Friday, May 30, 2008

Indiana Jones recommends V. Gordon Childe

Among the many, many putdowns of the McCarthy-era anti-commie loons in Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull is Jone's remark about "getting out of the library if you want to do archaeology," but if you read, at least read V. Gordon Childe. That was, and is, sage advice. For some, this means Jones is ("was"? It's 1957, remember ;-) a pinko commie camp follower. Heh. So am I, if by that you mean intelligent people (thank you!) who write the human arc of the story of evolution from the ground up.

Soviet-style Communism may be dead, but Marx' critique of Godless Capitalism ain't hardly scratched the surface of its long-term influence.

I did find the "Better Red Than Dead" protest signs at a campus demonstration a bit anachronistic, but that may just be me. It doesn't resemble any college I knew. The Spring of 1957 was still a smug, even sanctimonious age in American science, when the U.S. was still lightyears ahead of the Soviet Union and Werner von Braun was the darling of Walt Disney's "Tomorrowland". In the Spring of 1957, Sputnik was still an age away (launched October 4th, in fact; Childe died 11 days later, on October 15th.)

In fact, the largest political gathering I personally saw on any American college campus was in 1960, when John F. Kennedy came to a rally at Michigan State University, three years later. The big things that year were the "missile gap" and Francis Gary Powers, but I was 16, too young to vote.

By the way, did you notice the Swift Boat allusion? The subject of Jone's medals, which he won as an O.S.S. ossifa in Dubya Dubya Two, comes up:

"Yeah," comes the Goon-in-Black's retort. "But did he deserve them?"

They'll be mining this movie for shards of residual Weltanschauung for generations to come ;-)



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