Micah Hanks and Friends Launch New Website Covering Archaeology, History, Weird Pop Culture, and Other Stuff I Write About
I have to say, somewhat facetiously, that I’m feeling a little ripped off today after learning that podcaster and writer Micah Hanks and some of his friends have launched a website covering much of the same material as my own, only worse. In a Facebook posting yesterday afternoon, Hanks announced that he, environmental scientist Jason Pentrall, and geologist James Waldo launched Seven Ages, a WordPress-powered blog focusing on history, archaeology, science, and genre fiction—the topics I also cover here. The team currently offers lightly rewritten versions of current news stories, along with a biweekly podcast. The three men collectively produced seven posts in the past 17 days, along with three podcasts.
The website features Hanks’s trademark curlicue writing style, like this clunker: “Perhaps with the discovery of the new ancient documentation encased within mummy burials, a more clear focus can be cast on these ever-perplexing aspects of ancient Egypt’s more mundane aspects.” No, it doesn’t make any more sense in context, but the lack of professional editing does Hanks no favors. I say that with complete knowledge that I am a terrible typist and make quite a few typos. The difference, I think, is that I know the right thing to say, even if my fingers don’t always get the message.
Although the website does not explain its name, I presume it is in reference to Shakespeare’s “seven ages of man” from As You Like It 2.7, describing the stages of a person’s life, from birth to senility. I’m not entire certain what that has to do with the subject of the blog, but I guess it’s meant to recall the mysticism of the number seven and the five ages (gold, silver, bronze, heroic, and iron) of Hesiod’s mythological scheme, the six of Christian legend, the four of Hindu, or five of Mesoamerican. But since the passage from Shakespeare also contains the famous “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players...” lines, it also unintentionally highlights the performative aspect of their project, which foregrounds three non-experts in history as arbiters of truth.
Here is some of what Hanks had to say about Seven Ages:
Seven Ages Research is a project based around a group of individuals, myself included, with some unique ideas about historical research, archaeology, and studies of cultures around the world.
It's a little hard not feel a bit ripped off by the Hanks crew for launching a competing site covering pretty much my exact beat. However, I am heartened that they are terrible at it and have managed to provide nothing of substance in their offerings. For example, in comparing their coverage of the Italian mathematician who claimed that the Great Pyramid hides an iron throne to mine, Hanks simply repeated the story with little additional substance, whereas I found the specific utterances from the Pyramid Texts used to justify the claim. It wouldn’t have taken Hanks any effort to do the same, but he didn’t bother. I’ve made this point many times before, mostly every time Hanks tries to become a discount bin version of me with superficial coverage of archaeology and history buried beneath chunky, discordant sentences.
I wish them the best of luck developing their site into something more than it is, but I will caution them that they really need to up the quality and depth of their research if they plan to make their site anything more than a less weighty version of Ancient Origins or Mysterious Universe.
Mary C Baker
1/17/2018 11:35:22 am
“Perhaps with the discovery of the new ancient documentation encased within mummy burials, a more clear focus can be cast on these ever-perplexing aspects of ancient Egypt’s more mundane aspects.”
1/17/2018 02:47:57 pm
Sounds a lot like cartonnage:
Mary C Baker
1/17/2018 05:16:10 pm
So why couldn't they say that? Similar to palimpsest then. Thank you.
1/17/2018 12:06:26 pm
1/17/2018 12:14:50 pm
I'll be honest with you: I hadn't heard of the Seven Ages of the World variant of the Six Ages list. I see that the Talmud and Midrash refer to the "seven millenniums," which I guess is parallel. They probably should have explained their choice, and might have been advised not to choose a name that, when you Google it, returns results related to "mewling and puking."
1/17/2018 12:20:21 pm
Third paragraph, last sentence appears to have been cut off.
1/17/2018 01:00:55 pm
Micah Hanks never meet a idea he couldn't steal !
1/17/2018 02:24:32 pm
Odd because all Jason does is copy and paste others stuff with a few mean an hateful comments
1/17/2018 02:36:33 pm
1/17/2018 03:00:44 pm
I’ve published here. But I don’t copy and paste like Jason.
1/17/2018 02:41:25 pm
-and some people just go for the mean and hateful bit without any context
1/17/2018 07:47:04 pm
You know Henry (and this is the part where you run) it takes a very particular sort of person to make me stand should to shoulder with Triple D. It could be your best sex fantasy or your worst nightmare. The cool thing? You don't get to choose. (Hint: it's the nightmare).
1/17/2018 05:32:09 pm
" I’ve published here..."
1/17/2018 05:43:37 pm
+1 @ MACHALA
1/18/2018 12:39:34 pm
It was probably about two months ago that I posted wishing Jason would ban "Henry" from this blog. It would be one thing if "Henry" had something useful to contribute and sited sources, but he does not. His posts are all the same, ranting about Jason "cutting and pasting". He never gets seems to be beyond that.
1/17/2018 07:26:17 pm
Wonder if it will have as much Trump hate as here? I think that’s Colavito’s real schtick.
1/17/2018 08:58:07 pm
1/18/2018 09:59:51 am
What, this blog entry doesn't bring to mind a certain reality show star complaining about another one doing his shtick? A very Trumpian moment for our host, I must say.
1/19/2018 11:55:40 am
Oh look Our little Snowflake is back. Do you need your nappies changed?
1/17/2018 10:18:57 pm
Why bring Trump into this? That's what I think every time I read one of Jason's posts and then remember why I stopped coming here
1/17/2018 11:37:57 pm
And yet, here you are.
1/18/2018 06:22:27 am
"why I stopped coming here"
1/21/2018 06:01:16 pm
With great respect and admiration, you are a very talented man on a quest accompaied great friends who defend you, as they should.
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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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