If you listen very carefully …

In front of Cloverfield yesterday, we again saw the preview for 10,000 B.C. As usual, I just had to laugh at all the anachronisms in it. For example, I have a hard time believing that in 10,000 B.C., there were large-scale city-states with military forces that could be marshaled against other large armies, as the film seems to depict. The consensus in the academic community seems to be that the first civilizations arose about 4000 B.C., and I doubt the Sumerians had thousands of warriors with coordinating outfits and matching spears. None of this is to say I won’t see the movie, but it will be with large grains of anachronistic salt to put on my popcorn.

But aside from all that, the marketing of the film itself is laughable. The opening tag is “Before everything we know lies a legend never told.” I can’t even quite parse what that’s supposed to mean. How do we know there’s a legend if it’s before everything we know? And if it was “never told,” where did we get this “legend” from? As always, I started giggling immediately, and I leaned over and mentioned this to Dan. He replied that it must be part of the “silent” oral tradition, which set me off. I couldn’t stop laughing until well into the next trailer, which I think was for Iron Man.

[NB: The "silent" oral tradition thing is very funny, because for my research I study the clash between the authority of the oral tradition (like folklore) and its diminishment in the face of the rise of print culture in Britain. I guess in the "silent" oral tradition, if you listen very carefully ... you will hear nothing at all. But there's a legend in that silence, apparently.]

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