Since the birth of my son, I’ve been a bit hard-pressed to make time for reading, and it is with regret that it took me several weeks longer than expected to finish Edgar Cantero’s new novel Meddling Kids, a mashup of Scooby-Doo and H. P. Lovecraft that earned rave reviews from critics earlier this summer. I found the book to be enjoyable, but a little less impressive than the critics made it out to be. Meddling Kids is a book I wanted to love, but it was one I liked instead. And to be frank, I think TV is ruining novels for me. It’s hard to pretend that 300 pages of a one-off novel can rival the hundreds of hours I spend with characters on TV series over the years of their runs. It takes, what, 20 hours to read this book, while, for example, a throwaway TV show on a similar theme like Teen Wolf has 100 hours of content spread over six calendar years. Perhaps that’s why I just don’t feel the same connection when I read reviews about how realistic and detailed the book’s characters are. I barely got to know them before they were gone. Each had, I believe, one personality trait. It seems like the CW’s Riverdale was more of a fresh and darker take on Archie than Meddling Kids is for Scooby-Doo
So… at a news conference yesterday the president of the United States defended the Confederacy and said that “very fine people” attended the Charlottesville pro-white rally last weekend, earning praise from David Duke and other racist leaders. Media images showed crowds of torch-wielding Neo-Nazis shouting Nazi slogans (“blood and soil”) and anti-Semitic rants (“Jews will not replace us”), but Trump told us to “believe me” that the majority of attendees were there solely to express support for a statue of Robert E. Lee that was scheduled for removal. “There are two sides to a story,” Trump said, implying that the media narrative about white supremacy was liberal propaganda.
Nephilim Theorists and Ancient Astronaut Believers React to Charlottesville; Plus: David Wilcock Plots Return After Three-Month Hiatus
Over the past several months, I have chronicled the fact that Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli is a right-wing bigot with a mockingbird’s ability to repeat whatever slime the alt-right noise machine has thrown against the wall that day. His favorite targets are liberals, gays, and Muslims, and he has used his blog to condemn all three groups for every act of violence undertaken by a member of them. It goes without saying that when a Nazi sympathizer killed a woman at an anti-racist counter-protest in Charlottesville this weekend, Marzulli remained silent. He did not condemn the Nazis marching for white power, nor did he condemn the anti-Semites marching to eliminate “Jewish influence” from America. What he did complain about, however, was the media’s treatment of Donald Trump after Trump initially failed to condemn by name the white supremacist groups marching.
Tonight’s episode, “A Spaceship Made of Stone,” focuses on the Ishi-no-Hōden (“Stone Treasure-House”) megalith in Japan, a large roughly cubic rock carved out of the side of a hill between 500 and 700 CE, and it is said to hold the spirit of the deity of the Jinja Shinto shrine in which it sits. It weighs about 500 tons, and its most impressive feature is the clever way its base was carved into a narrow pedestal to give the illusion that it floats above the water atop which it sits. The monument has been known to the West since at least 1832, when Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German who disguised himself as a Dutchman in order to sneak into an isolationist Japan, published a picture of it in the first volume of his Nippon. The monolith appears on tonight’s show because last year, when the current batch of episodes was being planned out, an article and video about the cube made the rounds of the fringe history message boards and spam sites, where Ancient Aliens gets all its ideas.
I read yesterday that Seth Myers is planning a reboot of The Munsters for NBC, and in this new version the Universal monster family won’t be living in the suburbs but in a trendy Brooklyn hipster neighborhood where the characters will struggle to fit in with decade-old hipster stereotypes. I’m not entirely sure that this will work as well as Myers hopes, and I get that the show revolves around the Munsters because they are an NBC Universal property. However, the plot might better fit the rival Addams Family, who are, basically, hipsters a half century too early. Consider: The Addams Family have an eclectic and retro fashion sense. They collect antiques and oddities, and they prefer handmade artisanal products to anything mass produced. They distrust Western medicine and prefer shamans and natural cures. They eat exotic foods from foreign cultures and practice Eastern meditation techniques. They favor wetland preservation and flirt with homeschooling. By today’s standards, their “normal” neighbors, who recoiled in fear, are now the odd ones. I’m not sure the Munsters will fit the template quite as well without some serious retrofitting. After all, they only looked bizarre; in every other respect they aspired to be as boring as the Addams’s neighbors.
S. T. Joshi Pulls Out of NecronomiCon to Avoid "Lovecraft Haters" and Discussion of Lovecraft's Racism
As many of you know, fans of H. P. Lovecraft gather each summer for a Providence, R.I. conference called NecronomiCon, named of course for the fictional Necronomicon, one of Lovecraft’s most famous creations. This year the run up to the conference has gotten a little hairy. S. T. Joshi, the preeminent scholar of Lovecraft, pulled out of the conference because he refused to appear in the same venue with people he describes as “Lovecraft haters” who want to devote time to evaluating the horror master’s record of racism. Joshi delivered an ultimatum, telling conference organizers to disinvite critics or lose him as a speaker. In such a context, his joke in his August 6 blog entry that questioning his opinions was tantamount to sacrilege—“Imagine anyone questioning my view of Lovecraft! The very idea is surely a kind of lèse-majesté, no?”—seems less like self-deprecating humor than a serious opinion masquerading as a barbed jest.
"The Atlantic" Chronicles American Unreason, Including Ancient Astronauts; Plus: "The Week" Condemns Americans for Eschewing "Realist Fiction"
I want to start by pointing to an excellent article by Kurt Andersen in the forthcoming edition of the Atlantic in which he traces the roots of American irrationalism back to the founding era, placing blame for our current explosion of insanity on the 1960s and the rise of the counterculture and postmodernism. It’s not entirely that simple—the weakening of elite institutions as part of a general hollowing out of civic culture in the name of capitalist profit plays a role too—but overall he is quite right. For our purposes, this paragraph is probably the most important, tracing the rise of conspiracy and even Trump to the forces unleashed by the spread of the darkest forms of UFO belief:
Scott Wolter Teases New TV Show and Talks about His Spiritual Journey, Involving Esoteric Masonry and "Druid Ceremonies"
Former television personality Scott F. Wolter might be a “former” TV host no more. Wolter made an appearance with Freemason and esoteric practitioner John Logan Parsons III on a podcast devoted to modern Templarism, which he linked on his Twitter account, and during the podcast he said he is in talks for a new TV series about—what else?—the Knights Templar. The podcast is a production of the so-called Templar Collegia, an apparently small esoteric organization in San Francisco that is under the jurisdiction of what it calls the Order of the Temple of Secret Initiates, a group run by Timothy W. Hogan, an alchemist and mystic who bills himself as “the grandmaster of the Knights Templar,” according to the Templar Collegia Facebook page. Wolter, who recently joined the Masons, said that he is now involved with Masonic Templarism and participates in “esoteric retreats” with Hogan to “share knowledge.”
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. When Ancient Aliens started down the path of saying that all human genius was the result of human brains tapping into an alien internet signal, it stood to reason that eventually they would deny that even our own sense of self, our consciousness, belongs to us but rather is a projection from another realm, thus accounting for reincarnation and psychic channeling. This is similar to the New Age idea that the brain is really a receiver for consciousness from the spirit world—i.e., that consciousness is a projection from a realm beyond the physical into the material world. They just bastardize the idea down to its grossest level, which, frankly, is what Ancient Aliens always does. This is New Age religion for dummies, dummies who aren’t quite ready to commit full on to faith and still want to pretend that this is all either entertainment or science.
The title of the episode, “The Replicants,” suggests that the episode will focus on mind-control, soul-cloning, or something like that. The actual content never addresses the episode title at all. What a missed opportunity.
I ran out of time today to write anything in terribly great depth, and I know that relatively few people tend to read my blog on summer Fridays anyway. Besides, Ancient Aliens is on tonight, and I need to save my ire for what promises to be an especially stupid claim: that human bodies are actually vessels for interdimensional intelligences. So today I will point to a new article by Richard Thornton, the longtime advocate of the claim that the Maya colonized Georgia. In his new article, he alleges that Native American petroglyphs, Mayan hieroglyphs, and Bronze Age European petroglyphs from Scandinavia are all the same, and that they represent a consistent pattern of symbols related to the sun, high kingship, and sunflowers
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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