Tom DeLonge Announces New TV Show, Claims to Have Briefed Government Officials on UFO Security Policy
OK… I have a special treat for you later today. A+E Networks has kindly made the premiere of Ancient Aliens available as a screener on its press site ahead of tonight’s airing, so I have already been able to watch and review the show. I will be posting my review at 9:00 PM ET, the exact moment the show airs, so you can follow along with the program if you so choose. This is the first time that A+E Networks has actually gotten the screener up and available before the show!
Thursday Roundup: Megan Fox Hunts "Mysteries and Myths" on TV; Plus, Two Weird Claims about Freemasonry
Today, I have three quick stories to share. Regular readers will remember that actress Megan Fox is an Ancient Aliens super-fan and had expressed interest in either joining that show or hosting her own version of it. Well, the brain trust at the Travel Channel, recently added to the Discovery Networks’ roster of channels, have awarded Fox her own mystery-mongering show. According to a press release, the network has greenlit a new four-episode series called Mysteries and Myths with Megan Fox, in which Fox will travel the world in an attempt to rewrite history.
A few weeks ago, I discussed a lecture and a forthcoming book about UFOs by Prof. Diana Walsh Pasulka, and now Pasulka has given an interview to Robbie Graham of Mysterious Universe, with whom I have also expressed my differences. Their interview is interesting, but perhaps not for the reasons they imagined. So far as I can tell, the two believed they were discussing the UFO phenomenon and its profound effects on society, but beneath that surface they seemed to actually be discussing the will to believe and the efforts that humans go through in order to create meaning from ambiguous inputs.
Last week, Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine published a column in Scientific American describing his view of moral philosophy, arguing against a heavily simplified form of utilitarianism and in favor of natural rights theory. This, in turn, garnered a response from philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, who pointed out Shermer’s gross oversimplification of the complexities of philosophy, and Shermer responded on Twitter by claiming to already know and understand the aspects of philosophy that Piglucci pointed out, but without explaining why he chose to ignore two centuries of philosophical development in order to rail against a version of utilitarianism that went out of fashion in the 1830s.
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:
YouTube Conspiracy Videos Rake in Big Bucks; Plus: Brien Foerster Plans Colorado Seminar on Lost Civilizations and Elongated Skulls
It’s been a bit of a slow week, and I must confess that I have rather little to talk about today. One thing that is worth mentioning, though, is an article in the forthcoming issue of Newsweek in which the magazine analyzes the potential risk that fringe history and conspiracy theory videos pose to YouTube. The Alphabet company site is overflowing with conspiracy videos, and Newsweek attributes this less to public belief in conspiracies than to the economic incentives YouTube created to produce conspiracy videos in a desperate bid to garner eyeballs and thus ad dollars with the most extreme content, using the example of a video by Shane Dawson suggesting that space aliens were responsible for the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner a few years ago:
In working on my book about the myth of the Mound Builders, I encountered a bizarre historical sideshow that is probably worth mentioning, if only because it gives the lie to the idea that some sort of conspiracy has forever kept the “textbooks” clean of fringe ideas.
Graham Hancock's Ideas about Ancient North America Were Proposed 200 Years Ago, by a Plagiarist and Fraud
If you’ve been reading fringe media or even the mainstream news this week, you likely saw one of dozens of articles claiming that a new scientific paper evaluated the evidence for an advanced civilization millions of years ago. They were lying. The paper isn’t about proving such a civilization existed. It was a thought experiment asking us to consider the impact of civilization on the planet and how permanent our footprint will be in the long term. There is no evidence of an ancient lost civilization millions of years ago and the authors even wrote in the Atlantic that they don’t believe there ever was such a civilization, though they suggest that it might be worth looking for any geological traces of one, if only for the accidental discoveries it might produce. It’s about as much proof of prehistoric Old Ones as At the Mountains of Madness.
Top MUFON Official Quits Over Organization's Continued Support of John Ventre a Year After Ventre's Racist Rant
On Wednesday, the Smithsonian Channel will air the controversial Canadian Ice Bridge documentary that revived claims that the first Americans were Europeans known as the Solutreans who crossed the Atlantic during the Ice Age. The documentary was roundly criticized in Canada for its lack of attention to the racist uses of the Solutrean myth and for its endorsement of a hypothesis for which little evidence exists. While the show aired on the CBC in Canada, the country’s major public broadcaster, here in the U.S. it will screen on digital tier cable, meaning that pretty much nobody will watch it. The Smithsonian Channel is a partnership between CBS-owned Showtime and the Smithsonian Institution, which employs Dennis Stanford, the major advocate of the Solutrean theory and the star of the documentary
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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