With the events unfolding in Boston last night as police hunted down the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, it seemed rather incongruous to try to review yet another steaming pile of Ancient Aliens, especially an episode as slapdash and repetitive at this one. I can sum up this entire episode in a single sentence and a fragment:
“Humans are too dumb to build anything on their own, so aliens must have done it—plus magic rocks!”
We could probably revise this more accurately:
“I don’t know; therefore, aliens.”
Seeing the thousands of law enforcement officers working together to protect Boston provides a very clear counterexample of how humans can and do come together in their hundreds or thousands to accomplish a goal, whether it is a manhunt or dragging big rocks.
This morning I got up and reached for my glasses, only to find that the frames had broken. The ear piece snapped off, and the optometrist says that they can’t be repaired. Naturally, my spare pair of glasses (which I never wear) somehow managed to get bent when I moved a year ago without me noticing. The optometrist bent them back, but for whatever reason the right lens isn’t sitting quite right, so I’m having trouble seeing. I’m doing my best, but it’s a struggle.
I wasn’t aware that Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts was associated with alternative history, but apparently it must be so. According to the Vineyard Gazette, Chilmark selectmen approved a request by America Unearthed to film a segment for the show on May 2 and 3 on the boat of charter captain Scott McDowell. The vote was unanimous. I only knew of Chilmark as Fox Mulder’s home town on The X-Files.
As you probably read yesterday, Ancient Aliens pundit and entrepreneur Jason Martell threatened to sue me to prevent me from criticizing him. He also requested that his fans send me hate mail, which resulted in one death threat. I have forwarded Mr. Martell’s hate mail request to officials at History and H2, the networks that air Ancient Aliens, to ensure they are aware of his actions. Although H2 does not directly employ Mr. Martell (the show is produced by an outside production company, Prometheus Entertainment), I expect the network to categorically condemn any action by one of its personalities to engage in harassing behavior.
Mr. Martell accused me of poor research, but he himself appears to have mistakenly claimed that I was responsible for Ancient Aliens Debunked, Chris White’s documentary film with which I am not affiliated in any way: “he only causes negative views with his ancient aliens debunked.” However, his meaning is not entirely clear since the poor grammar and capitalization makes the sentence ambiguous.
So, I thought I’d share a few facts about Jason Martell, taken entirely from publicly documented sources. The following facts are derived entirely from Martell’s own statements in interviews he gave to the media and linked to on his personal website as well as statements from his several different web sites. Remember: Everything discussed below comes directly from Martell himself.
Last week I reported on a Facebook claim that History had reprimanded America Unearthed star Scott Wolter for his alternative history views. I spoke with a representative for History today, and the network says it has never spoken to Wolter about his views. The story reported by the Facebook fan page for America Unearthed is categorically false. Officials for the network confirmed that a meeting did take place in March, but this was to celebrate the show’s renewal for season two. Network officials, in fact, not only are proud of America Unearthed but also confirmed that they have no position on the claims made on the program. (Indeed, many network officials have not watched the complete series and were unaware of some of the more extreme claims made on the show.) According to the History spokesperson, History and H2 programs are intended as entertainment only and are not meant to be considered factual.
Ancient Aliens pundit Jason Martell is not content merely to threaten lawsuits against me. Martell mass emailed subscribers to his X-Facts.com mailing list to send me hate mail. In so doing, Martell accused me of poor research while simultaneously confusing me with Chris White, the creator of the Ancient Aliens Debunked documentary, with which I am not affiliated. Martell also compared himself to Copernicus and Galileo, suggesting that he is being persecuted for correct ideas. Below is the email Martell sent, conveniently copied by one of his fans in the message history of a nasty piece of hate mail full of vitriolic attacks on my person.
Obviously, we can’t take the self-selected comments left on blogs as a representative sample of public opinion, but I’m getting tired of the repetitive complaints about how I’m not “open minded” and how asking alternative speculators to prove their claims is somehow “trashing” them for offering “possibilities” to explore. This happened again this morning when ancient astronaut writer Jason Martell accused me in an email of bringing “bad karma” onto myself with my “negative views” about him and his poor research. Martell suggested I was “INACCURATE” (his caps) in describing his claims, but he initially refused to say which of my references to material taken directly from his Knowledge Apocalypse do not appear in the book.
I’m feeling a bit lazy today, so I just have a few odds and ends about ancient astronauts to discuss.
I have an enormous tolerance for alternative bullshit, but Jason Martell of Ancient Aliens tests even my patience with the enormous stupidity of his claims, both in terms of the arrogant confidence with which he recycles Zecharia Sitchin as Gospel truth and with the rabble-rousing populism with which he dismisses counterarguments and science as nothing more than, and I quote, “WRONG ANSWER.” Having suffered through his self-published Knowledge Apocalypse (2011, 2nd ed. 2012), I am now confident that my earlier assessment of Martell as “dim” was no mere gut reaction but instead an alien-inspired insight piped directly into my brain from the Lords of Nibiru.
In the current issue of Paranthropology: The Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal (4.2, April 2013), anthropologist Dr. Steven Mizrach of Florida International University has an interesting if unsatisfactory paper on “The Para-Anthropology of UFO Abductions.” Mizrach correctly notes the extreme unlikelihood of UFOs being alien spaceships, and he also correctly looks for anthropological and psychological origins for the Grays, lizard people, etc. However, Mizrach appears to be reading too much into U.S. government UFO reports and the skeptical position on UFOs in order to bolster an unusual conclusion that beings from another dimension are invading our minds, a conclusion he reached, he said, by using the methodology of Sherlock Holmes: eliminating every possibility until only one solution (alien mind invaders) remained.
Earlier in the week, I wrote about the way that alternative history proponents have taken me to task for failing to be sufficiently polite and deferential to their position. So, I thought that it would be a useful exercise to turn over at least part of this review of Ancient Aliens S05E11 “The Viking Gods” to a serious examination of the intellectual underpinnings of the program’s ideas. Then I laughed because this is almost impossible to do.
But I’ll give it a try anyway.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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