Every few months we get a story about how “scientists” have discovered some location associated with a famous myth. This time, the story revolves around a cave where Circe housed Odysseus in the Odyssey. As with most efforts to find the “true” location of Greek mythic tales, this supposed discovery involves a lot of special pleading and a naïve approach to understanding the formation of ancient Greece’s most important poems.
"The Atlantic" Repeats Afrocentrist Claim about Pre-Columbian Africans in the Americas; Plus: "Epoch Times" Under Fire for Trump Links
This past week, conservatives across the country rose up to take on the most pressing issue of the day, the New York Times’ ongoing series reporting on the continuing legacy of slavery on modern American life to mark the 400th anniversary of slavery in the lands that eventually became the United States. Conservative leaders claimed that the paper was doing a disservice to America by sowing division through a discussion of historical facts and making America look bad by explaining the compromises and corruptions that slavery created at the heart of the American social, economic, and political systems. In the Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi of American University wrote in support of the Times’ project, but in doing so, he offered his own ahistorical claim.
In Aeon magazine, English professor Emily Ogden from the University of Virginia has a disturbing piece in which she argues that “debunking” is not a quest for truth but rather a scene in the grand drama of defending modernity against the alternative ways of knowing that populate our postmodern world. According to her published CV, this is the only subject to which she has devoted significant attention over the nine years since she earned her PhD in English, and, to be frank, her argument is a load of postmodern bunk with a small kernel of correct observation that goes too far toward demonstrating why those outside the academy are suspicious of its sophistry. You might expect me to disagree with the thesis that “debunkers” are biased performance artists, but instead I am going to disagree with the limited view she takes of epistemology as psychodrama.
Even I would not have guessed that swapping out To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science’s show Unidentified for William Shatner’s The UnXplained would produce such dramatic results—for Ancient Aliens. The UnXplained has run even with or outpaced Unidentified, and in its latest outing it brought in 1.127 million viewers in live plus same day viewing, according to Nielsen figures. But the effect on Ancient Aliens, one of the History Channel’s tentpole series, has been devastating. Yet again this week, Ancient Aliens viewership came in well below one million viewers, racking up the show’s consistently lowest ratings for new episodes since it returned to the History Channel from H2 several years ago. (It previously hit a similar low during a special one-off showing on a Monday, when viewers weren’t aware it would be on.) This past week, just 865,000 people watched in live plus same day viewing.
Originally, I planned to spend today’s blog post discussing Tom DeLonge’s recent interview in the British music magazine NME, in which he claimed to have secret knowledge that he has adjudged too dangerous for public consumption: “Believe it or not, we have very long conversations about what we’re going to talk about publicly, not because we don’t have the facts – but because people aren’t ready for the facts,” he said. This seems transparently false. If an aging rock star whose sum total of knowledge of UFOs, ancient history, and the occult is derived, by his own admission, from reading old paperback ufology books has experienced “the facts” and emerged unscathed, surely we mere mortals can hear whatever it is DeLonge thinks he knows (but probably doesn’t). I also thought it worth mentioning that Luis Elizondo, who two Pentagon spokespeople have denied served as the head of the Pentagon’s UFO tracking program, declined to provide evidence that he did head it when asked. “I don’t want to make anyone look foolish,” he said. Sure, that’s the reason.
Friday Roundup: "Hunting Hitler" Star Blames Shootings on Feminization; Plus: Jimmy Church Comes Out Against To the Stars
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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