Joe: I can say with a straight face that this was the dullest episode to date. It shouldn’t be, because we’re finally getting to first-person encounters with aliens, but I’m bored. I’m watching this episode, and these Air Force enlisted men are telling this story about their encounter with a UFO, and all I can think about is how I feel like we’ve stepped into a different show, entirely. We went from spelunking underground caves and ancient art and artifacts for signs and symbols of an ancient source of power, seeking out evidence of prehistoric nuclear blasts, and now we’re listening to two middle-aged men mumble about an alien encounter that did not involve any of the big themes of the show: no alien impregnation of super babies, no teaching society how to live and thrive, no genetic manipulation of human life, no decimation of fallen societies, no secret or hidden knowledge. We got some binary codes from “touching” the UFO which are finally – finally – decoded after years have passed that paint a set of coordinates on a human GPS latitude and longitude. We are supposed to believe, I guess, that aliens also rely on the prime meridian measurements laid out by European navigators that have not even once traveled through a stargate to a new world. Their telling of their encounter is nowhere near as interesting as the search for the secret Hopi stargate laid out in art and rock paintings. The connection to Joan of Arc, Moses, etc., is old news for followers of this show and is most marked, in this case, by the absence of people of genuine expertise to provide cover and counterpoint to the Ancient Astronaut Theory true believers. We are, apparently, to take everything on faith, this episode, and not even pretend there are real scientists and anthropologists available to provide even the most modest intellectual cover to the fake debate between Ancient Astronaut Theorists (who are a mere handful of mildly and not-exactly qualified individuals) as equal or superior to mainstream science (which include a multitude of skilled, qualified men and women all over the world with reproducible experiments that confirm or deny their suppositions without any faith, at all.)
Eric: Yeah that’s pretty much where I’ve been at with this show for a long time. The historical spin is fascinating, even if the theories are not exactly cogent, and the rest is comedy at best. This show was exceptionally thin.
There was one thing, at the very beginning, that made me really cringe. When I was little, my parents didn’t read like, bedtime stories.They read Bible stories. They even had some Hanna Barbera cartoons that we watched and I can remember them clear as day even now. One of the most lamentable was Joshua and the battle of Jericho. All those raised voices and all of the circling soldiers simply to demonstrate commitment to God, then magic. And what made that story work as a kid is the faith of it. Of course God would work miracles for me. Of course magic would happen, if I was pious and it was the only solution. This show, rather brilliantly, focuses on the myths of all faiths in sort of a way that academics do, as a piece of literature or historical document. But it also addresses their lore as fact. It corrupts and hijacks the faith of viewer in a really insidious way; instead of seeking to debunk the myth altogether (which would really cause some cognitive dissonance for viewers of faith) this show is parasitic in its rhetoric rather than proposing alternative viewpoints.
Joe: This weekend, I was at a convention in Austin called Armadillocon, and had the honor to sit next to Dr. Moriba Jah on one of the panels, there. He mentioned that he does encounter Flat Earth Society people as part of his work and challenges them to go out and create reproducible experimental results to predict natural phenomena. Scientists – real scientists – welcome the challenge of opposing ideas with reproducible, verifiable experiments. The way the propaganda arm of this show works – one of their big tools, in fact – is they can splice together real, verifiable experts in their fields selectively to create the false sense that the show’s dedicated believers are somehow in debate with the experts, and somehow an equal to them in this area of expertise. They time it so one refutes the other, and one gets more time to speak in direct contradiction of the other. The “establishment science” figures are glued into place perfectly to permit the theorists of Ancient Alien Astronauts to appear in their best light. This episode really lacked that back and forth contrast, which made it both less effective as a piece of propaganda, and less entertaining. It is genuinely amusing to see the parade of actual science and history experts with such interesting facial expressions and such grumpy or amused answers to whatever question is being posed by the show’s producers. And, then, to see the alien-meme-guy appear with such conviction and certainty to present the refutation that it must have been ALIENS all along.
Eric: It must have been. I’m convinced.
Categories: TV shows