It Belongs in a Museum
August 10, 2017 7:49 AM   Subscribe

 
Even if you forgive him his grave-robbing bullshit, he's a child molester who betrays his lover and appeases Nazis in order to "save" an artifact.
posted by rikschell at 8:35 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Everyone in the movies seems real chill about concrete proof that the Abrahamic God is 100% totally real.
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 AM on August 10 [58 favorites]


By Max Gladstone, whose Craft sequence is amazing and somehow combines capitalism, magic, and dead gods in fascinating ways
posted by blahblahblah at 8:40 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


TBH given subsequent events I'm not sure shooting the ark with a rocket launcher would have been that great a plan.
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Well, Jones compares pretty well to videogame archeologists, with their vase-smashing, weapon-firing ways.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:54 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Hm. A few points that I feel the essay fails to consider:

-Professor Jones, Sr., at one point candidly asks his son "You call this archaeology?" which would seem to indicate that even for someone who is a "professional fossil" of the likes of Carter and Schliemann, Junior's methods were extreme.

-I feel that the essay is underplaying a large issue when defending Dr. Jones as a teacher, in terms of the attention his class pays to his lectures and the gender ratio of his lecture hall; it seemed to be obvious to me that both of those factors were related more to the physical appearance of Dr. Jones than his abilities as a teacher. Given his history with Marion Ravenwood - who was likely underage at the time of their affair (16 or 17) - I am not sure this factor should be considered in his favour. It may be that he learned from that dalliance and the subsequent impact on his friendship with Abner Ravenwood, but the fact remains that Dr. Jones appears to have a group of fans, largely young and female, and that while he may not be directly encouraging that, we are also given no evidence that he discourages it either.

-It is also obvious that Dr. Jones, in his fieldwork, is haphazard at best. "I'm making this up as I go!" is not an indication of any type of careful planning; he is, as the article concludes, an adventurer. He may not be a disaster, but his successes come in spite of himself - indeed, his entire quest for the Ark is marked by continuing failure on the part of Dr. Jones; it is only his ability to outlast all of his competitors that enables his victory. Given the evident existence of the supernatural in the world of Dr. Jones, I am more inclined to ascribe his success in the field to factors beyond our reckoning than to the ability of Dr. Jones.
posted by nubs at 9:00 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


FTA:

In each of the first three films (I have not seen Crystal Skull. Maybe I should?)

NO
posted by sgranade at 9:03 AM on August 10 [21 favorites]


Everyone in the movies seems real chill about concrete proof that the Abrahamic God is 100% totally real.

The evidence might be argued to go somewhat toward the existence of the Abrahamic God, but it is clearly not 100% since the film alone does not provide information for all aspects of the Abrahamic God, for example, it does not provide conclusive proof of omniscience, omnipotence, the only god, etc.

One could go further and say that without a proper assessment of what went on that it might simply represent advanced technology beyond the understanding of both the viewer and Jones.
posted by biffa at 9:10 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


Crystal Skull is the better of the two bad Indiana Jones movies.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


One could go further and say that without a proper assessment of what went on that it might simply represent advanced technology beyond the understanding of both the viewer and Jones.

Indeed, the existence of aliens in the Jones universe (as proved by a later film that should not be seen), might explain everything.
posted by nubs at 9:17 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Though I will acknowledge Crystal Skull for giving me a second mental image of "fridging" as a way of harming a story.
posted by nubs at 9:19 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I love how the author says that a movie made about 100 years ago in feminism time seems "skeevy and disrespectful" because of the default assumption that all those women are there to ogle Harrison Ford. HEY. GUY! THE MOVIE IS SKEEVY AND DISRESPECTFUL. And why are you quibbling about Ivy admissions in a movie series where the Ark of the Covenant is a REAL THING?
posted by xyzzy at 9:25 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I was, for reasons I kind of forget now, reading through the script of Raiders, when the question occurred to me: How does Indiana know not to look at the Ark when it is opened? It's never explicitly stated in the movie. There's a deleted scene with the imam where he warns Indy to both not touch the Ark and to not look at it when opened. It's a mystery to me why that line of dialogue would be cut, since the first warning stays in.

Anyways, this is my random bit of Raiders trivia before I actually go and use my brain for what I get paid for.
posted by nubs at 9:34 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


I continue to maintain that everything that happens after the first scene of Crystal Skull are the radiation and hypoxia induced hallucinations of an elderly man trapped inside a fridge.
posted by zamboni at 9:37 AM on August 10 [29 favorites]


Without the groundbreaking work of archeologists like Drs. Carnahan, Jones, Croft, and Jackson from the 1920's to the present, we would know next to NOTHING about ancient death cults.
posted by kyrademon at 10:13 AM on August 10 [17 favorites]


Crystal Skull is the better of the two bad Indiana Jones movies.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on August 10 [1 favorite +] [!] [quote]


This is as bad as Spielberg saying that Temple was the worst film in the series. Crystal Skull was a dog's breakfast.

That being said, you usually can't try to put a fictional character into an actual living role without glossing over a whole ton of plot holes. Usually hygenic.
posted by Sphinx at 10:22 AM on August 10


> Crystal Skull was a dog's breakfast.

So yer sayin' it had a lot of heart?
posted by glonous keming at 10:31 AM on August 10 [23 favorites]


Temple stops having a plot after the first 20 minutes, commits equal or greater crimes against physics than Skull, is a literal "rollercoaster ride" promoting the idea that movies should just be that and is racist as all hell. I rest my case.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on August 10 [14 favorites]


Also, the only female character in Temple is depicted as a shrill whiner who has a series of humiliating pratfalls.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:38 AM on August 10 [9 favorites]


Temple is horribly dated and racist as all get out. I don't argue that. But it plays a valuable part in the story of Indiana Jones. Somewhere between that idealistic young kid (both River Phoenix and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), Jones lost his way. He's referred to as a grave robber. We first see him selling the remains of the first Manchu Emporer of China (Nurhachi) for a really big diamond. He's a terrible person. Temple of Doom shows us how Jones turned away from fortune and glory towards the idealism he showed when he was younger, and later, chronologically, in Raiders and Crusade. All we're missing is his fall from the young idealist to where we see him at the beginning of Temple, and the explanation of how he ended up with an eyepatch in Chronicles. As flawed as it is, Temple is a crucial part of the Indiana Jones story.

Crystal Skull is utterly not any of those things, and is one of the worst movies I've seen (still! Having even seen most of the transformer movies).
posted by Ghidorah at 10:42 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


And why are you quibbling about Ivy admissions in a movie series where the Ark of the Covenant is a REAL THING?

You knew what I was when you found me.
posted by thelonius at 10:45 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Hold up at what point is it established that Marion is underage because her actress sure as hell doesn't look it
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:48 AM on August 10


Oh jfc it's in the BOOKS oh my god never mind gross
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:48 AM on August 10


She wails, "I was a CHILD!" at Indy during the Nepalese intro scene in Raiders, so... define that as you will.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:55 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


It's not implied that she's currently underage, it's implied that they had a relationship when she was. Which I guess was supposed to be charming or funny at the time I don't know.
posted by atoxyl at 11:01 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Lucas, Spielberg, and Kasdan talked about how young Marion could have been in Raiders Story Conference [prev on mefi]. (Warning: it's GROSS).
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:16 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


How does Indiana know not to look at the Ark when it is opened?

"Don't touch it and don't look inside it" is pretty clearly stated in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 6:6-7 and 1 Samuel 6:19). No imam needed.
posted by chrchr at 11:19 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Hold up at what point is it established that Marion is underage because her actress sure as hell doesn't look it

Remember that the relationship ended about 10 years prior to Marion showing up on screen in Raiders, and see what age you think she was at that time. You don't need to go to the books.

Which I guess was supposed to be charming or funny at the time I don't know.

And here's the relevant pull from the transcript from the story conference (pdf) in 1978 between George Lucas, Steven Speilberg, and Larry Kasdan (tw):

L — I like it if they already had a relationship at one point. Because then you don't have
to build it.
G — I was thinking that this old guy could have been his mentor. He could have known
this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven.
L — And he was forty-two.
G — He hasn't seen her in twelve years. Now she's twenty-two. It's a real strange
relationship.
S — She had better be older than twenty-two.
G — He's thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she
was only twelve.
G — It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.
S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.
G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it's an outrageous idea, but it is interesting.
Once she's sixteen or seventeen it's not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and
he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was
madly in love with him and he...
posted by nubs at 11:24 AM on August 10 [12 favorites]


"Don't touch it and don't look inside it" is pretty clearly stated in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 6:6-7 and 1 Samuel 6:19). No imam needed.

Yes. However, it is not clearly stated in the film - though the film makes sure to get the "don't touch it" part in. Hence my question of how Indiana knew not to look at the critical moment.
posted by nubs at 11:27 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


It could be interpreted as "I was emotionally vulnerable and romantically inexperienced" (the way a 30-something might say "I was just a kid" when speaking about their 20s) or it could be interpreted as "I was not legally an adult". Unfortunately the latter interpretation has clear support from the script and authorial intent.

Remember that the relationship ended about 10 years prior to Marion showing up on screen in Raiders, and see what age you think she was at that time. You don't need to go to the books,

Karen Allen was 28 at the time of filming and is 9 years younger than Ford, so if the characters were the same age as the actors then they would have been 18 and 27 at the time of the relationship. Still way skeevy but at least not rape. One could disregard authorial intent and read the line metaphorically rather than literally. It's really the only way for the rest of the series not to be about the heroic adventures of a child rapist.

Which I guess was supposed to be charming or funny at the time I don't know.

I always interpreted it as showing that Jones was a scoundrel, or at least had been. Even as a kid I recall understanding that it meant that Jones was bad at relationships, and not in a funny or charming way.
posted by jedicus at 11:28 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


Raiders occasioned one of the great, silently embarrassing experiences of my life.

When I was about 25 and waaaaay dumber than I am now, I found myself on a bus, chaperoning a large group of African-American kids on a bus trip from Iowa to Florida, with stops at various HBCU campuses along the way. I'm a white guy. Indeed, the only one on the bus.

To keep the kiddos occupied, we played movies over the bus's video system. One such was ROTLA, one of my all-time favorites (at the time).

My seatmate was another chaperone, an African-American woman, a few years older that I was. When the movie came on, she groaned, saying, "I've successfully avoided this movie my entire life. Until now." And I was all, like, "OMG Lawanda! It's so, so great. You're gonna LOVE it. Why did you avoid it?" And she goes, "I always figured a movie about a white guy who travels to foreign lands to be the hero is racist as all hell." I don't know what to say to that, because I'm stupid.

At that point, we turn to the screen and start to watch. And every single time the movie exposes its racist underpinnings, Lawanda turns to me, raises a single eyebrow, then turns back to the screen. It was the longest...movie...ever...

(That was the best bus trip. The kids were so fantastic - funny, curious, smart, silly, thoughtful. I was assigned to a group of 6 middle school boys for almost a week. )

As for Indy's qualities as an archeologist...Belloq ain't too far off, maybe.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:30 AM on August 10 [15 favorites]


G — He's thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she
was only twelve.
G — It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.
S — And promiscuous. She came onto him.
G — Fifteen is right on the edge. I know it's an outrageous idea, but it is interesting.
Once she's sixteen or seventeen it's not interesting anymore. But if she was fifteen and
he was twenty-five and they actually had an affair the last time they met. And she was
madly in love with him and he...


When I discover time travel, I know who I'm going to punch.
posted by Frowner at 11:33 AM on August 10 [30 favorites]


And why the hell isn't Belloq even referenced in this article, anyway? Indy sits in judgement by a savvy peer who sands down the tidy edges of the field's ethic, and the scene doesn't merit a mention by the author?
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:35 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I have developed a lot of loathing towards Mr. Lucas, and not just because of the prequels.
posted by nubs at 11:38 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Yeah, as much as I hate the prequels, saying it would be "interesting" if Dr. Jones raped a 15 year old but not as interesting if he raped a 16 year old is a whole lot worse than, like, midichlorians.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:50 AM on August 10 [12 favorites]


Even worse, he starts off with suggested ages of 11 and 12; fifteen is "right on the edge" of it no longer being interesting.
posted by nubs at 11:53 AM on August 10 [8 favorites]


Goddamn! I was assuming she was saying "I was a child" kind of rhetorically, like you might say of yourself at, oh, 19, when you are 10 years older. That's appalling.
posted by thelonius at 11:55 AM on August 10 [15 favorites]


Wait, what you're telling me that Raiders isn't just a throw away bit of nonsense based on the film makers recollections of the action adventure serials/films of their childhood/youth and is supposed to realistic?!

(The Dr Jones stuff is dodgy as hell though, as is the racism)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:07 PM on August 10


That transcript is an interesting thing in its own right; but in the context of the discussion of ROTLA and Indiana Jones and archaeology, it becomes a meta piece in my mind. A piece of history, in its own right - and for more than just the bit we've focused on here. It's three very creative, influential minds early in their careers working together to talk about a story they want to tell.

That transcript belongs in a museum, is what I am trying to say.
posted by nubs at 12:08 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


my question of how Indiana knew not to look at the critical moment

"Now, what's that supposed to be coming out of there?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:31 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Man, that transcript is a fierce exception to the "Make something fun by reading it aloud in Lucas' stupid Muppet voice" rule.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:33 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I always interpreted it as showing that Jones was a scoundrel, or at least had been.

Well, sure, but since he's pretty much a "lovable rogue" overall it plays rather poorly. By the way, wasn't that what Randle P. McMurphy was in for, too? At least he's portrayed as a character of somewhat more ambiguous likability.
posted by atoxyl at 12:59 PM on August 10


Everyone in the movies seems real chill about concrete proof that the Abrahamic God is 100% totally real.

You'd think, at the very least, that finding the Ark of the Covenant would cause the Nazis to reconsider the whole "Kill the Jews" plan, on account of that generally not going over well in the very book whose validity they'd just confirmed.

I mean if any God is not going to be particularly disposed to helping you, it'd be the one for whom the Jews are literally his Chosen People. Why not go for Odin, or Baal, or Zoroaster, or Vishnu, or literally anyone else?
posted by leotrotsky at 1:03 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


I dunno, Christians profess to believe in that book 100% and look at the awful shit they get up to.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on August 10 [9 favorites]


"How does Indiana know not to look at the Ark when it is opened?

"Don't touch it and don't look inside it" is pretty clearly stated in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 6:6-7 and 1 Samuel 6:19). No imam needed."


God spends a shitton of time giving rules about the Ark in Exodus and Numbers, and Indy shows reasonable competence with Scripture throughout the series. Indy's not a Levite, I wouldn't look either.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:15 PM on August 10 [12 favorites]


FTA:

In each of the first three films (I have not seen Crystal Skull. Maybe I should?)

NO


I would have said, "Treasure this time in your life."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:18 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


Ok, so we see roughly four episodes in Indy's life in the three classics. Let's assemble a chronology

1919: Indy concludes his early career in espionage
1920: Indy begins at the University of Chicago.
1922- Events of The Peril at Delphi. At some point, Indy transfers to University of Paris.
1925- Events of Dance of the Giants. Shortly after this, Indy's first teaching position (pre-doctorate, I suppose).

To the degree that Indy has a career in Archaeology, it largely falls into the 1926-1934 period, before the rise of the Third Reich. That is enough time to get a doctorate.

We never actually get to see Indy's publishing credentials, or really see him involved in prolonged fieldwork.

Indy begins 1935 in Shanghai, China. He winds up shortly in Mayapore, which is supposed to be somewhere in North Central China. He started in a Ford Trimotor, which generally had a 570 mile range. From there it's 1600 miles to India- so we can assume he winds up in Assam. In many ways, I'm more interested in the story of how he gets back from rural Assam to be able to establish and set up his Peruvian expedition. And just what kind of sabbatical was he on, anyways?

Raiders takes place 1936- he starts the year off with the Peruvian temple, which concludes with him back at Marshall college (Spring semester), where he then gets funded by US Army intelligence. He takes off for Nepal, (which would take several weeks to reach Kathmandu), then goes to Egypt. He voyages by U-Boat across the Red Sea to a secret island (we can be generous and place it near Italian occupied Eritrea- which is to say, Indy didn't really take too long stowing away, maybe a few days).

By 1938, and Last Crusade, Indy has tracked down an artifact thief to the coast of Portugal, successfully retrieving the Cross of Coronado (his one arguable success). Hired by wealthy conservative businessman. Events take place over a three-six week period, ending up in Jordan.

1939- Events of Fate of Atlantis in the Summer. Another fail for Indy, academically. He's now in Greece in the summer of 1939.

1947- Events of Indy and the Infernal Machine. CIA recruits Indy to sabotage Soviet dig of Babylonia in Iraq.

Conclusions: It's not that Indy is a great archaeologist. It never has been. It's that Indy is an excellent saboteur, both during WWI, the late 1930s, and the immediate post-war beginnings of the Cold War. His position at Marshall College is just a cover that Marshall extends in order to court the ongoing support of the OSS/CIA. A cover identity of archaeology gives Indy a plausible for basis for being almost anywhere, much like his real life inspirations, Ivan Sanderson and Count Nadasny.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 1:20 PM on August 10 [21 favorites]


here's the relevant pull from the transcript from the story conference

Don't touch it and don't look inside it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:28 PM on August 10 [14 favorites]


Nobody linked this Don't Touch It! gem yet?
posted by achrise at 1:43 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Belloq is my favorite character in all the Indiana Jones films. I hated that he melted and would never return with his suave Frenchness and his borderline psychosis that was so well-hidden. I found him fascinating and would have gladly paid to see a prequel that focused on him, and how life evolved to the degree that he and Indy came to represent the light/dark sides of the ethical spectrum.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:54 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I_Love_Bananas, I like him a lot, too!

But how about a Captain Katanga movie? That guy and his crew undoubtedly had adventures equal to anyone else in the movie.
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:57 PM on August 10 [13 favorites]


Nobody linked this Don't Touch It! gem yet?

It's evil!
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I always like to point out that if Indy had just stayed home, Hitler would have gotten the ark, gathered his inner circle around it, and MELT!, WW2 is over.

The whole rest of the war is the fault of Indiana Jones.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:35 PM on August 10 [19 favorites]


Surely they would have tried it out on the island and, well, actually Indy does not really affect the outcome of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lodt Ark much at all, when you think about it.

I guess he phones it in so someone can come stuff the Ark in a warehouse once everything is done?
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Though, actually, without Indy do they even find the thing?
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on August 10


The evidence might be argued to go somewhat toward the existence of the Abrahamic God, but it is clearly not 100% since the film alone does not provide information for all aspects of the Abrahamic God, for example, it does not provide conclusive proof of omniscience, omnipotence, the only god, etc.

None of those are necessary attributes of the Abrahamic god. Omnipotence comes closest, but the Bible is not terribly interested in using that term, although it is evident that god is very, very powerful. Omniscience isn't a characteristic of Abraham's god at all-indeed, he is often taken by surprise, compelled to switch plans, talked into revising some course of action. Similarly, although monotheism becomes a more pronounced theme in the prophets, when Yahweh is constrasted with the empty, powerless idols of surrounding nations, the Torah is properly termed henotheistic, positing that Israel's god is one of many gods (although superior to all others). Omniscience, omnipotence, monotheism--those are primarily imported concepts from Hellenistic philosophy or much later theology. If you want to establish that the Abrahamic/Mosaic god is real, he is primarily characterized by his willingness to intervene in history on behalf of the chosen people he has formed a covenantal relationship with. The existence of an obviously powerful ark of the covenant as described in the Torah seems sufficient proof to me.

/theology derail
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:42 PM on August 10 [19 favorites]


They get the medallion and dig in the right place, unless I'm missing something.. At least Indy saves Marion from Nazi torture.
posted by fleacircus at 5:43 PM on August 10


I am SO down for a Captain Katanga movie!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:10 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


I am SO down for a Captain Katanga movie!!

That stirring you feel in your soul is what Universal figured they could do with their Dark Universe.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:12 PM on August 10


Though, actually, without Indy do they even find the thing?

Yes, because Marion dies to Toht and they get the headpiece in Nepal. At best, Indy slowed them down a bit.
posted by nubs at 7:28 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Having re-watched this recently, I had a thought in a little bit different direction than how Indy knew not to look.

What in the ever-loving-HELL did the eff'ing NAZI's think was going to happen? I mean, they were after the thing because they literally thought it was magic right? They knew it to be a Jewish artifact that been used as a weapon by Jews against their enemies.

Were they not aware that, as Nazis, they were maybe enemies of the Jews? Even if they thought they were on the right side of history or whatever, I'd have thought they'd have gone a bit slower, tested smaller scale, had back-up, something to show just a bit of caution. "'Cause, guys. We're gonna wipe the Jews out or whatever but this thing is legit ancient and we think actual Jewish magic weaponry and the Jews probably don't like us much so let's maybe err on the side of caution, just in case. No? Just open the thing and see what happens? Okay, I just hope we don't get our faces melted off or anything."

I'd buy that Jones is well read enough to have known and having seen some legit magic in Temple could have been hoping/banking on the Nazi's hubris or something. But man, it really must really take a LOT of hubris for them to have been so reckless.
posted by VTX at 7:39 PM on August 10


The pile of microwaved rats in the hole might have been a tip off that something was up.
posted by Artw at 8:24 PM on August 10


Crystal Skull is the better of the two bad Indiana Jones movies.

I ... um ... y'know, I think that's probably true. Temple of Doom really hasn't aged well.

(Especially in contrast to Last Crusade which remains incredibly watchable; largely because Sean Connery's in full twinkle-in-the-eye mode all the way through.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 9:24 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


It's kind of incredible how well it's aged, at the time I think everyone thought of it as a distant third.
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


It's kind of incredible how well it's aged, at the time I think everyone thought of it as a distant third.

Well, Temple of Doom is pretty much Lucas outtakes that Spielberg said, "Pass" to in Raiders, and we've all learned what Lucas is like when he's not well managed.

Crystal Skull? I remember seeing it, and there was a not-too-horrible screenplay circulating, so yeah. Raiders + Last Crusade and save the hard-drive space unless you're a masochistic completest
posted by mikelieman at 11:52 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Lucas, Spielberg, and Kasdan talked about how young Marion could have been in Raiders Story Conference [prev on mefi]. (Warning: it's GROSS).

Huh one quote from Spielberg stands out more in TYOOL 2017:
    S — With Nazis you have to use your fists, because they're despicable people.
posted by fleacircus at 2:14 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


None of those are necessary attributes of the Abrahamic god.[...]

Well, I didn't expect to learn this in an Indiana Jones thread.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:17 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Well, I didn't expect to learn this in an Indiana Jones thread.

So he is a good teacher!
posted by nubs at 7:30 AM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Crystal Skull is utterly not any of those things, and is one of the worst movies I've seen (still! Having even seen most of the transformer movies).

You take that back! Crystal Skull is much better than Debris: the motion pictur--I mean, Transformers.

largely because Sean Connery's in full twinkle-in-the-eye mode all the way through.

translation: drunk as shit during the entirety of filming.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:23 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


What in the ever-loving-HELL did the eff'ing NAZI's think was going to happen? I mean, they were after the thing because they literally thought it was magic right? They knew it to be a Jewish artifact that been used as a weapon by Jews against their enemies.

Were they not aware that, as Nazis, they were maybe enemies of the Jews? Even if they thought they were on the right side of history or whatever, I'd have thought they'd have gone a bit slower, tested smaller scale, had back-up, something to show just a bit of caution.


Nazis loved mystic nonsense. To show caution would be to betray weakness and hence demonstrate that one was not truly powerful.

I'm not sure why one wouldn't expect an archaeologist to be familiar with the artifact-handling instructions in the Scriptures. Hell, I knew that as a kid, and I was just someone who got dragged to church a lot. Jones presumably reads (among others) Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic.
posted by praemunire at 11:00 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why one wouldn't expect an archaeologist to be familiar with the artifact-handling instructions in the Scriptures.

OK, since I seem to have inadvertently caused a minor derail by introducing the question of how Indy knew not to look, let me restate what caused the question for me, so that I looked up the discussion of the cut scene.

The question arose for me not from the Watsonian perspective - i.e., is it logical for Indiana Jones to know this, based on his character and background (which I agree, it is); I was more concerned about it from the audience perspective - how does the audience understand the decision Jones makes, without the information being in the movie in some way? Overall, it's a minor point but it was something that occurred to me at some point when looking over the shooting script and realizing that information wasn't explicit in the text.
posted by nubs at 11:24 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Honestly, he's a really shitty archaeologist by modern standards, but that has more to do with how he totally destroys context information and takes artifacts without consulting descendent communities. The whole attitude of "it belongs in a museum!" is problematic nowadays. That said, I'm not sure we're actually given enough to evaluate him by the standards of the 30s. Do we ever see how he conducts an actual dig? There are very few scenes where we see what his own work would look like -- most of the time, he's only applying his knowledge as an archaeologist to outrun the Nazis before they get their hands on dangerous and powerful objects. I'm not going to judge his fieldwork by what he does when he's trying to escape from a tomb, or something.

Sneaking into a temple in the jungle to steal a gold head -- honestly, that's pretty baffling. Not sure why he wouldn't be documenting the tomb and its traps. Is that the extent of his own work as we see it in the movies? If so, it's kind if bizarre, so maybe that's enough to say he's not exactly following orthodoxy.

Beyond that, a lot of the complaints that he engages in outright grave-robbing totally apply to some modern digs, as far as I'm concerned. Not every modern archaeologist is all too concerned about how human remains are treated (see: the African Burial Ground controversy in NYC, which I guess was a while ago now, but still way more recent than the 30s).

This article does make one good point: most of the archaeologists I know are, in fact, total badasses who are used to dealing with all kinds of crazy shit.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:48 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


If I recall correctly, Marcus makes reference to giving Indy his "usual fee, no questions asked" in reference to some artifact or another.

The difference between him and an outright grave robber is that he sells to museums rather than private collectors. That might be a little harsh he does give the village back their stone and lets the grail drop into the chasm. But it's not totally wrong.
posted by VTX at 7:19 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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