Controversy erupted at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology yesterday when Prof. Elizabeth Weiss of San Jose State University delivered a presentation based on her recent book in which she attacked the federal law mandating the return of Native American objects and remains for repatriation and protecting Native graves. According to social media posts after the event, Weiss also attacked Native people as lacking the objectivity to perform archaeology and said they should not participate the scientific study of the past. Weiss is also the wife of Ancient Aliens star Nick Pope, whose show similarly takes a dim view of Native peoples, arguing that they are not-fully-human alien hybrids who only clawed their way up from the dirt with the help of powerful, superior outsiders.
In one of the most depressing developments of the year, Legendary Entertainment, the company behind the so-called MonsterVerse, has announced plans to turn the History Channel series Ancient Aliens into an adventure movie, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter. The film will be developed by Counterbalance Entertainment, the showrunners behind the Cobra Kai revival series.
Tonight, Syfy’s otherwise delightful series Resident Alien is scheduled to air an episode in which Harry (Alan Tudyk) attends a UFO conference and meets Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos. The series has made sometimes unpleasant use of ancient astronaut theory material in framing the backstory for its lead character’s extraterrestrial history as an alien visitor stranded on Earth. However, it is disappointing and somewhat shameful that the show would openly embrace Ancient Aliens, a series that the Southern Poverty Law Center and a number of anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians have decried for its use of racist tropes and Victorian-era arguments born of imperialist and colonialist anti-indigenous narratives.
This Friday, Ancient Aliens presents a two-hour special in which The UnXplained host William Shatner meets with the various talking heads from Ancient Aliens and interviews them about space aliens, science, and futurism. The crossover between Ancient Aliens and sister program The UnXplained is made possible by the two shows’ shared production company. The special runs more than two hours, and it continues well past how late I can stay up as the father of an energetic three-year-old. As a result, I won’t review it until sometime Saturday, when I have had a chance to watch it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham warned this week that calling the so-called QAnon Shaman, Jake Angeli (a.k.a. Jacob Chansley), to testify in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial would be a circus, while last night CNN aired footage from tonight’s QAnon conspiracy special of anchor Anderson Cooper interviewing a former QAnon believer about the extreme delusions that he accepted as true while in the mouth of madness. Just as Angeli posted YouTube videos detailing his belief that he was a psychic space warrior working for a secret U.S. military program to destroy alien spaceships from another dimension, his fellow QAnon believers have some pretty strange—but very familiar—ideas.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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