Despite my disappointment with the first installment of Guns, Germs and Steel, I went ahead and watched the second installment this week. Same impression.
I’ve concluded that I’m just not anywhere near the target audience for this show. The target audience must be people who’ve never really been introduced to the idea of history as interpretation and who, therefore, have never really questioned the more conventional presentations of history.
At the conclusion of the second installment, Professor Diamond states:
I came to Spain to answer a question – why did Pizarro and his men conquer the Incas instead of the other way around? There’s a whole mythology that that conquest and the European expansion in general resulted from Europeans themselves being especially brave or bold or inventive or smart, but the answers turn out to have nothing to do with any personal qualities of Europeans. Yeah, Pizarro and his men were brave, but there were plenty of brave Incas. Instead, Europeans were accidental conquerors. By virtue of their geographic location and history, they were the first people to acquire guns, germs and steel.
My response to that statement is ‘No duh!’ but the producers of this show must believe that this is a revelation to their target audience. I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on the show and understand that it was just not made for me.