Friday, January 13, 2006

It's amazing what you find when you Google your own name

Remember this post? Well, I found it picked up on this blog.

Helpfully, Alun links to a couple of news items that provide more information, most importantly naming the Somerset Museum in question. It's the Cheddar Man & The Cannibals museum in the Cheddar Caves & Gorge. As I suspected, it's a museum concerned principally with prehistory. It is simply easier to present to a visitor the notion that Cheddar Man is from approximately 9,000 years Before the Present than to date him to approximately 7050 BC, and leave it to the visitor to add the extra 2,000 years.

Unfortunately, of course, the labels were read by some idiot who didn't understand what they meant, and couldn't be bothered to find out, but leapt to conclusions that fitted with a particular bee in their bonnet, complained to the museum, and then couldn't wait for the museum to explain itself before writing an angry letter to the local paper (or however it was that they got the press involved). As is often the case, people are complaining about what they think is being said, rather than what is actually being said. Remember the controversial 'gay' sketch in The Eleven O'Clock Show, in which a TV director is making a sensitive documentary until he storms out on discovering that his subject is living with another man? That produced a storm of complaints for being anti-gay, but if you actually saw the sketch, the gay characters were portrayed with dignity, and the target was actually the homophobic director. But people weren't watching properly, so they sounded off. The Cheddar case appears to me to be a similar one. It then got picked up by a Tory politician. Well, you expect them to use evidence partially to support whatever molehill they want to turn into a newsworthy mountain, without getting the whole story (see Michael Howard's election campaign, passim).

Finding Alun's post inspired me to go looking for other references to Memorabilia Antonina, and I found a that quite a few people are reading this, including David Meadows, who I remember from my days when I used to frequent Classics mailing lists. That gives me quite a warm feeling.

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