Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beatles Anarcheology

Here's a video I've come across that's good for a laugh.  And who doesn't like the topic of The Beatles (well, there are some people who don't, but that's besides the point)?

Taking the idea that archeologists put together an idea of ancient and prehistoric cultures based on very limited evidence, a few bits of pottery and such, and imagining how future investigators might construct an interpretative view of our culture, well, that's not exactly a  new idea.  I remember reading an essay in a popular culture anthology some years ago that did just that--the "researcher" argued that the city of Washington must have been a place where a lot of laundry was done.

Of course, there's a great deal of difference between a culture that has no writing, and leaves very little behind in the way of material culture, requiring a great deal of guesswork and reconstruction, and a culture that records its history in writing, more so that publishes it extensively in widely distributed printed documents, not to mention the volumes of information accumulated by us photographically and electronically, and the volumes of material items we produce (one man's garbage dump is another's archeological dig).  

It's hard to believe future generations not having access to detailed records about our age, barring some kind of discontinuity due to some form of catastrophe.

Be that as it may, this is still an enjoyable bit of satire, and a cautionary note about our own present-day readings of the tea leaves of the past.

Now, what do you think they'll make of YouTube videos like this one over in the year 3000?

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