Remember Red Ice Radio, the fringe radio program hosted by Henrik Palmgren that has played host to luminaries like Scott Wolter, Scott A. Roberts, and David Icke, and which recently devoted an episode to declaring Hitler to be a misunderstood genius? Well, it turns out that the program is chock full of white supremacists making a surprising number of claims about the Aryan race. Let’s take a look at a few of the discussions that pass under the banner of “alternative history” and “forbidden truth.” But where to start? There’s so many to choose from—and all from just this summer!
I just finished reading David Grann’s 2009 bestseller The Lost City of Z (soon to be a movie), which tells the story of Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett’s 1925 disappearance in the Amazon jungle while searching for what he believed was a monumental stone city lost to time. The story of a dashing explorer who vanished without a trace has been a source of fascination for the past nine decades, though to be quite frank, I didn’t find his disappearance all that compelling. I had rather hoped to find more information about Fawcett’s beliefs about the lost city he named Z, but Grann provides only a few hints and details. What he discusses, though, is a fascinating illustration of the consequences of fringe beliefs.
Canadian author David Nickle has an interesting post on his blog about H. P. Lovecraft and the issue of racism, prompted by the recent petition by Daniel José Older to replace World Fantasy Award’s bust of Lovecraft with that of the Black female writer Octavia Butler because Lovecraft was an “avowed racist and a terrible wordsmith” while Butler challenged “our notions of power, race and gender.” Personally, I’d have objected on the grounds that Lovecraft is better suited to horror than fantasy, but boundaries blur at the edges of the forms of speculative fiction. I don’t really have a problem with the World Fantasy Award being a bust of Lovecraft, nor do I see it as an endorsement of racism, but the debate over Older’s petition has degenerated into parody of the kind of debates over racism we see in society today.
I’m always interested in what fringe figures say when they think they’re talking only to true believers, which is one reason I like looking not just at their public pronouncements but also the products and services that they sell to their fans. For example, Jason Martell’s blatant cash grab “Ancient School,” with its poorly produced YouTube-style video “lessons” speaks much more to Martell’s motives than his parroting of producers’ points on Ancient Aliens. This is one reason I was intrigued when a reader recently sent me an advertisement for L. A. Marzulli’s new video collection Giants: Revealing the Agenda of the Fallen Cherub – Exploring the Archaeology of the Ancients. Recorded in June of this year at the second annual (!) “Nephilim Mounds Conference” (!!), the five DVD set retails for $59.95 and has a kinky sexual focus that says much more about the real panic behind “Nephilim research” than the polished polemics of its most prominent figures.
I’ve written too much this week, and I had planned to take today off, but I couldn’t resist capping off this week of superheroes and extraterrestrials with a brief discussion of a Christopher Loring Knowles’s reaction to Friday’s “Aliens and Superheroes” episode of Ancient Aliens. It collapses the whole rickety house of alien superheroes in on itself and gives us the bizarre spectacle of a man who is obsessed with hidden Theosophical currents in pop culture attacking an ancient astronaut program for being too literal, too materialist, and too disrespectful of Jack Kirby and comic book aliens.
This episode of In Search of Aliens was supposed to be a hunt for the Cyclops according to the published listings. But something happened that led H2 to swap out the episode for the one we actually saw tonight S01E05 “The Search for Bigfoot.” The Cyclops episode will air in two weeks because H2 is taking Labor Day weekend off. Instead, we are treated to an ersatz Finding Bigfoot in which our intrepid hero Giorgio Tsoukalos tramps through the Washington woods to look for the ultra-terrestrial Bigfoot, the one who rides in a flying saucer. I previously discussed the connection between Bigfoot and flying saucers in an April blog post.
In this episode of Ancient Aliens, S07E05 “Aliens and Superheroes,” the show decides to plumb the depths of fiction to find evidence of aliens among superheroes. It is all very meta. Why not Star Wars or other space operas? Just as profitably might they have mined science fiction or, dare I say it, the works of H. P. Lovecraft to find aliens amidst fiction. The inspiration for this episode is undoubtedly desperation (they recycle footage from the 2009 History series Clash of the Gods), but there is more than a whiff of H. P. Blavatsky in the conceit that superheroes can tell us anything about actual space aliens. In a footnote to her Secret Doctrine Blavatsky claimed that writers of fantastic fiction received “occult dreams” from nonhuman intelligences on other planets or other dimensions, and thus unconsciously embodied extraterrestrial truths. Ancient Aliens pretty much decides to adopt this as the governing concept for this episode. It is not a pretty sight.
I could have planned this better. I should have started this review on Wednesday to do it in three parts. But since Ancient Aliens tonight plans an episode on “Aliens and Superheroes,” I will take advantage of what author Christopher Loring Knowles, following Jung, refers to as “meaningful coincidence” (synchronicity) to finish my review of Our Gods Wear Spandex today, despite the length of the resulting review.
After Christopher Loring Knowles published his claims about the secret stratum of occult knowledge he believes H. P. Lovecraft possesses, Knowles accused me (or as he calls me, “Jason ‘It’s All About Me! Me!’ Colavito”) of failing to address his assertions on the evidence. Therefore, I thought it might be an interesting exercise to take a look at Knowles’s most famous work, Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes (Weiser Books, 2007). The subject of the volume is the influence of ancient mythology and Victorian occultism on comic book characters, and it covers many of the same streams of popular culture that I discussed in my earlier book, The Cult of Alien Gods (2005).
I’m feeling a bit uninspired today, so I’ll share a grab-bag of small stories I haven’t figured out how to spin into something more substantive.