Recently, I have been making my way via Netflix through the old James Burke series Connections.

When this series first aired on PBS in the late 70’s, I positively adored it as only a thirteen year old geek could.  Each week, I would catch not only the original airing, which was (I  believe) on Friday night, but  the rerun on Saturday morning as well.   I was absolutely mesmerized by the stories of invention and interconnection and the blended paths of science and history.

I find on reviewing them, however, that back in the day I was so focused on the meat of the programs, I totally overlooked certain political pieties that pervade Burke’s presentation.  Modern Society a technological trap devised by ruthless Capitalists.  Europeans backwards, barbaric and exploitative.  Church little more than voodoo.  Behold the enlightenment of the Islamic Middle Ages!  That sort of thing.  Burke has to talk fast and present a tremendous amount of information in a very few words, and I find his thumbnail sketches to be heavily biased.  One suspects that he reads a lot of Eric Hobsbawm.

I don’t think I like the series quite as much now as I used to.