Welcome to the twelfth (!) season of Ancient Aliens, which at this point is less a TV show and more of a thought experiment in how a TV production crew of cockroaches might survive a nuclear holocaust that destroyed all facts, evidence, and reason. There isn’t much to say about this episode, “The Alien Hunters,” by way of preface, as it is as much as possible just more of the same. This episode hews away from the show’s title adjective in favor of its recent devolution into freshman dorm room bullshitting about anything vaguely related to space aliens.
A new article released in preprint and set for publication in the journal Earth and Planetary Astrophysics is garnering attention from the British press for suggesting that the ancient astronaut theory might be true. However, “Prior Indigenous Technological Species” by Jason T. Wright is more sound and fury than a real and significant contribution to the ancient astronaut literature. At heart, it’s simply an elaborate game of “what if,” played without consequence since no actual evidence is provided. It’s admittedly a few shades more rigorous than Erich von Däniken’s speculative nonsense, but at heart it’s little more than speculation masquerading as science.
Late last week, popular news and entertainment site BuzzFeed went in search of ancient aliens as part of their regular BuzzFeed Unsolved feature. Their investigation into the ancient astronaut theory did not go well as the hosts presented a half-assed BuzzFeed view of ancient astronauts, which one of the two hosts agreed was “absolute nonsense.” The other host just laughed. I guess they are going for a believer/skeptic or Mulder/Scully vibe. In fact, the biggest mystery that remained unsolved at the end of the video was how two ignorant Millennials came to believe that low-information bullshitting was a sufficient basis for an “investigation,” and that goes for both the believer and the skeptic, neither of whom acquitted himself well.
In Radio Interview, Giorgio Tsoukalos Tries and Fails to Use Medieval Pyramid Legends to Prove Alien Contact
A few days ago, my longtime semi-nemesis Giorgio Tsoukalos gave a rare interview to Jimmy Church of Fade to Black radio to promote the return next week of Ancient Aliens for its twelfth season and ninth calendar year on the air. Tsoukalos more or less conceded that the whole Ancient Aliens series is merely an outgrowth of the two-hour original pilot, to which its 120 hours have added little, and that the pilot, in turn, was developed as a knockoff semi-tie-in to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, itself an ancient astronaut movie. According to Tsoukalos, executive producer Kevin Burns created the show as “a love letter to Chariots of the Gods.” That seems about right.
First, I have a bit of housekeeping to note: Alex Jones, whose lawyer recently alleged that he was a performance artist, took the stand in his child custody case to dispute his own lawyer’s argument, claiming in sworn testimony that he is not playing a character and that he believes the wild claims he makes. The jury also heard testimony that Jones had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
Before we begin today, I wanted to share that it is my birthday, and this is what the universe decided to get me: Former television host Scott Wolter is going to be coming to my city of Albany next month to give a lecture to the local Masonic lodge. According to an advertisement that a reader shared with me via Twitter, the $15 entry fee to the three-hour event includes dinner. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Wolter won’t be making good on his promise to buy me a beer when he arrives in town for the May 19 lecture.
A Book by a Zecharia Sitchin Acolyte Covered the Same "New" Material as "Sekret Machines" Many Years Ago
Since I was on the subject of Peter Levenda yesterday, I thought I would take a moment to remind everyone that Levenda has placed a lot of weight on what he claims to be his surprising and new approach to the ancient astronaut theory. Specifically, in their recent Rolling Stone interview, Levenda’s coauthor Tom DeLonge emphasized that his discussion of human religion as a sort of cargo cult inspired by space aliens is a quantum leap forward in understanding space alien interaction with humans. As I pointed out in my review of their book Sekret Machines: Gods, this claim is not new or even special; it was first used in the 1970s in the TV movie In Search of Ancient Astronauts.
Peter Levenda Attacks "Ancient Aliens" in "Rolling Stone" without Actually Watching "Ancient Aliens"
Last week I complained that I was getting tired of material that pretended to be new but was really recycled. It happened again this week. The Daily Mail breathlessly reported that a YouTube channel called SecureTeam10 posted a “new” video about the so-called Roswell Rock, which you will remember from its appearance on Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens several years ago. The video turns out to be mostly a summary of the Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens episodes, with worse visuals and worse voice over. The video doesn’t bother to even add new claims to those of the earlier shows.
I’ll be honest with you: The quality of fringe history claims has declined markedly over the last couple of years as the great fringe history boom of 2009-2014 finishes fizzling out. Some days, I don’t really have anything left to talk about. The clickbait websites have reduced themselves to cheating their own audiences. I can’t tell you how many times a Google News alert has keyed me to some “new” fringe posting about ancient aliens, Atlantis, or whatever, and when I click through, I find that it’s actually a reposting of a video (and it’s always a video!) from two, three, five, or more years ago. The amount of actually new content being produced is shockingly low.
If you live in the New York City area, you’ve probably at least seen Linda Stasi, even if you don’t know her name. Stasi is a New York Daily News columnist and an anchor on NY1, Spectrum (formerly Time Warner) cable’s local news channel. Stasi is also a novelist, writing thrillers with a fringe history edge, and she describes herself on social media as “well-read” and “a celebrated media personality.” To judge by a recent column, she is also startlingly ignorant of her subject matter but possessed of the stereotypical arrogance of the New Yorker who thinks she knows it all. This was on full display this weekend when Stasi published a column defending the ancient astronaut theory. It was one of the worst on the subject published in a major American newspaper in many a year, and it deserves special attention.
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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