Wednesday, January 03, 2007


The Infinite

As in, "the capacity of parents to embarrass their children is infinite."

Russia is undergoing its own "monkey trial" right now but, instead of the high drama the Scopes trial provided in the clash of titans such as Bryan and Darrow or the fascination of dogged detail relentlessly examined, as at Dover, Russia seems to have opted for farce:

The case revolves around 16-year-old Mariya Shraiber, who says her biology text presents a one-sided version of life's origins based on Darwin's theory and is dismissive of the view that God made man. ...

"It's quite disrespectful," said Mariya, who has short fingernails painted bright pink, multiple earrings in each ear and a fondness for poetry. "I believe we have the right to learn not only the theory of evolution, but creationism as well."
But Mariya may not be an ideal plaintiff:

Mariya, who does not attend church, says the lawsuit was her idea. But she is weary of the publicity, forming her finger and thumb into the shape of a pistol and holding it to her temple when asked if she is tired of giving interviews.
And there is reason to suspect what her lack of enthusiasm stems from:

She did not attend the first two court hearings and seems far less interested in the outcome than her father, Kirill Shraiber, who spoke to the court on her behalf, and Anton Vuima, a family friend who heads a public relations firm called Spiritual Heritage.
Vuima's firm goes by the slogan, "We Create Sensations," which leads the school officials to suspect that the girl and her family are not being driven by devout beliefs, but by a desire for publicity. For example:

The Shraibers announced their plans for the lawsuit at a March news conference that featured free bananas. In July, when they mailed the paperwork to court, they were accompanied by an actor in a monkey suit - a stunt since dubbed "stupid" by [Konstantin Romanov, Mariya's own lawyer], who asked that the monkey not come near him.

"That was his idea," said Mariya, pointing to her father, a graphic artist who runs an advertising firm.

Mariya says the publicity makes her uncomfortable. She dyed her hair jet black and has taken to wearing a hood in public.
Trust me, dear, it is only going to get worse before it gets better.

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