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Re: Another View (Was Review of AMNH Lost World Exhibit)



From:     jamolnar@juno.com

> > I think it goes without saying that a defending curriculum that 
> >relies on the television program "Hercules" to teach about mythology 
> >because the kids *may* pick up the truth somewhere else is absurd.
> 
> Of course it is absurd, and I was not defending the curriculum.  I was
> saying that _if_ the situation existed, that there would be little harm
> in it because _eventually_ kids will learn that there are other versions
> of the stories out there from other sources (the local paper on that
> night's constellations, other stories that steal from the myths, library
> books, even other movies).  

Far less harm would be done if the kids were given the 
straight information in the first place in an institution charged 
with doing just that.
 
>  You will always find boneheaded people like that at any
> age.  So what?  *The movie got them to come to our exhibit* and we had a
> chance to correct the information.

This exhibit is not correcting the misinformation as yours does.  
You've shown a tendency to regard my critique of the exhibit as a 
critique of your institution, which I've not yet visited, and to
defend this exhibit with the actions of your 
institutions, which actions this exhibit does not take. 

> > It is the goal of the sponsors of 
> >the exhibit to do these things; it's the goal of the museum to shut 
> >up, present the whole gigantic advertisement as is and get their 
> >piece of the door. 
> 
> And use the money to correct misinformation about dinosaurs and other
> natural history.

To reiterate, this is not done in the exhibit. And if it's so 
profitable to be incorrect, when to stop and then turn correct 
again?  Won't this become something of a Frankenstein's monster?
  
>  Give credit to the people and
> kids who can tell the difference between entertainment and straight
> facts.  You seem to assume no one who sees this exhibit has any brains. 
> Some do.  Some do and don't use them.  Nothing we can do about that.

How can you say you must bait-and-switch people to get them 
into museums and then claim *I* define them as dumb?!  You don't have 
to be dumb to see a ten foot velociraptor in a movie, then see the 
same ten foot velociraptor in a museum and conclude that velociraptor 
was ten feet long (and as smart as a chimp to boot). 

> >It's a shame that this happens.  This is quite the hot trend these 
> >days -- throw some environmental cause a bone in exchange for 
> >recognition, make some pro-environment commercials, keep polluting.  
 
> And being eco-conscious is good business sense. No one needs the bad
> press of being labeled a polluter. 

Exactly my point -- so they turn the press to their favor with words 
rather than actions.

> Pollution means your company is
> inefficient, since it is making too much waste.  No company can afford to
> do that for long anyway.  So, they clean up their act, eventually.

This is patently untrue.  If it were economically efficient to be 
Green companies would have been Green decades ago.  
Successful corporations serve the interests of their shareholders 
and will happily pollute if the fines cost less than pollution 
prevention, which they usually do.  The pollution of the Hudson 
River is the perfect example.

> >> Mercedes & Spielberg didn't dictate that their logos were on any
> >> other AMNH exhibits, did they? Just banners for their exhibit.
> >
> >Why does that matter?  People at the LW exhibit went in expecting to 
> >learn about dinosaurs.  
> 
> Are you sure?  Or did they go into the _museum_ to learn about dinosaurs
> and they went into the _movie_ exhibit to learn about how the movie did
> dinosaurs and who they were?

Pretty sure -- at least if they believed the posters all over 
the city which describe the exhibit as a ''study of the lives of 
dinosaurs.''  If I recall correctly, there isn't even a mention of 
the movie in the ads (other than that the name of the exhibit 
coincides with the name of the movie, and it's not in the movie logo 
letters on the poster).  The poster features the young mamenchisaur 
from Mark Hallett's painting, not a JP movie image.  It's only once 
you're actually in the exhibit that they start hitting you over the 
head with the movie stuff.

You'll be pleased to know that this exhibit has greatly increased 
attendance at the museum.  As far as I know (at least from what I 
saw), people went straight from the ticket booth to the Hall of Ocean 
Life to see the show.  Throngs.  I went up to the Saurischian Hall 
after the debacle of the exhibit.  The crowd around T. rex and co. 
was of normal numbers to my eye.  Most unscientific but it said 
something to me: everybody was looking at the ten-foot long 
"Raptor."

> The Dinamation exhibit doesn't point out their inaccuracies either.  All
> they want to do is rent out the machines and split the take with someone.

But Dinamation has nothing to gain from making inaccurate 
dinosaur models and I'm sure they strive to make the models as 
accurate as possible.  The Lost World exhibit has a lot to gain from 
putting their inaccurate fantasy dinosaurs in museum halls.

> It's obvious we are going to agree to disagree about this, so I'm no
> longer responding to this thread.  

OK, but that's a shame, because I have learned a lot from this 
exchange (like, to my relief, that there are still institutions such 
as yours which strive to point out inaccuracies and which do not 
allow content to be comprimised by the contributor, as is done in the 
Lost World exhibit).
 
> I'm tired of defending museums that do what they can to get the public's
> attention, because they have to compete with MTV, movies, video games and
> everything else to get people in the doors. 

As I've said, I think it's possible and even desireable to tap public 
excitement.  I've never stated to the contrary.  But is it 
*impossible* to do this without comprimising the content of the 
exhibits?  I doubt it.
Larry

"Atheism: a non-prophet organization"