If you are a subscriber to Science magazine, you may have seen Lizzie Wade’s article “Believe in Atlantis? These Archaeologists Want to Win You Back to Science,” which ran online on Tuesday and will appear in the print version of the journal. The article features a number of archaeologists that regular readers of this blog will be familiar with and (I hope) fans of, as well as a few comments from me, too. In lieu of a blog post today, I urge to you give Wade’s article a read. In it, she discusses the continued popularity of pseudoarchaeology and its dominance in popular culture. It covers the racism of pseudoarchaeology and its connections to nineteenth century colonialism and imperialism.
On Wednesday, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee sent the Lucas Brothers to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to examine why the Alt-Right is obsessed with Greco-Roman statues. The brothers and their team of experts concluded that the white marble of the statues has falsely created a culture of white supremacy around the sculptures which the Alt-Right is exploiting for political gain. This is stupid, and as much as I like Samantha Bee and her show, this segment was flawed, predicated on the facile conflation of the color white with the social construction of Whiteness.
Instead of writing a lengthy blog post today, I’d like to recommend that you read “Hunting Dinosaurs in Central Africa,” an excellent article in Contingent Magazine by Edward Guimont discussing the close connection between pseudohistory, cryptozoology, and colonialism in Central Africa from early colonial era down to the present. Guimont discusses how Europeans attempted to assert control over Africa by rewriting its history through a Biblical lens but also through appropriating control over its animals. As Guimont explains, such seemingly disparate phenomena as hunting for King Solomon’s mines, looking for dinosaurs in the Congo, and displaying African wildlife in European capitals were actually part of a single colonial enterprise to delegitimize African cultures and knowledge and assert European dominance. To this end, the entire language of “discovery” and “exploration” inherently referred to European penetration of lands viewed as inherently wild and primitive, whose inferior peoples were ignorant and whose presence and knowledge were unacknowledged and unvalued.
Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox dropped like a rock in the Nielsen ratings for its second outing this week. Tuesday’s episode, which featured Fox meeting with alternative history icon Graham Hancock and identifying Stonehenge as a prehistoric hospital, bagged just 325,000 viewers, down from 429,000 last week. The miserable ratings secured the show 121st place in the Tuesday ratings race, behind NatGeo’s Life Below clip show special, Animal Planet’s Lone Star Law, Motor Trend TV’s Bitchin’ Rides, and even Travel’s own 9 PM rerun of Expedition Unknown, which 90,000 more people watched than Fox’s 8 PM show, and its 11 PM rerun of Monster Encounters, which 50,000 more people watched.
Italy's Most Prominent Ancient Astronaut Theorist Asks Whether Jews Planned the Holocaust as a "Passport" to the Creation of Israel
I will start today with a short update about To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science and the so-called “alien” metamaterials that they have allegedly been examining. In an interview with MJ Banias of Mysterious Universe last weekend, To the Stars VP Hal Puthoff, who is also the head of Earth Tech, attempted to rebut criticism of the two companies’ agreement to work together to analyze the metals. Puthoff called it a “straightforward contractual relationship,” one that just happened to involve Puthoff at To the Stars generously agreeing to pay Puthoff at Earth Tech so that he would collect checks from both companies for his work on the metamaterials.
When I published The Cult of Alien Gods thirteen years ago, expanded from a Skeptic magazine article I had published the year before, I was genuinely surprised that a lot of people, mostly fans of H. P. Lovecraft, were outraged. Several critics found absurd my conclusion that Lovecraft had taken ideas about prehistoric extraterrestrial contact articulated by Theosophy and Charles Fort and transmitted them to the midcentury UFO and ancient astronaut writers. Still others were deeply upset that the book discussed—in 2005, two years before the housing bubble burst—the argument the great historian Jacques Barzun had made that the West had grown decadent and faced a long period of stagnation and decline, something I mentioned because it echoed Lovecraft’s pessimistic view that similar envisioned America in a spiral of corruption and decline.
Yesterday, U.S. president Donald J. Trump met with Russian president Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki for a controversial summit denounced by Republicans and Democrats alike. In advance of the summit, members of an anti-immigrant organization known as the Soldiers of Odin, whose leader is a self-described Neo-Nazi convicted of a hate crime, knelt before Trump banners in a show of deference to the American leader. The anti-immigrant hate group was founded in Finland in 2015 to intimidate immigrants, and it now boasts chapters in Anglophone countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. Although the organization denies being racist or Neo-Nazi, studies by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Finland’s Yle public broadcaster found that its members were predominantly white supremacists and supporters of the extreme right.
Friends of David Wilcock Say He Resigned from Gaia TV over Bad Pay, Poor Working Conditions, and Lucifer
Late Friday night, ufologist Laura Eisenhower released a letter she said that ancient astronaut theorist David Wilcock sent to his employer, Gaia TV, asking to be let out of his contract. According to the letter, Gaia TV has an abusive work environment, unfairly compensates its employees, and deceptively edits its programs to promote what Wilcock described as “Luciferian” beliefs. “This is already starting to cause me significant career damage and it will get far worse if I don’t do something about it, fast,” Wilcock is said to have written. “I have willfully ignored an enormous number of offensive, disrespectful and abusive situations in order to do this job the last six years – primarily out of a sense of financial dependency.” He attributed this to having suffered physical abuse at the hands of his former girlfriend.
This weekend, Newsweek ran an interesting article on racism at MUFON and the broader problem of alt-right infiltration in ufology. The magazine basically laid the blame on the fact that ufologists are largely a group of cranky old white men, the same demographic that overlaps heavily with extreme conservative and alt-right beliefs. “The combination of demographics likely to align with far-right viewpoints, and the overlap between UFO researchers and conspiracy theorists, produces an environment that [ufologist Ryan] Sprague and others argue can be toxic to minorities,” the magazine told its readers.
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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