Saturday, May 22, 2010


I enjoyed the King Tut exhibit, loved seeing the ancient artifacts in pristine condition, but I was very disturbed by all of this and it wasn't until I got home and thought about what I had seen that the reasons for these feelings came clear.

The exhibit displayed a video showing Europeans and Americans, in all their finery, descending into the tomb and looking around. It showed men carefully removing these artifacts so they could be better scrutinized and displayed. It showed Tut's tomb being removed.

Tutankhamen burial was very important to the people of his time. They believed in the afterlife and they believed all their gifts and their efforts would assure him passing on to that life in a good and easy way. Now, twentieth century men and women have gone into the tomb and disturbed the order of things that were so important to them. I was especially disturbed by the model of Tutankhamen's body lying on a table encased in glass for all to see. The video going above, showing scientists removing DNA and who knows what else from his body was sacrilegious to say the least. Although I suppose it doesn't matter after I am gone but I don't want some future generation of scientists picking through my grave and working on my body. I can't imagine what can be learned from all of this that can actually help the population of today.

My friend Under Assault was upset about the exhibit too, but for different reasons and reasons that bother me as well. The idea of all that wealth enjoyed by so few people is heartbreaking. The placement of it, underground, where no one would ever benefit from it just seems so wasteful. I remember feeling the same way as I walked around the Vatican a few years ago, marveling at the magnificence I saw and wondering why some of that money could not be used to save NYC Catholic schools.
I look at all these rich people who think they have the right to do whatever they want and I think about the state of our country today. Billionaires like Bloomberg have taken over education, revamped schools and the little people, like the slave's in Tut's time are treated like dirt. Perdido Street just put up a post about the privatization of public housing that is being pushed by the Obama administration. Centuries later, things are just as bad as ever.

I lack the qualities I need to be a scientist and I could never be a capitalist. I only ended up being a teacher because I had no idea what do do with my life but maybe I made the right choice for me.

1 comment:

efm said...

There's an incredible, exceedingly well written, occasionally funny, book about how information obtained from examining mummies is applied to the modern world, in fields such as medicine and pathology as well as believe it or not, politics. The book is called: The Mummy Congress by Heather Pringle
I picked it up a couple of years ago and had to read it cover to cover.