Here is the episode description:
- Did aliens help build the Pyramids and other monuments? Or does the "ancient astronauts" idea go back to Swiss author Erich von Daniken, whose books challenge religion and science? Who were his enemies? What were his influences? Why was he jailed?
I don’t know when the program will air, but I’m supposed to get a head’s up before it is on later this year.
Speaking of Jason and the Argonauts, did you know that the Jason myth is still really profitable? I didn’t until I learned this week that you can now go on a two-week Legendary Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts cruise to visit the supposed route of the Argonauts (apparently the one proposed by Apollonius of Rhodes) for the rock-bottom price of between $8,000 and $12,000 per person. The cruise ship has 26 rooms, of which 24 are double occupancy, yielding a gross of at least $500,000 each way since they are running the ship from Greece to Georgia and back again for two cruises. A million bucks is a pretty nice prize for a month’s cruise. Obviously, after expenses the cruise won’t profit a million dollars, but I imagine expert consultants Nina Tumarkin (an expert in Russian and Soviet history) and Mary Lefkowitz (a Classical scholar) will come out the other side with a pretty hefty sum for essentially a paid vacation.
I’m in the wrong line of work: My Jason book has made me virtually nothing in royalties; in fact, the biggest payout I got from the book was licensing one of the maps I made for its website to another publisher. A single photograph earned me more than writing and selling the book. On the plus side, I still have another eight months as the only major recent study of the Argonaut myth; Classical scholar Helen Lovatt’s In Search of the Argonauts, originally scheduled for publication last year, has been delayed until October. It will be interesting to see how her book does or does not agree with mine.
While we’re on the subject of scholars, I saw an interesting article about resident Ancient Aliens folklorist Sabina Magliocco, who admitted Cal State Northridge’s Sundial that she knows Ancient Aliens misrepresents her and her work but thinks that the twisted truths on the show still serve to educate audiences. Magliocco told the newspaper that she knew from the first episodes of Ancient Aliens in 2010 that they were intentionally twisting her words to make her look like she supports the ancient astronaut theory. She says she raised objections but has continued participating for five years anyway, reminding them each time that she doesn’t believe in the ancient astronaut theory:
This is something that I have told them on camera a million times but they never put it in. […] I am completely opposed to the show’s theory. As an anthropologist, it’s important to understand that our ancestors were as smart as we are today. There are all kinds of symbolic explanations for pictures and representations that don’t have to involve aliens.
It’s something I can’t quite understand. How can someone be “completely opposed” to a media product, know that its producers will twist and misrepresent you to support a preconceived agenda you claim to loathe, and still spend five years contributing to that show?