Yesterday was certainly one for the angels. Donald Trump’s new favorite COVID-19 doctor, who recently lobbied Congress, turned out to be a paranormal believer with ancient astronaut and occult ideas. According to the Daily Beast, Dr. Stella Immanuel is a believer in David Icke’s Reptilians, among other things:
She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.
Day 13 is a middling thriller that takes the basic story of the 1989 Tom Hanks comedy The Burbs and plays it completely straight, adding a large dash of Hitchcock’s Rear Window without any of Hitchcock’s archness. In fact, the movie plays the story so straight that it becomes stiff and wooden, right up to its bizarre climactic effort to transform a classic Twilight Zone episode into a crass, vulgar five minutes of exploitation. At the same time, it manages to fail at failing, never descending so far into sheer incompetence that it becomes interesting on its own. Instead, it’s a technical exercise in making a movie without passion or purpose, in which it seems that nobody is having any fun but everybody is pretty sure the film will make back its money once it ends up in some streaming service’s back catalog next year.
The high school drama is a staple of modern American television and movies, but the genre’s audience understands that its stories cannot be taken literally. To do so would invite troubling, dangerous thoughts. And so, the high school drama exists in two superimposed states. The surface level tells stories about teenagers barely into puberty navigating the trials and tribulations of adolescence. But the high school drama as a genre demands its audience look beyond the surface. It uses attractive actors of college age or older and asks the viewer to lust after them as they move through stories more appropriate to adults and reach levels of romantic ecstasy and agony that are on the surface absurd. Anyone who has had to look up the age of an actor on one of these shows to determine how guilty to feel about the sexualization of high schoolers recognizes that tension. Viewers understand, however, that the high school drama isn’t really an exercise in training potential pedophiles. Instead, we are supposed to look past the surface level to a mythic representation of archetypical ideals.
I am going to make a few notes here about yesterday’s New York Times article by Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal about the government’s UFO investigation program. I wasn’t planning to write anything today, but these notes will primarily serve to remind me when I do my year in review that this happened.
This past week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) made some controversial statements about UFOs when questioned about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s insertion of a requirement in legislation that the U.S. intelligence community produce a detailed reported about flying saucers. Rubio’s comments attracted a lot of attention an also served the more important purpose of distracting media attention from the ongoing catastrophe of Florida’s COVID-19 response and the Republican senate conference’s failure to reach an agreement on a plan to prop up the economy as the disease spreads uncontrollably. But, hey, a space alien! Over there! Look!
As most of you know, I am currently working on assembling some materials for a book proposal about the various moral panics that flared up in 1947 and burned through the 1950s. As part of that research, I am invariably forced to deal with the so-called Roswell crash, even though the incident was of no particular importance in 1947, except as an illustration of how the flare-up in anti-communist panic in the preceding weeks led military officials to use that summer’s UFO flap as cover for operations aimed at the Soviet Union. I was, however, amused to read this week that Michael Salla and Corey Goode are flogging a new claim, that Donald Trump has been briefed on the Roswell crash and that the flying disc that the military claimed to capture was in fact a time-traveling military vehicle from the future.
I had intended to write a full blog post today, but this week turned into a series of bad news leading to worse. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on my household's employment and finances, and a literal midnight email about mandatory pay cuts and furloughs will only make it worse. I was not in the mood to blog. However, I did feel up to working on the proposal for a new book I have decided to write, based on my recent article about Rebel without a Cause and the three 1947 national panics over communists, gays, and UFOs that turned out to be deeply interconnected.
Note: As I said yesterday, I am not quitting blogging entirely. I will be posting less frequently, when news happens.
The Mutual UFO Network has had its share of controversies, from John Ventre's wildly racists 2018 social media screed (a controversy repeated in racist comments by Rhode Island MUFON official Ken Pfeiffer just last month) to the fake documents it pushed on its History Channel series, and the charges that Robert Bigelow served as a middleman to buy MUFON records to help the Pentagon research UFOs. Now MUFON is experiencing another black eye as its executive director Jan Harzan faces charges that he attempted to solicit sex from a police detective he thought was a 13-year-old girl. The Huntington Beach Police released information on the July 3 arrest yesterday:
For the past ten years, I have written this blog anywhere between five and seven days per week. For almost ten years before that, I produced regular content for the predecessor site to this one. When this blog was at its peak in 2013, I had 100,000 readers, regular appearances in media coverage, a number of TV opportunities, a literary agent, and a growing writing career in both fiction and nonfiction. None of that is the case today, and I don’t see a way to justify continuing to devote so much effort to this endeavor. Several recent posts had readership so low that I could have just emailed all of you a few bullet points and saved myself the trouble.
On Thursday, CNN’s website ran an article on the ancient astronaut theory by Jen Rose Smith. The piece frames questions about the origins of UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Giza pyramids and the Nazca lines in terms of Erich von Däniken’s version of the ancient astronaut theory. It then devotes most of the article’s space to describing how “mainstream scientists” reject the ancient astronaut hypothesis, with lengthy quotes from archaeologist Sarah Parcak.
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.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
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.