aren’t able to come up with an internally consistent set of beliefs…that indicates that you’re not even trying to be honest, that you’re incredibly dense, or both. I suspect both.

  • #84 Julie Stahlhut
    April 27, 2008

    I’m just waiting for this e-mail to be forwarded to me by one of my less net.savvy relatives. A few of them send me stuff like this all the time, and since I try to pick battles that generate more light than heat, I usually ignore the messages.

    This time I shall lie in wait for the messages like an argiope in a butterfly garden. (Not that I’m comparing Bensteinian apologists to butterflies, which are, after all, much smarter. But violators will be envenomated anyway.)

    Watch this space.

  • #85 Maria
    April 27, 2008

    PZ,

    You’ve seen the Rotten Tomatoes reviews, right?

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/expelled_no_intelligence_allowed/

    A measly 9%! The only fresh review is from Christianity Today, of course. Just disgusting.

    M-

  • #86 Carlie
    April 27, 2008

    I knew my yahoo account would come in handy for something sooner or later. Review posted.

  • #87 Eric Kightley
    April 27, 2008

    “Oh noes” :)

  • #88 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    April 27, 2008

    Somewhere else thread I saw someone mention a figure of ~700,000 people or 0.2% of the population seeing this movie, I think this is valuable data. Despite the frantic efforts to promote this piece of dreck by every means possible up to and including paying people to go see it, the overwhelming majority have stayed away from it. 99.8%

    Of those who have seen it, even if 90% of them are true believers and think it is the greatest movie ever made, it now might be appropriate to write to state legislators who have been shown it as support for the spurious academic freedom bills, and point out just how immensely unpopular this fabricated controversy is.

    There is another side to that coin, however. If my understanding is correct, there are quite a few biology teachers who soft peddle the teaching of evolution because they fear a backlash from the local fundie zealots. In all realism, perhaps these academic freedom bills would liberate those individuals by affording them a shield against such retaliation. Then again…

  • #89 Karley
    April 27, 2008

    A buddy’s
    ————

    Ben Stein’s TOILET is now in

    danger of being “PISSED”

    from JUNGLES

    Despite:

    A “Top-1522″ opening…

    Standing NEGROS in JUNGLES…

    WORLDLY critics and raving BANANA REPUBLICS…

  • #90 Tulse
    April 27, 2008

    EXPELLED may become one of the top 10 box-office performing documentaries of all time.

    To put this in perspective, it is curently only the 12th most popular Christian movie of all time, and that puts it behind such powerful, popular, influential films as Megiddo: The Omega Code II ($6,047,691), the original The Omega Code ($12,614,346), and of course, who can forget One Night with the King (I bet Priscilla can’t — oh, and that one made $13,395,961, and had a bigger opening on a smaller number of screens).

    So even in their core demographic, in the group they want to appeal to the most, this multi-million dollar production is tanking.

  • #91 Mooser
    April 27, 2008

    Doesn’t Yoko Ono have the right, indeed the obligation, to protect her late husband’s intellectual product, the Beatles tunes used in the film?
    I hope she takes their every dime.
    Anyway, I got nothin’ against Yoko.

  • #92 Nemo
    April 27, 2008

    Expelled, regrettably. is generating more B.O. per screen

    Yes, it’s a real stinker.

    If people put the same amount of effort crashing Mike Mathis’ stupid poll as they did into posting reviews and ratings at Yahoo, IMdB, Fandango, Flixster, and BoxOfficeMojo, they would actually make an impact on sites moviegoers read.

    Thing is, I haven’t actually seen the movie, so I can’t honestly rate it — even if I’m pretty confident of what my rating would be. But I can honestly answer the MySpace poll question “No”, so I did.

  • #94 mark
    April 27, 2008

    tick tock tick tock…although it’s hard to detect sometimes, the end is coming for the hyper-religious world view as promoted in this film and practiced by many. They don’t have anything to stand on and without a powerless Church behind them to force it on the rest of us, this silly little film is all that’s left.

    Whether people go see it or not, the ideas it promotes are ridiculous and will eventually lose in the grand scheme of things.

    Keep us the good work PZ!

  • #95 Jay
    April 28, 2008

    “There have been no picket lines, no harrassment of attendees, no threats to theater owners — atheist groups, such as Minnesota Atheists, have even held group trips to see this bad movie, the better to critique it.”

    Compare this reaction to the reaction of the Catholic League and other Christian groups in America during the release of “The Golden Compass,” a film, by the way, that had all its ties to atheism effectively removed.

    And just to follow through with the comparison: “The Golden Compass” has made over $300 million in worldwide box office.

  • #96 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#93 Pwnagepanda –

    Not that I endorse it, but it’s a fake anyway. Just the trailer, repeated over and over.

  • #97 NP
    April 28, 2008

    Ugh. The tone reminds me of those craigslist job ads for shady telemarketing positions.

  • #98 jex
    April 28, 2008

    Ben Stein’s STUMP is now in

    danger of being “KNITTED”

    from PONDS

    Despite:

    A “Top THREE NINETY EIGHT” opening…

    Standing FOOD in FIELDS…

    BAD-SMELLING critics and raving PANTS

    (All gapfillers provided by randomly opening Dr Suess’s The Lorax and extracting a noun/verb/etc)

  • #99 UprightAlice
    April 28, 2008

    #97 jex said:

    (All gapfillers provided by randomly opening Dr Suess’s The Lorax and extracting a noun/verb/etc)

    And, as I surmised, it makes just as much sense as the original. I wonder if they made the movie based on the same Lorax Gap-Filler Theory.

  • #100 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#98 UprightAlice –

    And, as I surmised, it makes just as much sense as the original. I wonder if they made the movie based on the same Lorax Gap-Filler Theory.

    Lorax of the Gaps?

  • #101 DLC
    April 28, 2008

    I hope Stein got paid up front for his Performance.
    he won’t see a dime otherwise.

    It will not disappoint me to see the witch-doctors and their fans flunked.
    Excuse me while I go feed the invisible dragon in my garage.

  • #102 Niles
    April 28, 2008

    #54:

    < >

    Nope. That’s usually how it works with documentaries, but nope. Expelled did 3K its first week per screen and about 1200 the second. These aren’t good numbers. They’re not even acceptable numbers. It tied the Al Pacino bomb in per screen average and was beaten by every wide opener, I believe. Also, it was a poor weekend for everything but the top 2 films. They tried comparing themselves on any other weekend of the year and mathematicians would have been just as mad as biologists over their made-up facts.

    The ‘low-budget’ tag brings up a good point. Low-budget docs don’t start on 1000 screens. Half of that is a wide opening for a documentary, unless you’re Michael Moore’s last two movies. Where… is Osama Bin Laden didn’t start that wide and Morgan Spurlock had a track record to hang his hat on! They thought they could play with the big boys and they’re reaping the whirlwind for it. Ironically, if they had started small and been able to sell themselves to more theatres with a high average as wind at their backs, they might have ended up with another mil or so. I bet this movie will be doing 40K next week on 100 screens and that those 6000 fans are going to be the dregs of the creationist movement, people whose lives you don’t want to comtemplate

  • #103 mothra
    April 28, 2008

    What DVD sales? After Yoko Ono’s lawyers are done, I doubt Stein & Co. will have anything to peddle. I can envision a settlement where they are forbidden to even show that portion of the movie with Imagine soundtrack (how expensive would a remix/redub be?) or, are constrained from re-releasing the movie in any form. This latter outcome contains some wistful thinking.

    Our local Freethinkers group was considering an expedition to Expelled. I scuttled the idea by stating my moral objections to giving money to reprehensible people.

    ‘Ben is risking his career by taling on the world’s leading athiests.’ I was not aware of any ‘world leading athiests.’ :( Okay Ben, BRING IT ON, I’m perfectly willing to risk your career. >__<

  • #104 mothra
    April 28, 2008

    What DVD sales? After Yoko Ono’s lawyers are done, I doubt Stein & Co. will have anything to peddle. I can envision a settlement where they are forbidden to even show that portion of the movie with Imagine soundtrack (how expensive would a remix/redub be?) or, are constrained from re-releasing the movie in any form. This latter outcome contains some wistful thinking.

    Our local Freethinkers group was considering an expedition to Expelled. I scuttled the idea by stating my moral objections to giving money to reprehensible people.

    ‘Ben is risking his career by taling on the world’s leading athiests.’ I was not aware of any ‘world leading athiests.’ :( Okay Ben, BRING IT ON, I’m perfectly willing to risk your career. >__<

  • #105 wipeout
    April 28, 2008

    Imagine no religion… imagine if you can

  • #106 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    From the OP:

    Font size changes, random underlining, random color changes…

    These aspects of the e-mail alone make me burst into hysterical laughter every time I click on this post….

  • #107 Angel Rose Young
    April 28, 2008

    Rich (#15) - I really love the poem. Nice work :)

    My what a whining bunch of self-trampled-on christians! It brings to thought the 5,500 reports that were made regarding religious discrimination by the US military. The report said that the majority of the reports were from christians, of which the majority were protestant. Goddamned whining fucking christians.

  • #108 possummomma
    April 28, 2008

    What I don’t get is the “Ben Stein needs help!” angle. I can’t think of any way (unless he bank rolled some of the production) how or why Ben Stein is going to be tremendously affected by the failure of this movie. His reptutation and credibility were slumping before the movie was shown (because of his participation, lack of authority, and duplicity). I would think he would fare better, career wise, if people DIDN’T go see this hack job of a movie.

  • #109 Martin
    April 28, 2008

    #101: Dead right. And the reason Expelled is going to be expelled from nearly all its screens next Friday is that theaters quite sensibly intend to clear out all the dead wood they can to make room for Iron Man.

  • #110 JMW
    April 28, 2008

    Ben Stein has a career in the same way Paris Hilton has a career.

    And if this movie makes it out onto DVD, expect it to be a regular feature in the cheap bins at your local Wal-Mart.

    Or quickly relegated to the cheap bins after the Wally World store managers realise it’s a money loser in regular sales.

    A year later, it becomes a fixture in the movies section of your local dollar store…

  • #111 Lassi Hippelńinen
    April 28, 2008

    I feel like a prophet. Already a week ago I predicted:

    I still think they are primarily aiming for the DVD market. Being a box office flop can be turned to a DVD marketing campaign: “The movie that was EXPELLED from theatres, because IT IS TRUE!!11!!1!”

    Expect to see it for sale at the Grand Canyon…

    http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2008/04/expelled_success_or_not.php#comment-845142

  • #112 Claudia
    April 28, 2008

    Peeing my pants @:

    ‘Ben Stein, former Nixon speechwriter turned ironic symbol of the anti-hip, may be making a documentary about how the Nazis used the “controversial” theory of gravity to make bombs fall to earth’

    Many thanks to the reviewer for the Colorado Springs Independent & to Blue Collar Scientist for posting it.

  • #113 Der Bruno Stroszek
    April 28, 2008

    The following Mad Lib was created by opening random pages of James Ellroy’s American Tabloid – a book which would make an infinitely better film than Expelled. I apologise in advance for any offence caused…

    Ben Stein’s HEROIN is now in

    danger of being “BLOWN”

    from A FOREST CLEARING OUTSIDE PRAIRIE DU CHIEN

    Despite:

    A “Top-61″ opening…

    Standing HARD-ONS in SWINGIN’ DANCE REVUES…

    FRENCHY critics and raving HOMOS…

  • #114 Ginger Yellow
    April 28, 2008

    They should give the movie a new subtitle – Epelled: The Mark Mathis Legal Defence Fund.

  • #115 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    Ok, I couldn’t resist…Expelled mad-lib made using random words from The Origin of Species:

    Ben Stein’s ROCK-PIGEON is now in

    danger of being MODIFIED

    from GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS

    Despite:

    A “Top-NINETY” opening…

    Standing NATURALISTS in ISLANDS…

    GENERIC critics and raving OPTIC NERVES…

    Also, while skimming TOoS as haphazardly as possible (in order to ensure that I chose the words fairly at random), I came across this anti-ID gem, written by the man himself, Charlie D:

    But many naturalists think that something more is meant by the Natural System; they believe that it reveals the plan of the Creator; but unless it be specified whether order in time or space, or what else is meant by the plan of the Creator, it seems to me that nothing is thus added to our knowledge. (The Origin of Species, Chapter 13

    I couldn’t have put it better.

  • #116 Andreas Johansson
    April 28, 2008

    What surprises me a little is that except for things reproduced here on Pharyngula, I’ve yet to see any ads or spam for Expulsionated.

  • #117 Der Bruno Stroszek
    April 28, 2008

    #114 – great! I like the idea of Ben Stein having a rock-pigeon – it shows there’s hope for him yet.

    (Incidentally, you’ve got no idea how hard it was trying to find an adjective in a James Ellroy book)

  • #118 Mrs Tilton
    April 28, 2008

    Ben is risking his career by taking on the world’s leading atheists

    But why would Ben be taking on atheists? After all, Intelligent Design isn’t about religion. It’s science! (You can tell because they’re wearing the ritual white labcoats.)

  • #119 ZwaM
    April 28, 2008

    How ironic. Expelled being sued for using an atheist song. It must be the wrath of God rather than the greed of Yoko.

  • #120 Brian K.
    April 28, 2008

    Wow.

    “Secular critics, atheist groups and now the beloved Yoko Ono are black balling EXPELLED and trying to get it out of theaters.”

    If the atheist groups are really getting it run out of theaters, then we have more power than we thought. No wonder why Mathis is probably lying awake at night worrying about why no one is seeing this movie.

    “Standing ovations in theaters…”

    No, that was just the THX logo. Despite it not even being in the movie.

    “PLEASE SEE EXPELLED NOW: its future relies on you.”

    As a fallback option, the producers of Expelled have ordered three truckloads of DVD-R’s for mass production and will be dropping them from a helicopter at a megachurch or youth group near you.

  • #121 UprightAlice
    April 28, 2008

    Okay, I didn’t really expect anybody to actually do the Mad Lib, but we are a funny bunch. I thought I should contribute my own. Words taken semi-randomly from a bag of Almond Joy (“semi-randomly” because an Almond Joy ain’t War and Peace):

    ——————–
    Ben Stein’s COCONUT is now in
    danger of being “MANUFACTURED”
    from FACILITIES THAT PROCESS SOY AND PEANUTS
    Despite:
    A “Top-2% OR LESS” opening…
    Standing ALMONDS in HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA…
    KING SIZE critics and raving CALORIE NEEDS…
    ——————–

    This is all strangely poetic.

  • #122 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @#120 UprightAlice –

    This is all strangely poetic.

    I agree. Perhaps someone should compile these….

  • #123 jim
    April 28, 2008

    I’m at work, so the nearest book to hand is Modern Multithreading, by Carver and Tai.

    Ben Stein’s MESSAGE is now in
    danger of being “SHARED”
    from MAILBOXES
    Despite:
    A “Top-1991″ opening…
    Standing OPERATIONS in TOOLBOXES…
    COMPLETE critics and raving READERS…

    Is it just me, or does that make more sense than the original?

  • #124 Jim A
    April 28, 2008

    Sorry, I was to busy seeing Zombie Strippers last weekend.

  • #125 Jason Failes
    April 28, 2008

    “Font size changes, random underlining, random color changes — it is so typical of creationist email.”

    Oh, PZ, don’t you know that without God, all font sizes are permissible?

  • #126 Christophe Thill
    April 28, 2008

    That bitch Yoko Ono ! How dare she ? How dare she ? And for what reason ?

    Just because we took a song she owns the rights of… well ok, she didn’t write it and probably didn’t inspire it much, but that’s how copyright law works, now she owns them… We took that song without her knowledge, and put it in our movie, making it appear like propaganda for murderous dictatorships. What’s the problem with that, really ? How callous and money-hungry must you be to over-react the way she does ?

    That’s really a despicable behavior. I mean hers, not ours.

  • #127 theShaggy
    April 28, 2008

    The other day I was wondering when they’d start spinning their pathetic opening weekend.

    … aaaaaand there it is. Not quite how I expected it, but pretty awesome nonetheless.

    “Beloved” Yoko Ono. Uh-huh.

  • #128 Numenaster
    April 28, 2008

    Ben Stein’s SENSE is now in

    danger of being ADDED

    from TABLES

    Despite:

    A “Top-960″ opening…

    Standing CODES in BASES…

    OBJECT-BASED critics and raving IMPLEMENTATIONS…

    Hmm. Perhaps I shouldn’t have used “Real-Time and Systems Programming for PCs” as a source.

    Ben Stein’s PURPOSE is now in

    danger of being “INVITED”

    from MEETINGS

    Despite:

    A “Top-750,000″ opening…

    Standing EVALUATIONS in SEMINARS…

    OLD critics and raving EXPERIENCES…

    That was from “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, or as my wife has retitled it (with sticky notes on the cover), 7 Habits of Highly Disinfected Peepers. Much better.

  • #129 Laura Quilter
    April 28, 2008

    I wonder where they’re getting $3000/per theater earnings? the-numbers.com (a friend’s site) has it a good bit lower.

  • #130 Tulse
    April 28, 2008

    I wonder where they’re getting $3000/per theater earnings?

    That comes from the opening weekend per-screen, which traditionally adds up Friday-Sunday and then divides by number of screens. The actual opening weekend per-scree was $2824, which isn’t $3000, but which is reasonably close.

    Of course, the email doesn’t indicated that the per-screen is just for opening weekend…

  • #131 Greta Christina
    April 28, 2008

    What I love about this — apart from, you know, everything — is that, for movie-makers, these people seem to know nothing about how the movie business works. Movie theaters love a good controversy, if it sells tickets. After all, they’re not the ones who are going to get sued for copyright violation. They’d run “Triumph of the Will: The Musical” if they thought it would put butts in seats. If this pathetic excuse for a documentary is being “expelled” from theaters, it’s entirely because it’s tanking at the box office. Because, well, nobody wants to see it.

    But alas, I agree with #21. No matter how this played out, they were going find a way to spin in in their favor. I’m sure they’d rather have had a success, but they’ll happily play the martyred victim card for all its worth.

  • #132 Greta Christina
    April 28, 2008

    Oh, and P.S.:

    Ben Stein’s ARM is now in
    danger of being “JERKED”
    from BARS
    Despite:
    A “Top-EIGHT AND A HALF” opening…
    Standing DICKS in CAMPS…
    HARD critics and raving BIKES…

    Nearest book at hand: Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica.

  • #133 GDad
    April 28, 2008

    OK, #90 mentioned The Omega Code, so I looked it up on IMDB. I found this gem of a comment that made me dumber than I was a moment ago just because my eyes saw it.

    The Pretrib rapture theory seems to be the most popular theory. It is the one believed by Tim Lahaye, Jerry Jenkins, Mark Hitchcock, and every other Apocolyspe theorist whose works i have read.

  • #134 reallyordinary
    April 28, 2008

    They lied about the per-screen box office in that appeal. It’s not $3000. Never was. Nowhere close. Highest per screen average was $1149 on opening day, dwindling down to $220 last Thursday. Figures from boxofficemojo.com.

  • #135 reallyordinary
    April 28, 2008

    Oops – yeah, it’s close if they were just talking opening weekend. My bad.

  • #136 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    @# 133 GDad quoted –

    The Pretrib rapture theory seems to be the most popular theory. It is the one believed by Tim Lahaye, Jerry Jenkins, Mark Hitchcock, and every other Apocolyspe theorist whose works i have read.

    Apocolypse *theorists*? My brain is going to explode.

    On that note, Mad Lib using the Left Behind website:

    Ben Stein’s IMMINENT VIOLENCE is now
    In danger of being RIPPED
    from NOVELS
    Despite:
    A “Top-HUNDREDS” opening…
    Standing FEAR in JESUS CHRIST’S PERFECT KINGDOM
    UNREPENTANT critics and raving CHARACTERS

    Kind of gives you a sense of what the whole Left Behind movement is about….

  • #137 bernarda
    April 28, 2008

    Frankly, I am not sure that “gomers” is the right word. I had to look it up, and on wiki I found

    “A “Gomer” is also the term used to refer to a fan of the Christian rock band Third Day. It is taken from their song ‘Gomer’s Theme’ on their CD ‘Conspiracy No. 5′. The song talks about Gomer as the adulterous wife of the prophet Hosea.

    The term “gomer” is also a popular slang term used to describe a fan of the Indy Racing League.”

    That seems right, but if you go back to the basics,

    “Gomer is also the name of the adulterous wife of the prophet Hosea, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Hosea. Some analysts have suggested that this marriage is really a figurative or prophetic reference to a union between the “lost tribes of Israel” with the above-mentioned people of Gomer, following the Assyrian deportation.

    The relationship between Hosea and Gomer has been posited to be a parallel to the relationship between God and Israel. Even though Gomer runs away from Hosea and sleeps with another man, he loves her anyway and forgives her. Even though the people of Israel worshipped other gods, God loved them anyway and took them back.”

    The story is straightforward enough, so why do some theologians have to re-interpret it? Gomer had a fling and she went back to her husband. Big Deal.

  • #138 zy
    April 28, 2008

    The idiots and creodiots remind me of an incident involving fans of a certain actor awhile back. Said actor wrote, directed and starred in his own movie and got it released by a small studio. Said movie proceeded to bomb in ticket sales and with the critics. Fans of said actor got up in arms and were posting wildly at various forums that everybody should go out and buy tickets for all their friends and family members, even buy tickets they couldn’t use, lots of tickets so the movie would look more successful. Anyone who pointed out that they weren’t in the business of financing said actor’s career came under the flamegun. Naturally, any less than wholehearted reaction to the film itself meant you were an Enemy(TM) of all that was highest and best in humanity including said actor. It reached the point where one fan started rumors the studio conspired to suppress the movie and actually hoped it would fail… and posted as much on the studio’s own blog/forum. I guess if I have a point it’s, people are pretty stupid anyway over the most trivial things. It’s dismaying but not too surprising to see them get overwrought about their beliefs.

  • #139 themadlolscientist
    April 28, 2008

    Ben is risking his career

    BEN STEIN NEEDS YOUR HELP

    [1] I’d be more than happy to help make his “career” even riskier…..

    [2] I can recommend a good psychiatrist for both Ben and the original e-mailer…… and the new meds are waaaaaaaay more effective than the old ones……

  • #140 Disciple of "Bob"
    April 28, 2008

    I would not be shocked to learn that the original email was actually typed in Comic Sans.

  • #141 susan
    April 28, 2008

    From the February 2008 issue of “Math Horizons,” published by the Mathematical Association of America:

    Ben Stein’s TRIANGLE is now in
    danger of being “INTEGRATED”
    from TWO DIMENSIONS
    Despite:
    A “Top-N(N+1)” opening…
    Standing JUGGLERS in FORTRESSES…
    LOVELY critics and raving PENN & TELLER…

  • #142 The movie is a TROLL
    April 28, 2008

    Don’t you people realize this movie is one big TROLL?

    Do you really think Ben Stein and his cohorts believe in creationism? They’re laughing every time a scientist takes time to argue against the movie. This may be the most successful troll in the history of cinema – well maybe second to Snakes on a Plane. But seriously, the more attention we pay to this idiotic propaganda, the more it helps their cause.

  • #143 Kseniya
    April 28, 2008

    Ben Stein’s ASS is now in
    danger of being “SPOKEN”
    from NEWSPAPERS
    Despite:
    A “Top-NOTHING” opening…
    Standing PUNISHMENTS in MONASTERIES…
    THUNDERSTRUCK critics and raving SENSUALISTS…

    (Source: The Brothers Karamazov, translated by Constance Garnett.)

  • #144 Etha Williams
    April 28, 2008

    Damn…can’t find my Pevear & Volokhonsky Brothers K translation to counter the evil of the Garnett MadLib ;). Ah well, for now I’ll settle for Enderton’s A Mathematical Introduction to Logic (something BS & co could certainly use):

    Ben Stein’s COMPUTING MACHINE is now in
    Danger of being CONSTRUCTED
    from GENERAL MODELS OF SECOND-ORDER NUMBER THEORY
    Despite:
    A “Top-2^(2^n)” opening…
    Standing MODENS PONENS in THE NON-EMPTY SET…
    AXIOMATIC critics and raving FUNCTION UNIVERSES

  • #145 Paula Helm Murray
    April 29, 2008

    We had a stack of letters published in today’s Kansas City Star that were basically ‘how dare the reviewer speak badly of this movie.” They all basically read as if there was a template suggested and variants thereof.

  • #146 Kseniya
    April 29, 2008

    Ben Stein’s JAPANESE BEETLE is now in
    danger of being “TREATED”
    from MILKY SPORE
    Despite:
    A “Top GRUB INFESTATION” opening…
    Standing BACTERIUM in LAWNS AND GARDENS…
    DECAYING critics and raving LARVAE…

  • #147 Joe Max
    April 29, 2008

    “Beloved” Yoko Ono. Uh-huh.

    I think what these silly persons meant is that Yoko is “beloved” of liberals, atheists and DFHs. The meaning they intended would have been better conveyed by saying “their beloved Yoko Ono” instead of “the,” which is the snarky attitude in which it was meant. Imagine them in person saying the word “beloved” with a nasty sneer on their faces.

    My guess is that they actually think that Yoko is a “worshiped” figure in left-wing popular culture, rather than the sometimes controversial and even embarrassing figure she actually is.

    (Myself, I’m weird enough to actually like some her weird musical adventures.)

  • #148 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    Imagine them in person saying the word “beloved” with a nasty sneer on their faces.

    sorry, i can’t seem to imagine them without a nasty sneer on their faces.

  • #149 Ichthyic
    April 29, 2008

    the more it helps their cause.

    and what, exactly, would be the cause worthy of such asinine public behavior on the parts of Stein and Mathis, pray tell?

    do recall that Stein is the right of Nixon.

  • #150 Longtime Lurker
    April 29, 2008

    We may feel indebted to Yoko Ono for pwning Mathis, but would any one of us be willing to pay for a download of “This is Hell, in Paradise”?

  • #151 anonymous
    April 30, 2008

    The term “documentary” certainly has lost much of its meaning if it includes Michael Moore movires and this one, hasn’t it?

    Given that paying to see this movie constitutes paying people to engage in biogtry and dishonesty and thus participation in such activity, and given that the producers of this movie obviously don’t care about other people’s copyrights, and given that we have a legitimate fair use claim, I believe that we have a right, if not a duty, to make copies of this movie and distribute them so that people can see the unethical tactics of creationists.

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