TEC: Chapter 7: Temper, Temper

Murphy could feel his Irish temper rising.

You might wonder what’s causing this.  Maybe Meth has created another pointless trap to make Murphy risk his life yet again, since we had that kind of drama at the very beginning of the book.

But no:

It had all started when he pulled up in the parking lot and saw the van with BNN on the side.  The thought of Barrington Network News being on campus brought a bad taste to his mouth.

That’s it.  A news van is on the campus of his college.

Mike, you know that van could be there for any number of reasons, right?  Some sports event or famous person visiting campus, or an art exhibit or student play, or maybe they’re just getting some footage for a puff piece.  “Here at Preston University, the students are certainly enjoying this beautiful spring, Janet!”

Murphy bitterly remembers how BNN was on the scene of the church bombing a year and a half ago, because there should be absolutely no news coverage of acts of terrorism that kill people.  He lays it out for the slower readers:

All the reporters wanted was a big story.  They didn’t care about people’s feelings.

Intellectual Christian adventurer Michael Murphy sure is into stereotyping entire professions, isn’t he?

He also flashes back to Hank Baines’ funeral, which, I get that was annoying to Murphy and all, but it should logically prejudice him against just Stephanie Kovacs, not everyone involved in the news profession.

And, of course, Stephanie is once again interested only in what Murphy has to say.  She has staked out the lecture hall, and since she and her news crew just so happened to be in the area, would it be okay if they sat in on his lecture?

Why, sure!  “Anyone is free to come in, Miss Kovacs.

Now, granted that Michael Murphy is a media whore, but that still seems like a terribly liberal policy for a lecturing professor.  Anyone is welcome?  You’d think that would lead to plenty of distractions, but I guess as long as Murph gets himself filmed, to hell with it.

The lecture is on Babylon, and Murphy spends half a page on the most boring aspect of the Bible: the endless genealogies.  He lays out the baby-having that led to the Tower of Babel, upon which Clayton, the class clown who was also the class clown back in Ararat and apparently just takes every course Murphy offers, makes a GREAT joke:

“I thought the Tower of Babel was where King Solomon kept all his wives.”

But Murphy takes note of levity in his classroom, and gets his own back a minute later, when talking about the bricks of Babylon, which were inscribed with Nebuchadnezzar’s name, “King of Babylon“:

“I know you’re disappointed they didn’t have your name on them, Clayton.  They would have said King of Jokes.”

Everyone laughed and whistled.

…because they knew that was how to get an ‘A’ in Murphy’s class.

Murphy really doesn’t have control of this room, does he?  Can’t work around even one smart-ass.  But no, Murph has to be the “funny,” “cool” professor.

And the professor who sucks at PowerPoint slides since all he puts on them are lists of numbers and names (the dimensions of the steps of the Babylonian ziggurat and the same of Babylonian gods, respectively).  And I feel compelled to point out that this is going to be the worst news story ever.  (“And now, folks, we’re going to cut LIVE to Preston University, where a random professor showed some PowerPoint slides to his bored students!  After that, we’ll get around to other news like national politics and the crisis in the Middle East.”)

And of course, Murphy follows his usual course of not talking about archaeology in his archaeology class, and instead expounding (again!) on creationism.

“Throughout human history, men have talked about various gods.  Part of the reason for this is the fact that we can look about us and see the grandeur of creation.  We ask, Where did this all come from?  Could it have just happened?  Did it just pop up from nothing?”

Yanno, Murphy, you kinda got humiliated in that whole failed-to-bring-back-evidence-of-Noah’s-Ark-debacle not too long ago.  Maybe lay off the creationism schtick for a little while, eh?

And then he segues into the Meaning of Life:

“Whoever this designer was, they must certainly be smarter than me.”

Oh nobody doubts that, Murph.

“Is there a purpose to life?  And can I come to know what this purpose is?”

And…that’s the end of Professor Murphy’s ARCHAEOLOGY class.  The students who are actually interested in the subject must be so pissed right now.

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Posted on February 10, 2016, in The Europa Conspiracy. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’m guessing Murphy’s archaeology class is full of students who want to get an easy passing grade. Meanwhile, the real archaeology students who actually want to learn about that subject avoid his class like the plague, and instead take classes taught by other professors in the archaeology department.

  2. If they’re very lucky, Dean Fallworth may still give master classes sometimes on buttons.

  3. Did we ever learn whether Preston is a private university or a state one, or what? If it’s a state-funded school, then there could be legal issues when a professor abuses his position by proselytizing to his classes. If Barrington and by extension The Seven wanted to mess with him, then, it might help their purposes to get a recording of his class under the guise of a puff piece when in truth they’re gathering footage in advance of a lawsuit against the school to get him in trouble. Then they’ll have video evidence against him and footage for their piece on a local controversy.

    • Whatever it is, it’s a school that (in the first book) had hired an archaeology major as a counselor. Who was entrusted with the care of a suicidal student.

      Makes you wonder if the Murphys have some kind of “in” with the chancellor.

  4. Maybe Murph is just pissed that anything other than Fox News or another fundie TV van dares to visit his university, regardless of whether or not it’s there for him. Which it is of course, because the world revolves around Murphy.

    The tower of Babel: Now there’s an interesting archeological find. Much better than a plaster wall with graffiti that may or may not have been inscribed by magic.

    Jesus fucking Christ, this is what passes for a joke in Murphy’s world? That one wouldn’t even qualify you for intern to the deputy vice-undersecretary of jokes, much less king. How about “I thought the Tower of Babel was what King Solomon called his dick. I mean, the guy had a lot of wives to please, he must’ve had some sturdy equipment” That isn’t a great joke, but it’s at least recognizable as a joke.

    Did Murphy at least get the information about the dimensions of Babylonian temples from actual archeological finds, or is that also taken from the Bible.

  5. This isn’t even recognizable as an archaeology class. I have taken archaeology courses. Most of them were either in depth reviews of specific cultures with detailed analysis of the various digs where new things were discovered.

    For example, I took a class on early native Americans and we studied and read about all the major sites and theories about when humans first arrived to the America’s, how they lived, what they made, and all the competing theories on their migration patterns.

    The other kind of course involved practical things, like how to draw a map of your dig site to scale with just a compass and paper, how and why you should dig a test trench, how to set up a grid of your dig site, what to do when you actually find something, etc…What Murphy is lecturing on here is not Archaeology or Anthropology it is biblical studies.

    Sorry, I could go on and on about this but yea what he is teaching is not Anthropology and what he does in the field has a better name. Antiquities smuggling.

    • Not to forget the really important question: WHS or Marshalltown? 🙂

      Yeah, there’s no actual arch or anth going on here at all. I do picture the students playing “who can get Murphy to go off on a religious rant soonest” when they feel like playing on their phones for a bit.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for February 12th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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