Help support TMP


""A rich and sophisticated culture."" Topic


18 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Ranting Plus Board

Back to the Broadcast Entertainment Plus Board


Areas of Interest

General

582 hits since 6 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2018 7:23 a.m. PST

It seems to have become almost mandatory when you do a documentary about some ancient people to notify the viewer that this was not merely any culture, but a rich and sophisticated one. Every expert must add the following bit to any statement they make, "indicative of their advanced skills" or some such …

Which leads me to ask, where are the stupid uncultured civilisations these amazing cultures like the Egyptians, the Celts, Inca, Mali, Great Zimbabwe, Zulu, Mongols, Qin, Minoans, Aztecs, Polynesians etc are measured against ?

I'm watching a documentary about the Celts and while the people shown in the "reenactment" could be almost anything since anything from those times is usually showcased by the usual mix of middle-aged, hard-faced bodybuilders, people with "ethnic hairdos" all invented by the neo pagan culture of the 21st century and the classic good-looking chieftain who fights for the freedom of his people …

When they do beat the Romans under Brennus it is because of their amazing advanced technology and superior martial society.

When they build mines in central Europe it's a showcase of a culture with superior organizational skills …

And then I feel like throwing the remote through the screen.

People, they build "amazing mines" not because somebody had a Kennedy style speech and promised that they would be digging up tin and copper by the end of the decade. They dug it up because it was necessary and over time they got good about doing it. They didn't "celebrate their culture" by building mines, it was a matter of doing it or leaving it to others.

I know the average viewer is an idiot who can't conceive that anyone born before yesterday would be even capable of tying their own shoes, but this crap is really getting annoying !!!

Roderick Robertson Fezian06 May 2018 8:48 a.m. PST

You answer your own question:

Which leads me to ask, where are the stupid uncultured civilisations these amazing cultures … are measured against ?

I know the average viewer is an idiot who can't conceive that anyone born before yesterday would be even capable of tying their own shoes,

"Who" these cultures are being measured against is the uninformed viewer's pre-conceptions.

zoneofcontrol06 May 2018 9:37 a.m. PST

I'm sure that there is also a bit of self-backpatting involved as well. "Look how smart I am (and you're not) because I am telling you something important."

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

Now, now. There are no inferior cultures. All cultures are morally equivalent, except for the modern Western technologically advanced culture and its immediate direct ancestors, which are universally evil, oppressive and destructive, and worthy of utter disdain. Didn't you get the memo?

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

They overdue it however my experience teaching world history was that many modern kids consider anything "old' to be inferior. They needed to understand that these cultures were NOT stupid because they had no engine-powered machninery.

Cacique Caribe07 May 2018 3:43 a.m. PST

They are all rich and sophisticated cultures to them, except ours of course.

Dan

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2018 5:18 a.m. PST

I watched another bit before I deleted the lot.

Vercingetorix, a handsome male model sporting a macho beard and trendy long hair that hasn't seen a comb in years is taken prisoner at Alesia. "It is likely that many Celts would have either preferred to die in battle or kill themselves rather than to be taken as slaves."

Not once do they mention that the Celts also had slaves and that all this posturing is presented as the natural reaction of a noble people against a vicious and decadent civilisation like Rome.

Truth is that the shoe was on the other foot, everybody likes to own slaves, nobody wants to be a slave, be it under noble Celts or degenerate sub-human Romans.

And not only did they have slaves they also knew how to use soap, combs (the one recurring item in so many tombs !!!) and understood the principle behind a damp cloth to wash your face with !!! Because the "actor" scenes were once again done with people covered in muck, muted colours except for some kilt-like plaid tossed over a shoulder to remind people that they are Celts.

Yes I am aware that proper costumes are expensive and that it's much easier to just grab a bunch of people with exotic hairstyles they sport in daily life than to invest in expensive wigs and facial topiary that matches the period. That's why the Romans looked like generic "ancients" and all these series are made on tiny budgets.

License some historic artwork or get one or two people to look right …

dapeters07 May 2018 9:07 a.m. PST

I always thought it was kind of funny that Aristotle supposedly told Alexander that it was only right that Greek civilization be brought to the barbarians and with that Alexander proceeds to knock over as many other civilizations as he can.

Bowman07 Jun 2018 5:06 a.m. PST

Which leads me to ask, where are the stupid uncultured civilisations these amazing cultures like the Egyptians, the Celts, Inca, Mali, Great Zimbabwe, Zulu, Mongols, Qin, Minoans, Aztecs, Polynesians etc are measured against ?

This is a logical fallacy known as "begging the question. You assume that since there are "rich, cultured civilizations" that those around them are stupid and uncultured. Your original premise is wrong, imo.

If the average public recognizes the name of a culture, then they were probably cultured and civilized. I'll stick to the Aztecs and Incas which I know a bit about. So with the Aztecs, everyone's heard of them, right? How about Tochpan, or Malinolco, or Acatlan? Heard of them? I doubt it. Eventually they were under the Aztec hegemony. Their culture was the Aztec culture. Were they as sophisticated as the Aztecs? Doubtful. Were they stupid? Of course not.

They didn't run an Empire. They didn't developed a military system that was constantly tinkered with in order to improve it. They didn't formulate a complex social order, and legal system. They didn't develope and perfect art, whether architecture and massive public buildings, painting, or poetry. They didn't build an infrastructure including roads, bridges, causeways, fortifications, aquaducts, and public granaries. They didn't need to formulate a large administration to efficiently run their holdings. They didn't develope a society where a large proportion of people didn't have to take part in farming. As for farming they didn't innovate agricultural practices like farming in the water. They didn't develope paper. The lists go on and on.

You belittle Celtic mining. But think of why they did the mining. You need to smelt the material to extract the metals and then develope the means to work the metals into useful objects. Then think of the centralized administrative power need to seek out, dig and maintain these mines. This is thousands of years work. Bronze and iron metallurgy was still beyond the great civilizations like the Aztecs, Incas and Maya. Making small amounts of gold doesn't really count. The Tarascan were just beginning simple copper smelting and weapons manufacturing. Sea going Tarascan traders seem to have influenced the Inca in this respect.

Anyways, all the examples you mention above I think are good examples of "rich and sophisticated" cultures. That doesn't make their neighbours stupid.

dapeters11 Jun 2018 10:13 a.m. PST

Perhaps our notions of civilization is incorrect

Bowman13 Jun 2018 12:34 p.m. PST

Perhaps. The internet is full of the "traits of civilization". Here is just one example:

PDF link

What do you propose to make the corrections?

dapeters14 Jun 2018 12:36 p.m. PST

Has there ever been a culture that treated it's outsiders/ marginals well.

Bowman17 Jun 2018 5:39 p.m. PST

Well there are very humane cultures and somewhat less humane cultures. Civilization is a level of human social development as explained above. How any specific civilization deals with the poor, the disenfranchised, the powerless and foreigners is dependent on other factors. For instance, the Aztecs and the ancient Egyptians were definitely a civilization but I doubt they treated any of the above very well.

How are modern countries dealing with your question? Are they civilizations?

dapeters18 Jun 2018 9:15 a.m. PST

Ah Bowman maybe we're not. Perhaps the concept of civilization is more of a sociological/ psychological sort of notion. I am not sure that culture and Civilization are quite the same thing.

Bowman20 Jun 2018 7:48 a.m. PST

I am not sure that culture and Civilization are quite the same thing.

I agree with that.

However, in the context of the OP, the terms may be used to mean the same thing. Especially when Patrick asks, "….where are the stupid uncultured civilisations these amazing cultures like the Egyptians, the Celts, Inca, Mali, Great Zimbabwe, Zulu, Mongols, Qin, Minoans, Aztecs, Polynesians etc are measured against"?

28mm Fanatik20 Jun 2018 8:21 a.m. PST

If these civilizations are not advertised as "rich and sophisticated" cultures (rightfully or not) worthy of our viewership and attention, fewer people would watch these documentaries I would imagine.

dapeters20 Jun 2018 8:33 a.m. PST

Marketing

DJCoaltrain20 Sep 2018 4:34 p.m. PST

dapeters 14 Jun 2018 12:36 p.m. PST


Has there ever been a culture that treated it's outsiders/ marginals well.

*NJH: Vulcans?

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.