Today I have two topics to discuss: John Podesta’s Nibiru email and Syfy’s new horror series Channel Zero.
Yesterday I discussed the connection between Nephilim theories and the Trump campaign, so today, in the interest of balance, I’d like to share one of the further revelations from the Wikileaks publication of Clinton advisor John Podesta’s emails, which U.S. officials concluded had been hacked on orders from the Russian government. Fringe websites have gone into a tizzy after discovering that one of the emails Podesta received discussed Zecharia Sitchin, Nibiru, and ancient astronauts. This was not, however, an email sent by high ranking U.S. officials but instead was an email from a member of the public sent to several different officials, no different than the tens of thousands of crank letters that fill government archives.
Wikileaks, in its haste to help the Russians bolster Donald Trump’s electoral chances, published the document without redacting the name and email address of the sender, who is a private citizen and not a public figure. In the copy I have placed in my Library, I have removed the identifying details. I was not able to confirm the identity of the sender, who has frequently posted long and rambling speculations about ancient aliens, alternative science, and Theosophy on fringe history message boards and comments sections.
The author of the email sent copies to Podesta, a longtime believer in flying saucers, as well as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and two officials in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the message, he discusses his believe that Hillary Clinton needed to be informed that her belief in climate change was wrong and the change in Earth’s climate is actually due to a pole shift and the effects of the planet Nibiru. He went on to accuse the U.S. government of covering up the existence of Nibiru and pole shifts, based on his twelve years of reading fringe history books, watching fringe history documentaries, and reading fringe history websites:
All this may seem preposterous, but my extended research over the last dozen-plus years into pre-history, abandoned cities archeology, mythology, past geological catastrophes, such as many underwater civilization remnants, provide ample evidence for past pole shifts. Psychic messengers, Mother Mary apparition messages, UFO/alien communications, English crop circle designs, all are providing warnings specifically time-wise to a pole shift about this current period, based on a frequency pattern of every 3600+ years due to a periodic Nibiru flyby. No direct hit with Earth is anticipated.
He cited Zecharia Sitchin and Immanuel Velikovsky as authorities whose work government agents should review in order to better understand world history and science. He did not explain why he simultaneously believes that the government is conspiring to hide this truth and that government agents and politicians are somehow ignorant of the conspiracy and needed him to share it with them.
I can speak from experience that letters such as these are a dime a dozen, and I receive similar ones at least once a day. I can only imagine how often government employees and politicians do.
Channel Zero: Candle Cove
On Tuesday, Syfy premiered its new horror series Channel Zero: Candle Cove, which is based on a short story posted on the internet many years ago. Critics from the New York Times to horror fan sites loved the show and declared it, somewhat preposterously, to be both Syfy’s best offering and a worthy competitor to Netflix’s Stranger Things. I think I am alone in finding the pilot episode mannered, dull, and aesthetically displeasing. Perhaps that’s because I am also alone in disliking the original short story, “Candle Cove.” I found that story to be clunky, underdeveloped, and mechanical, but internet users hail it as one of the best in the horror genre. Since it takes the form of internet message board postings, perhaps it resonates more with the internet generation. I don’t know. I didn’t find the final twist to be much of one, either. It resembles a couple of episodes of the Twilight Zone, but without the emotional heft.
In adapting a bare-bones short story into six-episode television version, Syfy lifted some of the dialogue wholesale and put it into the mouths of actors who seem to have been instructed to avoid giving their characters personality. To that end, the show does a good job of reproducing the vacant mechanics of the story, but it didn’t make me feel anything for the characters. The choices made to flesh out the story into a series are clichés drawn from horror history—the doctor who is really a mental patient, the children who act creepy and have a weird relationship with the monster, the impossibly quaint small town with dark secrets, etc. Compare this episode to the similarly themed Night Gallery installment “Brenda” from four decades ago, and you’ll see that this material can be done in a more affecting way.
I will grant you that the tooth monster is a novel and effective creature, but otherwise the aesthetics of the series are that kind of crisply gray blandness I associate with Canadian co-productions. (I guessed correctly that the series is shot in Canada before I checked to make sure.) This is not to put down Canada, but to say that there is a different aesthetic that is recognizable. It looked and felt a lot like corporate cousin Chiller’s Canadian-produced serial killer show Slasher from earlier this year, one that shared a similar plotline—emotionally traumatized child survivor of 1980s horror returns to idyllic non-Canadian town as an adult only to be sucked back in to the aforesaid horror. One critic actually praised the show’s color palette and compared it to the virtuoso visual design of Hannibal (the shows share a writer). I thought it looked every bit like the made-in-Canada basic cable series it is.
According to Vulture, the show gets better next week.
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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