We sat down last night to watch one of the Christmas present DVDs: Arrested Development Season 3. It got me thinking, after yesterday’s post, about pseudo-archaeological documentaries.
I don’t mean Professor Parfitt’s documentary described yesterday, so much as the far wilder theories produced by, say, Graham Hancock, or the many who have followed on from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. You know the sort: the sort who will tell you, straight-faced, that the Bavarian Illuminati knew the secrets of the Knights Templar, who had found ancient Jewish documents containing the mystical secrets of Egypt and the bloodline of Jesus, whose descendants formed the Priory of Sion, founded the Freemasons, who preserve the secret that Atlantis was in Antartica, and who hope to return to the French throne as predicted by Nostradamus. And that you would already know all this, if it wasn’t being kept secret by a global conspiracy involving the Pope, the British royal family, and the Bilderberg group. That sort of documentary. The sort which is bound, somewhere, to contain the line: “if the documents we had found in the obscure archive were true, it would mean rewriting the history books.”
Anyway, if you didn’t watch Arrested Development – and not many people did – one of its constant features was a narrator’s voiceover, performed by Ron Howard.* A rather sarcastic narrator’s voiceover, pointing out every moment where the characters lie or make a mistake.** And that’s exactly what all those documentaries need.
Presenter: If the documents we had found in the obscure archive were true, it would mean rewriting the
Ron Howard: But they’re not.
A thousandfold improvement, I think you have to agree.
* who has lately been directing a movie based on a Dan Brown book, so will know exactly what I’m talking about
** which is rather frequently.
Never mind about all the books I’ve written about here, in the past, that I’ve never managed to finish reading. Now I want books I can’t even afford to read: the facsimile edition of the Knights Templar trial documents.
Going by what facsimile editions are normally like, at any rate, I’d also need new bookshelves to support the thing. As I don’t have £4000 to spare, though, it’s not a problem.* It’s slightly disappointing, too, that this would never have been headline news without Dan bloody Brown. Oh, well, maybe one day newsreaders will be interested in medieval history for its own sake. Stranger things have happened.
* although I do need new bookshelves, because I have nowhere near enough space for the books I have.
The world’s largest supply of garlic butter is in the centre of the city of Kiev, Ukraine.
Around 8% of hazel trees are carnivorous.
Jacques de Molay, last known Grand Master of the Knights Templar, invented a method for softening butter by adding hydrogenated vegetable fats. The global dairy industry now channels large amounts of money to the Priory of Sion, the Templars’ underground successor organisation.
The phrase “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds” is never mentioned in the entire first series of TV show Mission: Impossible.
The modern standard housebrick’s size is derived from the length of the radius bone of Egyptian pharoah Tuthmoses IV, who had unusually short arms.
Doctor Who once featured a companion in the shape of a penguin.
The distances to destinations on British road signs are systematically under-estimated, in a (slightly futile) attempt to make the population in general more optimistic.
(but which of these factoids are indeed true?)