Thursday, October 1, 2009

Leave Ancient Egypt Alone

Dear Comic Book, Movie, and Television Writers,

Please leave ancient Egypt alone. I know that you heard about mummies and pyramids in the fourth grade, but until you bother to do any further study you need to stop using Egyptian themes in your creations. Additionally, The Ten Commandments is not a documentary! I hate it when you use ancient Egypt in your stories and you don’t know the first thing about Egypt.

(This is Djoser's Step Pyramid. It is the oldest pyramid, and it was designed by Imhotep.)

The reason I take umbrage with this trend is that I have studied about ancient Egypt extensively, and I even went to Egypt for a class in college. I don’t expect everyone else to study the subject as extensively as I have, but if you’re going to write about it you should at least do a little research.
(This is a colossal statue at the Karnak temple.)

I’m not looking for a documentary every time I see something about Egypt, but I would like to see you put forth a little bit of effort. There are some movies that have successfully told stories on the ancient Egyptian theme. They are: The Mummy (1932), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), and The Mummy (1999). Even though Boris Karloff’s The Mummy is riddled with fallacies, the flow fits with my willing suspension of disbelief and I can enjoy the story told. Besides, Karloff’s makeup is amazing. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is hilarious, and it’s a great satire. Finally, The Mummy from 1999 is a good remake of the 1932 film because it adds to the story, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I remember when The Mummy came out a documentary was shown at the same time to point out the fabrications, which I enjoyed.

(Here is an interior relief from the temple at Philae.)

If you are going to use the previously mentioned movies for inspiration, please don’t just copy them. There are too many terrible stories about mummies coming back to life already, especially considering that no one could be mummified alive since the process took 70 days. Additionally, stop telling the story about how aliens built the pyramids. Pyramidiots will take it as truth, and the idea that the Egyptians couldn’t build their own monuments is racist. Furthermore, the Egyptian didn’t believe in reincarnation. If they did, there would be no need for mummies, pyramids, or tombs. Try to think of something original, and please do a little bit of research before you try to write about ancient Egypt. Go to your local library and check out a few books; I highly recommend Barbara Mertz’s Red Land, Black Land.

Fanboy Wife


  1. The term "racist" is over-used (it now means anyone who is not an Obama Zombie), but it is probably justified in describing some ancient astronauts theorists. Some people just refuse to believe that Native Americans or Africans could build anything more complicated than a pup tent. L. Sprague De Camp's book The Ancient Engineers offers reasonable explanations for how ancient people could have built the pyramids (and without help from aliens).