As the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth barrels its way towards being An Inevitable Oscarwinner, the movie still has the ability to rile up those with superstitious minds more suited for the Dark Ages than the 21st century. After Frosty Hardiman (apparently his actual name and not just his Collider.com alias) learned that his daughter would be watching the documentary in her seventh grade class, he pitched a fit and had the film removed from the curriculum of his Seattle, Washington suburb.
"No, you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation — the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet — for global warming," Hardiman wrote in an e-mail to the Federal Way School Board. This sentence seems to indicate that he would be OK with a documentary that placed all the blame for global warming at the feet of Saddam Hussein… and also that he hasn’t seen the film, which actually does no such thing, and discusses how global warming comes from global sources. We just happen to have been at the forefront of that particular sort of pollution for the past few decades.
Hardiman’s problems with the film are so ludicrous as to almost make you wonder if this isn’t some sort of hoax perpetrated by the film’s PR team – he tells the Washington Post that he believes global warming is one of the signs of the return of Jesus Christ. Oh, yes, he’s a religious nut, and oh, yes, he sees global warming as a good thing.
Hardiman isn’t just a religious fruitcake – he’s a computer consultant! We’ve all invoked the name of Jesus when confronted with the Blue Screen of Death, but only Frosty Hardiman actually meant to call on His divine IT skills at that moment. "Thou shalt power cycle thy computer."
The good news is that the ban was shortlived. The school board was inundated with emails and phone calls – some of them “hurtful and obscene” (I can only hope this came from you, my loyal readers) – and they decided to allow the film to be shown… but “only with the written permission of a principal and only when it is balanced by alternative views that are approved by both a principal and the superintendent of schools.”
This is, in many ways, the flip side of the removing of Harry Potter books from school libraries. Hardiman isn’t a legitimate scientific crank – he’s just someone whose feelings are hurt by the movie. Someone whose faith isn’t strong enough to be contradicted or challenged in any way by anyone else, alive or on DVD. It’s another example of schools – supposedly staffed with trained and educated people with backgrounds in what they’re teaching – bowing to the pressure of parents who just don’t know what they’re talking about. For the love of God, even George W Bush paid lip service to global warming in his State of the Union speech – are these people STILL going to deny it? Will Exxon keep funding shady and illegitimate research to muddy the waters of undeniable scientific consensus?
Probably. And parents will probably try to get some books or movies banned from schools this year as well. In the meantime, let’s just hope that every time a Frosty Hardiman pipes up he encourages another dozen people to seek out that thing he wants suppressed.