The Media and Monkeys

March 26, 2007 at 10:26 pm (movies, politics)

Hello All—just a short reflection today on the potential media has to influence our thoughts and feelings. Flipping through channels, I caught the end of Inherit the Wind (1960), an excellent film that dramatizes the events surrounding the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial, The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes. The trial ultimately struck down the Butler Act, which made the teaching of evolution illegal in Tennessee. It seems like déjà vu with the recent arguments over the teaching of evolution and intelligent design in schools.

Honestly, it seems like both sides could ease up a bit—my biology teacher handled it well, I thought. She explained Darwin’s theory, and carbon dating, and then some students offered that these methods might be incorrect, following Biblical text. Our teacher agreed that we could believe what we wanted and consider all sides in the argument—and that was it. Everyone was satisfied, no trials necessary.

Watching Inherit the Wind reminded me that it’s been a while since a film really tried to present a social argument—in the film, two fundamentally opposing sides clash, but ultimately respect each other. Sometimes creating antagonism where there was perhaps none seems to be the purpose of the media—in the news we fight wars against evil to save others from oblivion; in film we are given no reason for the crafty villain’s deeds, but cheer his inevitable death. This film doesn’t oversimplify, and I’d like to see that again.

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1 Comment

  1. Land of Shopping said,

    This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

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