As I’ve been working on my book, I’ve noticed that the theme has slowly drifted away from my original plan. My outline had such a nice, rigid structure with a tripartite division among the three moral panics that originated in 1947, the Red Scare, the Lavender Scare, and the UFO scare, with discussion of how these panics resulted from defining groups of outsiders against a conformist mainstream culture. But as I wrote, the separation between the parts started to break down, in large measure because the social aspects of all three moral panics rather quickly subordinated themselves to a broader concern about redefining masculinity after the crisis of the war years. Hence, the Red Scare devolved into panic over gays, gay panic plunged into disputes over effeminacy and weakness, and from the very first day of the UFO flap, everyone measured witnesses’ credibility by their masculinity. The very first flying saucer articles even talked about Kenneth Arnold’s high school football salad days and how muscular and tall he was, as though masculinity equaled credibility.
I’ve been making great progress on my new book, and I’ve nearly hit 40,000 words. The bigger challenge is trying to interest anyone in it. It’s rather rude, really, that literary agents can’t be bothered with even a pro-forma rejection but instead expect me to wait out response windows for silence to speak for them. But on the plus side, I’ve had an opportunity to explore some areas of historical research I hadn’t had the opportunity to look into before. Honestly, it was a little weird.
I had intended to write a full blog post today, but this week turned into a series of bad news leading to worse. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on my household's employment and finances, and a literal midnight email about mandatory pay cuts and furloughs will only make it worse. I was not in the mood to blog. However, I did feel up to working on the proposal for a new book I have decided to write, based on my recent article about Rebel without a Cause and the three 1947 national panics over communists, gays, and UFOs that turned out to be deeply interconnected.
For the past ten years, I have written this blog anywhere between five and seven days per week. For almost ten years before that, I produced regular content for the predecessor site to this one. When this blog was at its peak in 2013, I had 100,000 readers, regular appearances in media coverage, a number of TV opportunities, a literary agent, and a growing writing career in both fiction and nonfiction. None of that is the case today, and I don’t see a way to justify continuing to devote so much effort to this endeavor. Several recent posts had readership so low that I could have just emailed all of you a few bullet points and saved myself the trouble.
Later this month, independent scholar Willem McLoud plans to hold a webinar to teach members of Ancient Origins that the Egyptian god Osiris was actually a Mesopotamian king. McLoud is going to base the claim on two papers he published over the past year, in which he argues for a new understanding of ancient history based on the self-aggrandizing “McLoud Chronological Model” of Egyptian history. Basically, he wants to rejigger the Middle Kingdom of Egypt to better fit with his preferred period of Mesopotamian history—questions of more import for Biblical history than anything else, really.
Due to prior commitments, I will not be posting today or tomorrow. I will return next week.
With so much happening in the world this year, and all of the work I had been putting into getting two books ready for publication at the same time, I let pass an important milestone. This year is the tenth anniversary of my blog and this website. I started it in the winter of 2010, and I have published most days ever since. It has been a long decade, but one that paradoxically seems to have flown by far too fast.
Last week I receive a request from someone who is consulting on a documentary to take a meeting with a producer who works with Netflix about adapting one of my books into a documentary or potential documentary series. Normally, I don’t let this sort of thing get very far because it is always a huge waste of time, but since I have been stuck in quarantine, I figured it would serve as a bit of a distraction. So, we set up the meeting, and before the appointed day, I suggested that the producer should probably be aware that my work is not pro-alien. Regular readers of this blog can guess the rest. There was no meeting at the appointed hour. It wasn’t unexpected, but even so, it is disconcerting.
As COVID-19 continues to limit the amount of history-themed material being published and broadcast, I will be taking the weekend off again this week. I will try to have something new next week. In the meantime, buy my book. It makes a great read while sheltering at home.
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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