Yesterday, we all watched the horrible images of Notre Dame de Paris burning, and it is a terrible loss to history that will take years to undo, if at all. The cathedral had survived the French Revolution, the Franco-Prussian War, and two World Wars, but saw its worst damage from renovation work. It was another sad event in what seems to have been an endless cycle of bizarre and unprecedented events. If history is any judge, every generation feels that way.
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.
An Australian white supremacist carried out the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand history this week when he murdered 49 people in two mosques in Christchurch. Australian media identified the attacker as personal trainer Brenton Tarrant, who broadcast his rampage live on social media, and police confirmed that he left behind a 74-page manifesto in which he wrote about his hatred of immigrants and non-white peoples, using the language of Neo-Nazism and white supremacy. He spoke of “white genocide,” a common theme among the far right, and one we have seen invoked repeatedly in the racist embrace of the Solutrean Hypothesis among white nationalists.
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.
This has been a particularly slow week for new claims in the world of fringe history, and it was also my birthday week. In honor of my birthday, and also to make time to work on my book, I’m going to be brief today. I wanted to share with you a racist meme that is popular on white supremacist forums. It was once featured on the now-suspended Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi website currently facing a libel lawsuit that threatens to expose its secretive finances., but it circulates across the white nationalist and racist hate communities on the internet, and has since at least 2013. Take a look:
As many readers already know, actress Roseanne Barr became an internet laughingstock recently when she praised Donald Trump for his heroic role in an imaginary effort to free thousands of children from a Democrat-run pedophilia network. This bizarre counterfactual belief is part of the so-called QAnon conspiracy, an internet-driven conspiracy theory which holds that Trump and Special Counsel Robert Muller are working together to take down Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who are the masterminds of a global child abuse network and terrorism syndicate. Barr removed her tweets referencing QAnon but did not apologize for her belief in the conspiracy.
In lieu of a blog post today, I present my review of alt-right “intellectual” Jason Reza Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas, a book that, before his ouster from AltRight.com and retreat from public life, Jorjani had promoted as the intellectual foundations for the alt-right movement. I have covered aspects of the book on this blog because of Jorjani’s prominence among the white nationalist right, where he partnered with white nationalist leader Richard Spencer and delivered a speech a pro-Trump rally where fascist salutes were given. Recently, Jorjani joined a nonprofit dedicated to “Aryan cultural revolution” called Iranian (Persian) Renaissance, where he theorizes that Iran will deliver the “completion of human evolution” by reinstituting an “Aryan” shah.
I wrote this piece for the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture last year. Its publication was delayed, but the journal has graciously made the review available for free. Now, whenever a student tries to find scholarly information about Jorjani, it will be my evaluation of him that they find. Below is the first paragraph. The remainder is available to read on the journal’s website.
Jason Reza Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas takes its title in imitation of Nietzsche’s division of tragedy into the Apollonian and Dionysian in Birth of Tragedy; however, while Nietzsche used his mythic references to link art to the divine, Jorjani has selected his Titanic title for a darker purpose, to link the human condition to those immortals victimized by the gods of Olympus. In myth, Prometheus is vivisected for giving fire to mankind, while Atlas must hold the heavens for rebelling against the Olympians. Jorjani wishes humankind to emulate the Titans’ stand against oppressive deities, but it is emblematic of the problematic nature of his scholarship that he conflates the Titan Atlas with the same-named son of Poseidon who was king of Atlantis (Plato, Criti. 114a), and then proceeds to build his framework atop that faulty identity, imagining the conflated Atlas as a ‘world-colonizing’ hero.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation came under fire yesterday for a new documentary on the Solutrean hypothesis that the network was scheduled to make available online today ahead of its Sunday television broadcast. Critics expressed concern that the network was promoting a fringe theory and giving it spurious credence without addressing the theory’s popularity with white supremacists. The network, for its part, said that it was aware of the controversy but didn’t care.
Yesterday, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch ran an article by journalist Alexander Zaitchik exploring the close connections between fringe history and hate, notably the way that white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and anti-Semites have incorporated claims as wide-ranging as ancient aliens, lost civilizations, and Bible giants into a narrative designed to promote a racist agenda. Zaitchik quotes me as an expert in fringe history’s darker themes, and I am pleased that he made good use of much of the information that I provided about some of the many ways hate groups have employed fringe history to craft narratives of racial supremacy.
As we approach the New Year, it’s time to take a final look back at 2017 in fringe history. This was a year when political news overshadowed almost everything else, but 2017 still managed to find new ways to use and abuse history, rivalling the historic low of 2016. This year in fringe history might not have been more extreme than last year, but it was certainly darker. It was the year when fringe historians rejoiced that they had an ally in the White House whose courtiers proudly flew the banner of “alternative facts,” but more than anything, it was the year of Tom DeLonge, the musician turned ufologist who published an ancient astronaut book, launched a UFO research company, was crowned UFO researcher of the year, and took credit for the year’s biggest UFO research flap. Let’s look back at what happened over the past twelve months.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.