18 May 2011

Six Degrees of Archaeopop: Wu-Tang to the Knights Templars

Step 1. The Wu-Tang Clan. (onethirtybpm.com)
Let me introduce you to Six Degrees of Archaeopop. It’s exactly like ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ or 'Hitler Hops' except with history and archaeology themes.  Take a pop culture phenomenon on the one hand, a distant historical event on the other hand (I recommend 300+ years), and figure out how they connect in less than 6 steps.

Step 6. Jacques de Molay, the Templar leader, goes to the stake (Getty)

The first pairing that jumped to mind: the Wu-Tang Clan and The Knights Templar. Actually this one's pretty easy! If I may:

1) Most Wu-Tang Clan members are part of the
2) 5 Percent Nation, who are an offshoot of the
3) Nation of IslamWallace Fard Muhammad, the founder of the Nation, was involved with the
4) Moorish Science Temple, an esoteric offshoot of
5) Freemasonry. And Freemasonry was inspired by, if not directly founded by, the
6) Knights Templars.

4) Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple of America (Wikimedia)
Wasn’t that fun? Maybe this will be a regular feature. I invite your submissions and challenges in the comments or at archaeopop@gmail.com.

Now, to address a philosophy-of-knowledge issue: is it “true” that the Wu-Tang and the Templars are connected?

In every way that matters, yes. The Wu-Tang Clan are as much descendants of the Templars as they are inheritors of Kung Fu traditions from China - actually, more so given their Western cultural origins.

In fact, all historical revivals involve a selection and manufacturing of the past. The Nazis wanted to find Germanic Aryan tribes in the archaeological record, so they decided what archaeological characteristics fit the bill, and then went looking for them. Biblical archaeologists find it hard to see anything that doesn’t fit with a bible story. Israeli archaeologists enjoy excavating the "city of David" under Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, for obvious reasons.

It's a different approach than archaeologists themselves take, but that's just fine with me. Popular culture is free: we can  decide that we’re the reincarnation of Napoleon, or Seti I's mother, or the high priests of Atlantis, and live our lives as if that was true. I like having these characters wandering around. The challenge for archaeologists is not to eliminate fantasy, but to create versions of the past that are more accurate and just as appealing.

1 comment:

  1. Lady Gaga and Dinosaurs (and Jesus Christ, for fun!)

    1. Lady Gaga is the anti-Christ
    2. The anti-Christ is the Biblical adversary of Jesus Christ.
    3. Jesus Christ was born around 6BC
    4. BC means Before Christ and is used as way of measuring time.
    5. The Land Before Time is a movie about dinosaurs.

    Ergo, Lady Gaga is a dinosaur. Namely a sinornithosaurus.

    Great blog btw.