Wednesday, July 18, 2007

You Know It's Time to Get a Refund on the History DVD Series You Just Purchased When...

a) your 12 year old son finds a major (and very obvious) historical error in the first ten minutes of the first episode (the teacher mixed up the geographical locations of Upper and Lower Egypt)

b) you both find the teacher's style quite boring (even though he dressed up in costumes and used funny accents which was supposed to make it "fun" and "interesting") and then...

c) when skipping to a different segment to try to get a sense of other parts of the course you stumble across a segment on the Middle Ages that devotes a great deal of its half hour lecture on Life in the Middle Ages describing a hypothetical superstitious activity on the part of a monk.

UPDATE: My mistake. The above part was about the Dark Ages in a section entitled "The Early Christian Church"

d) Finally, while looking over the list to see if there's anything more to the Middle Ages, you happen to notice that an upcoming segment is entitled "The 1300s - the Age of Despair."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's sad.

I could almost see that "upper/lower" error as a simple transposition, but "Age of Despair"? Wow. Unless they meant it to refer to the non-European world...

We had better talk about doing a "Homeschooler's" edition of GKC's The Everlasting Man - and Jaki's Science and Creation.

We must begin to proclaim the one true birth of Science in that era, when at the Sorbonne in Paris, Buridan framed the First Law of Motion (usually called "Newton's") deriving it from considerations of theology and God's design of creation. [S&C chp. 10] We Catholic scientists also ought to have at our fingertips the "most often quoted" Bible verse of that time:

"... but Thou hast ordered
all things in measure, and number, and weight." [Wisdom 11:21]

[See Jaki's "Science and Hope" in The Absolute Beneath the Relative which notes that this "most often quoted" verse was "stated by a foremost medievalist, E. R. Curtis, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tr. W. R. Trask (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953), p. 504."]

--Dr. Thursday

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Age of despair?
Perhaps the despair on the part of the students of this professor!

The Bookworm said...

The rest sounds atrocious, but I will admit that the 1300s were ... blah!!! Famine, plague (probably one third of the European population died in the Black Death, and that was followed by repeated subsequent outbreaks), some particularly nasty wars, papal Schism and economic recession ... if I were to pick a century not to live in, the fourteenth would be well up the list. And I say that as a medievalist. Give me the twelfth and thirteenth centuries any time!

Love2Learn Mom said...

Kathryn I did refresh my memory on what was going on in the 1300s and noticed the schism and plagues. It still added to my impression that he was more interested in stereotypes and gross generalizations than accuracy.

I'm still trying to decide whether to watch the entire thing and thus review it properly, or just give up now.

I forgot to mention that there were two other things that were frustrating (for me and Gus) about the series.

1) He talks too fast and there are no subtitles, so it was quite hard to understand in spots.

2) Dressing up in costumes and acting out parts sounded interesting, until we realized that these weren't even necessarily related to the time period. For example, the lecture on "The Fertile Crescent" was performed by "a Renaissance Scholar" and the one on Egypt by a archaeologist/explorer with a voice that sounded like a used car salesman.

Love2Learn Mom said...

I love blogs. Just getting the discussion going here caused me to go back and take another peek. I watched the 1300s episode and it really was quite good (certainly better than anything else I'd seen so far). I think I'll go ahead and at least view the entire thing.

The Bookworm said...

I'll be interested to see the review. Leaving the actual content aside, it does sound as though he could do with some dramatic training!

Darwin said...

Do warn us as to what this was...

"The Age of Despair" Is that like the pit of despair the slough of despond?

Love2Learn Mom said...

I've decided to reveal more details after I've finished watching the series.