For reasons known only to himself, Ben Stein, former Nixon speechwriter, made a movie called eXpelled, which argues in favor of Intelligent Design. (And may we hope it will improve the IDers’ opinion of we atheists to note the Christ-like generosity I’ve displayed in using the word “argue” in that last sentence?) The proponents of Intelligent Design claim that it’s science all the way down to believe there’s no way life could arise in the universe without some anthropomorphic sentience behind it, and that ID totally has nothing to do with any religion like for instance lets just say Christianity. That unimpeachable lack of religiosity notwithstanding, eXpelled was distributed in a scripturally-resonant manner, in that it came and went from theaters like a thief in the night. If you asked me why Roger Ebert never reviewed eXpelled, that would be my guess as to the reason. Ben Stein is a professional conservative with a movie to promote, though, so if you ask him why Roger Ebert never reviewed it, he might say it’s because Ebert’s in the tank for Big Evolution. In fact, tonight via Pandagon I saw that he apparently did say something like that.
Stein must have confused Roger Ebert for a Democratic Senator or something, rather than a movie reviewer – a man whose job it is, among other things, to publicly declare awful movies to be awful, and explain why he thinks so. And of course, not only does Ebert do this job, not only has he done it for decades, but he is very, very successful at it. Maybe the most successful of anyone, ever. Why Ben Stein didn’t know better than to pick this fight, I couldn’t say, but god bless him that he did, so I could get to read Ebert pwning him so hard his trilobite ancestors probably felt it.