Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ancient Aliens: Facts about the Show

Like many, I sometimes watch the Ancient Aliens show on the History Channel.  Here are some facts about it.

Fact 1:  It doesn’t bother me that it is all a farce—I know that it is and treat it as just that.  It is mindless entertainment, and that is its usefulness to me.  A good laugh is always welcome. 

Fact 2:  The show informs us much about who WE are.  I’ll return to that shortly.

Fact 3:  Some archaeologists and historians get all upset about these types of misinformation being broadcast across our culture.  To them we should only portray “truths.”   3b) But, philosophers don’t even agree what “truths” are, 3c) so said “truths” are just academic consensus about certain ideas.  3d) Academics are often wrong, just look at current economists.

Fact 4: I despise academic believers as much as I do religious zealots.  

Fact 5:  A good academic is a cynic.

Fact 6:  Some researchers have made good careers out of debunking the ideas and arguments of the “wackoes”.  Thus, the wackoes have usefulness.  They exist so that others can live to debunk them.

Fact 8:  Here is an excellent website about debunking the show and its back-story.   They provide an excellent 3-hour video correcting many of the wrong assertions of the show.  Enjoy it; it is very well done.  (BTW, the video also demonstrates how earlier histories spread non-truths, supporting Fact 3).

Fact 9:  The History Channel is a business trying to make a profit.  They know that their audience isn’t going to hang out to watch endless streams of pure documentaries.  They have to jazz it up and Ancient Aliens does that quite well.  Without such a show, the channel may perish.  Do not berate them.

Fact 10:  The proponents of the ancient alien theory are con-men.  They will do anything and everything to sell their books and videos.   Lying is common.  They are laughing all the way to the bank.

Fact 11:  In our contemporary Dionysian culture, the main trend is that the distinction between fact and fiction is blurred.  Fact or “truth” is less important than the appeal of the argument or story.  The few debunkers are behaving within a counter trend.

To Americans, Ancient Aliens is appealing because:

Fiction 1:  We are an advanced culture.  We are smarter, better, than those ancient brutes that needed alien help to get by.  Our technology proves it--and, if aliens come here, today or in the past, then they must be advanced beyond us.

Fiction 2:  Our culture is superior; it is okay for us to judge other cultures, especially ancient ones, by our contemporary standards.  

Fiction 3:  It’s okay to interpret the past using contemporary complex metaphors.  Why should I take the time to learn their complex metaphors?  If I look at an ancient fresco and see an image that reminds me of a light bulb then it must be an image of a light bulb.

Fiction 4.  When two species are interbred you often get bigger, "giant," offspring like ligers and Nephilim. Duh.

In our Dionysian culture, a compelling story is more powerful than a fact. Welcome to 21st century romanticism.