Monday 22 July 2013

American Anthropological Association Belatedly Objects to TV Show 'Dig Wars'

Quick off the mark in America, on July 10th the American Anthropological Association wrote to the Travel Channel objecting to and asking for changes in the TV show "Dig Wars" ('Anthropology Group Objects to TV Show 'Dig Wars'...', Inside Higher Ed July 22, 2013). This show (on US TV since June 12th 2013) is set around Chicago Ron and has been discussed here and here and on a host of detecting forums and blogs near you:
contestants are sent to various locations with metal detectors to see if they can locate and dig up antiquities. The material they dig up is called "loot," and is evaluated for its financial value. "Reasonable viewers watching this program may be mistakenly led to believe that such behaviors are ethically acceptable," says the letter. "On the contrary, the looting as portrayed in the show is deeply disturbing. The overall message is that this nation's cultural and historical heritage is 'loot' that is up for grabs for anyone with a metal detector and shovel. This is the wrong message to give the public, especially in an age when so many historical sites are disappearing."
True to form, the old chalk-and-cheese:
A spokeswoman for the Travel Channel said via e-mail that no laws are broken. She said that [...] the channel believes that "metal detecting enthusiasts should always abide by state and federal laws." 
"No laws are broke" ain't ethics lady. Their dullard spokeswoman also reckons hoiking them out of the ground is some form of "preservation" and assures us that Travel Channel welcomes "dialogue". She says they also hope that their "programming will continue to inspire viewers to travel to new destinations to discover each location's unique history". Just down the corridor, Animal Planet is organizing televised fluffy animal hunting expeditions, hoping this will encourage more people to get out to new destinations to discover each location's unique natural history and blow it brains out. That's conservation commercial TV style.

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