Adoration and Pilgrimage: James Dean and Fairmount
James F. Hopgood | Luminare Press | 2022 | 282 pages | 979-8886790108 | $18.95
Note: This review is cross-posted in my Substack newsletter,
The current issue of Mojo, a music magazine, features an illustration of James Dean driving toward the reader in the Porsche Spyder in which he died. The singer Weyes Blood sits beside him as he speeds away from a flying saucer, its tractor beam chasing them toward Dean’s inevitable death. The striking image illustrates a line from Blood’s new song “Grapevine,” but the unusual portrait also suggests a longing to follow Dean into death, as though his demise were an act of transcendence, an event of cosmic importance. It’s not the kind of image you find associated with most celebrities. You don’t see much fan art of political junkies depicting themselves riding through Dealey Plaza alongside JFK, nor are there many beatific images of Marilyn Monroe as a psychopomp guiding fans to heaven.
I have had to take on additional work due to rising costs, and that has left me with less time to write blogs recently. However, I want to briefly make note of two important developments that are worthy of note. First, next month Graham Hancock is getting a splashy eight-episode Netflix series to present his false claim that a lost Atlantis-like civilization was destroyed by a comet at the end of the last Ice Age. The series is dishonestly framed around the notion of Hancock as a truth-teller locked in battle wih a blinkered “academia,” a favorite theme of Hancock’s since his Fingerprints of the Gods phase. Hancock will be appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast on the day of release to promote the series, in which Rogan also appears. I imagine I’ll have something to say about the show when it debuts on Nov. 11.
In a new blog post, Galileo Project founder and UFO hunter Avi Loeb went further down the path of spirituality, openly comparing his search for alien life to the Torah and arguing that the true purpose of science, like that of religion, is to be humbled and awed by powers greater than oneself. The post comes just days after Loeb revealed that the head of the Pentagon’s UFO program arrived at Loeb’s Massachusetts home and personally suggested that the government wanted him to look into faulty claims of UFO sightings in Ukraine. Yes, the government is once again patronizing ufologists with spiritual ideas about quasi-divine aliens. That always goes well.
This week, geologist Robert Schoch proposed a bizarre new idea about the temple complex at Karnak in Egypt after viewing nineteenth-century photographs of the ruins before they had been cleared of rubble and partially restored. He claimed that the blocks making up the rubble were too big for wind to have moved (true!) and that therefore the buildings, which he consequently redates to the Ice Age, had been deliberately buried by a lost civilization (false!). So where did he go wrong? It’s pretty obvious.
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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