New Ideas about Minoan-Mycenaean Relations; Plus: What Is Behind False Copyright Claims Aimed at "Ancient Aliens" Stars?
There is a very interesting article in Smithsonian magazine this week describing new revelations about the Mycenaeans based on excavations of a particularly rich Mycenaean grave. Because the article takes forever to get to the point, I’ll share it with you here: The grave goods from a very early Mycenaean burial are heavily influenced by Minoan culture, which has led to a new hypothesis that the Mycenaeans adopted Minoan culture right at the start and therefore their takeover of Crete was less like an invasion and more like a merging of two cultures, perhaps without distinct and formal divisions between them. The fact that the researchers claim that it might have been similar to the modern E.U. and can teach us lessons about modern issues of xenophobia and nationalism should, though, give us a bit of pause that, as with so many new ideas, we’ll find in them a few years from now a bit too much of a mirror of modernity.
Additionally, according to an Instagram photograph posted by ancient astronaut theorist Jason Martell last night, Ancient Aliens began filming a new season of the show yesterday. You must be so excited. Meanwhile, an academic journal sent me a copy of alt-right supporter Jason Reza Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas to review for the journal. I had read the introduction, but I did not have access to the entire book until now. I must say, it is even less convincing than I imagined.
I have only had a chance to glance through it so far, but I was astonished at Jorjani’s use of so much of the same material that I cover in my own work to come to such radically different conclusions. He touches on UFOs, ancient astronauts, Atlantis, science fiction, Victorian literature, mythology, and science. (And all without ever naming his obvious influences, Erich von Däniken and Helena Blavatsky!) But instead of placing these ideas into a taxonomy of intellectual history, as I have attempted, he instead sees in them threads of a tapestry that speak to a metaphysical truth behind the material world, one predicated on a battle against monotheism in service of Ayn Rand-style individual audacity. Even this might have been forgivable save for his persistent misunderstanding of Greek mythology and the unsubtle hints that a certain segment of humans (guess who) form a master race, particularly those who inherited the “heroic” tradition of Indo-European (i.e. Aryan) mythology. He is very big on manly heroes doing he-man things to thrust themselves into history.
You can imagine how excited I am to read 400 more pages of it!
I am now going to do something rather odd. I am going to defend fringe authors against an effort to harm them on YouTube. In recent days both David Wilcock and Robert Bauval have had copyright claims made against their YouTube video by an individual going by the name Alec Theodore Wallace, who claims to live in Iceland. Wallace posts to YouTube under the name Ancient Aliens TV, which is also the name of a fake Ancient Aliens website that falsely claims to be the show’s PR agency. According to Bauval, this individual has copied the videos hosted by Wilcock and Bauval on their channels and then, after reposting them in slightly modified form, the individual files a copyright complaint with YouTube alleging that he owns the copyright on the original video and demanding that YouTube remove fringe authors’ versions, effectively shutting down their YouTube channels.
This is a clear abuse of copyright, and YouTube ought to have a higher standard for determining ownership than a simple assertion of complaint, even if that is the minimum standard required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s takedown provisions.
In a note posted on his homepage, Bauval claimed that Wallace engaged in harassing online behavior:
Following a complaint to Youtube, "Wallace" then claimed copyright as his and further escalated things by resorting to HARASSMENT and INTIMIDATION. A Skype conversation between myself and webmaster crashed and a pop up 'crash report' appeared up with "Wallace's" name already filled in.
Bauval suspected Wallace of engaging in a phishing scam with the intention of also seizing his Twitter account.
Wilcock, by contrast, asserted a broad conspiracy that spiraled into strange and disorienting rants, resulting in Wilcock deciding to give Wallace and “insider code-name” of Teddy Bear. He alleged that Wallace is acting out in the name of the theory of evolution (because his email address is under the name of Alfred Wallace, the evolutionary theorist) and against Wilcock’s own spirituality. He also alleged that Wallace was part of an industrial-scale fraud operation aimed at undermining the stars of Ancient Aliens: “The ‘Ancient Aliens TV’ channel openly features industrial-scale theft of videos from all the major stars on the show.” He also went on to express his love for Peter Gabriel and to “leak” that he is friends with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, who attended Wilcock’s 40th birthday party in 2013. Apparently, Tyler is “into” metaphysics.
Anyway, Wilcock provided emails that Wallace had sent to him in which Wallace more or less admits that he is concerned about “earnings” from the YouTube videos he posts. Wilcock estimates that Wallace earned more than $1,500 by running advertisements before his recycled content in just a couple of weeks. (Wilcock’s 500,000 hits on the authorized versions would have earned him about $3,500 in the same period, according to his estimates.) Multiply that across all of the ancient astronaut-themed videos featured on the channel, and you can see how profitable it can be to spam YouTube with copies of successful videos.
After complaints from Wilcock and Bauval, YouTube permanently the “Ancient Aliens TV” channel deleted for violations of its terms of service. YouTube restored Wilcock’s channel.
Our copyright system is broken, and it has been for a long time. It is, frankly, outrageous that Google, which owns YouTube, makes a mint off of exploiting other people’s work, and that both Congress and the courts have given their blessing to their industrial-scale efforts to monetize access to others’ copyrighted work. But it really isn’t their fault per se; the government has twisted the very meaning and purpose of copyright ridiculously, especially in extending what was meant to be a limited monopoly to what is, essentially, forever. It’s also beyond infuriating that the government gives more protection to a single second of music or a single frame of video than to whole pages of books. But, as has always been the case, the real beneficiaries are the lawyers. No matter what happens, they are the only ones guaranteed to make money off of a copyright dispute.
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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