August 28, 2012

Lovers of Truth and Justice, the great moment is upon us at last. The clouds have parted, trumpets are playing, Terry Gilliam-animated angels are singing, and somewhere in the afterlife Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan have paused their Sisyphean routine of aggressively jerking each other off for a moment to stand up and take notice. What could be the cause for all this? Simply the one and only thing that could actually advance the ‘creationism is bullshit’ argument at this late date: Bill Nye’s endorsement of it. To those of you born before 1988 or after 1996 this probably means nothing. To the rest of us, it’s a bit like if LeVar Burton came out against 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight, declaring both francises unfit for human consumption. Which is to say, monumentous. The theory of evolution, along with the imperial horribleness of the E.L. James canon are things most of us already believed in. But sometimes it takes a high-powered childhood icon who has remained mostly irrelevant since the ’90s to come out of hibernation to remind us that not everyone does–and that this is quite a big problem.

Of course, creationism isn’t something you have to ‘come out’ against so much as reiterate the complete lunacy of. At least, if you’re intelligent and enjoy basking in the supreme knowledge that you’re right, which most of us do. But Nye’s statement speaks to something more than logic. I can’t help but think it possible that Nye’s seminal 1993 television show, despite its liberal approach to hands-on education, might have gained him the trust of a Southern audience base, an audience of children who then grew up to be adults who had to go to school and sit in classrooms where a fictional history of the earth’s creation was told to them as fact, and that this audience today, instead of burning Bill Nye icons as the Putineers are so fond of doing with Madonna, will take what he’s said into account. Will Nye’s august presence on the viral internet bring about some kind of political sea change? Will there come a day in a liberally advanced future when we look back on the artifact of Bill Nye, as bow-tied and gaunt faced as he remains our fondest childhood memories, standing up against the surprisingly large legions of people who want their children to be at a mental disadvantage to say: “you’re holding America back”? Who, and what, in this great movement could be next? Jackée Harry staging a sit-in protest against Chick-fil-A? Tony Danza making some kind of combination Kony-Pussy Riot-Global Warming awareness video? None can say. I only know that with Nye setting the new groundwork for social change, the odds are in our favor.

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