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Ben Stein presumably knows, assuming he has access to a map and the Discovery Institute's address, that their offices aren't downtown. He's a stone cold liar.

Posted by Fnarf | April 21, 2008 10:16 AM

I thought they were on 3rd.

The Discovery Institute is our secular city's shame. And Mars Hill Church.

Posted by max solomon | April 21, 2008 10:23 AM

Darwin Award!

Er, right? No? Oh.

Posted by elenchos | April 21, 2008 10:27 AM

Expelled's showing this weekend is actually very bad. Compared to what they've spent on marketing, with this opening they stand to lose their shirts.

For comparison Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11 earned far, far more on their opening weekends while opening on fewer screens.

Posted by Dave M | April 21, 2008 10:28 AM

I was more than a little horrified to see this playing at the Uptown. Ben Stein is such a fucking waste of flesh.

Posted by kid icarus | April 21, 2008 10:44 AM

Expelled earned $3.4m on 1052 screens ($3,232/screen). By contrast, Sicko, the last highly partisan issuementary, did $23.9m on 441 screens ($54,195/screen).

And I'm willing to bet that a good portion of Expelled's revenue is from people who strongly disagree but want to know the specifics so they can talk about it intelligently (to be fair, the same is true for Moore's dreck, I'm sure).

So I'm not sure it's all that accurate to characterize Expelled as having done "rollicking business" in its opening weekend. Better adjectives would be "disappointing" or "dismal."

Posted by also | April 21, 2008 10:46 AM

Not to mention the fact that the president of the Discovery Institute had a butt-long editorial in the Seattle Times last week:

Posted by PopTart | April 21, 2008 10:46 AM

You guys, an insane documentary anchored by Ben Stein isn't remotely comparable to Michael Moore. I mean, Ruloff may have set expectations pretty high in the LA Times last week, but a $3.15 million gross (for a movie with production and marketing in the "single-digit millions") with an almost $3,000 per-screen average isn't bad at all for a documentary. They will almost certainly recoup all costs and then some after DVD sales.

But I'm far more worried about the ideological success of the movie. Did you know legislation inspired by the film's topic ("academic freedom") is being pushed Louisiana, Florida, and Missouri right now?

Posted by annie | April 21, 2008 10:58 AM

I thought their offices were in West Seattle, in the building with the ginormous flag out front. My mistake.

It's so depressing to live in Jesusland.

Posted by Fnarf | April 21, 2008 11:05 AM

Someone should poll the people seeing the movie and ask if they are seeing it because they agree with it or because they want to make fun of it. My roommates and I are trying to figure out a way to see it without boosting their ratings. It sounds too awful to miss.

Posted by hmm | April 21, 2008 11:08 AM

Yeah, well I hope you Stranger folks remember what idiots the Discovery Institute are the next time you extol the virtues of road tolling - as they're also the biggest local advocates for that onerous set of (yes, dare I say it - elitist!) proposals.

Posted by Mr. X | April 21, 2008 11:08 AM

Saying "legislation is being pushed" or a "law has been introduced" is meaningless. Digging up scary bills that some obscure state lege wrote is a classic fundraising canard. And by the same token, fringe legislators introduce stillborn bills as red meat for their base.

Now if Annie has an example of a bill that has a snowball's chance to move through the statehouse, that would be interesting. Otherwise, this thing is just a hook that both sides use to hang their donation letters on.

P.S. Can I nominate Ben Stein for a Darwin Award for being too dumb to avoid trans fats or whatever he eventually dies of? Even if he has kids?

Posted by elenchos | April 21, 2008 11:10 AM

What Annie said.

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 21, 2008 11:29 AM

@12: If you're not worried about it, that's your prerogative. But state legislatures and local school boards have historically been the route by which creationism gets into public schools. Post-Dover, the intelligent design movement has obviously switched strategies from "teach the controversy" to "teachers should be able to teach whatever they want"; these academic freedom bills are really the front line for ID proponents. Currently the Florida bill seems the most serious; granted, I strongly doubt it would pass constitutional muster. But it's still smart to be aware of what's happening.

Posted by annie | April 21, 2008 11:54 AM

Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennysylvania, has a pretty scathing op-ed piece on "Expelled" up over at today:

Posted by COMTE | April 21, 2008 12:02 PM

@15: a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets it's pants on. this is what the american right understands about america: americans are shitkicking rubes. the "left" overestimates the intelligence of the voting public every fucking time.

Posted by max solomon, proud elitist | April 21, 2008 12:17 PM

There's a much bigger issue that no one seems to be discussing; The Discovery Institute has enormous power in shaping Seattle policy, specifically transportation, through their subsidiary Cascadia.

Many who have worked in political and non-profit circles have shared with me their concerns about directly, or indirectly legitimizing the embarrassing (and dangerous) anti-science of Intelligent Design through their partnerships with Cascadia, and acceptance of Cascadia-related funding.

The Discovery Institute has repeatedly proven they make no distinction between scholarship and propaganda, and a quick Google reveals countless instances of unethical and manipulative behavior to forward their religious agenda.

Someone needs to begin asking Seattle a very serious question of whether forward-thinking progressives should be affiliated with Cascadia. Perhaps some local, independent paper, not afraid to challenge the status quo?

Posted by Scott Kennedy | April 22, 2008 4:45 AM

just saw Expelled... Ben Stein's goal in making Expelled (i gather) is to promote free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.

Posted by patrick | April 22, 2008 3:12 PM

Isn't it funny how the progressive, liberal, atheist, humanist, types often refuse to look at or respect the opinions of others, yet they preach tolerance and open-mindedness, all the while pounding down opposing viewpoints and working to pass legislation to limit the free-speech of opposing views? Grow up lefties!

Posted by Balanced | April 25, 2008 1:01 PM

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