While Disco’s Robert Crowther is crowing “Ben Stein’s New Film Expelled No. 1 in Blogosphere”, he should ponder the fly in the ointment: not all buzz is Good buzz. In particular, he should consider what “buzz” has done for the video game based on LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series, “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.” While the video game garnered lots of attention on the Net, a lot of it was bad - quite like the attention “Expelled” earned this week in regard to the Expulsion of PZ.
Did “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” get a boost from negative attention? Quite the contrary - it Tanked. It Fizzled. It Bombed. The game’s makers are now forced to simply give it away, free.
Crowther glosses over the very negative press “Expelled” has been garnering of late. As PvM has pointed out, the official “Expelled” web site’s “spoiler” clearly shows the movie’s Premise is one long violation of Godwin’s Law:
Many scenes are centered around the Berlin Wall, and Ben Stein being Jewish actually visits many death camps and death showers. In fact, Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany.
Add to that the facts that scientists were interviewed for the movie under false pretenses, that people starring in the movie were Expelled from even seeing the film because of their anti-ID views, and that excuses for this expulsion are changing by the minute, a lot of people who might have been persuaded to see and appreciate the film are being turned off, bigtime.
For example, check out this review in the Canadian Christian blog Bene Diction, in a post titled “Mark Mathis: The Premises of Feeding the Beast and Expelled”:
…The grass roots of the internet could wind up dividing and alienating friendly audiences from this movie for no other reason that it’s going to be increasingly difficult for friendly parties and grass roots not to notice the lies, notice the careful wording, notice the politics and economics and come to the bald realization it’s just about selling and the golden rule be damned. The big question I’m left with is will the potential audience care?
This kind of marketing backfired on Left Behind Games Inc. when the gaming and religious communities took exception to being trashed, lied to, reached at, mocked and manipulated. It remains to be seen how this is going to play out. More than one marketer has said it’s a win for Premise Media. The human dramas and passions around this production have distracted from content. I wonder if that’s been an intentional part of the marketing strategy… I end by addressing fellow Christians. We are admonished to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Is knowing this level of manipulation has been sanctioned worth the price of admission?
Well said, Bene Diction.
Following Bene Diction’s links provides the scoop on the failed “Left Behind” video game:
The producers of Left Behind: Eternal Forces thought they were going to make a big score last Christmas  – with a new video game based on Tim LaHaye’s best-selling Left Behind series of novels. It didn’t work out that way. Talk to Action’s Jonathan Hutson exposed that the game peddled an ideology of ‘convert or be killed’ to children and promoted, even rehearsed end-times religious warfare. Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, among others, agreed; denounced the game and variously encouraged the producers of the game to with draw it; stores not to stock it; and consumers not to purchase it. The controversy generated international media coverage. The game did poorly; got terrible reviews, even from gamers who were not concerned about the content. The company’s stock tanked and it appeared that that was the last we would hear from them. …
After the game flopped at Christmas, the makers tried to make it available to U.S. troops in Iraq, but that flopped too:
Plans by a Christian group to send an evangelical video game to U.S. troops in Iraq were abruptly halted yesterday by the Department of Defense after ABC News inquired about the program.
While the makers of “Expelled” are excited by all the ‘net buzz this week, they may be shocked to realize that a lot of net-savvy, smart Christians are seeing through the lies and propaganda tactics.
Could “Expelled” be to faith-based movies what the Edsel was to cars?