Monday, March 05, 2007

Socks and TV


Socks, socks, socks.

This weekend I actually had...a weekend! I rested when I wanted to rest, and I went out and did things when I wanted to. I even slept in as late as I wanted to. It's a big change after months and months of running my butt off every weekend trying to make up for lost time.

As I lay about the house enjoying the solitude and freedom, I worked on socks. No sweaters, only socks. I made lots of progress on my Roza's socks and finished the Song of Joy socks I've been working on for the last month.

During the sock knitting, I had the chance to watch a few movies and some TV. Netflix sent me two movies from my queue, Babel and Tristan and Isolde. Babel was a difficult movie to watch, but fantastic. It tells three interwoven stories about people in different parts of the world, and does a lot of jumping forward and backward in time. Not only was a lot of attention required to keep track of what was happening, but the movie was extremely tense. All three story lines were about people in physical or emotional pain and struggling through an immediate crisis. The tension was constant, and sort of uncomfortable. But that was what made it a great movie. Truth be told, I think I need to watch it again without the needles and yarn. As for Tristan and Isolde, it sucked the big one.

The other mentionable thing I watched was the Discovery channel documentary about the "Lost Tomb of Jesus." I can't pass up biblical archaeology documentaries, even if they are Christian. I have a background in biblical archaeology, having made aliyah when I was 19 so I could study the subject on the ground in Israel. I am fairly familiar with basic methodology and the political issues surrounding archaeology in that part of the world. Frankly, I found the documentary suspicious at best.

The director, Simcha Jacobovici, has a number of fairly impressive Zionist credentials. It turns out that he's a Sabra and involved in a number of Zionist organizations. I thought that perhaps he had some sort of Christian agenda, but I was apparently wrong.

He, however, does not seem to have any archaeological credentials worth anything. His methods were not scientific, and it seemed that he drew conclusions, and then went about trying to prove them. The way "evidence" was presented was also misleading. As a former archaeologist, I know that archaeology is a discipline of circumstantial evidence. There is almost never a "smoking gun" in archaeology. It is a slow and tedious process of learning everything you can from physical and historical evidence, and then drawing conclusions that need to be subject to peer review.

The Jacobovici documentary was plain "archaeo-porn." The sort of stuff of Indiana Jones that excites lay people, but has no basis in the scientific work that is the meat and potatoes of the field. After spending two hours of my life on watching what certainly was an entertaining TV program, I'm left with a question. Clearly, the director had an agenda that he was pushing. Well, he had two. One was money, of course. But what was the political agenda behind the making of this film? I mean, it was made in Israel, where everything is about politics.
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