Giorgio Tsoukalos Appears on KTLA: "This Is Silly, Very Silly," Anchor Declares
A couple of days ago, Giorgio Tsoukalos from Ancient Aliens appeared on KTLA’s weekend morning newscast to promote Alien Con. The fawning local anchors were overjoyed to be speaking with Tsoukalos, praising him effusively and giggling with excitement to be speaking with him. “You have your own meme!” one anchor, Lynette Romero, gushed. “I bet everybody wants to sit next to you at the dinner party!” she added later. Her co-anchor, Mark Mester, had trouble taking the whole thing seriously and at one point skipped his turn to question Tsoukalos and just laughed quietly.
But even in the puff piece, Tsoukalos still had trouble offering coherent unscripted thoughts about the intellectual underpinning of the ancient astronaut theory. Romero asked him what the “biggest revelation” about ancient astronauts to “come out of the convention so far” had been. Tsoukalos, seemingly surprised to be asked about evidence, instead said that “The convention has been tremendous” and declining to provide examples of actual new evidence. “It just goes to show how a TV show like Ancient Aliens has resonated with a lot of people,” Tsoukalos said.
It is telling that the segment did not involve any substantive discussion of ancient astronauts, only the cult of celebrity surrounding the cable TV staple.
The segment ended with Romero arranging a “hair-off” between Tsoukalos and her co-anchor. Mester asked Tsoukalos what product he uses in his hair. “The electric socket,” Tsoukalos replied.
“This is silly, very silly,” Mester said.
I think that just about summed up the intellectual impact of the ancient astronaut theory. But it is also a powerful example of how the media serve to normalize extreme and even harmful ideas by recasting them as “fun.” As far as the KTLA producers were concerned, this was little more than a celebrity appearance to promote a fan convention, and the actual content of Ancient Aliens or the message it delivers about history, science, and scholarship were irrelevant. This was just grist for the mill. By normalizing Tsoukalos as a celebrity, and letting him squirm out of having to defend, even minimally, his positions, KTLA contributed to the impression that the ancient astronaut theory is merely a kooky entertainment option and lifestyle choice, not a serious postmodern attack on the integrity of historiography, archaeology, and the scientific method.
It is in his capacity as celebrity that Tsoukalos is most dangerous. He lacks the intellectual chops to create his own material—he steals it all from his mentor, Erich von Däniken—and lacks the talent or the drive to produce books like other ancient astronaut theorists. Instead, he has made himself into a living cartoon, a cuddly avatar of a hypothesis born of a mixture of colonialist, imperialist, and racist beliefs; Soviet propaganda; and postmodern and New Age discontent with midcentury science. It is precisely by being goofy, lightweight, and superficial that Tsoukalos renders bad ideas safe for mass audiences.
Sure, this sounds hyperbolic, but it’s exactly the method that extremists have used for decades to recruit a following. They create a media-friendly, sunny face to gain approving media coverage, and then they use it to slip in the darker, more disturbing parts of their agendas. Alien Con might have been a “fun” place where David Duchovny posed for photos with Tsoukalos, but the stars of Ancient Aliens and their colleagues are the same people who have accused Black people of being a racial failure (von Däniken), speculated that a white master race ruled over the ancient Earth (David Childress), cited approvingly books by a writer with neo-Nazi affiliations and a hate crime conviction (Tsoukalos), claimed Jews were working with Obama and the Chinese to conquer America (the late Jim Marrs), alleged that the Jews and liberals are working with evil aliens to enslave and murder children (David Wilcock), and worse. And those are just the ancient astronaut theorists who appear on Ancient Aliens. The sight of smiling doofuses parading about in homemade tinfoil hats while wearing Tsoukalos t-shirts hides the fact that this is only a mask over a steaming cauldron of identity politics, political grievance, and hate.
6/22/2018 09:51:53 am
And pyramids were built by using ropes and pulleys (laughter in the audience).
6/22/2018 11:41:16 am
And what a bunch of low-rent aliens they must have been. I mean... with all their vast technology they travel all the way here to pile rocks on top of rocks. Of course we don't have the equipment today to do the same. That's admitted. It's also not needed, as technology has advanced to the point that piling massive rocks on top of each other doesn't get you to that high-rent district. So why build a machine to do so?
6/22/2018 12:17:32 pm
This “pile of rocks” has withstood the test of time (it could well be tens of thousands of years because anybodys guess is as good as any other) remarkably well and may thus well served its purpose. And it could well be that with all the chambers and passages the Giza pyramids are some kind of machinery the purpose of which we are still too stupid to understand.
6/22/2018 12:45:09 pm
Fair point. You're too stupid to understand what a pile of rocks is for...
6/22/2018 12:49:08 pm
And what exactly is it for? A tomb? Again laughter in the audience:)
6/22/2018 01:28:15 pm
In a word, vanity.
6/22/2018 02:09:10 pm
They needed to store the grain to feed the aliens after their long flight.
An Anonymous Nerd
6/22/2018 09:26:03 pm
A good bit is known about how the pyramids (and the Great Pyramid in particular) were built, and why.
6/23/2018 11:01:25 pm
6/24/2018 11:01:35 am
It's not the audience's fault. I mean... they are in his head.
6/22/2018 12:09:46 pm
Do you have to make? When was the last time you made?
6/22/2018 01:12:44 pm
Thanks for asking. I used to make whoopee, but then I became IM-PO-TENT. However, my farting.was not affected, so now I make whoopee-cushions outside Cairo for Ancient Alien theorists who worship at the Great Pyramid, which was designed by my older brother, IM-HO-TEP. Even the camels laugh at them.
6/22/2018 03:29:22 pm
Hi Bev. This is a hate blog so asking something reasonable isn’t reasonable.
6/22/2018 03:21:08 pm
Giorgio Tsoukalos IS a silly little man. Inconsequential, except in his own mind. He is nothing more than a television presenter who adopted the "bad hair day" look as his attention getting trade mark much the way Salvatore Dali cultivated his waxed mustache. The difference being, of course, Dali was a tremendously talented artist and Tsoukalos is a silly man, on a sophomoric television show, aired on a television channel that no one takes seriously, anymore.
6/22/2018 05:13:19 pm
Making it grate again.
6/22/2018 05:24:56 pm
And more people recognize Giorgio and have heard of Giorgio than Dali.
6/22/2018 07:27:23 pm
Perhaps among the ill-informed, semi-literate, xenophobes that you associate with, but not in my Circle of Hell.
6/22/2018 07:56:05 pm
Why is it harder for me to legally emigrate to Mexico than for a beaner to illegally invade mi Estados Unidos?
6/22/2018 09:07:49 pm
Huh ? What ?
6/23/2018 12:50:49 am
Machala, what part of the difference between "illegally invade mi Estados Unidos" and "legally immigrate to the United States" do you not understand? You seem to have purposely changed my question, which was:
6/23/2018 01:24:51 pm
Huh ? What ?
6/23/2018 01:49:45 pm
If they're undocumented they're by definition not immigrants. So "alien invaders". "Beaner" is no worse than "gringo" or "haole".
Unidentified Submersible Object
6/22/2018 07:18:51 pm
I'm pretty sure that Tsoukalos is anti-Trump tho, going by his twitter.
6/22/2018 07:47:20 pm
Yes, he is politically liberal. That actually puts him at odds with most of the ancient astronaut theorists.
6/22/2018 09:15:22 pm
Strange, I've been trying to post a link all day, but I kept getting an error message.
6/22/2018 11:16:51 pm
The price we pay for free speech and a free market of ideas and exchange. The only problem I see is Jason’s descent into intolerence and the natural end to call for censorship. If hate speech becomes everything u hate well there u go. My experience is the people screaming for tolerance and diversity (whatever the hell that Marxist bs is) are the most intolerant of all. Honestly who the hell cares if Georgia peddles bs for a living. So do most politicans and social scientists
6/23/2018 01:20:52 am
I think Jason is just having a week where everything seems to confront him with the sadness that bad speech and the bad thought behind it drives out good.
6/23/2018 06:54:42 am
I'm not calling for censorship, Titus, but you know darn well that ancient astronaut theories and ufology have long been used as a wedge issue for extremist antigovernment, rightist, and racist politics. The media should be treating these ideas with the understanding that they are connected to vile ideas. It isn't just "fun."
6/23/2018 09:51:35 am
"... but you know darn well that ancient astronaut theories and ufology have long been used as a wedge issue for extremist antigovernment, rightist, and racist politics."
6/23/2018 10:00:33 am
Michael Barkun, an expert on political extremism, literally wrote a whole book about it, "A Culture of Conspiracy," which documents this in detail.
6/23/2018 10:43:09 am
Well, let's see what Professor Barkun has to say then...
An Anonymous Nerd
6/23/2018 09:55:10 am
Sadly it's an effective tactic to cry "censorship" whenever one's ideas are challenged -- as though the challenge itself constituted "censorship." The Right and the Fringe are great at this tactic.
6/24/2018 08:49:10 am
If you had a penny for every time someone used the term "Marxist"...
6/22/2018 11:33:38 pm
6/23/2018 09:53:55 am
"The purpose of the rock-stacks has never been vanity."
6/23/2018 03:11:53 pm
That was really funny: “short-stack”. I like you.
6/23/2018 03:54:57 pm
Thanks for that Godricglas. Good sports are hard to come by 'round these parts.
6/23/2018 02:54:32 am
Jason, You characterized the AAH (ancient astronaut hypothesis) as "born of a mixture of colonialist, imperialist, and racist beliefs; Soviet propaganda; and postmodern and New Age discontent with midcentury science." Please rethink this line of attack because you are rapidly losing your credibility with it. It's the same kind of conspiracy theorizing that you blame David Wilcox of doing, but from a different political perspective.
6/23/2018 07:05:34 am
It's not a conspiracy, Bill, but there is no doubt that the ancient astronaut theory came out of a particular set of cultural influences. They said it themselves. The early ancient astronaut writers (and most today) drew on 19th century colonialist and imperialist works which were distinctly racist. This is documented. The ancient astronaut theorists merely swapped out white supermen for space aliens, but they didn't do it completely. A goodly number still refer to "white gods" and such. Similarly, Soviet propaganda efforts are a matter of public record. The Soviet research was published in English-language Soviet propaganda magazines aimed at Western audiences. This was done on purpose, by order of the Soviet government. Again, this is not a conspiracy, only a plain fact. Those propaganda articles were then used by Western ancient astronaut writers, typically uncritically, even though the Soviets themselves did not publicize the same material to Soviet citizens.
6/23/2018 07:13:45 am
Just to be clear: There is no mastermind pulling the strings in a vast ancient astronaut conspiracy. It's just capitalism and opportunism ignorantly recycling Victorian racist ideas without considering the underlying message.
An Anonymous Nerd
6/23/2018 10:13:05 am
[[Jason, you're good when you focus on evidence, but don't let yourself fall into the trap of becoming a conspiracy theorist against an entire class of people you intellectually disagree with, namely the large number of people who are willing to consider and discuss a possible reality to UFOs and "ancient astronauts."]]
6/23/2018 12:07:39 pm
"1 is on Mars (they shouldn't have counted that one). 1 is in Europe (Stonehenge). 4 are from the Americas. 1 is from Africa. The pattern is pretty clear."
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