Bach and the British Savages


"Hardcore savages," eh? Maybe they should have gone with hip-hop.
The first thing that comes to my mind with images like this is Also sprach Zarathustra.
Yeah, okay, that's fair. I'll give you that.
That's total crap, Charles. Don't you know us honkies have always been civilised, and the Bach is to illustrate (ahem. subtly) truly classical European culture. LOL.

If the story was set on the coast of Angola and if it were the same producers and they used 'sun-addled drumming and jungle chanting', I would view it as inherent racism and find it extremely offensive.

Just stirring the pot a bit
Charles may very well be right about the music they would play if the fossils were found in Angola. My cynical side is firmly with Charles on this one. But on the other hand, it nags at me a bit that while Charles MAY be right, we'll never know. Because he is purely speculating about what they WOULD have done IF the story were about fossils found in a totally different area. Again he may very well be right, but he's castigating people for something they didn't do; he's castigating them for something he assumes they would have done if the story were different. And that bugs the non-cynical side of me.

Now if they aired two different stories, one with Bach about European fossils and one with drumming and chanting about Angolan fossils, that would be horribly offensive, culturally elitist and reductive, and just plain shitty story telling. But they didn't do that. So. Maybe Charles needs to set a higher bar for outrage. Like real offenses--real culturally oppressive imagery that actually happens--and not what he assumes they would have done if they had done it but they didn’t but he just KNOWS they would have so aren't they terrible people.

Charles may be spot on, but he cannot prove they wouldn't have played Back for Angolan fossils. It’s accusations of a hypothetical. That bugs me even though I suspect he’d be proven right if the story had been about Angola. Still. Bugs. Me.
making an ASS out of U and ME, charles.

nowadays, filmmakers would go out of their way to NOT use tribal drumming in a film about neolithic humans.
European music for a story on early Europeans? Presumed African music for a speculated story on early Africans? The horror. Let's stick to being offended by reality.
Creative credit for the video, whatever its faults, goes not to the Guardian but (as noted by the onscreen bug and mentioned in the article) to the London-based scholarly magazine "Nature: The International Weekly Journal of Science".

To see if their musical choices varied from the classics I hunted what Nature video I could. Not being a ($200 per year) subscriber I didn't find too much. But there are some "free access" ones on this page, where it looks like there are some stories you might enjoy:…

I listened eagerly for ominous drums in their "Hominid Development" collection, about what we're learning from fossils at Africa digs, but these videos have no music at all, just scientists talking - as if that would hold my attention.…

Thanks as ever for posting some of the most interesting complaints on Slog.
"The early Britons would have lived alongside sabre-toothed cats and hyenas, primitive horses, red deer and southern mammoths in a climate similar to that of southern Britain today"

yup, that archaeological find totally calls out for some...
840k to 950k years old, not 250k. Really antique Homos.
Given that those stone tools which you label as crude were the absolute height of technology for their time and thus represent the most sophisticated aspect of that culture to survive, providing a background of elegant music does not seem out of place.

The cave paintings of the Neolithic Period (Lascaux, et al.) arguably equal in quality and impact any art produced since. The idea of the primative is an elitist and racist construct developed by ignorant amateur archaeologists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Current science recognizes the great leaps in technology and art which moved humans from the paleolithic to the Neolithic. It easily surpasses the adjustment of the Medieval mind to that of the Age of Reason.
what's wrong with drums and chanting?
@5 So true. Charles is blissfully ignoring that people like himself who make assumptions about others based on opinion are usually called prejudiced.
Well, all of you can go on about Charles being Charles and all that, but I accidentally clicked twice on the link and got two, count 'em two, Preludes playing ever so slightly out of sync and it's glorious.