[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]
After Bill Nye and Ken Ham debated the merits of creationism and evolution weeks ago, I got a lot of letters asking if I had watched them. I had not. I had no interest in a single word said by either man. If you want to believe that humans walked with dinosaurs and the planet is a few thousand years old, that is absolutely fine with me. If you want to teach this to your kids, I don't care. If states want to teach creationism in their schools, there is nothing I can do about it, so I don't sweat it.
I mention this because in Williamstown, located in Northern Kentucky, plans are under way to build a scale model of Noah's Ark. The ship will be as it was around 2304 B.C.: 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, with three levels. Just so you can get your head around this, 510 feet is the length of 1.4 football fields. Go run that back for a touchdown.
This amazing news has been brought to the world's attention by Ken Ham at the Answers in Genesis ministry. The organization is called the Ark Encounter project. In a recent "online press conference" that you can watch at answersingenesis.org, Mr. Ham says that, besides the cross, the ark of Noah is the greatest reminder of the message of salvation. So a knockoff of the ark will be a Post-It of the message of salvation.
I watched the entire 48-minute "press conference." It was fascinating. Well-spoken adults took turns addressing all the good that building the ark will bring to Kentucky and Williamstown. Their research estimates that there will be 1.2 million to 2 million visitors to the ark every year. AiG estimates that some 2 million people have visited the Creation Museum in nearby Petersburg, Ky., since it opened seven years ago. It hopes the allure of one big-ass boat sitting in a field right off I-75, exit 154, will draw even more
In case you want to get involved on the ground floor (as it were), for a nominal fee, parts of the ark can be built in your name. One hundred dollars gets you a peg, a plank costs a grand, and a beam is only $5K. It's kind of like naming a star. (You can do that, you know. It's only $19.95, down from $49.95, at nameastarlive.com.) Upon the ark's completion, you will be able to use your computer to find the peg, plank or beam you pledged. There are also lifetime and family memberships available, for visiting the ark.
One of the ark's designers said there will be animatronic and still animals on display, just like in Congress. There will be also camel rides.
The backstory: God told Noah to build the ark. Noah was about 600 years old when the flood came. He gave everyone ample opportunity to come aboard and avoid the flood and know salvation (a twofer), but they blew him off. You can lead people to an ark but you can't make them get on. There were eight humans on the ark: Noah; his wife, Emzara; their three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth; and their wives. From these four couples, we are all descended.
God eventually turned off the waterworks. Noah and Emzara's sons must have had an incredible amount of kids. (Thou shalt get busy.) The genetic code was so strong in those days that inbreeding was not a problem. It was around the time of Moses, born in 1392 B.C., that God put the kibosh on hitting it with your mom. Anyway, the children went all over the newly dried-off world, turned all kinds of colors and here we are, united by sinful wretchedness (#thehomosexual?lifestyleagenda).
Noah was about 950 years old when he finally keeled over. People - they just don't make them like they used to. Perhaps the centuries of wickedness shortened our life span.
Any questions you might have are all answered in the Bible (or online). I feel bad for the folks at the Answers in Genesis site. They get roundly razzed by a fair-sized peanut gallery. If you go to arkencounter.com/blog, you can read the answers to questions such as, "Why aren't you using a 900-year-old man to build the ark?" Perhaps out of a sense of duty and to spread the good word, weary yet patient explanations are provided, no matter how snarky the inquiry.
If it were me, I wouldn't bother. I would tell them all, "Stick it up your ass. We're gonna build this fucker. Git-R-Done™!"
That should be the name of the fundraising site: buildthisfucker!.com.
This is a fantastic endeavor, Spielbergian in scope. What other country would take this on? This is American exceptionalism and religious obedience/supremacy at its best. Chew on it, Putin! The AiG folks are the biggest dreamer-kids in the room.
The press conference was a view into a reality completely different from mine. I don't care why they are building it. I am just really glad they are. Howard Hughes would be stoked.
So what if, part way through building this ship of literally biblical proportions, funding runs out? I suppose then they'll have to call it Noah's Dinghy. Or perhaps the upkeep or insurance (on a massive wooden structure kept outdoors) costs far more than they thought, and they get nowhere near 1.2 million visitors a year? Have faith.
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If, a few decades from now, the ark has been stripped of all its copper and becomes the biggest car-on-blocks on Kentucky's front lawn until it's torched à la Burning Man - at least they went for it. They are going to build Noah's fucking ark! What are you doing this year?
I want to check it out. Perhaps I can learn how Noah coaxed a pair of Tyrannosaurus rexes up the ramp.