Several months ago, the PR flak representing Tom DeLonge contacted me to ask if I wanted a review copy of DeLonge’s and Peter Levenda’s new book Gods, Man, & War, Volume 2: Man: An Official Sekret Machines Investigation of the UFO Phenomenon by Tom DeLonge with Peter Levenda. It’s a mouthful, but I said, sure, why not. After the original publication date passed (later pushed to December) and the several weeks went by, I assumed that they weren’t sending the book. Imagine my surprise when yesterday, almost a month after I had given up, a box showed up with a hardcover printing of GM&W2M—an initialism I now realize looks more like an online hookup tag than a book title. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that they kept their word, albeit very late. Credit where it is due: They are much braver than the History Channel, New Page Books, and the other companies that have banned me from receiving review copies of their products. My plan is to take the holiday weekend to read the book and then review it on Tuesday of next week.
Most egregious, but also most expected, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be appearing at History Con, delivering a presentation about her new History series, a fictional drama called Washington. The convention will also feature appearances by the casts of The Curse of Oak Island and Ancient Aliens. Goodwin, of course, is no stranger to controversy, having survived a major plagiarism scandal and the revelation that she no longer writes much of her own work, farming out a large part of the process to assistants. The celebrity historian is happy to appear next to people like Giorgio Tsoukalos who actively undermine everything the discipline of history stands for, and she is more than happy to lend her name to the History Channel’s cynical efforts to use conspiracy theories, imperialist-colonialist leftovers, and quasi-biblical mystery-mongering serve its core audience of older white men.
Don’t take my word for it.
“HistoryCon is a natural extension of our programming and a way to celebrate History’s 25th anniversary in an epic manner,” Paul Buccieri, the head of A+E Networks, the parent of History, said in a press release. “HistoryCon is designed as an immersive experience that will satiate the most hardcore history-enthusiasts and give fans of our shows the opportunity to engage with our talent and deepen their connection to the brand.” Kearns-Goodwin had nothing but praise for the convention, whose promotional art features a UFO piloted by a Grey alien wearing a WWI aviator’s scarf. Kearns Goodwin, knowing full well that Tsoukalos and David Childress will be featured personalities, said that the convention will make history “accessible to new audiences in new ways” and make it “relevant to people from all ages and backgrounds.” Let that sink in for a moment. Ancient Aliens: Relevant.
On the other coast, the History gala at Carnegie Hall will feature NBC correspondent at large and former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, who will describe the history he witnessed in his long and storied journalism career. Brokaw will lend his credibility to the History Channel, even though its bullshit fake history programs actively shred the legacy of the “Greatest Generation” that Brokaw spent two decades championing. Not only do History shows allege that World War II was an alien-orchestrated conspiracy, they also actively promote conspiracy theories endorsed by Neo-Nazis and white nationalists, as well as offering disturbingly awestruck depictions of Nazi occult knowledge and power. It’s hard for me to conceive of how a journalist of Brokaw’s standing could endorse a network that so blatantly violates every norm of honesty and fairness that as a journalist he, however imperfectly, stood for.
Considering that the History Channel has previously received a ringing endorsement from the head of the American Historical Association after History helped pay for their conference, it seems increasingly clear that the celebrity and business elite see history as two separate and unequal tiers, a glamorous, serious (if middlebrow) tier reserved for wealthy, connected and self-congratulatory members of the Washington-L.A.-NYC cocktail party circuit and another full of paranoia, aliens, and blood and soil for the actual viewers whose anger and fear can be weaponized to pay the bills and keep the elite powerful and comfortable.
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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