I was surprised to learn via BoxofficeMojo that Expelled is still playing on 1041 screens this weekend, down only 11 from opening weekend. I would have figured a drop down to 600-800 — not because of persecution, of course, but due to natural efforts by exhibitors to weed out poor performers. To average less than $3000 per screen last weekend, the film had to have been performing pretty poorly in a number of markets — poorly enough to warrant pulling the film from more than 11 screens. Perhaps corporate support from the Anchutz-owned Regal Cinemas chain is keeping it in a strong holdover position for its second week.
Another interesting development is one-upsmanship in the “who gets expelled more often” sweepstakes. The film, of course, presents four or five cases of “expelling” for adherence to the I.D. party line; and the NCSE site Expelled Exposed, when it launched, documented the case of a teacher who was “expelled” for teaching evolution.
Now today, I ran across the following at The Frame Problem:
I was recently prevented from expressing dissent on a pro-Expelled blog. I know that I am not the first person to have been expelled from disagreeing with IDists, and will surely not the be last. … Given all of the discussion that is taking place around the Net right now over Expelled, evolution and Intelligent Design Creationism, the purpose of this post is to see who else has been expelled from commenting on pro-Expelled or pro-ID media, such as blogs. A post specifying such censorship (including links to blogs and the blogs of the expelled) will be produced.
The full text of the post includes citations of other examples of the phenomenon.
This really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for those who’ve been out on the Internet much. One of the surest ways of controlling debate is to be so obnoxious and persistent that webmasters get so tired of moderating things that they just shut everything down. It’s doubly effective: it makes the hosting website look bad, and it shuts down opposing rhetoric.
From what I’ve seen over the years, both sides have been pretty good at the tactic. So if totting up lists becomes a favorite pasttime, expect the blogosphere to get nastier than ever. No one wants to be expelled less frequently than the other guys.