Adventures in Ethics and Science

Dem’s fightin’ words!

It was decided that the Free-Ride offspring are maybe, kind of, old enough to watch Raiders of the Lost Ark without having nightmares. Even though they haven’t seen it before, they seem to have picked up at least some general information about Indiana Jones as one of the canonical figures in American pop culture.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, what do you know about Indiana Jones?

Younger offspring: He’s a hero.

Dr. Free-Ride: Actually, he’s an archaeology professor at a university.

Younger offspring: No he’s not!

Dr. Free-Ride: Yes he is! He’s a professor just like me! Maybe I’m a hero, too.

Younger offspring: You’re not a hero or a professor! You’re a philosophist!

Dr. Free-Ride: Oh no you didn’t!

* * * * *

We’re watching it now, less than an hour in. The sprogs were unconvinced that the guy in the suit and horn-rimmed glasses writing stuff on the chalkboard in the classroom was actually the same guy with the bullwhip who defeated the booby-traps in the opening sequence.

Meanwhile, I’m now wondering whether his collection of artifacts falls within the bounds of international treaties and professional ethics. And I kind of hate that traitorous monkey.


  1. #1 Jude
    August 16, 2009

    Just don’t let them watch Temple of Doom. *I’m* still not ready for that one.

  2. #2 Janet D. Stemwedel
    August 17, 2009

    Nor am I ready for Temple of Doom. This is one movie series where I stopped with the first installment and have felt no regret at all about that decision.

  3. #3 cfeagans
    August 17, 2009

    I’m now wondering whether his collection of artifacts falls within the bounds of international treaties and professional ethics.

    It was the 1940’s… archaeology was still a young and undisciplined discipline. Of course, if Indy were here today, he’d never violate the UNESCO Convention of 1970. Otherwise he’d likely end up like Marion True of The Getty, going through a looong trial in Italy! One wonders if she ever said, “it belongs in a museum!”

  4. #4 Martin
    August 17, 2009


    skip Temple of Doom and the last one, but you need to watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, it’s as good as the first one

  5. #5 Laura
    August 17, 2009

    I remember seeing an editorial about Indiana Jones in some archaeology journal, but now I can’t find it! The consensus was, even though he doesn’t follow best practices according to contemporary archaeology, he’s not all bad as he gets people interested in the subject. I think many archaeologists have a funny love/hate relationship with Dr. Jones.

    Seconding the recommendation for Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. There is a gross scene of magical death, but it’s not as bad as all those Nazis melting in Raiders of the Lost Ark. And the offspring will learn about the Hebrew alphabet!

  6. #6 jc
    August 17, 2009

    You are certainly a professor. That rendition of “I cite myself” has been running through my head nonstop. 🙂

  7. #7 LG
    August 17, 2009

    I can’t resist sharing one of my favorite links of all time…the Indiana Jones tenure review.


  8. #8 J.J.E.
    August 17, 2009


    A rendition of “I Cite Myself”? Does such a thing exist? Where might I find it in video or audio format?

  9. #9 Pat Cahalan
    August 18, 2009

    In the first movie, there’s a definite nod to Indy being at least a trifle shady, witness Marcus Brody’s “The Museum will buy them as usual, no questions asked.”

    By the Last Crusade, he’s changed to a much more principled archaeologist. Of course, being right next door to the wrath of God might have a bit to do with that… 😛

  10. #10 jc
    August 18, 2009

    JJE, I think it was a one-night only performance. You’ll have to use your imagination.

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