With so much happening in the world this year, and all of the work I had been putting into getting two books ready for publication at the same time, I let pass an important milestone. This year is the tenth anniversary of my blog and this website. I started it in the winter of 2010, and I have published most days ever since. It has been a long decade, but one that paradoxically seems to have flown by far too fast.
Over the past decade, we’ve covered a lot of material here. We’ve explored the bizarre claims from Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, and dozens of imitators, learned about the convoluted origins of Knights Templar fantasies, and traced, sometimes in stupefying detail, the twisted path from Enochian fallen angels to medieval Arabic pyramid legends to modern cable TV conspiracy shows. I translated at least a quarter-million words of previously untranslated texts. I fought the History Channel’s parent company, A+E Networks, to a draw then they tried to force me to cease and desist publishing my America Unearthed reviews in book form. I exposed Jacques Vallée’s sloppy scholarship after four decades of adulation. I was one of the very first to look into the financial entanglements behind To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, and I identified the probable source of their so-called metamaterials years before they admitted it. I upset the Turkish government by doubting its president’s strange ideas about pre-Columbian Muslims in Cuba. I saw my first book adapted into a documentary for the global Discovery networks, and I chronicled the dozens of other rejected TV offers that proved how much that one documentary was an anomaly in a cable industry predicated on extremism and fabrication. Along the way, I hope we’ve learned some new things and discovered some aspects of history that might otherwise have remained hidden.
Next year will mark twenty years since I first began publishing online, which is also why I didn’t remember the ten-year anniversary when I moved to this site. The transition from my first website to this current one happened in stages over time. Originally, I had intended this website to be a professional portfolio to compliment the fringe history analysis and debunking writing I did on my first website. But that didn’t quite work out, and over time, everything moved over here and then grew.
It grew because of all of you who read this blog. And Google. But mostly you. But also Google.
I took an important lesson from the failure of many of the pseudohistory writers to create rich content for their own websites, or even to have one at all. So I built my Library of relevant historical documents and texts. Google, in turn, reads those as rich content and consequently weights the value of my site much higher than it otherwise would some random blog. It’s the tail that wags the dog. It incidentally lets me leverage my blog posts to rank my own content high for certain Google searches. I remain amazed that the smoke and mirrors trick and a little attention to aesthetics can amplify my reach so much. Now, as then, I punch well above my weight.
But, as always, there is a downside. This website, and all of the material I’ve covered on it, has made my name. It also has locked me into a box where the world can’t imagine that I’m able to do anything else. Honestly, it’s a little frustrating to listen to publishers and literary agents tell me that the only thing I can do is what I’ve already done before—especially since they don’t want me to do that either because a certain cable TV channel has made me persona non grata among New York publishers. After two decades, I’m tired of writing the same thing over and over again. To be honest, I had expected that after twenty years, something good would have happened with my writing, but I really don’t have good luck. My new book didn’t even get out of the gate before the COVID-19 shutdown basically suspended media coverage of books, and it vanished down the memory hole.
I’m not sure what the next ten years will bring, or even the next year. I don’t plan to stop writing by any stretch, but I would like to have more freedom to expand beyond the narrow box. I’ve spent much of the quarantine period writing a novel. That isn’t exactly new for me. I had some short fiction published a long time ago, to generally favorable results, and I received plenty of praise from agents and editors for an earlier novel, though it did not land a publisher. This one, I think, is better than the last, and I’d like to see it actually published. I’m not sure how to do that since the aforementioned cable channel has poisoned the waters so much.
When I started putting my archaeology- and history-themed writing up online during college, I never anticipated that it would become the defining element of my career. Without this blog, no one would know who I am. With it, it seems to become who I am.
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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