I started this week railing against a British television producer who is hunting for a terminally ill person to mummify in a new uber-sensational reality-based television show. All week this story has left a really bad taste in my mouth. To wash it away, I found a superb short video on mummification that was shot by the J. Paul Getty Museum. The curators based on the video on the techniques used by an Egyptian mortician some 2000 years ago to mummify a young man named Heracletes. Short, sweet and to the point. And no cashing in on the misery of a terminally ill patient. Bingo.
Someone at The Onion clearly loves to poke fun at archaeologists. It’s not a great surprise, really: archaeologists tend to make large, moving targets for the satirically minded. As we all know, most archaeologists spend their lives on hands and knees in large holes in the ground, poring over little gradations in soil color as if they were the Dead Sea Scrolls, and enthusing wildly over pieces of splintered rock and bone. They toss around terms like Chalcolithic and Middle Formative with abandon, and their published papers are pretty much incomprehensible to anyone without years of university training. And they often marry each other, because no one else can understand them and no one else would want to spend their holidays crawling through rodent-infested greathouses or bat-inhabited caves.
I say all this, of course, with the greatest of fondness, because I share much of their passion for the lost worlds of the past. But I can’t help but laughing at The Onion spoofs. Here are my favorites. The first is a video from the “Onion News Network.” (You’ll need to click through an ad there first.) The other two come from The Onion itself.