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Re: Matt Wedel on the perils of doing documentaries

So has anyone seen good paleo programs? I recall one, "The Dwarf Mammoths of the Wrangell Islands" on NOVA.


Thomas R. Lipka wrote:
Did anyone catch the other travesty of dinosaur programs on the History
Channel last week called "What really killed the dinosaurs?"

Without going in to too much detail a person who was involved with that show
likewise related to me that "they" were not happy with how things were done
ASIDE from the fact that the producers seemed hell bent to push the
Bakker-Poinar view of an epidemic- extinction theory. Which I don't buy, by
the way.

Things will never change. Paleontology needs public exposure and the media
wonks want to make a fast buck and are wedded to an almost congenital need
to hype anything up and/or water it down to make it more fuzzy-cuddly to the
intended audience. Seems to me they are being rather presumptuous and
condescending to both groups?


Thomas R. Lipka
 Principal Investigator:
 Arundel Project & Geobiological Research Westminster, Md. USA




-----Original Message-----
From: owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu [mailto:owner-VRTPALEO@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Dan Chure
Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 7:32 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu; VRTPALEO@usc.edu
Cc: deathspresso@yahoo.com; tholtz@umd.edu
Subject: Re: Matt Wedel on the perils of doing documentaries

So paleontologists agree to be on TV programs, put in lots of time and
effort, provide images, papers, photographs, spend long hours in front
of cameras, and then end up decrying what was done to them and
explaining to list members how things went wrong. This pattern is
repeated again and again. So the lesson learned is ?????????  As Nancy
Reagen quipped "Just say no."

Next time someone's approached to participate in a series, maybe the
people putting the program together should be shown Matt's blog about
his experience and asked, in writing, "what will you do to assure that
this doesn't happen to me?"  Alternatively, if they want to buy your
talking head to use as they wish, compensation should be commensurate
with the distortion. If you can't take money directly, have them donate
to support your research program. If they plead poverty, ask to see the
salaries being paid to the production staff, money spent on food,
hotels, etc. The cash is there.


Andrew Simpson wrote:
I was so exited when I stumbled upon Clash of the Dinosaurs. I watched
Perfect Predators. My sis was there to hear me counter much of the science.
There was one or two things that were interesting enough that I didn't know
for sure one way or the other and wanted to ask ya'll on the list about said
but those questions are forgotten. Something about T-Rex I had never heard
before. Oh and I'm not sure I believe a Quetzalcoatlus could leap into the
air so easily. Did it really have super fast twitch muscles? Even if it had
I think it would have needed some hops to get going. Even the bad CGI seems
to suggest this.
And why do we think it was a baby eater? It might have been but have we
found babies in it's tummy?
In the end I had to turn off the series 5 minutes into the 2nd episode for
the reasons stated. Bad science, repetitive narration and the pain of
watching the same 5 clips shown over and over and over and over and over and
over and over and over and over was too much for me. When a dinosaur fiend
like myself can't watch you're dinosaur show then you get an epic FAIL as
your grade.
Andrew Simpson

----- Original Message ----
From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@umd.edu>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu; VRTPALEO@usc.edu
Sent: Tue, December 15, 2009 6:30:14 AM
Subject: Matt Wedel on the perils of doing documentaries


Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu    Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:    Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
            Department of Geology
            Building 237, Room 1117
            University of Maryland
            College Park, MD 20742 USA