Thursday, December 14, 2006

PBS Fluff

I was watching a PBS "documentary" last night. Well, I was flipping back and forth between PBS and reruns of Scrubs, which can be a funny sitcom. I would have liked to stay with the PBS offering except that the "documentary" was utter garbage. Not the utter garbage you expect when watching the BBC news, or any of the PBS-sponsored talk shows. No, this was the sort of garbage that makes you wonder who keeps handing over the money, since it was obviously being pissed away.

I'm sure we've all seen the shows that slip in the latest silliness on Global Warming, the sort of comments that make it seem as though Global Warming is a fact and you'd be asking for trouble if you dared disagree, what are you a 'Flat Earth-er', do you even know how to read a book? Familiar? Yeah, I thought so.

Anyway, I was watching what purported to be an investigation of "GO FORTH: From Creation to Abraham","Episode One of Walking The Bible", something that promised archaeology and something other than the typical Leftist poo-pooing of religion. And it had to be something of substance since it even has a companion book! Wow! Right? Wrong.

Walking The Bible
Here's what the PBS site says about the show:
The holy city of Jerusalem. Best selling author Bruce Feiler begins his epic, ten thousand mile odyssey to explore the greatest stories ever told, in the settings where they actually occurred. It's a daunting prospect in this strife-torn region of the world, where archaeological evidence is hard to find. He teams up with experienced archaeologist and co-adventurer Avner Goren.

By foot, jeep, rowboat, and train, Feiler and Goren set out to experience the Bible in its own world. Their quest takes them first to the birthplace of civilization, Mesopotamia, now part of Turkey. Here, on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Bible's storytellers set the Creation, and the Garden of Eden. Bruce and Avner climb Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's ark, travel to the ancient town where some believe Abraham was born….and then to the ancient ruins of Harran, where the Bible says God tells Abraham to "go forth" to the Promised Land. Following Abraham's path back to Jerusalem, they stop to explore the sulfurous land by the Dead Sea, with its salt pillars called "Lot's wife." Could this be dramatic evidence of Sodom and Gomorrah? The episode culminates at Jerusalem's sacred Temple Mount, the very spot where it's believed Abraham brought his son Isaac, and prepared to follow God's ultimate test of faith.

The star of the show, Bruce Feiler, and his archaeologist guide through the show, Avner Goren, made watching their trip painful. They took us to where they believe the Garden of Eden was. Nice travelogue. Scriptures were intoned beautifully by Keith David, a fine actor and vocal talent. Pretty pictures and impressive scenery. And what was the point? Did they think they would see the Garden? Or maybe the remains of the Garden of Eden? Perhaps they figured enough people would think it could be found? Had you watched, and seen the embarrassed smiles of Avner Goren, you would've realized he wasn't doing this for purposes of research, or recent discoveries. No, he was doing this for some pretty stiff fees. The Garden of Eden?

Look, Folks, I happen to believe that the place once existed. I also believe that after Man was tossed from the premises, GOD put some mean Angels on guard to keep people out. Now, even if we all assume the existence at one time of the Garden of Eden, who, in their right mind, thinks it is still out there? Does the word Flood ring a bell? Anyone? How about you Biblical experts? Whatcha think?

Yet, here was Bruce Feiler showing us where he thinks the Garden was. Who cares? Long after the Garden of Eden came the Great Flood, the one where Noah was ordered to build a gigantic Ark to save his family and a lot of animals, and the Garden was washed away forever. If you follow the Bible to find things, you have to take the Bible literally. So why would you look for pre-Flood places? Isn't that fairly stupid?

The pair wandered around Turkey, introduced us to the self-styled "Mayor" of Mount Ararat, who insisted on Bruce dancing, and managed to not find the Ark. A waste? Yes, a huge waste. But here were Bruce and Avner speaking in philosophical nothings about not finding the Ark. Well if it wasn't important to actually find the bloody thing, why waste all that film and videotape? Why the companion book? What the hell was the point?
Bruce FeilerTheir 'walk' alongside Abraham gave us some Muslims at a small city, where they claim Abraham was once tossed into a fire by an enraged pagan King. The caretaker of the shrine tells the cute story, claims the fish in the pond are the descendants of the original fish in the story, and then Bruce says legends claim eating the fish can kill you! He claims some soldiers were blinded by eating the fish in the 1980s.

Hmmm, okay. Interesting enough, I suppose, but not important when linked to Abraham. But beyond that, did anybody test the fishies? Hmmm? Did they try to discover if the fish are toxic, or the water in the pond? Anything even remotely investigative? No? No! Tell a silly story that some Muslims may believe in this primitive part of the world, do no investigations, then head for Jerusalem.

Oh, yeah, and we had the Dead Sea and Sodom and Gomorrah. The gist of the Dead Sea segment was to explain how pillars of salt are created naturally. Now, even though the suspected sites of the Cities of the Plains are known, and contain ruins, did we go there? No. Bruce and Avner talked about how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are gone.

Not once was I made to nod my head and whisper, "wow, that's interesting." Not once. This was fluff, Folks. Using imposing voice-overs for the relevant Scriptures, they otherwise presented a substance-free philosophical journey through the Holy Land. For non-believers. Because they weren't trying to present new evidence. They were doing what Lefties always do when presented with GOD: They faked it. They did some soft shoe, a little song-and-dance, and shuffled off the stage, hoping that would hold 'em.

I used to long for cotton candy when I was very young. It looked great! A huge ball of colored fluff, sweet and enticing. I also remember the let-down when I tried to get a big mouthful of the stuff. It dissolves into a tiny lump of sugar in your mouth. It is fluff, Folks. There's no substance at all. And so was the case with the PBS offering last night. Fluff, more fluff, and nothing but fluff!

Now, if you are interested in Old Testament stories such as the Creation, The Flood, and so on, there is information out there that makes those tales likely. Indeed, if you read your Immanuel Velikovsky - "Worlds In Collision", "Earth In Upheaval", etc. - you can learn a great deal about the mounds of evidence that support the Exodus, among other things. Go visit Jim Pinkoskis's website and check out the pages. He has a lot of info on many of the Bible stories which tend to prove their historicity. But do not depend on PBS for anything of the kind. You will get not one bit of sustenance from them. All you'll get is fluff.


WomanHonorThyself said...

wow another jackpot Benning!..I must link to this asap!

camojack said...

Oh, PBS isn't all fluff.

Largely, but not all...

Anonymous said...

Sure would appreciate the tax money going elsewhere. How about the CPB foot the bills? Sesame Street marketing must bring in the bucks.

Sad the show was as weak as it was, I had considered watching this.

I love getting the "wows" watching shows of this sort, sorry to hear there were none.

In future, I'll Tivo, you review, then I'll either watch or

benning said...

Camo: You're right. There are a lot of fine programs on PBS. But I loathe when they pull stunts like this. Yeesh!

Angel: Thanks! :)


Sounds like a fine plan! I watched PBS's Violent Planet: Deluge last night - not much else on. And it was a mild rehash of other things, some of which I'd seen before. I was sort of hoping to see more interesting things. The avalanche footage was neat. I give the program 2 stars out of 5. ;)