Today I have a few odds and ends to discuss.
I have closed the comments on yesterday’s blog post due to the ridiculous number of comments making threats and engaging in verbal fireworks. I have only recently been given the power to close comments on individual blog posts rather than the blog as a whole, so I intend to use this power to prevent comments explosions like yesterday’s. For now, comments will remain open on each new blog post, but if readers begin to abuse the comments, I will delete the comments and switch that entry’s comments to “require approval” or close them entirely. This will, I hope, balance the ability to comment with some measure of control over extreme situations.
NOTE: I awoke the morning after posting this to more than 200 new comments which included threats and intemperate language. I deleted most of the comments and have closed further comments. The closure affects ONLY this blog entry. Other entries remain open.
As per the request of the individual first mentioned in this blog post, all reference to him has been removed.
The story of the Bible giants is not the most exciting area of fringe history, but I was sufficiently intrigued by the discussion of giants in the early modern Anglo-Irish Book of Howth to do a little more research into some its claims. The text’s chapter on giants takes the form of an unfinished set of notes by an unknown hand, who appears to have been adapting into English a Gaelic transliteration of Latin texts without really understanding the underlying source material. Thus, for example, King Porus of India becomes “Parris of Find.” This alone has made it very challenging to determine exactly what the writer was talking about—so much so that the first editor of the text simply inserted questions marks beside some of the names of the giants, unable to determine what the heck they referred to. My annotations are given on my Book of Howth page, and I think I found all the giants in the passage.
Earlier this week I talked about fringe historians’ seeming lack of emotional maturity when it comes to dealing with those who disagree with them. Thanks to an alert blog reader, to this sorry spectacle I must now add novelist David Brody, who I learned has chosen to act out a petty revenge fantasy on me in the form of a character in his new novel, The Oath of Nimrod, published a few weeks ago. It is so bad that I can hardly stop laughing at Brody’s puerile attempt to call me names under the guise of fiction.
Since it’s the Halloween season, stories about hauntings, ghosts, and horror have begun to fill the society and culture sections of mainstream publications in an annual orgy of macabre journalism. Over at Salon.com, sex and porn correspondent Tracy Clark-Flory published a piece linking horror to sadomasochistic sex, reflecting outdated conceptions of horror that trace their descent to Sigmund Freud’s essay on “The Uncanny” (1919). Or, as Clark-Flory put it in her inimitably eloquent style:
Sex, sexuality, sexiness — they are all so blatantly hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-fist-sized-dildo present in everything from slasher movies to women’s Halloween costumes. Then again, sex is such a long-time staple of horror that it’s easy not to notice or wonder about it. It just is, as the sky is blue.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on H. P. Lovecraft in honor of the publication of The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Leslie S. Klinger with a foreword by Alan Moore. I haven’t read Annotated except for the introduction, which I did not find particularly insightful, drawing as it does primarily on Joshi’s work—which, for the trouble of reading a rewrite of Joshi, you might as well read the original. In the article, Klinger and Moore make the unusual case that the power of Lovecraftian fiction derives from Lovecraft’s fear-driven racism. “One need not adopt the racist views of HPL to agree with this conclusion, but we can understand how his sense of being threatened by the world around him led to these deeper feelings,” Klinger said.
Have you seen the rather harsh write-up of the Paradigm Symposium in the Twin Cities Daily Planet? Author Caleb Baumgartner offered a caustic take on the annual gathering of fringe figures, though I can’t say that his analysis was entirely unwarranted. In the interest of disclosure, I do need to say that Scotty Roberts, who runs the Paradigm Symposium, invited me to speak at next year’s gathering. I am not able to commit that far out for a four-day event, but I am looking into whether I can make it work.
Last week Scott Wolter appeared on Jimmy Church’s Fade to Black podcast (October 8), but the episode was not made available online for download until yesterday. Clocking in at 178 minutes, it is a bit of a slog to get through. Wolter’s claims are mostly the same as always and don’t really need to be reviewed in great detail.
He starts by recounting how “pissed off” he is that mainstream scholars don’t accept his findings about the Kensington Rune Stone. He then relates his belief that there is a hidden code in the Rune Stone, one encoded by the Knights Templar to claim the Mississippi watershed. Later, he asserts that the Rune Stone’s only relationship to northern Europe is that the “carver was educated in Sweden.” He believes, based on no evidence other than his own conspiracy theory, that the remainder of the party—despite the plain meaning of the Rune Stone text (“8 Götalanders and 22 Northmen”)—was not from Scandinavia.
“This isn’t some Da Vinci Code pipe dream that I made up,” Wolter says without irony, despite several times having his own show compare his research to the Da Vinci Code. He added that his research is “a mushroom cloud of an atom bomb of evidence.”
I’m a bit pressed for time today, as is the case every Monday. But today I met with the insurance adjuster, and it’s not looking good for getting any help paying for my new water main. I won’t know until the end of the week, but the adjustor wasn’t optimistic. Anyway, I thought I’d share this odd blog post that America Unearthed host Scott Wolter’s friend, the Templar conspiracy novelist David Brody, made on his blog last week in which Brody reveals the “new” Hooked X® supposedly discovered on the Westford Knight earlier this year by David Christiana and Shane Greenslade.
I thought for a change of pace today I might talk about the past week in the supernatural—the fictional kind that is. It was a big week for supernatural horror, and I have a few thoughts about some of the highlights.
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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