Ben Stein Wins Roger Ebert's Disdain

At least America's last remaining actually influential film critic is Roger Ebert, and not, like, David Denby. Because Ebert, who can no longer speak due to removal of his cancerous jaw, now just writes crazy mean blogs and reviews and columns, calling out everyone who bugs him. Like Ben Stein, and his stupid anti-evolution movie.

Ben Stein, the Nixon speechwriter who was kind of funny, once, in a kind of funny movie, and was then in a series of successful contact lens solution ads, released a movie about how no one takes Creationism seriously. Ben Stein, who is an intelligent, educated person, does not actually believe in "intelligent design" but it's a useful little tool for furthering the "Christian conservatives persecuted by the liberal establishment" myth.

Anyway. This movie, Expelled, was not taken seriously by really anyone, least of all Roger Ebert, who responded to demands that he review it by posting a nutty column about all the crazy things creationists believe.

That, apparently, did not appease either those demanding Ebert take the film seriously or those demanding Ebert eviscerate the film amusingly, so yesterday he posted a million-word takedown of Ben Stein and pseudo-science and evangelical Christianity and everything, basically.

And there is worse, much worse. Toward the end of the film, we find that Stein actually did want to title it "From Darwin to Hitler." He finds a Creationist who informs him, "Darwinism inspired and advanced Nazism." He refers to advocates of eugenics as liberal. I would not call Hitler liberal. Arbitrary forced sterilization in our country has been promoted mostly by racists, who curiously found many times more blacks than whites suitable for such treatment.

Ben Stein is only getting warmed up. He takes a field trip to visit one "result" of Darwinism: Nazi concentration camps. "As a Jew," he says, "I wanted to see for myself." We see footage of gaunt, skeletal prisoners. Pathetic children. A mound of naked Jewish corpses. "It's difficult to describe how it felt to walk through such a haunting place," he says. Oh, go ahead, Ben Stein. Describe. It filled you with hatred for Charles Darwin and his followers, who represent the overwhelming majority of educated people in every nation on earth. It is not difficult for me to describe how you made me feel by exploiting the deaths of millions of Jews in support of your argument for a peripheral Christian belief. It fills me with contempt.

Yeesh. Not since Deuce Bigalow has Ebert been so critical.

(Then, just just for kicks, Ebert answers a letter from a reader regarding our post on the "Worst Review Ever" by publicly naming the letter-writer as the former U.S. editor for FHMOnline, i.e. the person who is pissed off at being unemployed while reviews like that one get some idiot paid. Hah.)