Earlier I wrote about the first of three archaeology films I recently watched while under the weather for a couple of days.
I watched the 2nd and 3rd videos on the second day while feeling considerably better. I mention this because I enjoyed these last two videos much more than the first. However, I was healthier and to be fair, something would have been missing had I not seen the first.
For convenience, I will review these two most recently watched videos together. Their look and feel is quite similar, which is no surprise considering the same lecturer presents in each.
My first impression was how the American films differ from the French. The French is heavy on Kubrick style shots, slow-moving and almost tedious at points. The US video is filmed on a set resembling something of an American campground.
Several quintessential earmarks of American culture stand out, from the National Geographic badge above the shirt pocket, the white tent, the open laptop, to references to Indiana Jones.
Once again I am compelled to humbly note that Americans are remarkably good at many things. In this case, the lecturer presents an abundance of information in a clear and orderly manner; and unlike the French film, it’s never boring but lively and sometimes amusing without being jocular.
The researcher himself blends a charming mix of anecdotes, historical and archaeological data. With a long list of career achievements and awards behind him, his research is funded by National Geographic. That doesn’t happen if you are a slouch. And you won’t make The Great Courses either (these films seem to be a merger of the two entities) unless you are esteemed by many.
No, you won’t find any shady professors using backwater universities as a kind of criminal hideout in this series. This is the real deal. And it shows.
Watch these two videos! They serve to remind us that decent, hard-working professors with something meaningful to say still exist in a world where academia sometimes seems mediocre, corrupt and painfully out of touch.