Oh dear we have all gone list crazy. From contacts lists to My Space/Facebook (so called) friends.When the media reported on a new list of the seven wonders of the world we all thought it was an interesting idea but the more one thinks about it the more “contemporary” the viewpoint is.
It clearly stems from the revisionist tendency of the new world (mainly the US) to take on historic conventions and spin them for their uneducated and largely thick audience. Clearly looking into Herodotus and his reported descriptions (as the text itself has not survived) of the ancient seven wonders was not enough…we need to jazz it up with SMS voting! What a load of crap! On the website: http://www.new7wonders.com/index.php?id=633 four out of seven new wonders are indeed ancient monuments…pretty much in line with the original list in Ancient Greek literature. Clearly the ancient Greek list of: The Great Pyramid of Giza / The Hanging Gardens of Babylon / The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus/ The Statue of Zeus at Olympia / The Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus / The Colossus of Rhodes and The Lighthouse of Alexandria was not good enough any more! Or maybe all the idiots that read the tabloids have never read any ancient Greek texts!
The above website had insinuated that UNESCO had been involved with the project, which made me question their judgement. Thankfully UNESCO announced with a press release that they have not in any way collaborated on this commercial project. Check: http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38482&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
UNESCO has its own list of World Heritage Sites: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list which is a list of sites of extreme significance to mankind and also a listing by them creates the basis for a conservation protocol for those sites. Which makes this much more valuable than most. Unfortunately a scholarly and researched list like this one does not provide good voxpops for the media. And in our current news reporting culture all reporting is aimed at rolling news channels that only like 2 minute reports with not insight. I do despair about all the stupidity that is surrounding us and that has made culture just another badly packaged product for the consumption of the masses. But organisations like UNESCO and ICOM give me a little hope that all is not lost to the draw of the blockbuster exhibition and the latest Monet to appear on tea towels!