Before we begin today, I’d like to point you to Laura Saetveit Miles’s excellent essay in Vox criticizing Stephen Greenblatt after he won $735,000 from Norway for his work in the humanities. Miles believes that Greenblatt intentionally misrepresented the Middle Ages in his 2011 book The Swerve in order to glorify the Renaissance. While I don’t agree with everything Miles says—one would be hard pressed to argue that the Middle Ages did not represent a decline of some kind from the Classical period—the piece is a fascinating discussion of how the way we discuss history is shaped by more than evidence.
This make a rather apropos transition to my topic for today. Many of you will likely have already seen the brouhaha that arose yesterday on Andy White’s blog after erstwhile America Unearthed host Scott Wolter announced that he withdrew from White’s upcoming course in “Forbidden Archaeology” because he had lost interest in participating. It later came out that Wolter was under the mistaken impression that White was planning to ambush him into having a live debate with me at a joint appearance. This was never true, and White had invited me to appear at a different time to discuss a completely different subject, the lost continent of Atlantis. But even that remove wasn’t enough for Wolter.
After White made the announcement on his blog, Wolter and his XpLrR business partner J. Hutton Pulitzer attempted to explain the decision by … well, blaming me. Wolter, on his blog, asserted that he did not want to be in any club that would have me as a member: “Any association with the debunker is an instant deal-killer that can only hurt one’s reputation in this arena by any kind of association,” he wrote, clearly unconcerned by his own “association” with former American Nazi leader and convicted pedophile Frank Joseph, with whom he car pooled to fringe history events, and with whom he is scheduled to appear at an upcoming event this fall. I, by this measure, am more horrifying than Nazis and child molesters.
Wolter’s comments, though, were decidedly staid compared to those of Pulitzer, who delivered a long and angry rant in comments left on White’s blog in which he accused White and me of engaging in a conspiracy to ambush and humiliate Wolter, which somehow involves computer servers:
Simpler put, seems you had a choice- Scott and his huge fan base and media base, or Colavito. You chose Colavito. Thus, the real story is Scott would not subject himself to the attack of a sci-fi writer who continually and abusively attacks Scott. It would be a volatile and contentious time to say the least and no one would benefit or learn. Thus, to your fans- Andy made the choice for Scott, not the other way around. As always facts matter and I am answering for me, my view and not Scott, I will leave that to him. But, as one always knows we (Scott and I) put out a significant information and education and one can expect an expanded KRS series very soon. BTW, us on the other-side of this history biz should have a working relationship with your side, but that cannot happen when it is attacked based and volatile. If it was polite and ethical than many could learn from each side, but as long as negative and attacking (or as long as your blog and servers are tied to Jason's rack space) then it is hard to achieve.
It's hard to know where to start, and it isn’t really worth parsing an egomaniac’s anger. The crack about computer servers seems to be Pulitzer’s misunderstanding of how the internet works. Remember, he isn’t just a fringe historian but also self-described as “one of the foremost inventors in modern times” and “one of the world’s leading technology innovators.” Anyway, Pulitzer, who uses Wordpress for his websites, seemed to think that because both White and I use Weebly (a Wordpress competitor) as our hosting service that we therefore are secretly operating our sites in coordination from a server farm located in my secret underground attack base.
After Pulitzer was informed that he had everything wrong, and that there was no ambush planned and that Wolter and I would not be appearing at the same time, Pulitzer doubled down:
The premise is simple. Scott will NOT participate if Colavito participates. That is the non starter. […] Scott should share the platform with peers not a sci fi writer blogger. […] Tone is everything. Using terms like fringe and pseudo scientist is a label in the most negative sense, a negative label and Scott's 31 years as a forensic scientists is not fringe nor pseudo. Maybe get an authentic panel trying to find common ground, versus a bait and attack approach? You are who you associate with and in this case you associate with Scott's number one intentional detractor.
You are who you associate with. Scott Wolter associates with Frank Joseph. Scott Wolter associates with convicted child rapist Niven Sinclair, with whom he appeared on Holy Grail in America, and who is in the same social circle as him, close friends with Wolter’s friends William F. Mann, Steve St. Clair, and Alan Butler. Does Pulitzer repudiate Wolter for his “association” with Nazis and child rapists? Of course not. He probably already has the excuses prepared for why those known associates don’t count.
The claim that Wolter can only be judged by his peers is the funniest of all. This is how I replied to Pulitzer:
Hutton, you and Scott need to have the courage of your convictions and speak to me directly if you have a problem with me. If you recall, I spoke directly with you by phone for several hours the last time you became upset with me. Had you done so, you would have learned that I am not participating in an event with Scott and was never asked to do so. I was asked to speak on a different day (in a different month, I believe) on a different topic, about Atlantis.
The good news is that Pulitzer and Wolter have finally revealed what it will take to stop them. All I need to do is to get myself invited wherever they want to speak, and they will flee in terror. Perhaps I should also join the Freemasons, since Wolter would then have to immediately resign and avoid all Masonic conspiracies for the rest of his life.
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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