Alexander Nekrassov writes from London: Here’s a great idea for Hollywood: why not make a hilarious comedy about Charles Darwin the charlatan? Darwin, The Sting, can be fun for the whole family and have lots of cute animals in it, including that chimp Jenny that lived in Darwin’s house for many years and gave him the idea that they could have shared common ancestors. (Hot bedroom scenes with Jenny could be included in the adult version of the film on DVD)
But seriously, a film about Darwin the con-artist could be a real treat. Let’s face it, we don’t have many examples of a theory that had absolutely nothing to do with science actually becoming accepted as one of the ‘biggest scientific discoveries’ ever made. And even though no proof was provided, with black holes peppering the main narrative, opportunists pretending to be eggheads pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and sold the ridiculous myth to the world in the same way the two con-artists from The Emperor’s New Clothes had convinced everyone that the king was actually wearing a magnificent attire when he was actually starkers.
The story can open when Charles sets on that fateful voyage during which out of boredom he came up with a bizarre idea that some birds evolved under the duress of nature and adapted to the conditions by shedding their plumage or getting even more of it. Bolstered by intake of gin and lickings of certain roots, young Charles goes even further and concludes that the whole animal kingdom evolved from the most primitive of organisms into the most complicate of species, all by pure chance and as a result of a chain of coincidental developments. The small matter of any traces of the missing links in this evolution chain-reaction is of no importance to the young adventurer. So what if the theory does not hold water? It’s still a great sounding theory, he says in a monologue, lubricated by gin .
Then the story line brings Charles back to Britain where a receptive ear of some of the dodgier elements of the scientific community at Oxford listens to him in awe, eventually helping him to publish his work that supposedly proves that it was evolution and not the Almighty who had created the animal kingdom. Acclaim follows and all sorts of strange characters jump on the bandwagon, praising the new discovery that gives such a simple explanation to the creation of life itself. Even though only animal life at that point.
In the meantime Charles decides that it’s time to get hitched. So one day he parks his butt at the table and writes a list of pros and cons of married life. In the cons are things like having to listen to all that drivel coming from his spouse, spending money on her clothes and having to satisfy her sexually when he doesn’t feel like it. But on the plus side there is the comfort of the well run home, the proper food and the occasional blow-job.
As a result, the great evolutionist decides to get married and… proposes to his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood. They produce 10 children, three of whom die early, for pretty obvious reasons, and another three are infertile, for pretty much the same reason. The fun bit in the film could be that most of Darwin’s relatives are closely related to people they marry, with Charles’ maternal grandparents and his mother being all Wedgewoods. Not to mention that 26 children in the wider Darwin/Wedgewood clan are born from first-cousin marriages.
The climax of the film would be, of course, the selling of Darwin’s idea that man has evolved from the animal kingdom. In real life Charles did not dare to reveal it to the world for 12 long years after his Origin Of The Species but in the film, purely for artistic reasons, it can be shortened. The selling of this concept could be a film in itself, of course, with people calling themselves scientists pushing the theory and behaving like the fraudsters in that fairy tale that I have already mentioned above. The sting works, only because the scientific community by then is penetrated by opportunists who are ready to support anything that fits their perception of life and its origins.
In the end of the film political correctness triumphs and the fraudsters become rich and famous, having pulled off one of the biggest cons in the history of cons. The final scene can depict Darwin and his chimp Jenny dancing to the music of the Rolling Stones – come on, they were con-artists as well getting away with the s..t they played – and celebrating their new found fortune.
That would be some box office hit, wouldn’t it?