I wanted to let you know briefly that I will not likely be posting much for the next week. The publisher of my Legends of the Pyramids has returned the typeset manuscript to me for proofreading and indexing. This is a time-consuming process, and they have given me far less time than comfortable to complete this work while also doing my actual job. Since I need to complete at least 15 pages per day to make the deadline, I will not have time to write blog posts on top of everything else. I hate indexing, but I loathe the idea of hiring an indexer who will charge more money to index the book than I will ever make back in royalties.
Last week, the U.S. edition of the French fashion magazine L’Officiel ran a digital spread about James Dean’s clothes to mark the actor’s ninetieth birthday. The spread, written by the magazine’s digital editor, Italian journalist Simone Vertua, fell victim to fake history, spreading very strange lies from a trashy recent faux-biography and deploying a digitally altered photograph to support untrue claims. Granted, we don’t usually hold fashion magazines to exceptional standards of excellence, but it’s still disturbing to find the plague of fake history infecting yet another medium.
Ancient Origins ran a piece recently arguing that indigenous oral traditions from North America are related to the biblical Tower of Babel story. The author seems to have lifted his understanding of the parallel myths from the Tower of Babel’s Wikipedia page, but even so, it is at least mildly interesting to review what are indeed parallel stories in order to understand where author Mark-Andrew Carpenter went wrong. The short version is that he heavily discounted the influence of the Bible on post-Contact America and among the missionaries who recorded—and revised—Native stories.
I have a new article out today in Slate magazine examining Joe McCarthy, Tucker Carlson, and UFOs in light connection with masculinity issues and pop culture.
On a cold December night in 1950, red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy spent a charity dinner at Washington’s Sulgrave Club trading insults with liberal journalist Drew Pearson. McCarthy had attacked Pearson on the floor of the Senate, calling for a boycott of his radio show. Pearson had attacked McCarthy on air and in his newspaper column, accusing the senator of lying about communist infiltration of the American government. McCarthy had recklessly accused the State Department of harboring hundreds of communists, sparking a massive investigation and an ongoing purge. After dinner, the two ran into each other in the cloakroom and their conflict turned physical. McCarthy kneed Pearson in the groin, and Sen. Richard Nixon had to pull McCarthy off Pearson.
Read the rest at Slate magazine by clicking here.
This Friday, Ancient Aliens presents a two-hour special in which The UnXplained host William Shatner meets with the various talking heads from Ancient Aliens and interviews them about space aliens, science, and futurism. The crossover between Ancient Aliens and sister program The UnXplained is made possible by the two shows’ shared production company. The special runs more than two hours, and it continues well past how late I can stay up as the father of an energetic three-year-old. As a result, I won’t review it until sometime Saturday, when I have had a chance to watch it.
Two years ago, feminist author Naomi Wolf faced controversy when historians noted that her new book, Outrages, based on her doctoral thesis, contained important historical errors in its account of what Wolf claimed was violent systemic oppression of gay men in Victorian England. Wolf had misunderstood an old legal term, “death recorded,” to refer to an execution instead of a suspended or commuted death sentence. Thus, she had claimed that gay men were executed regularly at the Old Bailey through the nineteenth century, when in fact Britain’s last execution for sodomy occurred in the early days of Victoria’s reign. Wolf’s U.S. publisher pulped the book in the wake of the controversy, but two years later, a new one emerged.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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