Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Horton Gets Expelled?

(See Expelled for a treatment of this really dumb creationist movie.)

So we went to see Horton Hears a Who, and it was surprisingly good. The Kid and I enjoyed it, and it was some nice time away from the Interloper - er, baby for my daughter.

There was one point when I was a little worried about the underlying message, however. I'm all for "a person's a person, no matter how small," and the idea that every person can make a difference. Very humanistic ideas, those. But I squirmed a bit when the arrogant, controlling kangaroo insisted that Horton not teach his students about his idea that there was an invisible world on his speck, inhabited by undetectable (to anyone but him) people. The kangaroo haughtily insisted that without evidence, Horton could not teach the existence of Whos, and pursued the issue to the point of using main force to prevent him from doing so, and indeed of trying to destroy the touchstone of his wild theory. I think you'll see where I'm going here.

I doubt the writers had any intention of presenting a creationism parable here. We all know that Horton is indeed correct, and in the end he is able to prove the existence of the Whos, even to a contrite kangaroo. But it's still troubling that from The X-Files to kids' movies, our culture tends to paint skeptics and scientists as the bad guys, while dreamers and believers are always seen as heroes.


CrypticLife said...

I had exactly the same sense when I went to see the movie with my three kids.

Oddly, shortly before that I had read a review on yahoo that claimed the movie was anti-religion! I'm not sure what the person actually meant, except that the kangaroo does say her kid is "pouch-schooled" and the reviewer did mention the film teaches kids "not to trust authority".

Cogito said...

I guess I can see the pouch-schooled thing as targeting Christian home schoolers, but I reckon it's really just meant as a joke. Well, it goes to show you can unpack even the most innocent representations in multiple ways!