Maybe Hanke should be expelled

Ken Hanke’s review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed [April 23 Xpress] should define him as a knee-jerking robot that reviews films of sensitive subjects without analysis or minimal reasoning, in favor of his obvious one-sided worldview.

Pull up, online, his four- and five-star reviews of Michael Moore’s films; compare, and ask yourself: What’s really at play here? While Hanke French kisses Moore, he skews Stein for reasons that have nothing to do with the content of the film.

I had no expectations for Expelled other than to see how another filmmaker uses the Moore-ian genre of personal essay. So it was with intense curiosity that I read the half-star Hanke review. The half-star was all I needed to get off the pot and experience for myself the source of such fevered hyperbole. How revealing; Hanke lists Stein’s genre as faux-documentary propaganda and Michael Moore’s tour de force’s as documentary? Really?

Hanke is so focused on squashing religious/scientific compromises, he fails to notice the real topic of the film. The film is not titled: “Jesus Lives and Science is Dead.”

Expelled addresses censorship, the death of critical analysis and the slandering of free thought. Intelligent design becomes a vehicle to expose the mini-minded pseudo-religion of Scientism and its New Speak, atheistic dogma. In this politically correct nation, it has become clear: If you break rank with the anointed on politically sensitive dialogue, be prepared to pay. You like your job? You like your future? Then zip it, buddy—zip it. Gee Hanke, funny that got by you.

Hanke can hardly refrain from ramming his loathing of anyone who would dare question any idea not cleared by his sense of New Speak. Hanke prefers to preach to the choir of WNC’s witch-hunters than to review a film based on merits.

— Stephen M. Rapp
Pisgah Forest

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54 thoughts on “Maybe Hanke should be expelled

  1. Dionysis

    Hmmmm, so ‘creationism’ (‘intelligent design’) should be considered by scientists as a reasonable component of ‘compromises’, huh? The problem is that ‘creationism’ is devoid of even a shred of empirical support, and exists only in the minds of followers, immune to rational thought. But that is certainly their prerogative.

    “Hanke can hardly refrain from ramming his loathing of anyone who would dare question any idea not cleared by his sense of New Speak.”

    Funny, if there is such a thing as ‘New Speak’, it would be epitomized by the Orwellian verbiage spewed out over the last eight years by the extremist neo cons that have hijacked our democracy…’war really means peace’…’freedom’s on the march’…etc.

    The good news is that Stein’s hit piece will soon be available to add to your home movie library at cut-out prices. Stock up!

  2. travelah

    Dionysis, how do you go about defining a twice duly elected President as hijacking our democracy? As for creationism, it is a fact that all the evidence used to support the theory of common descent can also be applied to commonality among species which works very well with creationism. The point of Ben Steins documentary is that an extreme bias exists against those who question the political and anti-religious motives of those who promote inadequate theories as fact rather than theory.
    I think it is clear beyond refute that the liberal mindset is specifically targeted against any measure of diversity of opinion that steps outside their worldview. That is pure fascist hypocrisy.

  3. Dionysis

    tavelah spews out the usual: “liberal mindset”…”anti-religious”…”facist hypocrisy”…”I think”…blah blah blah”

    So sayeth the great sage travelah, foot soldier for the universally discredited right-wing brigade, fighting the good fight.

    You know, if you ever actually tried to factually respond to any poster that takes you to task instead of the usual diversion, obfuscation and simply ignoring that which you cannot effectivey refute, then you might be worth taking time to respond to; as it is, it’s an exercise in futility (not because you can make any factual case, but because you lack the inherent honesty and integrity to admit when you’ve been bested).

    I’ve heard and read every argument you’ve thrown out there on virtually every topic, ad nauseum, from more astute wingnuts than you. Frankly, the same old tired, discredited drivel is boring.

    I hope someone else will get baited into paying you the attention you so clearly crave. Keep trolling!

  4. travelah

    Dionysis, it is telling you offer no rebuttal. Instead you are relying on the constant whine and empty ad homs. I am not trolling. My replies and posts are quite sincere.
    Were you aware that the evidence used to support the theory of common descent is equally applicable to commonality among species? You claim to be well read regarding the arguments of those you oppose yet you cannot seem to craft an articulate response to any of our positions without expressing a personal animus.

  5. Dionysis

    “Dionysis, it is telling you offer no rebuttal.”

    No, what is revealing is for anyone to read your transparent efforts at avoiding having to acknowledge you were proven wrong, and your consistent refusal to stay on topic when it gets uncomfortable. You are the penultimate whiner, yapping incessantly about ‘leftists’, ‘Socialists’, etc. One of many examples: you made the incredible claim that McCain’s clergy ‘problem’ was “manufactured by liberals.” When direct quotes from the head of American Catholics was offered to refute your nonsense, instead of admitting “okay, maybe they’re not all liberals” or something like that, you pulled out of the air that by citing him, I was an anti-Protestant bigot, thereby changing the subject entirely, ascribing a lie to someone else and totally slithering away from your error (in fact, I am somewhere between an agnostic and atheist). That shows a fundamental lack of integrity and honesty. While that is my opinion, it seems to be widely shared among other posters to this publication.

    And in spite of your lofty view of yourself, you are still just a third-rate wingnut who plays like a broken record, and do not deserve to command anyone’s time (unless they’re just bored to tears).

    You ARE a troll, whether you admit it or not. And not even a particularly effective one, although you score high on the irritation scale (but that’s part of the game, isn’t it?).

  6. Eli Cohen

    “Travelah the Troller” That has a nice ring to it. “Mr. T”, if you want to believe that fairy tale called christi-anity (sounds like shawn hannity) you are welcome to your delusions. But try to keep it to yourself. You continually bring up issues that have been dealt with in this forum and many others. You offer nothing new and you are only an irritant to the majority who post here. That would make you a troll…now, say something stupid.

  7. Dionysis

    travelah, you are a walking, talking joke. You consistently slither out admitting you’re wrong time and time again, changing the subject, ignoring the facts or whatever it takes to avoid owning up to your ridiculous claims, yet, in the best neo con tradition, hurl these very deficiencies at everyone else. I challenged you to make a factual as to what Bush and the Republicon Congress has done for the country, inviting you to choose any area. You ignore it and blather on about something else. As others note, you are a broken record, offer nothing new and can’t even make a cogent or persuasive case to defend your extremist views.

    As far as ‘personal animus’ is concerned, it is untrue this is added to all my posts, although I do admit to occasionally doing so. Frankly, I’m just as tired as the next person of hearing or reading the same old discredited twaddle delivered by smart-alecks.

  8. travelah

    Dionysis, you wrote:
    I challenged you to make a factual as to what Bush and the Republicon Congress has done for the country, inviting you to choose any area.

    I have not seen that challenge from you but before I proceed, why would you think I have an interest in extolling the virtues of George Bush? I am looking up through the thread and I do not see anything in this thread particularly about George Bush or Republicans in particular. The thread is discussing an entirely different topic.

  9. Dionysis

    “I have not seen that challenge from you”

    Then you’re either visually impaired or selective in what you acknowledge. You in fact did reply to that posting, ignoring the content (I stated that any argument you might make I would ‘demolish with facts’).

    That you choose to ignore things is common, and that you (once again, like clockwork) try and change the subject is also expected.

    Now, I know you’ll be crushed, but I have much more important things to do these days than pay attention to your blather. I have to get working on renovating all of those ‘internal detetention centers’ build within the U.S. by Halliburton. I’m part of Obama’s post-election Reeducation Corp; we’re going to make them almost home-like for you and your fellow wingnuts.

    What color of wall paint do you prefer?

  10. Cheshire

    “…that fairytale called christi-anity”
    On that point: Every religion I’ve encountered has a creation story, not just christianity.

    Back to the original gripe of the letter: Hanke does an amazing job of movie review. The movie poses as serious debate and scientific material. Hanke critiqued it as such. If it used paper-thin logic where steel I-beam logic was required, it deserved the shredding it got. Keep on calling ’em like you see ’em, Hanke.

  11. robert

    “the mini-minded pseudo-religion of Scientism and its New Speak, atheistic dogma”

    Gotta love it.

    Where’s Ken and his response?

  12. travelah

    Dionysis, please point out this request so that I can see it. It is ceretainly not in this thread.

  13. Dionysis

    “Dionysis, please point out this request so that I can see it. It is ceretainly not in this thread.”

    It was in last week’s edition. Feel free to search for it yourself.

    Is pink okay with you as a wall color? Tests show the color reduces aggression.

  14. Ken Hanke

    Where’s Ken and his response?

    Well, Ken was busy with this week’s Screening Room column, for one thing. (These things always end up taking more time than I think they will.) For another, this topic has pretty much been thrashed to death for the past month in the comments under the review for the film itself. Factor in time out for seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulland watching the remarks here degenerate into the usual left-right catfight and…

    Anyway, to put it briefly, the objections to the review are all grounded in the film’s supposed point of people being shut out of academia and scientific research by daring to speak positively about intelligent design. Fine, except the point doesn’t fit the facts when you examine them — which is to say, once you clear away all the half truths presented in the film. Things like the guy “fired” by the Smithsonian — he turns out to have only ever had an unpaid position there, and he wasn’t even fired from that. More, the argument that the paper that got him into trouble is referred to as “peer reviewed,” but it now appears that he was the only “peer” who reviewed it. And there’s the professor who lost his tenure, but the movie fails to report that this was based on the fact that he had come to the university in question based on his previous academic work, and that once there he had failed to live up to expectations, producing little of merit. Like it or not, academia is a publish-or-perish world. The misinformation, wild leaps and bizarre Soviet cinema styled guilt-by-association editing to create an image far removed from the truth.

    Also, this is just bad filmmaking. (And for the record, Stein oughtn’t be compared to Michael Moore. Moore makes his films, Stein did not make this.) I might feel I was way off-base and out of step here, were it not for the fact that this is one of the worst reviewed films out there. Check out Rotten Tomatoes — 30 scorchingly bad reviews vs. 3 good ones. And before folks cue up Mr. Agnew’s old “Liberal Media” blast, it would be as well to note that hardcore right wing critic Kyle Smith (NY POST) is among those trashing the movie. For that matter, check out the NATIONAL REVIEW on this film —

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGYwMzdjOWRmNGRhOWQ4MTQyZDMxNjNhYTU1YTE5Njk=&w=MA

  15. Louis

    “I might feel I was way off-base and out of step here, were it not for the fact that this is one of the worst reviewed films out there. Check out Rotten Tomatoes—30 scorchingly bad reviews vs. 3 good ones.”

    For those that consume contemporary film commentary, Rotten Tomatoes is an entertaining, sometimes even elucidating, resource—it presents a wide range of “voices.” That said, the fact that you happened to find your informed critical opinion, with regard to “Expelled,” in the overwhelming majority doesn’t have the slightest relevance with the merit of that individual opinion. Should those reviewers that find themselves among the lone “3 good ones” reconsider their opinions as being off-base or out of step? If they do, such journalistic fairweatherness is not worth the paper it’s printed on and would be far more egregious than the fact that they gave “Expelled” a positive review in the first place.

    The point is, giving re-consideration to one’s submitted movie review—or any deliberative opinion, for that matter—takes guts because it reveals attentive introspection (I wished the practice would reveal itself more frequently among trusted film critics), but not solely because one finds themselves in the minority—overwhelming or not.

    Your well-informed critical opinion on “Expelled” speaks for itself. Quite well, I might add, irrespective of the degree of harmony, or disharmony, between it and the reader’s. Please don’t leave the Xpress readership—intentional or not—with the impression that the outcome of your critical convictions, at least on this matter, can be altered by possibly finding yourself in the minority.

    As far as this so-called “catfight” on “Expelled” is concerned, appreciation for critical opinion should be gleaned from the writer’s thoughtful ability to ambidextrously convey their informed interpretations—not about lefty or righty. In this instance, it’s reasonable to conclude that criterion has been met.

  16. Ken Hanke

    That said, the fact that you happened to find your informed critical opinion, with regard to “Expelled,” in the overwhelming majority doesn’t have the slightest relevance with the merit of that individual opinion.

    No, you’re quit right, but it’s sometimes worth looking at a thing a second time if you find yourself way out on the edge. I’ve certainly been on the edge before and have no problem with it (see my views on Million Dollar Baby, for example). But I am open to the possibility of being wrong and re-evaluating a film. I’ve certainly (sometimes successfully) gotten people to look at a movie they disliked a second time.

    Should those reviewers that find themselves among the lone “3 good ones” reconsider their opinions as being off-base or out of step? If they do, such journalistic fairweatherness is not worth the paper it’s printed on and would be far more egregious than the fact that they gave “Expelled” a positive review in the first place.

    Fair enough, but I don’t think it would hurt them to look at the evidence and look at the film a second time.

  17. travelah

    Dionysis, if your request was important enough to raise in an unrelated thread, it should be easy enough for you to find it. I do not have a vested interest in it one way of the other.

  18. travelah

    Mr Hanke, if you are this emotionally invested in the movies you review, then you have too much of a bias to do the public any good service. Your function is to recommend based on interest level rather than whether or not a film meets your political and social worldview standards.
    Now, I have listened to some of your comments on the radio regarding films and it seems to me that there are often times you offer commentary on movies you have not yet seen. Is that true?

  19. Ken Hanke

    Mr Hanke, if you are this emotionally invested in the movies you review, then you have too much of a bias to do the public any good service. Your function is to recommend based on interest level rather than whether or not a film meets your political and social worldview standards.

    Typical travelah logic and the usual gambit of changing the argument, since you obviously don’t want to address the issue of the level of mendacity at work in Expelled. Aside from which, my “function” is to review a film from every possible aspect, not to advise whether it has some kind of undefined “interest level.” You want Expelled critiqued that way? Fine — here it is: For people who like this kind of thing, this is the sort of thing they will like. You can now take that and apply it to every movie ever made and never have to read another review.

    Now, I have listened to some of your comments on the radio regarding films and it seems to me that there are often times you offer commentary on movies you have not yet seen. Is that true?

    Not in the sense you mean, no, it’s not true. I always identify when I’m talking about a movie I haven’t seen and make it clear that I might express my own interest level in seeing it or not, but, I have never and will never offer a review of something I’ve never seen.

  20. travelah

    Hanke, I have listened to you and I’ve listened to Ben Stein. I found Stein more credible.
    Why would you offer an opinion on a movie you have not seen? I think I’ve heard you pan a movie you had not seen on Matt Mittan’s show. I may be wrong though.

  21. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, I have listened to you and I’ve listened to Ben Stein. I found Stein more credible.

    Boy, there’s a shocker!

    Why would you offer an opinion on a movie you have not seen?

    Why would anyone not offer an opinion about what something looks like based on the trailer or ad campaign? You’ve never said, “Gee, that looks stupid” or “Gosh a Moses, I think I’d like to see that?” That’s not the same thing as reviewing the film or saying that the film is bad.

    I think I’ve heard you pan a movie you had not seen on Matt Mittan’s show. I may be wrong though.

    And you are. I have, on occasion, brought up an opinion offered by someone else — always clearly identified as being someone else’s point of view.

    One point I am curious on. Since your rabid right-wingerness is obviously what’s drawn you to this (you’ve never before felt compelled to react to a movie related matter; not even in the 70-odd posts about this exact movie), I can only conclude that this isn’t cinema motivated. With that in mind, have you actually even seen Expelled?

  22. travelah

    Hanke, I am neither rabid nor a “right-winger”. You have been drinking too much leftist koolaid. I watched the film recently so if I wished to offer a review (or opinion) of it, I would be qualified. I responded to a letter printed in the opinion section of this magazine. I can honestly state that the Movies section of this newspaper is the one section I never read.
    As for offering an opinion? If you present yourself as a movie critic and make a review or opinion based on a trailer and not actually watching the movie, then you are cheating whoever is paying you to review.

    For the record, I have made two comments regarding the topic of the letter, neither of which has been addressed. Instead, the leftists and ad hoc specialists persist about unrelated issues. Why don’t you address my actual comments regarding the letter rather than chew your fat on somebody questioning your small town movie critic body of work?

  23. Louis

    “Your function is to recommend based on interest level rather than whether or not a film meets your political and social worldview standards.”

    What?

    If that were the case then no “narrative” review
    –i.e., interpretation–would be necessary. The Xpress–and every other periodical that litters the planet–could just have the star rating system listed for each movie, or in this case, pseudo-documentary. There’s your recommendation. Same goes for stage productions, CDs, concerts, books, etc. No critical-intrepretation components provided by the reviewer. No critical-thinking assembly required by the reader. Sounds suspiciously like the programming guide summarizing the movies on cable and satellite?

    Let’s agree, for the sake of argument, that movies are a legitimate art form. I don’t think you’re quite capturing the so-called “function” of a competent art critic. His or her job is to offer well-informed critical interpretation. That’s it. Not to make recommendations. Your job is to decide whether you think the critic’s piece meets this burden in such a way that it informs and stimulates you–to the good, or not. Some readers seem to be under the misguided impression that writers in Mr. Hanke’s line of work–the size of the town notwithstanding–are supposed to serve as product boosters. If you want to read the work of a booster, read the movie studio, music company, publisher’s, etc., press release for the “product.”

    Do you think that ANY accomplished movie critic perceives their core “function” as recommending movies? Most of them hate the star rating system. Why do you suppose that is? Because they think it caters to the lowest common denominator? You know why they think this? Because it does. Don’t assume that the critic’s opinion about art is perfectly aligned with the periodical’s goal of increasing circulation in order to expand its advertising base. Their interests are not mutually inclusive.

    Does the Xpress readership, or that of any other periodical, want to read the critical interpretations of a movie critic that’s NOT “emotionally invested” in movies? It’s art. That’s at the core of it’s appeal–it stimulates, for better or worse, human emotions. Critical interpretation ensues. By the critic and, ideally, the reader. That’s how it works.

    Consume the review for what it is, or isn’t. Is the critic’s body of work consistently well-written, well-informed, and relevant to the represented art form? If it is, follow that critic’s work. If it isn’t, find a new critic to read. Or, in the case of movies, watch a steady diet of trailers. That way you can have first-hand, real-time determination of your very own “interest level.”

    And, for the record, referring to EXPELLED as a “movie” is an affront to storytellers everywhere–it’s a pseudo-documentary. True, it may still be a variation of some art form, but it ain’t a movie.

  24. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, I am neither rabid nor a “right-winger”.

    Strange. I have never seen you post anything but conservative twaddle — and generally with the intention of causing trouble by behaving in the most obnoxious manner possible tp the person you’re addressing. I think you’ll find that that is the general perception of you.

    As for offering an opinion? If you present yourself as a movie critic and make a review or opinion based on a trailer and not actually watching the movie, then you are cheating whoever is paying you to review.

    Typical travelah, and exactly what I expect from you. I have repeatedly said that I have never reviewed a movie I have not seen. That is a fact — you claim to know what facts are. That’s one. As for saying, “The trailer looks like garbage” or “The trailer at least makes it look interesting,” you can bend that and stretch it and run it through the neoconizer any way you choose, and it still won’t come out to anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence as reviewing the film or offering an opinion on anything but the trailer.

    For the record, I have made two comments regarding the topic of the letter, neither of which has been addressed. Instead, the leftists and ad hoc specialists persist about unrelated issues. Why don’t you address my actual comments regarding the letter rather than chew your fat on somebody questioning your small town movie critic body of work?

    Are you in reference to this: “The point of Ben Steins documentary is that an extreme bias exists against those who question the political and anti-religious motives of those who promote inadequate theories as fact rather than theory.”

    That may be the supposed point — though it seemed to me that the point was to show how if you dared to speak out positively on “intelligent design,” the forces of liberal academia and atheistic science would put you out of a job. That certainly seems to have been the point the original letter writer took away from the film. In any case, that’s the claim Stein — or the filmmaker, since Stein only co-wrote the thing — is making. It therefore falls to Stein and company to prove such a claim.

    I’m assuming that you feel they do prove it, based on the following (which I guess is your second point that no one will address): “I think it is clear beyond refute that the liberal mindset is specifically targeted against any measure of diversity of opinion that steps outside their worldview. That is pure fascist hypocrisy.”

    Now, are you saying that this is your opinion or that this is what you got out of the film? If it’s the latter, then you really ought to do a little background checking into the “facts” presented in the film. I’ve been over this — to some degree in this thread. I am not bothering to go over it again. You either do not want to hear the facts behind the film, or you are choosing to assume that they’re lies made up to discredit the movie.

  25. travelah

    Hanke, this is the first exchange we have had and your personal animus is well noted. You are pandering to the hand that feeds you. My comments are directed to the subject matter and whether you think they go to the point or not really doesn’t matter. Stein went to this point in his sit down interview with Glen Beck. Regarding the original letter writer, it seems he and I were pretty much on the same page.
    Perhaps you have a different view of extreme bias as long as you are the one projecting it (as in your first paragraph).

  26. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, this is the first exchange we have had and your personal animus is well noted

    This is not the first exchange we’ve had, but you seem to have forgotten that. No matter. It is far from the first time I’ve read your comments and seen then way you approach people and the tone of your posts.

    You are pandering to the hand that feeds you.

    What hand would that be? Is this going to become a “Liberal Media” thing?

    My comments are directed to the subject matter and whether you think they go to the point or not really doesn’t matter.

    Well, yes, I know, you’re sure you’re right and that’s all that matters. I get that.

    Stein went to this point in his sit down interview with Glen Beck.

    What point?

    Perhaps you have a different view of extreme bias as long as you are the one projecting it (as in your first paragraph).

    There’s a difference between extreme bias and an opinion arrived at after considerable observation.

  27. travelah

    Hanke, you are correct. I do not remember any discussions with you that would have been memorable.

  28. William P Miller

    Steve Rapp has really nailed Mr Hanke on this subject. I do enjoy Ken’s reviews most of the time, especially on the radio where he comes across “softer” than some of his written reviews. Ken does appear to be a PC ideaologue on this subject. Moore does take a lot of stuff out of context, then weaves it together to support his point of view. Yet Ken thinks this is OK, but the conservative Stein’s similar technique is criticized? Bias. Yes, Ken has been blinded by bias on this one. Ken, please pay attention and see this. You are too good of a reviewer to let political bias so skew some of your reviews.

  29. Ken Hanke

    Most of them hate the star rating system. Why do you suppose that is? Because they think it caters to the lowest common denominator? You know why they think this? Because it does.

    Indeed, but I’ll go a step further and say it’s misleading in that it offers absolutely no information about how those stars were arrived at. That’s a pretty essential piece of information.

    Does the Xpress readership, or that of any other periodical, want to read the critical interpretations of a movie critic that’s NOT “emotionally invested” in movies?

    I would hope not. I know I certainly would have no interest in reading such. I can’t imagine why anyone would, or exactly what they’d take away from it. I’m on pretty close terms with about a dozen critics and I don’t know of a single one who isn’t passionate about movies. For what other possible reason would anyone take it up?

  30. travelah

    Hanke, you missed the point AGAIN. Being emotionally invested in the subject matter is not a question of whether or not a critic is passionate about their work. It is instead an issue of impartiality which should be expected of anybody making recommendations on anything. Cecil Bothwell, I am sure, was passionate about issues but he allowed his emotional investment to taint his work. You are passionate about your liberal world view and it shades your work. It is that simple and it is not at all uncommon. What is uncommon is the critic or commentator who can set aside his personal attachments and engage his subject with an admirable detachment. You bring a strong bias that fuels an emotional investment rather than an intellectual inquiry that should be the quest of any critic, regardless of the subject or field of criticism.
    An example of what I am inferring would be two critics examining Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. One is invested heavily in a leftist (or rightist) politic and infuses his politics and opinions into his review. Another examines the literary prowess and depth of Steinbeck’s work giving a review that addresses the character of the novel. The former is a cheap forgettable polemic, the latter worthy of consideration for any student of American Literature.
    Critical analysis and commentary is not a difficult thing to grasp. It requires discipline to avoid succumbing to the crass and mundane. You prefer the latter and that just makes you common which is neither good not bad, just not exceptional. Have the last word on the matter. I’ll cover my children’s eyes.

  31. Ken Hanke

    Hanke, you missed the point AGAIN

    But you’ll explain it.

    Being emotionally invested in the subject matter is not a question of whether or not a critic is passionate about their work. It is instead an issue of impartiality which should be expected of anybody making recommendations on anything.

    Absolute nonsense. You’re worshipping at the false god of objectivity — and there’s really no such thing. I have never read a single piece of worthwhile criticism or analysis that did not originate from a strong point of view — and that point of view takes in any spectrum you care to name. If you (the reader) don’t happen to be in agreement with that point of view, that’s fun, but it doesn’t alter the critic’s perfect right to express it.

    What is uncommon is the critic or commentator who can set aside his personal attachments and engage his subject with an admirable detachment.

    Name one.

    You bring a strong bias that fuels an emotional investment rather than an intellectual inquiry that should be the quest of any critic, regardless of the subject or field of criticism.

    Then why don’t you apply these yourself as concerns your own complete bias and lack of critical inquiry into the propagandistic fact mangling going on in the Stein “documentary?” Have you bothered to examine the massive amount of material available to anyone who wishes to check it out that addresses the omissions and editings and misrepresentations that riddle the film? If not, why not?

    An example of what I am inferring would be two critics examining Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. One is invested heavily in a leftist (or rightist) politic and infuses his politics and opinions into his review. Another examines the literary prowess and depth of Steinbeck’s work giving a review that addresses the character of the novel. The former is a cheap forgettable polemic, the latter worthy of consideration for any student of American Literature.

    And any review that does not address the thematic content of Steinbeck’s book isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, because it only addresses part of the issue. Steinbeck didn’t write the book just so you could marvel at his literary prowess. He also wrote it to make a point. To present just one side is dishonest and worthless.

    Have the last word on the matter.

    I’ll believe that when I see it.

  32. Ken Hanke

    By the bye, Cecil Bothwell was/is a reporter, not a columnist. There is a huge difference.

  33. Ken Hanke

    Moore does take a lot of stuff out of context, then weaves it together to support his point of view. Yet Ken thinks this is OK, but the conservative Stein’s similar technique is criticized? Bias.

    And if you’ll actually look at the reviews of Moore’s films, you’ll notice that I do indeed comment on the fact that he skews or slants what he’s making. Stein’s technique (if it can be called Stein’s) goes way beyond this — and this has been pointed out time and time again here and in the thread actually about this film and all over the internet and print media. It has even been denounced by many in the conservative press.

    Ken, please pay attention and see this. You are too good of a reviewer to let political bias so skew some of your reviews.

    It’s a political film. It is impossible not to address it as a political film. It is impossible not to examine the facts behind what it’s saying and to call the film out on them. I have no problem admitting that, yes, I’m a liberal (though I’d never call myself a “PC idealogue”) and, yes, I’m an agnostic, but that’s not what’s at issue here. What’s at issue is that this is a horribly made film that doesn’t just skew its facts, it invents facts to suit its purpose. Worse, it can’t even keep its own agenda straight. It starts off wanting the viewer to accept intelligent design as science (even if it can’t tell you why or doesn’t attempt to), then it turns into a dissertation on how Darwinism breeds atheism — and Nazism and communism. That’s not only a staggering leap, it’s pretty reckless and ignores the fact that a great many Darwinist scientists are themselves deeply religious. The film’s producer admitted that these were purposely left out because it would confuse the issue. In other words, the religious scientists who also support evolution, but do not support intelligent design had to be ignored in order for the film to make the point the filmmakers wanted. OK, that’s the right of the filmmakers. It’s also my right to call them on it.

    Being a critic does not mean you give up your rights to a world view. Read Ebert or Andrew Sarris or J. Hoberman or A.O. Scott and so on. You’ll find a liberal mindset. Read Kyle Smith. You’ll find a conservative mindset. (It’s not my fault that I can’t name a string of conservative critics. There simply don’t seem to be many.) Read Michael Medved. You’ll find a hardline fundamentalist mindset. Read Robin Wood. You’ll find movies reviewed from a Maoist (!) perspective (depending on the era you’re reading). Read Graham Greene from the days when he did criticism back in the 1930s. You’ll find a Catholic mindset. And so it goes.

  34. Eli Cohen

    Travelah, I used to think you could descriptively sum up the republican party with two words-greed and fear, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion I should add the word liar…you are deliberately confusing important issues with outright lies. You are not a christian, you are a poser and a sick one at that! Your behavior indicates a pathological need for attention. What’s the matter “T”, didn’t your mama breastfeed you? Not enough human contact as an infant? Whatever the problem, you need the kind of help you’re not likely to find trolling opinion boards. Judging from what I’ve read, there is no effective treatment for what you have. (Antisocial personality disorder) My sympathies to anyone who comes in contact with you.

    Antisocial Personality Disorder

    (1) They are habitual liars. They seem incapable of either knowing or telling the truth about anything.

    (2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace.

    (3) They scapegoat; they are incapable of either having the insight or willingness to accept responsibility for anything they do. Whatever the problem, it is always someone else’s fault.

    (4) They are remorselessly vindictive when thwarted or exposed.

    (5) Genuine religious, moral, or other values play no part in their lives. They have no empathy for others and are capable of violence. Under older psychological terminology, they fall into the category of psychopath or sociopath, but unlike the typical psychopath, their behavior is masked by a superficial social facade.

  35. travelah

    Big E, are you having a bad day again? It has been my experience across the board with leftists that they rely entirely on ad hom fallacies and personal aminus toward anybody who challenges their world view. Have a nice day.

  36. Eli Cohen

    Travelah, you don’t challenge my world view, you insult my sense of fair play by using lies and half truths.

  37. travelah

    Big E, now there is an example of what I referred to. Sensible intellectuals would view a man’s opinions as just that, opinions. However, the leftist mind with it’s irrational handicap considers all opinions other than their own as lies. I realize it is part and parcel to your constitution so in a sense these reactions are expected when sensible people intereact with leftists.

  38. tatuaje

    That was so much fun watching travelah get SPANKED by Hanke….repeatedly….

    Hanke, you rock….nuff said…

  39. Eli Cohen

    “T” remember #(2) They are egotistical to the point of narcissism. They really believe they are set apart from the rest of humanity by some special grace…

  40. travelah

    tatuaje, do you really think somebody who considers being objective to be “worshiping a god” (as in foolish in his view) is capable of spanking anybody? Anybody who views objectivity as something negative is a fool to put it plainly and certainly not anybody to be ranked positively in any media field.

  41. tatuaje

    dude…he ripped you a new one…many times…

    get over yourself…

  42. travelah

    tatuaje, I certainly would be disappointed if you expressed anything differently. Would it be safe to say that you as well disparage journalistic objectivity?

  43. William P Miller

    Ken, to my mind, a reviewer should try their best to be objective and ignore their own biases. If you truly thought Stein’s film was poorly done, fine. That’s your job. I just wonder if you were critically objective at looking at Moore’s. I have seen the Moore film on Bush and 911 and it is quite a hatchet job. And I am no fan of President Bush I may add. Please consider what I have said here. I love you on Take A Stand. I like your style especially on the radio.

  44. david

    Travelah,

    Are you daft, man? An “Objective” movie review?

    That must be the same school of thought that leads you to believe that what CBS, NBC, and FOX are all ‘objective’ and neutral’.

    Quite telling.

    Now proceed to calling me an ignorant socialist left-winger who does not underdstand your enourmous intellect and storied experience in the journlaistic world. Maybe you can throw in something about how you really aren’t a right-winger, but merely a true patriot, or some such newspeak.

  45. Ken Hanke

    Anybody else want to take a crack at explaining that a columnist is not the same thing as a reporter? And that a review is ultimately an opinion, and that an opinion by its very nature is subjective?

    True, it may be an informed opinion, but it’s still an opinion. Now, an informed opinion means one where, among other things, the person offering the opinion has checked into the facts — you know like whether or not what you’re being fed is true. (That seems not to interest Mr. Objectivity for whatever reason.)

    I knew I was right when I assessed “Have the last word on the matter” as typical travelah BS. (Cue the travelah buzzword cries of “ad hominem!”)

    Hey, anyone else find it incredibly ironic that objectivity has become an issue for a guy who’s apparently supporting the idea of intelligent design?

  46. Ken Hanke

    If you truly thought Stein’s film was poorly done, fine.

    Well, it is poorly done, but it’s also a documentary that goes way, way beyond Moore in terms of outright fabrication. All documentaries have an agenda. As a result, they’re all skewed, but this goes beyond skewed in that it invents “facts.” But as for it being “poorly done,” that’s addressed in the review just as much. When your premise is to present intelligent design as something with scientific weight and claim you aren’t making a religious argument, and then spend the second half of your film denouncing evolutionists for being atheists, you’ve done a demonstrably bad job because you’ve undermined your original point. Actually, what you’ve done is admit that it really is all about religion — even though you claimed it wasn’t.

    I just wonder if you were critically objective at looking at Moore’s. I have seen the Moore film on Bush and 911 and it is quite a hatchet job.

    If by objective, you mean did I point out all the grandstanding and skewing, then, yes, if you’ll look at those reviews you’ll find that I did. Am I more in sympathy with Moore? Yes, I am. Go check out a variety of reviews on Moore’s work, though. What you’re going to find is that the reviews fall into divisions based on political views — the bad reviews as well as the good ones. Are you as incensed over the bad ones as the good ones?

    Comparing Moore and the Stein opus is ultimately a case of wishful thinking on the part of the Expelled supporters. Moore has done the unthinkable by making the documentary film popular (at least his films). This is something that Expelled couldn’t pull off. Fahrenheit 9/11 pulled in about $120 million in the US alone. Expelled has dropped off the radar with a U.S. gross of $7.5 million. Moore’s doing something more effectively — and I don’t think you can put it down to the bias of the largely liberal critical populace. I’ve never noticed that we have that much power.

  47. travelah

    David, I am sure you are adept at defining yourself in any light you wish. The “New Speak” standard,if you will is to scorn and ridicule objectivity if such does not serve your particular objectives.

  48. david

    ‘travelah’

    Yawn. Can you prove to me why an ‘opinion’ in a ‘review’ would need to be ‘objective’?

    ‘WPM’, please feel free to chime in on this one, too.

    Without debating the merits and falacies concerning the concept of “Objectivity” (which, I can assure you, as a Journalism School graduate, is a debate nowhere near settled since what can be considered “Objective” will always be in flux. What the American Public is told is “Objective” is very often only the ‘opinion’ of those in power. This is common sense, and if you wish to disagree I suggest a few basic journaism courses at your local college, or perhaps a Google Search of William Randolph Hearst, but I digress.), I would hope it was safe to assume that the readers of the MountainX know the difference between ‘news’ in, say, the News Section, and the ‘Opinions’ delivered in the reviews section. It would be completely irrational for me to expect Jason Bugg to give a neutral ‘review’ of a recent concert. That would be for the news section. A rview would have no place in the news section. This is why it is not put in the news section. The same with movie reviews. Common sense.

    Now, if you are trying to somehow expand this fallacious case to be an example of the said reveiwer’s lack of journalistic integrity, well, you are just a bit off the deep and on that one, buster.

  49. Eli Cohen

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH…right “T” Travelah, you’re like one of those characters in “1984” that work for the government…always distorting the truth.

  50. travelah

    david, it is a matter of credibility that one’s opinions be founded on objectivity. You can argue against such a standard if you wish however it doesn’t buttress your viewpoint. If Jason Bugg gave a review of a concert and trashed it because he didn’t like the band’s politics, it would not be an objective review of the concert. He would simply be venting his frustration with the band’s non-musical ventures allowing his biases to shade his review of the music.
    Being a journalist grad, you should already know these things.

  51. William P Miller

    Traveler, the leftwing bias is flat out blinding. Rightwing can be too, but it appears to be not as dogmatic. I’m in the middle and can see both sides. Ken is leftwing biased and proud of it. It is only a perspective, not an absolute. But my liberal friends do think their views are absolute, and those who disagree are just plain 1)stupid, or 2)not nice people. Can’t we all just get along? We’re all Americans. Moore is an American even though he appears to be spoiled by the peace and prosperity we’ve enjoyed since the end of WWII. Stein was a Nixon speech writer, so leftwing hatred of him is a given. Personally, I think the guy is funny. But I don’t take him seriously either.

    Bottom line, let’s just be entertained by the movies and not get too drawn into piece meal inspection of techniques used in filming. Movies should be fun, entertainment. If you enjoyed yourself, fine. If not, then don’t go back to another flick done by the same people. Simple, really.

  52. Ken Hanke

    Oh ho and hum. Let’s take the usual trip to the extremist side — what is it with conservatives and this insistence?

    Sure, if Jason Bugg gave a band a bad review simply because he didn’t like their politics, that would not be an “objective review of the concert” because it would not be a review of the concert period. However, if Jason Bugg gave a bad review of this hypothetical band’s concert because he found the message offensive, filled with lies and badly delivered, then it’s fair game. Of course, this presupposes that the concert in question has political intent and content. Let’s say that the hypothetical band playing this hypothetical concert plays nothing but covers of Percy Faith hits. In that case, giving them a bad review because of their politics — which would have nothing to do with the music — would have no credibility.

    But let’s be honest here. The topic is really a politically-charged film with a political agenda, so politics and a political viewpoint are going to creep in. The review of the film doesn’t address the filmmakers’ “non-cinematic ventures.” What a preposterous comparison! The filmmakers’ agenda is the film. It’s the raison d’etre for the entire enterprise. The film seeks to make a case that it fails to make. Period. It’s really that simple.

    Is there anyone defending Expelled who isn’t conservative, religious and/or pro-creationism (or pro-intelligent design, if you must)? I’m seeing no evidence of it, especially from the one railing the loudest about objectivity. He seems very biased from where I sit.

    For that matter, apart from espousing one simple idea — that Expelled uncovers the shocking truth that atheistic scientists (non-atheistic scientists were deliberately excluded from the film) are stomping out “true” research and blah blah — I have seen almost nothing about the film itself. What I’ve seen are simply attacks on the reviewer — in this case, me — for not being in agreement with the film’s position. Time and again, I’ve pointed out the information that exists discrediting the film and its approach. (Yes, I did some homework on the movie; something its supporters seem disinclined to do, which isn’t very objective of them.) I’ve never seen any of this addressed.

    Is anyone really defending Expelled because of its qualities as a piece of filmmaking? That seems very unlikely. The movie is amateurish, derivative, cheaply made, frankly dull, and woolly-headed. This is second year film student stuff made by someone who apparently saw a lot of Eisenstein and hasn’t shaken the influence. Isn’t the film actually being defended because it appeals to the world view of its supporters? Seems kind of biased to me.

    As for objectivity in journalism, I wonder who here believes that is something one finds on Fox News…

  53. Ken Hanke

    Bottom line, let’s just be entertained by the movies

    So…you were entertained by Expelled? That’s what you think the point of the film was? It was meant as entertainment and nothing more?

    And, by the way, since you’re obviously “middle of the road and proud of it,” why should I be ashamed of having a liberal viewpoint?

  54. aguy

    Who was it who said ‘the only thing in the middle of the road is roadkill.”??

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