New Orleans I don’t read the comics or the funny papers. No big thing, just one of those things where you make a personal decision about time and choose the box scores rather than the talking balloons. But science and politics are still important and when facts confront the popularity and prejudice of people, it’s worth paying attention, regardless of the source, so I felt lucky to find that one of my family had saved G. B. Trudeau’s Doonesbury from the Sunday paper for me.
Trudeau has certainly been the preeminent political cartoonists of our generation, so although I don’t make exceptions for him and his work, I certainly would if I had the time and interest. In this case Trudeau was lending a hand to all of the young people, and the rest of us, who are suffering through the unprincipled right wing ridiculousness of the Louisiana government under the direction of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal. Science, as we learned painfully and repeatedly during the British Petroleum oil spill, is not Bobby’s thing. He repeatedly tried to get one thing after another built regardless of how many of the experts told him he was wasting time and money, but that’s something for another day, because what we are really dealing with here is the craziness that “creationism” be taught in Louisiana skills. So much for the separation of church and state, it seems.
As Louisianans if we didn’t feel foolish and powerless enough, Trudeau wanted to make sure that we couldn’t just hide behind an LSU football jersey and hope we got away with it. The text of his cartoon picturing a high school class and a beleaguered science teacher went like this:
Boy: “You believe we’re descended from apes?”
Girl: “Well, boys definitely are.”
Boy: “And girls?”
Teacher: “So all the evidence massively supports a theory to evolution that knits together everything we know about biology!”
Teacher: “However, as high school students in the State of Louisiana, you are entitled to learn an alternative theory support by no scientific evidence whatsoever!”
Teacher: “It goes like this. 5,700 years ago a male deity created the heavens and earth and all life on it in six days…”
Teacher: “Unfortunately, he didn’t like his own handiwork, so god created genocide and drowned everyone on earth except the family of Noah, a 600-year old man who was charge with saving animals…”
Student: “Mr. Stiller?
Student: “Please stop. I’d like to get into a good college.”
Teacher: “Almost done. So Noah took two of everything including microbes, but forgot the dinosaurs…”
Believe it or not, this cartoon was held out of numerous papers around the country! There was no indication how many of them may have been in Louisiana. We don’t believe in math either, so we didn’t bother to count.