Re: Creationist Commodification

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 00:11:26 -0500

On Tue, 5 Mar 1996, Vance Geiger wrote:

> Which brings me to a question. As Ralph Holloway pointed out we
> have been less than successful in conveying certain kinds of
> information:
> Well, I trust by now the NBC escapade on "The Mysterious Origins
> of Man" aired at 7 pm EST was seen by all devoted
> anthropologists. Ought to give us all a good clue to just how
> successful we've been, as it took the combined sponsorship of
> Coke-McDonald's-Chlorox-M&M's-Toyota-NY Times-Cadillac-DeVille-
> Kellog's Raisin Bran-Comet-JC Penney's-Hidden Valley-Lens
> Crafters-Pontiac-and Chrysler/Plymouth to challenge our methods,
> theories, and interpretations. Bottom line: I guess all those
> pyramids, both New and Old World were built by hominids driving
> brontosaur(es), with knowledge derived from the Atlantis folk,
> now buried under Antartica. Heeeeeere comes Pat......
> This appears to be especially true in Tennessee according to
> recent posts. So then why is the Origins of Man kind of stuff a
> good commodity? Why does it sell? Is it the conspiracy theory
> behind it? Is it the ideas? Is it Moses, excuse me, Charlton
> Heston? Why does it make a better commodity than evolution?

I think Vance is asking a really interesting question for which I have no
solid answer. There is the possibility that the NBC Origins thing didn't
sell too well, but then again it was quite akin to the stuff you read in
the National Inquirer, and lets face it, that stuff IS interesting... and
it surely sells. I think it is the ideas and not the conspiriacy theory.
In fact, Human Origins of .. shall I say a legit kind... of the ilk of a
PBS or NOVA also sells and interests millions. One of the reasons I
insist that my students read the NY Times Science Sectio every Tuesday
is that newer fossil discoveries will almost always be there, because the
public interest is great. I mean interest is great, even though the
renumerations possibly suck. I'm not at all sure that that the Origins
thing (ala NBC) is a better commodity than evolution. On the other hand,
as popular as Science (or should it be science?) is, it takes a lot of
skill to make it into "entertainment" which is all the major networks are
capable of in the first place. And let me tell you, getting students to
read the NY Times Science Section ain't easy, McGee...particularly if
they are anthropology students. Sorry, I've said and I'm not sorry...
Ralph Holloway