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Best Story of the Year So Far

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grist.org

Congrats to Seattle P-I enviro reporters Robert McClure and Lisa Stiffler for unearthing the funniest story I've read in a good long while.

Here's the nut: The school board in Federal Way, a southern exurb of Seattle, just put a "moratorium" on showings of An Inconvenient Truth, based largely on the complaints of one parent, Frosty Hardison.

The glory is in the details. Right off the bat we get this:

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

Bam! Holy crap that's awesome. "Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore." By God I'm making a t-shirt.

OK, so, Gore left out the "End Times could render the whole issue moot" perspective. Clearly the film is one-sided! So school board member David Larson proposed the moratorium.

Why prevent the movie from being shown? To encourage free speech of course:

"Somebody could say you're killing free speech, and my retort to them would be we're encouraging free speech," said Larson, a lawyer. "The beauty of our society is we allow debate."

Zing! George Orwell, meet Barney Fife. Fife, Orwell.

So banning the movie will encourage free speech. But wait, let's not get hysterical. They didn't so much ban it as require that some opposing perspectives be provided alongside it. Take it away, school board president Ed Barney:

"What is purported in this movie is, 'This is what is happening. Period. That is fact,'" Barney said.

Students should hear the perspective of global-warming skeptics and then make up their minds, he said. After they do, "if they think driving around in cars is going to kill us all, that's fine, that's their choice."

Asked whether an alternative explanation for evolution should be presented by teachers, Barney said it would be appropriate to tell students that other beliefs exist. "It's only a theory," he said.

Hat trick!

McClure and Stiffler then quote the IPCC on the basic facts of climate change and dryly note:

The basics of that position are backed by the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Sciences.

But what they fail to note -- hello, one-sided reporting! -- is that those scientific organizations hate America. Take it away, Frosty's wife:

"From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."

Oh lordy. Is it my birthday already?

For the record, "students contacted Wednesday said they favor allowing the movie to be shown."

I'm sure someone out there will object to this story as parading well-meaning, heartland-values-holding Americans before us for ridicule. But you know what? Screw that. America lives in terror of non-existent dirty hippies. Meanwhile, troglodytes are running the show from school boards all the way up to the presidency. They deserve a little time in the spotlight. It's long overdue.