Hoping for a little cultural edification tonight, I watched Modern Marvels: the Eiffel Tower on Netflix instant play. Granted, it was produced in 1994, so the documentary techniques seemed a bit outdated.
But what the heck. I was enjoying seeing footage of the Tower under construction in the late 1880s, the tower during the two World Wars, and so I even swallowed some of the rosy prose. I love the Eiffel Tower, and this slightly geeky documentary was giving me some entertaining and informative background. Interviews with Eiffel’s great-great-granddaughter. Shots and engineering explanations of the underpinnings of the structure as it was being built. Visits to the bowels of the tower, where the engineer showed that animal fat and leather were still used to operate the elevator machinery.
Everything was just peachy, and I bought the whole story, until they interviewed the electrical workers who spend all their days prowling the structure and repairing the lighting systems.
These guys gushed to the camera, “I love my job, working outdoors every day, on this wonderful monument.”
Okay, fine, I can buy that.
But then they started waxing about les oiseaux charmants who sometimes build their nests in the framework of the Eiffel Tower. “It’s so great to observe pigeons making a home here. These days, it’s so unusual to see pigeons in Paris.”