"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.
Fake history is everywhere and often quite difficult to root out. Today, I’m going to break format a little bit to look at an inflated historical claim that is a little unusual. I came across this listing for an antique brass humidor for sale at a wildly inflated price of $795, and I had a hard time believing it.
To promote the release of his self-published book The Discovery of Troy and Its Lost History, historical researcher Bernard Jones published an article in Ancient Origins highlighting the book’s central claim, that the ancient city of Troy (Ilium) was not located in Asia Minor as has been assumed since ancient times but instead was located in the Celtic world. His evidence is Homer’s Iliad, whose poetic descriptions he takes as literal depictions of a voyage to the New World.
I received the copyedited chapter files for my mound builder book, which means that I now have to review and approve the changes. Because this takes a lot of time, I’m taking this weekend off to work on the review process. Therefore, I’ll leave you with a brief notice that the claim made this week that a researcher using “ingenuity” and “lateral thinking” had deciphered the mysterious Voynich Manuscript in less than two weeks has already descended into recriminations and claims that academics just don’t understand radical new ideas—you know, the standard. It is another case where a sexy claim got overblown through over-ambitious PR and sensational media coverage, aided by a claimant who seems to lack humility about the limits of his own claim.
History Channel Doubles Down on Paranormal and Conspiracy Programming in Presentation to Advertisers
In a month’s time, Graham Hancock will release his new book, America Before, which attempts to document what he claims to be evidence for a lost civilization that was destroyed when a comet collided with North America at the start of the Younger Dryas period about 12,900 years ago and triggered horrific wildfires that burned much of the continent. Skeptic magazine has commissioned me to review the book, and my review will be published when the book is released in the United States in April. But in the meantime, Hancock tweeted what he said was supporting evidence that his comet holocaust killed off the megafauna of Ice Age America:
University of New Mexico Revises Reason for Studying Olmec Heads on Trip Exploring "African Presence" in Mexico
The University of New Mexico came under fire online from anthropologists, archaeologists, activists, and skeptics after a flyer for an upcoming study abroad trip sponsored by their Chicano Studies department caused outrage by promising to help students learn about the “African presence” in Mexico during Olmec times. The trip, scheduled for May, was intended to explore the African experience in Mexico across time, including in the colonial period and in contemporary Mexico. But it was the decision to follow the Afrocentric claim that Olmec society had an African component that set off alarm bells.
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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