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What's the Matter with Kansas?



le. The documentary begins with the assumption that there is something wrong directly north of our border, and the assumed wrong is that Kansas is just too politically and religiously conservative for the good of its citizens.

You may or may not believe that.There is no narration to drive your opinions; the entire film is comprised of interview responses. We don't even hear the questions.

Both Winston and Frank will make appearances at the film's Saturday and Sunday screenings at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

What many viewers may not realize going in is that Kansas, not unlike Oklahoma, had a politically radical past. We learn that in the 19th century, Southern Kansas was home to presses that printed more radical books and pamphlets than any place else in the country.

But it's all gone now, and the movie doesn't answer the question it poses. What happened?

The saga of a mega-church pastor who loses his pulpit due to obsessive political ranting, and then builds a new congregation in a Wild West theme park, only to see the park declare bankruptcy and the owner abscond with the pastor's investment, might suggest one answer: Sometimes, thinking with your Bible won't cut it.

"Kansas" is an interesting film suggesting that ultra-conservatism may cause as many problems as it alleviates, but it doesn't tell us how Kansas became so conservative.

Gift of God, maybe. Or curse.

"?Doug Bentin


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