Last week, I reported that Megan Fox’s new Legends of the Lost brought in disappointing ratings when just 429,000 people tuned in, according to preliminary figures, putting it in the same Tuesday ratings class as Motor Trend TV’s Bitchin’ Rides (424,000) and CNBC’s The Profit (430,000). The numbers are roughly average for Travel shows, and just two-thirds of those of those of new episodes of Mysteries at the Museum, the highest-rated series on the network, but on par with day-side and early prime reruns of Mysteries. Nevertheless, despite the manifest lack of public interest in her program—representing 0.1% of the U.S. population—the media remain fascinated by… I almost said “a movie star doing a cable show about weird shit,” but that isn’t true. Zachary Quinto is also a movie star doing a cable show about weird shit, to three times the ratings, and almost literally nobody in the media cared. The media are fascinated because a certain set of editors are hot for Megan Fox and titillated by the idea of an attractive woman doing “man” stuff like archaeology.
How else can we justify this weekend’s New York Times interview with Fox in which a giant glamor shot of Fox in full evening hair and makeup and a low-cut dress with her bosom heaving forward illustrates an interview with Times reporter Kathryn Shattuck ostensibly about history, science, and the “dirty” work of historical research and archaeology? Just try imagining their recent article about Alien Con illustrated with a boudoir photo of Giorgio Tsoukalos on a bearskin rug. It’s not happening.
I don’t know why this strikes me as so offensive, especially since I found Fox’s show to be a pointless waste of electrons, but it bothers me that of all the popular approaches to history, science, and archaeology that appear on TV or in print, even so venerable an institution as the Times still prioritizes LOOK AT THOSE BOOBIES over either the value or the importance of work in question.
Anyway, the Times continued its trend of soft-pedaling Ancient Aliens and UFO claims, a trend that I find both strange and disconcerting. I’m not sure why the Times has such a soft spot from the History Channel’s cult hit, but it routinely now depicts the program as “controversial” but not fictitious, fraudulent, false, fantastical, or any of the other more accurate adjectives that would describe its mixture of demonstrable lies, illogical interpretations, and flirtations with racism, Nazism, and Russian propaganda. It’s a show that all but literally told viewers to worship Satan, and it still gets treated like it’s Mr. Wizard with actual wizards.
Fox explained to the Times that Ancient Aliens not only influenced her but was in fact the cause of her belief in the ancient astronaut theory:
How did “Ancient Aliens,” a controversial show about prehistoric extraterrestrial visits to Earth, inspire you to create your own series?
This is disturbing at many levels, but it gives the lie to the claim that (a) Ancient Aliens is harmless “fun” and (b) nobody watching the show really takes its claims seriously.
The Times also confirmed something I intuited from watching her show, namely, that while she has extreme beliefs, the Travel Channel and the production company stacked her show’s production team with people better versed in mainstream science to keep the show from going too far off-brand in the direction of Ancient Aliens. That doesn’t stop the self-identified uneducated Fox from claiming to be able to intuit the truth about history better than scientists and scholars can investigate it themselves:
You’ve said that your theories are alternative, while your production team is more science-based. Have they ever gone, “Megan, you’re off the wall?”
And yet somehow she didn’t see that her program would be an expensive, unwatched boondoggle!
Speaking of which… tune in tonight for her investigation into “sonic healing” at Stonehenge. Ugh.
12/11/2018 10:25:15 am
"The media are fascinated because a certain set of editors are hot for Megan Fox and titillated by the idea of an attractive woman doing “man” stuff like archaeology."
12/11/2018 04:58:01 pm
Personally, I don't care who brings me the story. There's nothing wrong with old, white men. Many are fantastic truth tellers, are quite entertaining and knowledgeable. I rather have them, than an airhead revered for the way her boobs look in an evening dress.
An Anonymous Nerd
12/11/2018 07:53:21 pm
Mr. Scales's post has basically nothing to do with the article he replied to. Indeed so far it seems to me that his post makes sense in only three possible contexts. First is that he's trolling. Second is that he's not only very easily offended but actively is looking to be offended.
12/11/2018 10:32:40 pm
Talk about confirmation bias and "liberal politics".
12/11/2018 10:50:02 am
What do you mean ‘so what’? are you a dirty old white man too?do you want to excuse this behaviour because you do it too?
12/11/2018 12:56:24 pm
I probably shouldn't have used the ellipsis, as the "so what" wasn't meant to excuse prurient impulses of the aged. Meant more like a conversational, "so what are we back to".
12/11/2018 08:50:43 pm
Fair enough. Not sure that I called you a name, rather, asked you a question concerning why you got triggered.
12/12/2018 01:26:25 pm
What's with the buzz words? Triggered? Is that some sort of way to imply imbalance? Is it only people you disagree with who are triggered, or might something I've post "triggered" you?
12/11/2018 11:18:24 am
12/11/2018 01:03:32 pm
Perhaps you missed this part then Denise:
12/11/2018 01:20:22 pm
Wow, Joe. Way to COMPLETELY IGNORE the fact that they used a sexy glam shot to tout a show purportedly about ARCHEOLOGY. Didn't even use the Lara Croft style of dressing, but an EVENING GOWN. Which, you know, kind of implies they don't really think Megan Fox embodies anything but a vagina. She sure as hell DOESN'T embody "The Left."
12/11/2018 02:10:18 pm
But, by the same token, Jason’s image of Giorgio on the bearskin rug kind of implies that that Jason doesn’t really think Giorgio Tsoukalos embodies anything but a penis. (OK, phallos since Giorgio's Greek)
12/11/2018 03:47:47 pm
Sorry V, but we don't slut-shame here. Ms. Fox gets to choose how she wishes to display her wares.
12/11/2018 10:43:16 pm
12/12/2018 01:01:24 am
Your right wing colour is clear. Admit that, and go on to say everything you say is the job you do. That’s fine, you can do that, but you’re tainted by that idiot vector
12/12/2018 09:36:57 am
Gilbert, you were just being reasonable above, so why veer off course and join with the myopic partisans who see any criticism as membership to their political opposition. That's not how discourse should work. Jason expressed dismay and confusion with why the NY Times wouldn't adopt his mindset in this regard. I answered him, and apparently the obvious which escapes him also befuddles his defenders. Ask yourself why... then try to be more independent. You know... like me.
12/12/2018 03:26:50 pm
"Sorry V, but we don't slut-shame here. Ms. Fox gets to choose how she wishes to display her wares. "
12/12/2018 06:47:15 pm
"You're still trying to ignore that blatant sexism, though, aren't you?"
12/11/2018 11:43:32 am
Rupert Murdoch built a multi-billion dollar media empire on the premise that tits &ass, combined with salacious and outrageous stories, plus sports, sells newspapers. Toss in extreme politics, and you've got the icing on the cake !
12/11/2018 12:27:02 pm
Recall that the full acronym for Tom deLonge’s “To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences” is TTSAAS.
12/11/2018 01:22:47 pm
Orrrr...you could be missing the point completely, sicne the point is that Megan Fox is being served up on a sex platter, while Tsoukalos was treated like a human being, for no better reason than she has tits and he doesn't, since they're advocating the SAME THINGS.
12/13/2018 04:25:32 pm
What about Joe Namath in pantyhose? That was way more disturbing than Burt. You can't unsee something.
American Cool "Disco" Dan
12/15/2018 05:09:16 am
I am very much enjoying this. Sitting back and quietly chuckling.
12/11/2018 12:16:00 pm
"Megan, you're off the wall"
12/11/2018 03:30:43 pm
12/11/2018 04:28:41 pm
"dollop of trollup'...roflmao
12/11/2018 03:50:10 pm
"How else can we justify this weekend’s New York Times interview with Fox in which a giant glamor shot of Fox in full evening hair and makeup and a low-cut dress with her bosom heaving forward illustrates an interview with Times reporter Kathryn Shattuck ostensibly about history, science, and the “dirty” work of historical research and archaeology?"
12/11/2018 03:59:31 pm
Clearly she was an active participant. Typically, for profiles like this the paper and the actor's manager/agent agree on a shoot and an outfit.
12/11/2018 04:54:35 pm
Then I think you have your answer - Megan Fox wants to present herself as a sex symbol and Giorgio Tsoukalos doesn't. And the Times (and other media outlets) doesn't judge their decisions or the reasons for them.
12/11/2018 05:59:48 pm
It's not about the lifestyle choice so much as the underlying cynicism. Megan clearly knows that the show itself is not going to do much for her career, but the initial publicity just might, if she plays to her strengths (which don't include archaeology).
An Anonymous Nerd
12/11/2018 08:05:28 pm
When I saw the picture this episode of "This American Life," specifically the David Sedaris segment, came to mind.
American Cool "Disco" Dan
12/12/2018 06:20:06 pm
V, it sounds like you got a boner and don't want to admit it.
12/13/2018 04:28:59 pm
Postscript to my earlier mention of the series "Digging For Britain". Yesterday's episode cheekily featured a Canadian detectorist who came to England for a holiday and almost immediately found a pot containing 200 Tudor and Stuart coins.
12/12/2018 03:29:54 pm
1. Yes, the Times DOES normally dictate how people who are to be PHOTOGRAPHED for a cover like this are to dress, and often even provide the clothing. 2. Even if she'd CHOSEN to show up that way, the Times did still have the right and even the obligation to say, "This isn't the right outfit for this photo shoot, please change into this." It's still sexism on the part of the Times to choose THIS look over something more appropriate.
12/12/2018 06:52:35 pm
Come on V. If the New York Times wanted to promote you, you'd have your emerald gown at the ready. Now quit disempowering Ms. Fox. It's insulting to women.
12/12/2018 06:54:59 pm
" Yes, the Times DOES normally dictate how people who are to be PHOTOGRAPHED for a cover like this are to dress, and often even provide the clothing."
12/12/2018 07:12:07 pm
V is talking out of her oh, so ample ass. She has no idea how it went down.
12/14/2018 01:34:45 am
"Now quit disempowering Ms. Fox. It's insulting to women."
12/14/2018 08:00:45 pm
Though I doubt I'll shake this imbecilic cyber-stalking ankle-nipper with the truth, here I go anyway, just in case anyone else is paying attention:
An Anonymous Nerd
12/11/2018 08:01:27 pm
What a disgusting fluff piece about a Fringe history show, with a misleading headline to boot. ("Megan Fox on Why She Won’t Speak Out in the #MeToo Movement." A topic that isn't mentioned in the piece as often as is the Fringe stuff.)
12/11/2018 08:53:43 pm
If the display of Ms Fox’s most ample talent doesn’t bring in viewers it must be bad writing.
12/12/2018 11:59:50 pm
Everyone seems to be conclude "it's aliens" from the premise "ancient painting with guy wearing something that looks like a spacesuit."
12/13/2018 12:08:00 am
To clarify, this is the analogy: a spacesuit is worn by modern humans so that they can create a local microenvironment that is hyperbaric relative to the ambient vacuum, where the difference is one of survival vs. death. An earthsuit was worn by our ancestors so that they could likewise create a local microenvironment that is hyperbaric relative to the ambient standard atmosphere, where the difference is not one of survival vs. death, but thriving and superior physical and mental performance vs. average performance. The brain and body, under hyperbaric oxygen pressures, is more alert, and recovers faster from physical exertion.
12/14/2018 11:05:44 pm
Sure,,, and Frank Herbert was a historian.
Another ugly nerd
12/13/2018 04:32:48 am
I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick calling this a gender issue. People are always interested in attractive people talking about nerdy stuff. You see the same thing with Terry Crews and Vin Diesel. I’d argue the reason you didn’t see it as much with Zachary Quinto is because he came to prominence playing Spock. And I definitely remember seeing stuff online about how sexy the new Spock was, though in fairness I recall Leonard Nimoy, rest in peace, being a sex icon back in the day.
Seed of Bismuth
12/13/2018 10:07:54 am
Or you know Zachary Quento's name recognition is far less then Megan Fox's. And the NYT was paid to promote this one not other.? Nope, got to be because of boobies cause that the only way women get anywhere.
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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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