Matthew Chapman (personal website) is a journalist, screenwriter and director who is also the great-great grandson of Charles Darwin. More importantly, and this is something that was stressed, he’s a damn good journalist, screenwriter and director. He is the author of two nonfiction books, Trials of the Monkey – an Accidental Memoir (2002) and 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, OxyContin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania (2007), the latter of which arose from his work with Harper’s magazine reporting on the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Districtcase.
For those who may not be familiar with Kitzmiller (or as some call it the “Dover Panda Trial”), it was effectively a continuation of the Scopes Monkey Trial and
was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts against a public school district that changed its biology teaching curriculum to require that intelligent design was to be presented as an alternative to evolution theory, with Of Pandas and People to be used as a reference book. The plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The judge’s decision sparked considerable response from both supporters and critics. [From Wikipedia]
I had the pleasure of meeting Chapman at the American Atheists Convention in Des Moines where he spoke briefly about and then premiered his 2011 Sundance-selected film The Ledge. Following the Q-and-A where every atheist in the room suddenly assumed themselves to be Roger Ebert, embarrassing not only themselves but everyone in the room, a few friends and I approached him to discuss the possibility of screening his film on our campus. Being open to the idea, he then asked us if we had any ideas on how he could distribute his film to college campuses – and we did – but as the conversation began to trail, I made the pitch:
In the most adorable English accent imaginable, Chapman replied: “You want me to draw a giraffe?”
“I don’t even think I can recall what a giraffe looks like.”
This line tends to resolves all qualms.
And thus was born what is now is one of my new personal favorite drawings and proof that art skills are not an inheritable trait (have you seen Darwin’s sketches?).
What the fu- is that a penis?!