Giorgio Tsoukalos Likens the Ancient Astronaut Theory to an Unfinished Puzzle in New Newspaper Interview
Yesterday, the Philippines’ largest-circulation newspaper published an interview with Ancient Aliens star and co-executive producer Giorgio Tsoukalos. In the interview, Tsoukalos described Ancient Aliens as a “beautiful show” and encouraged the paper’s readers to watch it in order to learn about the world. To that end, he spoke about the criticism that the show has received and why he feels it is wrong. (I assume the spelling and grammar issues are due to the newspaper’s errors.)
“Some of the criticism I had received or the show had received is that ‘You know ‘Ancient Aliens’ is great but how come you guys never show any evidence?’ And I’m like are you really watching the show? The show is all about evidence for ancient extra-terrestrials visitation and also modern day extra-terrestrials visitation. So you know the evidence is being presented,” he shared.
And there you have it. We’ve seen this analogy many times before. Two decades ago, Graham Hancock described his approach to his antediluvian lost civilization as that of a lawyer defending his client, and five years ago Scott F. Wolter frequently resorted to analogies of the same sort to excuse a lack of physical evidence for his globe-trotting Templar strike force.
Here, Tsoukalos is basically admitting that he has no actual evidence of aliens; instead, it is a story woven from disparate data points that he then reads back against the ancient astronaut theory as a circular form of inconclusive proof.
What I would like to know, however, is why newspapers and magazines and TV shows give Tsoukalos free publicity when he is so bad at actually discussing his own topic. For an ancient astronaut theorist—even a secondhand one who cribs shamelessly from his mentor, von Däniken, without producing any original work of his own—he really ought to be able to speak in more detail about facts, evidence, information, people, places, and things. In recent interviews, his answers to questions have become increasingly generic and fact free. When the show launched, he used to cite specific texts and sites and events, but now most of his responses are bland bromides, like this one: “Life, in the end and as we know it, is still an unresolved mystery.” It’s certainly in keeping with the show’s shift toward a quasi-religious narrative about searching for God, as executive producer Kevin Burns told the New York Times, but I can’t help but wonder if it also reflects Tsoukalos’s preference to play the celebrity adventurer and eccentric rather than do the hard work of mastering his own subject matter. He is, after all, the same man who once listed a PowerPoint presentation as a major literary credential.
I do, however, have to sadly agree with him on his final point, which was that Ancient Aliens has made the ancient astronaut theory more mainstream and has encouraged a growing number of newspapers and magazines to give over space to a bad idea. “I mean I don’t remember 20 years ago reading as much about the aliens in the paper as I do today. So definitely it has shifted or that the paradigm shift has happened because of ‘Ancient Aliens.’”
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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