Earlier this spring Destination America, one of the Discovery Networks’ cable stations aimed at a “hillbilly” audience (according to wording used in their own programming), refreshed their graphic design as part of their move to give the channel a more distinct identity. According to Ferroconcrete, the design firm behind the change, their guiding motivation in developing the new look was the channel’s “homespun lineup of all things good: fun, food and phantoms.” Yes, being stalked, attacked, or raped by a ghost—as Destination America programming claims happens every day—is “homespun” and “good.” But take a look at the icons Ferroconcrete created to represent “America.”
Yes, ’Murica: equal parts the Fourth of July, apple pie, and crazy conspiracies and cryptids like Chupacabra (an illegal immigrant), Bigfoot, werewolves, UFOs, aliens, and ghosts.
Now the disclosure: Earlier this year I appeared on the American Heroes Channel, a sister station to Destination America, and several years ago producers for Destination America auditioned me to host a TV show they never produced.
In lieu of a full blog post today, please enjoy my appearance yesterday on the Archaeological Fantasies podcast. I recorded the episode a few months ago, and I think you’ll enjoy it. You can listen below or download from the link above.
6/23/2015 01:15:56 am
I forecast that within a decade stuff like Area 51, Bigfoot, the Jesus Bloodline (Talpiot tomb & Knights Templar integrated) and Wicca will all be on the mainstream school educational curriculum.
6/24/2015 03:17:52 am
TBH, Wicca SHOULD be in a mainstream curriculum--it should be taking its place with several other religions in any good "World Studies" or "Religions" class. It is in fact a legit religion, regardless of the fact that it owes its existence to James Gardner in the 1950s. As such, it does not belong in the same group as conspiracy theories and pseudo-history. It belongs in the group over there labeled "mythologies and religions," right beside Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Shinto, Buddhism, Greek and Roman mythologies and practices, ancestor worship, etc. etc. etc.
6/24/2015 08:19:21 am
Wicca is without historical pedigree, it is a do-it-yourself system of belief reflecting the whims of whoever creates it.
6/24/2015 04:02:29 pm
Scarecrow, don't be an insensitive ass. ALL religions are "do-it-yourself systems" because that's how religions come into being in the first place. I don't give a fuck if you believe in it, but I take deep exception to you passing judgment on a legitimate religion that has NOTHING WHATEVER to do with the conspiracy theories you listed. You sound like you have some sort of irrational prejudice against Wicca when you do that.
6/24/2015 05:13:28 pm
You missed out the bit about Wicca lacking a historical pedigree and dates back to Gerald Gardner.
6/23/2015 02:02:03 am
lol fake wrestling
6/23/2015 03:59:21 am
Great job on the podcast!
6/23/2015 04:03:02 am
I'll buy into all of it except the Ford station wagon. I was always more of a Vista Cruiser kinda guy.
6/23/2015 05:01:43 am
It's rather interesting that virtually everything in those icons is associated with midcentury, middle-class America. Even the design is 1950s/1960s.
6/23/2015 05:38:28 am
Wait, I don't see a Confederate battle flag anywhere. Are you sure you got all of them?
6/24/2015 06:32:59 am
These are the rejected designs then.
6/23/2015 08:53:28 am
Since Scott Wolter was discussed, here's something straight from his blog:
6/23/2015 09:29:10 am
The story goes that the markings on the Westford Rock have now deteriorated to such an extent that they no longer resemble those found on the rock 50 years ago. Therefore, how much different were the markings on the rock during the 18th or 19th centuries.
6/23/2015 09:40:39 am
If we examine page 54 of this book by William B. Goodwin published in 1946 - all that could be identified on the Westford Rock was the outline of an alleged sword.
6/23/2015 09:49:29 am
Correct URL for page 54 of Goodwin's book depicting the sword on the westford rock
6/23/2015 08:30:41 pm
I suspect that the "deterioration over 50 years" may be just an attempt to explain why the figure today (unchalked) looks so indistinct. In reality, as the 1946 photos indicate, it never looked distinct, apart from the sword. As I suggested a couple of days ago, we can be pretty confident that the sword carving did not exist in the 1870s and 1880s when the "Indian" image was first mentioned.
6/24/2015 12:59:06 am
The "sword" on the rock may have been the torso and shoulders of the Indian. In any case, what we are dealing with here is Face on Mars stuff.
6/24/2015 01:16:45 am
Frederick Pohl had published his 45 page booklet in 1950 about Henry Sinclair discovering America - Pohl also knew about the existence of the Westford rock and corresponded with Frank Glynn about it, although they both had different interpretations.
6/24/2015 01:26:57 am
Aha, thanks! Can anybody confirm the actual location of the Victorian "peace pipe" addition to the Westford Knight- is it by the current "face" or by the current "sword pommel" ?
6/24/2015 04:04:57 am
Re: the location of the peace pipe on the Westford rock - David Goudsward does not go into any detail about that in his book and there does not seem to be any online photograph of that. This requires on-the-spot research with a good camera.
6/24/2015 08:10:33 am
Looking at William Fowler's report, picture on page 21 of:
6/23/2015 09:38:20 am
The Nomad would be a great icon or Bob Big Boy (should he stay or should he go...showing my age here..I voted for him to go). Or Sonic trademark? Actually its not a bad station...we all like highway 66 journeys...the US had regional flavors back them..now you get the same chain restaurants and same strip malls and same housing developments from Maine to Texas to California. I'll take a nation when we had more regional ethnicity and character..it was more interesting than the sameness of today.
6/23/2015 12:32:57 pm
That was boss--I had no idea Ken Feder was one of the hosts.
6/24/2015 01:34:24 am
Yes, Jason was particularly good on the background and wider implications of crazy pseudo-history.
6/23/2015 03:25:06 pm
I noticed that the hostess and the Wolter blog quote referenced above referred to you as Jason Colvalito.
6/23/2015 11:29:00 pm
No one has ever been able to pronounce my name correctly my entire life, or spell it either. I'm used to it by now.
6/24/2015 04:54:55 am
Actually, if you are going back to the 1950's and 60's Americana, that was one of the golden ages of baseball. Mantle, Mays, Musial, but also a very fine hitter by the name of Rocky Colavito. Col-a-vito. I sure you are not related, but your name is not that hard to pronounce. She seemed a good interviewer, but she also should have taken the time to research and pronounce your name correctly.
6/24/2015 10:28:55 am
SW, I am not JC. I joked about the hooked x. Get over it. The westward knight doesn't really look like anything resembling a knight.
6/24/2015 10:47:23 am
Colavito, pronoun, (coh la vee toh), light Italian accent on the ending vowels. 'la' would be said more like a flat a note than a hard a note. Vi would be said like it has two 'ees' after it. That'd be my guess.
6/24/2015 11:26:56 am
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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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