Monday Night: “The Revisionaries”

A column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Movie on PBS puts Texas in odd light, gives us a good reminder of what’s coming up tomorrow. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

An embarrassing movie about Texas comes to PBS this week. Yes, another one. This time, it’s The Revisionaries. But it ought to be called Texas vs. Science. It’s a documentary on how Texas school leaders write religion into science and history books.

The documentary has its own website: The Revisionaries with a nice video trailer and a handsome picture of Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist.

The film is scheduled to run on Monday, 28 January — that’s tomorrow night at around 10 pm, but as they say — check your local listings. Okay, back to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

It “stars” Don McLeroy, an amiable dentist who rose to chairman of the State Board of Education even though he believes humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together — Flintstones-style. Yet he is not embarrassed.

“The way I look at it, it’s a good movie because frankly, it makes our point,” McLeroy, 66, said by phone from Bryan.

For someone like McLeroy, “Drill, baby, drill!” is more than a political slogan — it’s a way of life. Let’s read on:

As a young, Earth creationist at odds even with some in his own Bible church Sunday school class, he is portrayed as eccentric but sincere. His most quoted line from a 2009 board meeting: “Somebody’s got to stand up to experts.”

The National Center for Science Education ran an article about this last week: The Revisionaries on PBS. They say:

The documentary focuses on the events of 2009 and 2010, when the antievolution faction on the Texas state board of education sought to consolidate its gains despite encountering increasing opposition.


Among the familiar faces in The Revisionaries are Chris Comer, Raymond Eve, Barbara Forrest, the Texas Freedom Network’s Kathy Miller, Ken Miller, Texas Citizens for Science’s Steven Schafersman, Gerald Skoog, Ron Wetherington, and NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott.

We don’t need to say more. If you never heard of McLeroy or any of those other people, then on Monday night you’ll be watching The Crocoduck Attacks the Island of Naked Women on the SyFy channel. Otherwise you’ll be watching The Revisionaries.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Monday Night: “The Revisionaries”

  1. Charley Horse

    Looking for the listing for “The Revisionaries”, it is not there.
    BUT….the listing for Independent Lens….subtitled “the debate
    over textbooks” is there. That is the time slot for “The Revisionaries”.

    A couple of clicks away you will see a page with “10 Interesting
    Lessons from Creation-Inspired Text Books”. Most reading
    this would be aware already of those “lessons”. But worth
    a look as a reminder.

  2. I can’t read minds, but I’d bet the ranch and the dog that McLeroy privately thinks that YEC is nonsense, but just thinks that it sells better to the “masses” than OEC does. Though not as effectively as “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when does.

    As for his trained parrot, Rick Perry, the next time he weasels out of an answer when asked the age of the earth, please don’t miss the perfect comeback: “99+% of scientists and most self-described evolution-deniers say 4.5-4.6 billion years. Do you think we should stand up to those experts as Don McLeroy demands?”

  3. I don’t think that McLeroy is a Ham-style con artist. He’s not making money off the rubes. I think he’s genuinely delusional. He had this 3-ring binder full of clippings; truly nutty stuff. Simply a deluded authoritarian with a little power and nobody to tell him to STFU, except, finally, the voters.

  4. It is not on in NC at this time… it is 2/1 at 2AM in the morning! Set your TIVOs!! INDEPENDENT LENS
    Program Details
    Air Time:
    02/01/2013 – 2:00am – 2:59am
    Program Title:

    Seriously…if you are having trouble finding it in your area…go to your local PBS station site and enter INDEPENDENT LENS in the search engine to find if/when the REVISIONISTS is showing. Searching on Revisionists returned nothing for me!

  5. Charley Horse

    Cam….it may be streamed live….I can’t confirm that.

    My local cable provider has two PBS stations. One
    will be showing the “Revisionaries” and the other will
    air “The Mighty Mississippi”.
    9pm to 10pm….school night…wouldn’t want the kiddies
    viewing this…:)

  6. It won’t be on my local PBS station until Feb. 3 — at 11 PM, repeated on Feb. 8 at 4 AM. Guess I won’t be watching the dentist as I have no electric gadgets and watch tv via rabbit ears and I don’t see a streaming option. I really didn’t want to watch the dentist anyway, but I would like to see what kind of job they do on this story.

  7. Ellie says: “I really didn’t want to watch the dentist anyway”

    It’ll be okay. They’re not likely to show him drilling teeth.

  8. Tim Anderson

    Is there any (legal) way to view the documentary in parts of the world that don’t receive PBS?

  9. Charley Horse

    It might be at Hulu Plus after tomorrow….

  10. It’s not on locally for me either (Tallahassee PBS station is my local outlet), but the movie version is on Netflix. The Indie Lens version is apparently a severely cut version to get down to the 50+ minutes allotted, so maybe the Netflix version is the better choice anyway 😉 (And the fundies can’t prevent us from viewing that, …, yet!)

  11. doodlebugger

    They could show Crocoduck scenes mixed into The Revisionaries, satisfying everyone. Don would approve!

  12. doodlebugger

    McLeroy is the real deal. He is totally serious about “Jesus fighting the dinosaurs really happened.” And these folks are serious about defaming science. And frankly there isn’t a large lobby working to block their efforts. Its a pitiful commentary on science Literacy and education in America.
    I think it will rally more opposition when the movie continues to get more exposure.

  13. SC, you’ve ferreted out my fear of dentists.

    AlanC: I just saved it on Netflix and wouldn’t have thought to look there, so thanks.

  14. I’ll try and locate previous references I’ve read, until I’m able to I’ll just say that some of the people wanting to change the purchasing habits of the U.S. schools have been shown to have interests in the publishing house of the revisionist text books. Which has renamed itself in the past to sound very close to the name of a very successful and respected publisher of commonly used text books. It’s alway important to remember that mysticism is commonly invoked to act as a smoke screen for greed driven agendas.

  15. Don’t forget, this thing will be on tonight.

  16. Something more annoying than the wince inducing whine at the dentist’s office. That is, being preached creationism while you get your teeth fixed. McLeroy goes from one captive audience to the next. Hard to believe he lost by a mere 400 or so votes.

  17. Well The Revisionaries was certainly worth staying up late to watch. I’m hoping that a follow up of the impact on students lives is produced in the coming years.
    It must be programs like this one that have made PBS a target for defunding.

  18. I’m hoping that a follow up of the impact on students lives is produced in the coming years.

    Don McLeroy is a living, breathing community toothache. Hopefully his impact will be confined to wisdom teeth, and not the lives of students. I’ll see that moist, shiny pink skull in my nightmares for years to come. He brings to mind the words of a wise old American named Moe Howard: “Why don’t you get a toupee with some brains in it?”