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Old June 1st 15, 00:43   #5
Lennier's Tears
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Re: EpDis: Crusade: The Rules Of The Game

Yea, that is a fair point, and I think I've conceded it elsewhere (I'm always kind torn between not wanting to repeat myself too much and not wanting to assume that everyone reading a particular thread has necessarily read all the other episode threads). It DOES make sense for archaeology to be the way it is in the Babylon 5 universe. I can't really object to that from a storytelling point of view.

My problem is with how archaeology is portrayed in fiction in general. It just so happens that Babylon 5 (and Crusade) archaeology is exactly the same kind of stereotypical stuff you see in other movies and TV shows. There's usually some greedy and/or clueless archaeologist who unleashes something terrible because they're being too greedy or ambitious to see the danger. Even when the archaeologist character is the hero, it still looks like this:


(I randomly grabbed that off an image search, so apologies if it stops working)

It's all about "treasure", about the value of specific objects. It's never about context.

The reason I find that problematic is that that sort of thing has real world consequences. People REALLY believe that archaeologist make money off what they find. They believe that archaeologists' incomes depend on what they dig up, that they get to keep and or sell artifacts, that sort of thing. It matters because it turns people hostile towards archaeologists working on/near their properties. I've seen a surprisingly large number of people make serious claims that academia is a vast conspiracy and archaeologists are out to rob them of valuables that rightly belong to them (or hiding evidence of the REAL truth which involves bigfoot and/or reptilian overlords....). In the US (and of course everywhere has its own problems), if you mix that with anti-government sentiment and/or eminent domain type situations, you can get some scary outcomes.. Armed property owners chasing archaeologists off their land and that sort of thing.

On some level I want to just sit and watch the show and enjoy this imagined future where archaeology looks like that, without worrying about anything else. But then on another level, I am thinking about all the good people who spend so much time and effort educating the public about what it is archaeologists ACTUALLY do. And I worry about the angry old men with all the guns

I can't say how I would feel about Eilerson if he hadn't been an archaeologist... I don't necessarily have to like a character's personality to enjoy the character. For example, I quite enjoy seeing Bester on Babylon 5. But then again, there are personality traits that I find hard to watch, like Byron's arrogance. So, I don't know. Maybe.
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