Weekend Roundup: Tom DeLonge Rakes in Cash, "Curse of Oak Island" Rakes in Viewers, and a Russian Man Claims a Mars-Sphinx Link
Regular readers will remember that last month ufologist and fading rock musician Tom DeLonge launched a public benefit corporation to promote science fiction movies and what he describes as high-speed time travel transportation systems. Oh, and something about UFO disclosure, but not really, except when it is. As part of the launch of To the Stars… Academy of Arts and Science, or TTS-AAS, in its official and illogical abbreviation, the company offered shares of stock to the public.
So far, more than 1,700 people have ponied up cash to pay DeLonge’s bills. According to the company, as of today, 1,764 investors have contributed $1.95 million in funding to the company, averaging more than $1,000 in investments per person. The money will cover the $100,00 per year the company is committed to paying DeLonge in perpetuity, along with the $600,000 in loans from DeLonge’s other company that they are also committed to repaying to him, on top of any merchandising profits and CEO salary that DeLonge will receive from his work with the company.
I’m not sure whether to feel relieved that fewer than 2,000 people in a country of 320 million felt compelled to give DeLonge money, or dismayed that merely whispering halfhearted words about UFO disclosure is enough to pull in nearly $2 million in four weeks.
Also depressing is the news that Curse of Oak Island has suffered no significant ratings erosion over the course of its hiatus. When the series returned this week for a new season of drilling fruitless holes, but now with the added exploitation of cast members’ deaths, audiences returned in droves, attracting 2.9 million viewers to the History channel. But ratings data show an audience with a disproportionate number of viewers over the age of 55, which is about what you’d expect for a show about men in late middle age or early seniority living out their childhood (or childish?) fantasies about digging up pirate treasure and ancient secrets.
But, basically, this was a depressing week wherever you looked. It surprised me beyond anything that America is actually having a conversation about whether sex with a 14-year-old girl is acceptable if a Republican does it. Many Republicans like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and even Donald Trump have rightly called on Roy Moore to step aside in the Alabama Senate race if the accusations that he is engaged in unwanted touching with a 14-year-old in 1979, and attempted relationships with other teen girls, turn out to be true. (He denies the molestation claims, first reported in the Washington Post, but did not deny dating underage girls with the so-called permission of their mothers). But the extremist wing of the party is literally making excuses for pedophilia. Sean Hannity argued that if the claim was true, it was OK because Roy Moore’s accuser consented, while another Republican claimed that the Bible condoned child sex, and a third said that pedophiles were better than Democrats, so child sex doesn’t matter. The same people who condemned Islam because Muhammad’s wife Aisha was an underage girl of six are now happily claiming that God endorsed child sex when Joseph married Mary, and then didn’t have sex with his virgin bride. How are the same people who claimed Bill Clinton deserved impeachment for having sex with Monica Lewinsky because the then-20-something was young and vulnerable able to claim with a straight face that man-on-girl sex is OK?
The whole thing is disgusting at a level I can’t fathom. Is this America?
I am sure that there will be comments defending Moore and claiming I should not be outrage, but, I am sorry. I know that around the world different cultures view the age of consent differently, and child brides are common. But that is not our culture, and it is not a line I want to see us crossing.
So, while the news was once again horrifying, I thought I’d send you into the weekend with a bizarre bit of humor. A Russian man named Boriska Kipriyanovich, aged 21, claims that he had a previous life on Mars, where he learned that the Martians were in league with the ancient Egyptians. According to Metro.co.uk reports that this is somehow connected to the Sphinx:
He claimed that he had visited Earth while working as a pilot on Mars and that they had close connections to ancient Egyptians. In fact he has made a prediction that life on Earth is going to change significantly when the Great Sphinx of Giza is ‘unlocked’ using a mechanism behind its ear.
Let that sink in for a bit.
The claim is surprisingly similar to one from the 1898 novel Edison's Conquest of Mars, which was the first to speculate about Martian involvement with the Sphinx. In it, the characters listen to the Martians tell great stories about their activities on Earth, after which they had a realization:
"Gentlemen, gentlemen," he cried, "is it that you do not understand? This Land of Sand and of a wonderful fertilizing river—what can it be? Gentlemen, it is Egypt! These mountains of rock that the Martians have erected, what are they? Gentlemen, they are the great mystery of the land of the Nile, the Pyramids. The gigantic statue of their leader that they at the foot of their artificial mountains have set up—gentlemen, what is that? It is the Sphinx!"
In the book, the characters also talk, figuratively, about how the statue of the Sphinx might be brought to life like a giant stone robot, though the Japanese-American King Kong cartoon series was the first that I know of to propose that the Sphinx had a secret mechanism operating within it.
Anyway, it’s funny.
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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