The “Ancient Apocalypse” nonsense; Movie trailers; Political headlines.
Boing Boing, Jennifer Sandlin, 27 Nov 2022: Archaeologists reveal the white supremacist nonsense behind Netflix’s “Ancient Apocalypse”
Apparently Netflix is going the way of the History Channel, which long ago abandoned serious content in favor of woo. These opening lines are precious:
I watched all eight episodes of the Netflix ‘docuseries’ Ancient Apocalypse, so you don’t have to. The series is hosted by Graham Hancock, who’s been on a mission for decades to disrupt “big archaeology” (as someone with a master’s degree in archaeology and who worked in the field for a few years, the idea of “big archaeology” makes me literally laugh out loud) and their supposed power, which he posits has been used to suppress his important findings about the existence of some kind of lost, ancient advanced civilization of the Ice Age that was nearly wiped out by a cataclysmic cosmic (meteor) event 12,000 years ago and whose few survivors worked their way around the world to teach later communities their wise ways. It’s a frustrating watch, that’s for sure–each episode hints at some big revelation, and you have wait until the last episode to see the full spectacle that’s on display. Spoiler alert: the big, final reveal is that the Ice Age ancients didn’t just get almost wiped out and then come back to teach their ways to folks thousands of years ago – they’re also issuing a warning to US – that we’re all about to be destroyed by meteor particles. Cool.
Needless to say, most actual archaeologists think this is all pretty much bunk. I knew this going in, but wanted to see the series for myself. …
There’s a category of charlatans who claim their work is “in the name of science,” and perhaps some of them are even sincere. A foundational book in this area is Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (1952/1957), which I have and read many years ago. Some pretend they’re doing science; some pretend they’re overturning science to reveal things “they” do not want you to know. (I saw something from a scientist on Fb who said if you know any scientists, you know they’re eager to blab about everything they’ve studied and discovered. They’re not the types to hide things conspiratorially.)
Here’s a comment about this from the science fiction novelist C. J. Cherryh, who posts regularly on Facebook about a wide variety of topics, so astutely that I’m inclined to trust her about everything. I appreciate her notion that people are vulnerable to ideas like this because they don’t appreciate the time scales involved. Since it’s a public post I’ll take the liberty of quoting most of it.
Cj Cherryh, 26 Nov 2022: Facebook post
Something I’m finding in posts supporting the crackpot pre-iceage civ idea…
A LOT of people are vulnerable to this kind of misinformation because they have no real idea when the ice ages were relative to us. The ice ages have gone on intermittently for 2 1/2 million years. The last one ended 11,000 years ago, in a gradual warmup and melt. The hairy giants (elephants, rhinos, etc) died off in the warming climate, replaced by other (daughter) species…creatures familiar as horses and modern elephants and cats and cattle—and human hunters trekked new corridors created in the melt to move around, find the warmest best-watered lands and eventually to discover that grain grew in the spring where you crunched up what you’d gathered—seeds put in the ground took off and made more, more, more grains. That happened in Mesopotamia and Egypt and Anatolia somewhere after the Big Melt of 11,000 BCE…and settlements in those places began a few thousand years after that, —give or take a thousand years lag, more appeared. Seeds gradually won the game: the hunter-gatherers where game and gathering were rich actually stayed pretty well as they were, not developing writing or building in permanent structures—the nomad cultures sprang out of those, everything portable.. Where worked earth meant bigger food yields and hunting gave way to herding and breeding—permanency won, and mud-and-rock became rock and mortar, and ultimately big honking stones quarried the hard way, with fire and wedges. And formal priesthoods. And brick-molds. And weaving. And all that. We’re now at 2000 BCE. Rise of the empires, as farmer cultures swallowed each other.
There is a progression to these things that closely follows the climate changes, a location to these things that follows the big rivers, and a motivation to these things that has to do with providing food and safety from the neighbors for as long as possible. Civilizations do not spring up with no discernible process, do arise in cooperation with the landscape, and do not exist without stretching out tendrils of exchange with each other, all of which leaves traces. They do not exist in a vacuum and do not thrive alone.
NY Times, 26 Nov 2022: At Protests, Guns Are Doing the Talking, subtitled “Armed Americans, often pushing a right-wing agenda, are increasingly using open-carry laws to intimidate opponents and shut down debate.” (My comment: they have no rational arguments for their claims or positions, so they resort to intimidation.)
Salon, Thom Hartmann, 27 Nov 2022: Republicans and billionaires are selling Americans a deadly caricature of “freedom”, subtitled “For decades Republicans have owned the concept of ‘freedom.’ What they’re really pushing is suffering and death”
Salon, Heather Digby Parton, 28 Nov 2022: Trump, Kanye and Nick Fuentes: Can we stop pretending that Republicans even care?, subtitled “Look who came to dinner: Of course Trump has no problem with hardcore white supremacy, and neither does his base”
OnlySky, Hemant Mehta, 23 Nov 2022: Christian hate-preacher celebrates Club Q shooting: “It’s a good thing”, subtitled “‘Am I sad that five homos got shot? No, I’m not sad at all,’ said Pastor Aaron Thompson”
Joe.My.God, 25 Nov 2022: Hate Group Laments Success Of LGBTQ Candidates. (The group is the American Family Association.)
AlterNet, 24 Nov 2022: Conservative think tank pays $1.3 million to air anti-LGBTQ ad during Thanksgiving weekend. (The think tank is the Heritage Foundation.)
AlterNet, Alex Henderson, 25 Nov 2022: ‘Real men don’t eat soybeans’: How the ‘weird right’ is hijacking the GOP and conservative think tanks
Joe.My.God, 29 Nov 2022: Woman: “Jesus Told Me To Open That Plane Door”