Thursday, January 11, 2007

The New Multiculturalism

Peak Energy has a good post on the recent controversy at a school in Federal Way, Washington, whose genius loci is apparently a fellow named Frosty Hardison:

"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."
I've seen many oddball refutatations of global warming, but the notion that it won't make things hot enough is a new one on me.

On the other hand, Hardison's wife agrees with him. So for now, at least, it's two against one:
"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."
Damn straight. There's no need to believe anything that might make you feel bad about yourself, or your country, unless it has something to do with sex. Which is why we should restrict our ahistorical, prejudicial scapegoating to fags, the media, and all former members of the Clinton administration.

Luckily, the dispute in Federal Way will be solved through strict adherence to the principles of Scientific Inquiry:
School Board members adopted a three-point policy that says teachers who want to show the movie must ensure that a "credible, legitimate opposing view will be presented," that they must get the OK of the principal and the superintendent, and that any teachers who have shown the film must now present an "opposing view."
Credible and legitimate denialism? They might as well demand the Gorgon's head while they're at it.

All this is necessary because, as Board president Ed Barney suggests, there are other beliefs out there, and it'd be wrong to indoctrinate children by pointing out - in a science class, for instance - that some of them are more plausible than others.

That sounds a bit like multiculturalist relativism to me. But as far as I can tell, the Right's famous arguments against "lowering academic standards" by teaching ebonics, or "thwarting the pursuit of excellence" by giving prizes to winners and losers, don't apply here even tangentially. For some reason, the idea that there's a qualitative distinction to be made between the peer-reviewed findings of world climatologists, and the bad-faith bullshit spouted by conservatarian economists like Alister McFarquhar, remains scandalous to the pitiless scourges of postmodern thought.

Beyond that, a speaker's credibility depends more on her audience than her facts; very few of us will ever manage to become "credible" to people like Mr. and Mrs. Hardison, so long as we insist on interfering with their smug pursuit of cheap grace.

Then again, who cares? It's not like anything important hinges on this debate.

UPDATE: Frosty Hardison is much, much crazier than I thought, not least because his solution for global warming is worldwide baptism, and a nuclear-powered refrigerator at each pole.

Isn't it nice that he's able to control what his neighbors' children can, and can't, learn about in school?


Eli said...

I just can't get past the idea of a global warming denier named "Frosty"...

Anonymous said...

Both sides of science? So they'd prefer, what, a lesson that gravity exists but it also doesn't exist, so it will hold you to the Earth while also allowing you to float away like a cloud? Yay, science!

Can you imagine the kind of physicians we're going to end up with via this philosophy toward education? Yeesh...

The Kenosha Kid said...

OK class, I hope you all enjoyed this year's production of "The Diary of Ann Frank." And now, with an opposing viewpoint, we present David Irving.."

Phila said...

OK class, I hope you all enjoyed this year's production of "The Diary of Ann Frank." And now, with an opposing viewpoint, we present David Irving.."

Hey, ya gotta teach the controversy!

JMS said...

frosty is a farce on his house, and I feel sorry for his 7 children.

I must give props to the PI reporter for teasing the humor out of the story.

When your straight news includes quotes from frosty and the school board creationists, punctuation can make all the difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't discount this guy just yet, I spoke to him at the school board meeting and he's got a lot of good points without the Biblical stuff.

I found this link at another blog. At least he is encouraging people to get the full skinny before they start spending our tax money!

Anonymous said...

This world is sadly full of egregious assclowns like Frosty Hardison, who defy all reason. My deepest regret is that somehow a mindnumbing knob like "Frosty" is even given a moment's recognition. Worse still, he's bred seven innocents who will, no doubt, go forth and spread his distorted, uber-Christian, Twilight Zone view of life as we know it, after a growing up with the Circus of Inanity ringmaster. If any semblance of Frosty's beloved God is real, may she bless his children and endow them with enough sense to seek the truth of moderation, as opposed to that of their South Park centerpiece father.

Phila said...

At least he is encouraging people to get the full skinny before they start spending our tax money!

Yeah, I'm sure he just pores over the Bush Administration's budgets, looking for evidence of waste and fraud in everything from farm subsidies to faith-based initiatives to the Iraq War.

Our tax dollars subsidize the energy industry too, last time I checked.