The Big Picture: Relics

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maninahat:

What if I told you that the chief contender for the biggest structure in the World was African? The wall of Benin is five times longer than the great wall of China

I hadn't heard of them before, so thank you for sharing that bit of interesting info with us.

However, the wiki article straight up starts out with:

It was considered the largest man-made structure lengthwise, second only to the Great Wall of China...

Which, given the geography of the two regions just makes sense. It's impressive enough all on its own, no need to exaggerate it.

Dear Moviebob, would you rather be chased by a horse-sized duck or 50 duck-sized horses?

alternate question, of DC and Marvel which aspects of each do you prefer and why?

Very well done. Great episode. I confess to have never considered the trope of 'The Lost City'. I have definitely learned something new and insightful today.

Since lots of people are claiming they thought of the Mayans first, in a vain attempt to prove they're not racist, I might as well say Angkor if the first place I think of as a lost city. Its a terrific ruin, and just first image that jumps to my mind. It deserves some love too. Ah, there's something about stone buildings being swallowed up by juggle that is just cool anywhere, I doubt this concept will ever fade.

It is easy, and to be honest encouraging, that people today have a hard time thinking certain bad ideas were so universally accepted in the foundation of a lot of our tropes. Sure we can rationalize other reasons for these conclusions than straight up racism, but that would be ignoring the forest while trying to depute the existence of the trees.

Just take Piltdown Man, and obvious forgery that was originally ignore as such at the time by those who should have known better because it supported the argument that humanity emerged from Britain. Which means accepted science at the time told people that ancient civilizations were all white, thus the notion of lost white cities in Africa was not such a stupid idea back then. Still, however the idea happen, racism help shape it, as it influence so many things it was impossible for it not to have played some hand in it.

So the lesson is, what? That we should just stop whining about people being racist because "that's how it's always been?" That calling a racist out for his unsubstantiated hatred for someone based on the melanin count in his skin is something we just have to put up with because it's traditional?

Consider the fact that for the past 100,000 or so years since humanity appeared, there has not been a great deal of advancement. Certain moments saw progress, but our species has advanced faster in the past century than it has in all its existence. Yes, I goddamn do expect racism to pack it in and leave. Along with sexism, persecution based on and/or because of religion, and every other backwater ideal that has held us in a state of cultural stasis for centuries. A resigned attitude to its presence is like a doctor just shrugging off a man's health issues because "that's what happens at your age."

Fuck. That. We have computers, microwaves and saran wrap. FUCKING FIX IT!

Creatural:
Also, everyone who is saying that the behavior of the people living in Africa was also savage and should give reason to the explorers to believe they were inferior needs to step back and examine themselves really closely. You're firstly assuming that all groups of African people behaved the same, they didn't, and secondly you're also saying that the more acceptable behavior of people for that time was that of the explorers. The explorers regularly did horrific things to the native people there and to their own people and implying that they were somehow more well behaved than all of the diverse cultures in Africa is not that great of an idea, that can make you racist and it also ignores how differently groups of people there actually behaved. Can we just not give into that type of thinking anymore?

That's not what we're saying at all. We're just saying it might not have been as simple as "No way could black people do that", because as I said, they thought the same things about ruins in countries populated by white people. No one's denying they were definitely racists.

I always assumed Lost City mythology was South American in origin and originated from the tons of lost cities left behind when the Spanish killed of Indian tribes.

Great episode bob but to think that something so entrenched in popular culture came from such of a backwards place really sucks.
Now my question for you is with the release of Red Dead Redemption and LA Noire do you think that Rockstar has used their tech for better and more varied storytelling. Also has your 360 collection grown beyond Arkham Asylum and Bioshock.

Excellent episode Bob, as always, and it's quite true, racism is and probably always will be part of our society in some for or another.

Now for my mailbag questions, I'll put out a few, and considering the topic of this episode, I'll make them about your own personal experiences with racism:

1. What kinds of racism have you personally been a victim of?

2. Consciously or unconsciously, what kinds of racism have you personally perpetrated?

3. For you, at what point does racism cross the line between joke and serious and starts to piss you off?

SnakeoilSage:
So the lesson is, what? That we should just stop whining about people being racist because "that's how it's always been?" That calling a racist out for his unsubstantiated hatred for someone based on the melanin count in his skin is something we just have to put up with because it's traditional?

What Bob's saying is that racism is deeply entrenched in the society and culture of the ENTIRE human race, and that humanity has only made any real effort to get rid of racism in the past couple decades. Bob's saying it's unreasonable and unrealistic to expect every last form of racism to disappear overnight, or even in the next several decades for that matter.

immortalfrieza:
What Bob's saying is that racism is deeply entrenched in the society and culture of the ENTIRE human race, and that humanity has only made any real effort to get rid of racism in the past couple decades. Bob's saying it's unreasonable and unrealistic to expect every last form of racism to disappear overnight, or even in the next several decades for that matter.

I understand that. But it feels like the worst kind of cop out on an important issue. I don't think expecting racism to vanish overnight is a bad thing even if it isn't realistic. If we don't hold ourselves to higher standards right this very instant, then when are we going to? Like an unhealthy lifestyle: we make time for it now or we'll be forced to later.

SnakeoilSage:

immortalfrieza:
What Bob's saying is that racism is deeply entrenched in the society and culture of the ENTIRE human race, and that humanity has only made any real effort to get rid of racism in the past couple decades. Bob's saying it's unreasonable and unrealistic to expect every last form of racism to disappear overnight, or even in the next several decades for that matter.

I understand that. But it feels like the worst kind of cop out on an important issue. I don't think expecting racism to vanish overnight is a bad thing even if it isn't realistic. If we don't hold ourselves to higher standards right this very instant, then when are we going to? Like an unhealthy lifestyle: we make time for it now or we'll be forced to later.

Don't worry man, progess to eliminate racism IS being made all the time, it's just going to take a while. However, I seriously doubt racism won't exist in some form or another anyway regardless of what we do to stop it.

I think you're right to a certain extent. But I think you're missing the point on why their minds were so blown.

First of all, these kinds of ruins aren't just exclusive to Africa, and even in movies/books/games that use the idea of "lost ruins" don't just use African examples. Sure the original stories that brought the inspiration for other stories were based off of them, but by now most take other locations into consideration, and inspirations built off of other inspirations means the original stories aren't as relevant as they originally were.

Second, most of these ruins they found were made of massive stones that even our cranes today wouldn't be able to lift, and usually placed very precisely on top of each other and made massive structures with them, the reason why they're still standing today is because they're so amazing. It's the same with the Mayan temples, the same with the Asian temples, even the same with the Pyramids. Besides, why were Africans at that time living in tribal villages if they could just go build a castle out of stones?

So that's not to say that the people who built them weren't black, and of course it's comical they would 'fill in the blanks' so to speak with a bunch of white people for the original stories you're referring too. I get that part. My point here is, of course the colonials were racist, but to practically say they were so amazed because they were "just racist" seems a bit far fetched. They may have been racist, but they at least had SOME intelligence.

SnakeoilSage:

I understand that. But it feels like the worst kind of cop out on an important issue. I don't think expecting racism to vanish overnight is a bad thing even if it isn't realistic. If we don't hold ourselves to higher standards right this very instant, then when are we going to? Like an unhealthy lifestyle: we make time for it now or we'll be forced to later.

He's not really proposing a solution. If racism is this entrenched in society, it's not something that you can just eliminate, and it's often not something that is immediately identifiable. Fighting against racism is something that will take much exploration, action, and most importantly, listening to those impacted by it*.

*Take the hint, users here who clog threads with the same BS every time some one makes a thread about race and/or sex in videogames.

That was good, balanced, I got the message. He didn't try to beat us over the head with his politics or moral posturing.

Bob though, isn't exactly right. The orientalists from their origins were always interested in the middle east, and aware that brown, blacks, Mongols, Chinese, Thai etc had their own cities, civilisations, economies and military power once they encountered such and examined it, or when an advanced or organised army rocked up and had a go at the cities of Christendom (Ottomans, early Islamic conquerors, Moors, etc etc). The Ottomans after all, almost took Europe a few times, and the various coalitions of Muslim non-whites did defeat the crusaders. Orientalism studies, anthropology and archaeology would come to understand that black Africans too, like their pre-Islamic neighbours, did have cities, forts, civilisations. Even after the reconquista, the port cities of north africa were clearly there and known, because they were hassling trade through piracy, and had connections to the Moorish territories that had recently been taken by Spain.

So to put it more accurately, there was a lot of racism about, but also educated whites interested in getting to the truth, and there was plenty of ways to broaden their understandings and encounter blacks in cities.

Here are some questions, feel free to pick and choose any you like?

Are there any movies that you reviewed in the "Escape from the Movies" where over time your opinion of them has turned an 180?

How do you feel about accusations of bias towards movies(ex:muppets)?

Are there any genres, media, or aspects of geek culture that you simply don't get or understand the appeal?

What is the difference between a good remake and a bad remake(maybe some examples)?

Do you think that this era of cinema where geek culture has such a heavy influence on the medium where we get movies like "The Avengers" or "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" will either die down or even backfire on itself?

I love what Penn Jillette said:

"Circumstances of birth are nothing more than random and should never be a source of pride or shame."

"Wanna really get rid of this bullshit racism? Stop seeing yourself as white, or black, or even American! Be yourself and fuck the tribe!"

I have a question for Bob: why do people get duped into watching obviously awful movies time and time again? (cough, Jack and Jill, cough).

Imp Emissary:
That was cool.

Ok question time.
Now that BioWare are done with Shepherd's story and are on their way to finishing up Dragon Age, what do you think they will try next?

I kind of hope they try a RPG world that has magic (and I mean magic magic), but is placed in a future world. Not as far in the future as Mass effect maybe, but at least far enough that they have electricity and indoor plumbing.

Do you think they will be trying anything like that? Have you (or anyone else really) heard of a game like that?

Thanks for the brain food Bob!

Why yes, I have heard of Shadowrun, I would like to see a videogame adaptation of it that does it justice though.

Considering the vast majority of us younger generations honestly don't have the thought "How could black people build this fantastic stuff?" running through our heads when the "lost city trope" is brought up, doesn't that mean we HAVE moved past it?

The fact he had to tell us how it came about shows that racism no longer affects that spesific part of the culture because the original meaning is gone and replaced by the appeal of wild, exotic locations and lost cultures.

Semitendon:
I suppose the point of the episode was pretty good overall, but the example was terrible.

You said " Lost City- what do you think of?"

You said my answer was: "Africa- Because of Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and Tarzan among others, all take place in either Africa, or places like Africa, and that's racist because way back in the day people were surprised and mystified to find ruins of cities in Africa" Paraphrased of course.

The reality is, I immediately thought of South America, Asia, and the Middle East. In fact, Africa is pretty far down on the list. The argument would then be, "Why didn't I think of Africa, isn't that racist?" And the whole damn thing just gets worse after that.

But, before jumping into that, I'd like to address a couple of things first. For the most part Indiana Jones doesn't take place in Africa, I realize that the Lost Ark was found in Egypt, but aside from that he doesn't spend much time there. Tomb Raider is the same, there is a map on wikipedia that shows places where Lara Croft has been in the games, most of them outside of Africa. You used Tarzan as an example of the Africa lost city concept, congrats that's valid. . . and very old. Counterpoint: The Jungle Book- Lost City, not in Africa, very old.

I'm afraid you've misread the "narrative" of my argument, though to be fair that's concievably just as much my fault.

Obviously, there are more "lost city"-type ruins to be found in South America and Asia, and clearly that's why modern variations on the theme like Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider generally place their locales there - because they have the benefit of modern knowledge to know that it makes more sense that way. HOWEVER, the reason "Lost City"/"Lost Civilization" stuff pops up in Indy and Tomb Raider is because those are both modernizations inspired by classical Adventure Fiction, which in turn were inspired by King Solomon's Mines, which took place in Africa and was DIRECTLY inspired by the then-recent discoveries of real-life African ruins.

Yes I suppose it could have been a "black people could not have built this stuff" issue. Or maybe, just maybe, it was a much more common sense "People generally advance. So people today living in mud huts are not likely to have been from the same people who built castles. Otherwise why would they have stopped building castles and started living in mud huts?" mindset...

Also this really had fuck all to do with racism... Tell me how this is at all relevant to say the black slavery issue people still harp on and on and on about. From people who were never slaves towards people who have never owned slaves.

Sorry, I am gonna go right on ahead and keep stating that the racism issue is bullshit, just something people like to whine about to make themselves feel like others owe them something. Because that, that selfishness, that self victimisation, is a very real and trait that has nothing to do with race or sex but purely on people being selfish cunts.

Oh and the whole "monkey is always a slander against black people" thing can go fuck right off. Look at my name, look at the last name... Yeah. Go die in a fire ya whiney jackanapes.

Here's something a i think a lot of geeks want to know from you: marvel or DC? or if you'd prefer not to touch that, what super power would you pick? and yes, flight is a cop-out!

Same thing happened with native Americans. The large structures that explorers found were explained away as the acts of a lost civilization known commonly as "The mound builders" in order to justify the explorer's feelings that the native americans were far to primitive to have ever made anything permanent.

Zaul2010:
Question: If you put loads of sugar on a bagel, does that make it a donut?

It makes it a very stale donut.

Back to the topic...

Wouldn't it also be true that the narrative for a lost city requires an area that a city could be lost in. I assume by the 1800s, Europeans probably had a good idea of what Europe looked like. Couldn't you also explain the setting in part due to general ignorance.

I mean, some early science fiction often had Mars or Venus as quasi-habitable worlds because it was assumed that they would be the closest to earth. Nowadays, science fiction writers set their sights on planets light years away because we have a more thorough understanding of our own solar system.

Fawxy:
Interesting and informative episode.... funny how we take certain things in fantasy/pop culture for granted.

QUESTION: What's your opinion on the next generation of game consoles and where it will/might take the game industry? Failing that, where do you see consoles in the future i.e. 10-15 years from now?

I second this question.

And I ot one myself: Bob, do you read Comics like Calvin & Hobbes, Ztis or Baby Blues? I want to hear a lecture about those.
C&B will always remain a masterpiece for me. I read it since I was a kid, and everytime I re-read it I learn something new. It's like The Simpsons, made for everyone, some things everyone can enjoy while others only when you get older.

So, the Lost City trope doesn't encompass finding lost Middle Eastern, South American, European, Eastern Asian, Southern Asian, or (admittedly rarer) North American cities, city-states, temples, statues, and other remnants of a long dead empire?

So the Arabian stories about finding ruins in the sands of the city of glass destroyed by the sun in a fitful rage when his lover slept with someone in the city didn't help found the concept?

The Chinese stories of journeying across the lands and finding overgrown idols of unknown gods don't help?

The islander stories of searching for a continent the gods hid across the seas, it's beautiful lands untainted yet by man, these don't matter?

Stories from all corners of the globe of people looking for a city sunk by the gods, or of passageways in tombs, or the exploration of bizarre monuments for treasure, knowledge, or more treasure don't hold up? Just the ones about white dudes in Africa?

It doesn't stem from a racist idea, it stems from a human idea--we in the present are impossibly complex, while everyone in the past was primitive. Through study and diligence (something most people avoid like it has cooties), we can correct this misunderstanding in ourselves. Yes, age of exploration white dudes charting out Africa were racist, but when they looked at either nomadic or agrarian tribal societies versus the immense complexity of the eroding civilization, they saw no comparable way that the two groups could have been anything alike, ergo someone else built it. If you found intricate iron lacework and precision-crafted alloys near a group of people that hadn't the foggiest clue of metallurgy, you would conclude that someone else built it. It's really not that hard of a leap. Applying racist overtones onto it does nothing good.

i'd like to find out a little about this john carter of mars. the movie trailer was the first i heard of it.

Bob, here's my question: You've been called a hypocrite a lot of times. What do you think about these accusations? Will you ever address them? Like say, the gimmickry in 'The Artist' versus 'Sucker Punch'?

Response to video:
I liked it, and made me think. I think more Makes you think, kind of episodes would work well. Since they appear to be easy on your part. Don't know if they are or not. Probably aren't but I think you could do it on anything you like and just dive into for a bit.

Questions:
1.Do you think webcomics are replacing comics?

I ask this because I think all you need to do is give a short answers. I wonder since I buy more individual comics from web comic artist then anything else. I have bought more merchandise and comics from webcomics like The Devils' Panties, Something Postitive, and Eerie Cuties then I have from Marvel and DC. Its easier to find something you like, and often want to pay even if I have already read the comic.

2. Do you think comics will ever be back in the regular stores?

Just something I miss seeing. This is kind of the reason why I stopped buying comics was it wasn't readily available to purchase a new comic each week. It being tough to find that missing issue I stopped buying comics. I know buy collections like Marvel Zombies instead if I buy any at all. Just is easier and have the whole thing there when you want to read it.

3. Will there ever be if you like x episode?

I wonder this because I think this be easy for you. Usually your better episodes come after an easy one you had fun with. Thought this might work as a good idea.Start off on something you like that is fairly well known, say Kick Ass for example. Then could go off on other things that might be similar or might enjoy relating to that. For example if you like Kick Ass you may want to cheek out Super because has the whole blood and guts bit they tend to not have in a super hero movie.

4. What past(not currently on TV) shows do you think are worth picking up?

Since you watch DVDs more then anything else do you have any shows you think are worth cheeking out? I wonder this because I have Titus and Dinosaurs up there with Freakaziod. You like Freakaziod as well, so thought you have some good ones worth cheeking out. Hell I think you could make a whole episode out that if you wanted to.

Mailbag ep, eh? hmmmm...

-Are you tired of zombies?

-Where are your faces from?

Vault Citizen:
Sadly at this point in history it was an assumption held by colonialists that Africa had no history.

Apart from Egypt, who MUST have been white during the ancient times, at least the ruling classes.

As for the Lost city, it might be just because I'm familiar with ancient cultures, but when I imagine a lost civilization in Africa or South America, I'm not going to assume they were white.

This is an issue with Hollywood fantasy/scifi in general, how many magical/alien races/species there are that are all white? And how many that are all black or Asian and portrayed in equally positive light?

Or even races that are mixed? Apart from having one black elf middle of somewhere where everyone else is white, which is just ridiculous.

There's still the view that

good, intelligent, civilised = blonde, white
evil, stupid, barbaric = if not black, at least dark

For example, how many pictures you have seen of Neanderthals and modern humans (straight out of Africa)? And which ones tend to be portrayed as white, and which ones dark?

BehattedWanderer:
If you found intricate iron lacework and precision-crafted alloys near a group of people that hadn't the foggiest clue of metallurgy, you would conclude that someone else built it. It's really not that hard of a leap. Applying racist overtones onto it does nothing good.

Monkeyman O'Brien:
Yes I suppose it could have been a "black people could not have built this stuff" issue. Or maybe, just maybe, it was a much more common sense "People generally advance. So people today living in mud huts are not likely to have been from the same people who built castles. Otherwise why would they have stopped building castles and started living in mud huts?" mindset...

True, but it becomes kinda racist if you assume it must have been some white people. (Or people of you chosen ethnicity) Even if that's not the most likely answer.

Monkeyman O'Brien:

Oh and the whole "monkey is always a slander against black people" thing can go fuck right off. Look at my name, look at the last name... Yeah. Go die in a fire ya whiney jackanapes.

It is? I didn't know that. But who said it was? Did someone bring it up here? Because it sounds like you just want to get offended at something you are imagining someone is saying.

The history of Zimbabwe is very interesting, three prominant tribes are said to have originated from Zim, the Shona, Matabele and the Zulus. It is said that these three were all one tribe but got split up. The Shona trib and Matabele are still in Zim and while part of the MAtabele is in South Africa. The Zulu's moved to the east coast of South Africa.

All three of these tribes had a very violant/ warrior orientated culture (young men had to kill an enemy before they could choose a wife), I would not think it far fetched that they arrived in Zim with their vast heards of cattle and destroyed the more advanced African culture that built those ruiens.

Well there might be some cities that were built by ancient colonizing forces (romans, greeks, egyptians, etc.)
Some of the ruins might be also inspired by buildings of invaders
Were they all built by or inspired by ancient civilizations? Hell no!
There are too many ruins in Africa. So africans can build heavy buildings, it isn't always necessary, but they can.
BUT one proof that those were built by extinct civilizations- lack of fresh ruins or similar functioning buildings.
Yes, most of them were people with black skin color, and there might be descendants of those living in Africa now, but cultures that built those are extinct for sure.
Or at least they are hiding well.

Rabidkitten:
I'm not sure I buy that those same adventures in racism bleeds into our own modern perspective of exploring lost civilizations.

Are you familiar with the name Edward Said or the term 'Orientalism' ?

If not, I suggest you look it up.

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