I was doing my early run through the nonstop Twitter feed this morning when I came across a sort of interesting article about ancient South American discoveries, when at the bottom of the linked page there was a reference to James Spader and the film Stargate.
Being the HUGE fan that I am, I thought this sounds like something worth a look.
The funny part (no pun intended) is that the condescending tone of the author on Cracked.com let loose an interesting fact about ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics that to date I had never heard before.
See – we (I) don’t know everything.
So the next time someone wishes to unleash pages of rant about how much WE know about everything, you may link to this article ABOUT WHAT WE DONT KNOW…..
Excerpt from 5-brilliant-movie-jokes-that-were-too-obscure-to-get
#4. A Throwaway Line In Stargate Probably Had Egyptologists Pissing Themselves From Laughter
I’ve always felt a sort of kinship with Roland Emmerich, because I too keep promising people hours of fun and excitement in the dark, only to then thoroughly disappoint them. Just like he did with Stargate in 1994. The idea behind it sounded brilliant — extraterrestrials in ancient Egypt, a portal to other planets, Kurt Russell. What more could you ask for?
For Kurt to grow his hair out and wear an eye patch, obviously.
But what did it all amount to? The pre-Ultron and therefore pre-badass James Spader saving the day thanks to linguistics. At one point, he discovers the identity of the villain and a way to get back to Earth by learning how to properly read ancient Egyptian — which is, according to Spader’s character, not that hard “once you know the vowels.” It’s of course easy to assume that that line is about as scientifically accurate as, well, everything else in the movie. But not only is the stuff about the vowels true, it’s also a hilarious treat for the Egyptologists in the audience.
And they f###ing deserve a laugh after sitting through their equivalent of a minstrel show.
It turns out that ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs only represented consonants. The vowels themselves were never written down, and you were sort of supposed to figure them out based on the available letters and context. So the vowels in current transcriptions of hieroglyphs are educated guesses at best, and total shots in the dark at worst.
To learn them properly would be one of the most important breakthroughs in all of linguistics, one that should have been delivered in a tone of voice slightly more excited than that of a bored calculator. To the experts watching the movie, Spader’s character basically said that he had discovered the secret to flying, and that it’s “not hitting the ground.”
Article located HERE:
What this means, is that even today here in the 21st century, if we STILL don’t know how to properly translate Egyptian hieroglyphics, then WHAT ELSE have they gotten wrong?
Not just some food for thought – this could lead to an entire buffet of mistaken concepts and ideas.
And we haven’t even made it to the dessert section yet.