A little popular culture

I have finished consuming:

• 2021 Film, ‘The Dig’.

Very beautiful movie, capturing real human feelings, re: adventure, love, suffering, and according to an archaeologist on social media, it accurately portrays what it’s like to be at a dig site. It also apparently adheres quite well to historical events around the Sutton Hoo excavation, with the exception that the handsome blond pilot was thrown in entirely for dramatisation and eye candy (Hollywood being Hollywood).

Digression: What bugged me at first was that it was set in 1939 just before WWII and the little boy in the film was effusively chatting on about space – the first rocket wasn’t successfully launched until the 1960s. Although the idea of space travel had been floating around and the writer Jules Verne (19th Century) definitely wrote about them. In conclusion, one must fact check before shouting “aha! anachronism!” Not that I did, but lesson learnt anyway…

Hooray for the historical archaeologist Mr. Basil Brown, I am glad your name lives on. Go see it everybody.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

As mentioned in my first post. Today I took a wrong turn on a long drive and as a result I finished this e-book which was playing.

It basically talks about the beginning of life on earth, through evolution, and historical changes, up to present day.

The book focuses a lot on how we as a species have practiced domination and subjugation – whether it was the Neanderthals or the Aztecs or animals in factory farms. This is true.

‘Sapiens’ finishes very abruptly with a sharp reminder that humans have reached a point where we are playing as dissatisfied god(s) with our technological advances. The author does sound a little cynical about mankind; his reductionist materialist viewpoints don’t seem to lend much credence to human goodness, morality, virtues, kindness…

But for a sweeping summary of 12+million years it was sufficiently educational. Verdict: Alright I guess? (Review of the century over here.)

The main topic that interested me near the end was this: we currently have, or almost have, the scientific and technological wherewithal to bring Neanderthals back from extinction. Women have even volunteered to be surrogate mothers to the first Neanderthal child in 40k years.

This sounds so extremely unethical to me that I would have written a blog post just on this, but it seems like scores of much more qualified people have posted about it already.

I will just say though, we wouldn’t bring back their culture or language; the Neanderthal child would be viewed as some Frankenstein plaything of scientists. She would be subject to racism on steroids, and have an objective reason to feel like the loneliest person in the world.

Probably no ethics board would approve of this experiment, therefore I hope nobody goes rogue and makes it happen anyway, like that Chinese scientist who genetically engineered the HIV-resistant babies. Oops. I wonder how they’re all doing?

This all reminds me, I grew up watching cartoons about little girls that were created in a lab.

Powerpuff Girls. Extremely entertaining, would recommend the first 4 seasons of the original show only.

I am sure in real life, such events would be just as colourful, but much, much more serious…