Welcome to the twelfth (!) season of Ancient Aliens, which at this point is less a TV show and more of a thought experiment in how a TV production crew of cockroaches might survive a nuclear holocaust that destroyed all facts, evidence, and reason. There isn’t much to say about this episode, “The Alien Hunters,” by way of preface, as it is as much as possible just more of the same. This episode hews away from the show’s title adjective in favor of its recent devolution into freshman dorm room bullshitting about anything vaguely related to space aliens.
This week the Trump Administration opened a new office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) so Americans could report victimization at the hands of what Immigration and Customs Enforcement called “criminal aliens.” The office, and its 1-855-48-VOICE hotline for reporting “alien” crime, are widely seen as part of a propaganda effort aimed at depicting immigrants as violent and dangerous. (VOICE officially targets “illegal aliens,” but Homeland Security secretary John F. Kelly said that the perpetrators were “often” in the U.S. illegally, leaving room for legal immigrants, students, and tourists to be included, too.) Anyway, the internet was unhappy with the rather transparent attempt to create a climate of fear (real crime rates among immigrants, legal and illegal, are lower than for the general population, according to the FBI), so many did the most logical thing and took the government literally. They started calling in reports of UFO sightings, space alien abduction, cattle mutilations, etc. After all, they’re “aliens,” too. ICE was not amused.
You probably saw the news that broke yesterday that a new paper in the journal Nature claims that an unknown human species occupied the Americas around 130,000 years ago and butchered a mastodon found in California with large rocks. The study used uranium-thorium dating to date the bones, which were originally discovered 25 years ago, and the team conducting the study used experimental techniques involving rocks and elephant bones to attempt to prove that the damage to the mastodon’s bones had been caused by intention butchering with stone tools.
A new article released in preprint and set for publication in the journal Earth and Planetary Astrophysics is garnering attention from the British press for suggesting that the ancient astronaut theory might be true. However, “Prior Indigenous Technological Species” by Jason T. Wright is more sound and fury than a real and significant contribution to the ancient astronaut literature. At heart, it’s simply an elaborate game of “what if,” played without consequence since no actual evidence is provided. It’s admittedly a few shades more rigorous than Erich von Däniken’s speculative nonsense, but at heart it’s little more than speculation masquerading as science.
Late last week, popular news and entertainment site BuzzFeed went in search of ancient aliens as part of their regular BuzzFeed Unsolved feature. Their investigation into the ancient astronaut theory did not go well as the hosts presented a half-assed BuzzFeed view of ancient astronauts, which one of the two hosts agreed was “absolute nonsense.” The other host just laughed. I guess they are going for a believer/skeptic or Mulder/Scully vibe. In fact, the biggest mystery that remained unsolved at the end of the video was how two ignorant Millennials came to believe that low-information bullshitting was a sufficient basis for an “investigation,” and that goes for both the believer and the skeptic, neither of whom acquitted himself well.
I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. I’ve never been to it, or thought much about it, but I knew that it was a vaguely Atlantis-themed waterpark and hotel with rides and attractions decorated in ersatz ancient motifs. What I did not know is that the resort apparently promotes bizarre pseudoscience and fringe history rather than just treating Atlantis as a fantasy like Disney World or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. According to an article published yesterday in The Australian, the staff at Atlantis indoctrinate visitors in some of the very worst fringe history claims about the lost continent.
Academic Journal Runs Article Claiming Göbekli Tepe Records Comet Strike, Misses Fact That Article Is Based on Speculative Andrew Collins Book
Last night the History Channel broadcast a FOUR HOUR (!) edition of a new show called Ancient Aliens Declassified in which old episodes are expanded with new scenes and commentary. If you think I’m sitting through four hours of Ancient Aliens reruns, you have another thing coming. The first episode covered “The Genius Factor,” and it wove together segments from shows on Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Tesla, and other famous figures that the show produced over the last couple of seasons. On the one hand, this proves that the show knows that it is retreading the same material over and over, but it also offers a sad comment on the History Channel’s opinion of its audience.
In Radio Interview, Giorgio Tsoukalos Tries and Fails to Use Medieval Pyramid Legends to Prove Alien Contact
A few days ago, my longtime semi-nemesis Giorgio Tsoukalos gave a rare interview to Jimmy Church of Fade to Black radio to promote the return next week of Ancient Aliens for its twelfth season and ninth calendar year on the air. Tsoukalos more or less conceded that the whole Ancient Aliens series is merely an outgrowth of the two-hour original pilot, to which its 120 hours have added little, and that the pilot, in turn, was developed as a knockoff semi-tie-in to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, itself an ancient astronaut movie. According to Tsoukalos, executive producer Kevin Burns created the show as “a love letter to Chariots of the Gods.” That seems about right.
First, I have a bit of housekeeping to note: Alex Jones, whose lawyer recently alleged that he was a performance artist, took the stand in his child custody case to dispute his own lawyer’s argument, claiming in sworn testimony that he is not playing a character and that he believes the wild claims he makes. The jury also heard testimony that Jones had been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
I wasn’t going to mention Nick Redfern’s recent article on Neil Armstrong and the “Men in Black,” mostly because it is beyond my area of interest, and also because it was remarkably light on content, even for Redfern. But I saw the piece pop up a few times on social media and across the internet, so it seems like I had best point out the article’s biggest and most glaring flaw.
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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