Malta to Host Debut of New Atlantis Documentary; Plus: Harry Reid Gives Depressing Interview about His UFO Beliefs
I fell behind on work yesterday, and unfortunately ran out of time for a lengthy blog post. So I will give a couple of quick news notes. The first is about a documentary scheduled debut on Saturday in the island nation of Malta. The high-profile (for Malta, anyway) offering traces the fringe claims of Maltese artist Francis Xavier Alosio and was produced by Sprout Media’s Ed Hamilton. The 45-minute film claims that the temples of ancient Malta are far older than the Neolithic and are in fact the work of Atlanteans from 9,600 years ago or more.
Yesterday I reviewed Andrew Lawler’s new book The Secret Token, and to be entirely honest, it was a bit of a depressing experience. That’s because the book’s first half is set up much like a book I’ve been working on writing for several years now, though on a different topic. My book is a narrative history of the “white” mound builder myth, starting with the Spanish explorations and proceeding down to the famous Bureau of Ethnology report that closed the subject as a legitimate scientific question. The structure and approach are remarkably close, though, in my obviously biased opinion, I feel that I have done a much better job mining my subject for the kind of rich, novelistic detail that helps to bring the past to life. I wrote it basically as a nonfiction novel. My cast of characters is also richer and more compelling, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Constantine Rafinesque, all of whom left elaborate paper trails that help to tell a fascinating story in an engaging way.
THE SECRET TOKEN:
MYTH, OBSESSION, AND THE SEARCH FOR THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE
Andrew Lawler | June 2018 | Doubleday | 448 pages | ISBN 9780385542012 | $29.95 USD, $39.95 CA
A recurring theme in fringe history is anger at the scholarly establishment, which tends to manifest as the conviction that academics have something to hide about history. But the roots of that rage are more frequently found in the difference between what the public wants to know about history—stories of triumph and tragedy, grand historical narratives, and the actions of sainted heroes and ancestors—and what academics want to study about history—the holy trinity of race, class, and gender; the minutiae of daily life; and anything that calls grand narratives into question. Neither approach is prima facie wrong, but the difference produces an uncomfortable tension between what popularizers want to write about and what scholars think they should be writing about.
"Alien" Mummies Actually Desecrated Human Bodies; Plus: Ashley Cowie's Confused Article on Vandalism and the Destruction of Monuments
Live Science paid up to view Gaia TV’s exploitative Unearthing Nazca streaming TV show in order to learn more about the supposed three-fingered “alien” mummies that Russian researchers allege are somehow both genetically and biologically human while also being inhuman morphologically. After viewing the documentary and examining broadcasted images of the mummies’ bones, experts consulted by Live Science determined that the most likely explanation is that the bodies are genuine Andean mummies that have been desecrated, with parts removed or rearranged to appear “alien” before a coating of a white, plaster-like substance was applied to hide the crude taxidermy.
Live Science found that Russian state media, the Russian propaganda channel RT, and other Russian outlets were heavily promoting the story—despite the fact that many of the credentials Gaia assigned to the lead Russian researcher, Konstantin Korotkov, could not be verified. The schools where he claimed to work, for example, either had no record of him or did not exist. It’s almost like the whole story was set up just to see how gullible American audiences could be, and how servile the media.
If you have been following the ongoing saga of L. A. Marzulli’s DNA analysis of elongated skulls from Paracas, Peru, you know that Marzulli had assembled a team of questionable experts to analyze the skulls and their supposed forensic anomalies. Over the past few weeks, he has interviewed his team’s anthropologist and medical doctor for his Acceleration Radio show. This week, the team chiropractor spoke out. But not before Marzulli gave his thoughts about UFO disclosure and why demons are currently working alongside space aliens in a U.S. government facility.
Regular readers will remember Ashley Cowie, the Scottish television personality and occasional Ancient Aliens pundit who now writes milquetoast articles on ancient history for dubious outlets like Ancient Origins. In one of his recent articles for Ancient Origins, Cowie had such a howler that I can’t help but pause to make note of how he displays a truly surprising ignorance of the subject he claims to write knowledgeably about. His topic is an odd one: dragon’s teeth. But it also happens to be one I wrote about extensively in my book Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages, so I am extremely familiar with the primary sources and the scholarly literature that Cowie appears never to have read.
Russians Push "Alien" Peruvian Mummy Narrative; Plus: Forgery Scandal Calls Ancient Luwian Inscriptions into Question
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post outlining Russian efforts over the past sixty or seventy years to use UFO and ancient alien ideas as political weapons to undermine the West. I therefore read with interest reports coming out of Russia this week that scientists in that country identified a set of three-fingered mummies from Peru as being non-human. The story ran in Sputnik News, a Kremlin-backed propaganda publication, before being picked up by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids. The FBI and Scotland Yard have investigated Murdoch’s companies for their questionable Russian connections for years, including Murdoch’s interest in companies with ties to Russian Pres. Vladimir V. Putin’s United Russia party. Murdoch has also used his media businesses to support U.S. Pres. Donald J. Trump against allegations of Russian collusion with a soft line on Russian propaganda efforts.
ENLIGHTENMENT NOW: THE CASE FOR SCIENCE, REASON, HUMANISM, AND PROGRESS
Steven Pinker | 543 pages | Viking | 2018 | ISBN: 9780525427575 | $35
Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now has been in stores for a few weeks now, and I need not devote much space in this review to detailing Pinker’s many failings. Other reviewers have more than adequately demonstrated that Pinker’s Pollyanna pronouncements on the utopian glory of modern society are shortsighted, and his grasp of the Enlightenment, the putative topic of his book, is incomplete at best. Pinker makes almost no mention of the individual philosophers of the Enlightenment, nor does he take time to note the differences among them, subsuming all of their many and varied opinions on reason and science to the skepticism of David Hume and the veiled atheism of Voltaire. He also fundamentally misunderstands the Enlightenment as the pursuit of pure reason against all emotion, a fact belied by no less a figure than Immanuel Kant, who literally wrote a book entitled Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787) in which he stated that his purpose was to criticize “the faculty of reason in general, in respect of all knowledge after which it may strive independently of all experience.” More directly relevant, while Pinker claims Enlightenment figures bowed before reason, Hume actually discounted the power of reason to discover moral truth: “Reason is wholly inactive, and can never be the source of so active a principle as conscience, or a sense of morals” (Treatise, 22.214.171.124)
Weekend Roundup: "Ancient Aliens" Can't Count; Ex-Fox News Host Praises Spiritualism; and Robert Sheaffer Tries to Find Tom DeLonge's Money
Ancient Aliens has never been known for its factual accuracy, so it only makes sense that the series can’t even get its own anniversary correct. According to TV Shows on DVD, this June the History Channel and Lionsgate Entertainment will be releasing the Ancient Aliens tenth anniversary commemorative box set, featuring what press materials call the series’ first ten years of content:
Just in time for its 10th anniversary comes this mammoth ANCIENT ALIENS gift set featuring all 135 episodes from the HISTORY channel hit! The best-selling acclaimed HISTORY series celebrates its 10th anniversary with this incredible gift set featuring all 10 seasons, all 135 episodes and over 100 hours of content.
L. A. Marzulli's Team Doctor Speaks Out on Paracas Skulls, Genetically "Pure" Races, and Fallen Angel Hybridization
For the second week in a row, Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli has devoted the second half of his Acceleration Radio broadcast to interviewing a member of his Paracas skulls research team about the results of their investigation into the skulls’ elongation. Last week Marzulli interviewed geography instructor and anthropologist Rick Woodward, who alleged that the skulls had genetic anomalies, even though many of the “anomalies” are discussed in the scholarly literature as the result of known processes. This week, that team member being interviewed is Dr. Michael Alday, a specialist in occupational and preventative medicine. The interview begins around 26 minutes into the hour, after the rightwing propaganda about “elites” manufacturing a new Civil War and the commercial for pet urine stain remover.
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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