Anthropology fail

1 July 2010

Marie Brennan, the author of Doppelganger, Warrior and Witch and the Onyx Court series (and a trained anthropologist), is not very impressed with the representation of her discipline on Bones:

How is she atrocious? Let me count the ways, starting with her lack of people skills. Fieldwork is a fundamental part of cultural anthropology, and the primary component of fieldwork is talking to people. Building a rapport with them. Being a student of what they have to say (rather than lecturing them on what you think), and trying to learn to see things as they do (rather than explaining how their ways of seeing don’t make sense). You have to have patience, and respect for alternate points of view, and a knack for making friends.

None of which sounds like Temperance Brennan.


4 Responses to “Anthropology fail”

  1. Kate Mascarenhas Says:

    I used to live with a specialist in fish diets. Nothing could anger her more predictably than the appearance of Joel the Marine Biologist in Neighbours. “He does nothing but wander round with his shirt off! He does no work! He doesn’t even live near the coast!”

    Psychologists seem to get a particularly raw deal. I think screenwriters confuse them with psychics more often than not.

    And my husband never fails to be amused by the popular representation of photographers (they only ever appear on screen as moral-free exploiters of young girls, on what seems like a weekly basis).

    No field is safe.

  2. Old Kitty Says:

    LOL!! I’ve just visited Ms Brennan’s blog! I wouldn’t mess with her!! LOL!

    I wouldn’t know about Bones but you’d think the producers or writers or someone would have a professional they consult to legitimize the science? Oh well – I guess they just thought they could get away with spouting psuedo mumbo jumbo and hope that people will be too mesmerised by Angel to care. They didn’t count on Ms Brennan though!

    Thanks for sharing this – I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Take care

  3. Joel must have been before/after my time, but I do remember there were a few years when marine biology was surprisingly the degree subject of fastest growing popularity in the UK. That must have been why.

    All the -ologists, -iatrists and -oanalysts effectively seem to translate as ‘miracle workers’ as far as most TV/film drama is concerned…

  4. Ann Says:

    I don’t blame her. I am a housewife and the only thing I am deperate about is getting some time to write!

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