Monday, August 06, 2018

A Vast And Lucrative Stream Of Nonsense Flows Into The Peasant Trough...,


NYTimes  |  “So here we have an ancient grid structure, probably built by extraterrestrials, possibly to power their craft, that’s now being reconstructed today by the military.”

Such broad, unverified claims are why “Ancient Aliens” is taken by some to be carnival entertainment (see the Viceland stoner spinoff “Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens’”) — and by others as something darker, a show that traffics in intellectual hucksterism and challenges facts.

The Idiocy, Fabrications and Lies of ‘Ancient Aliens,’” reads one headline from Smithsonian.com. Another critique, posted to Medium by Barry Vacker, a professor at Temple University, argued that since the Apollo 11 mission, Americans have lacked a popular narrative to explain the vast cosmos and our origins and destiny within it. 

“In ‘Ancient Aliens,’ we can see philosophy’s mediated corpse,” writes Mr. Vacker, who called the show “an attack on logic, rationality, and the nature of evidence.” 

For Kevin Burns, naysayers like Mr. Vacker add little to the discussion. A veteran TV producer who is often confused with the highbrow filmmaker Ken Burns (“I do the ones in color,” he likes to say), he was old enough to remember “Chariots of the Gods?” and to notice similarities with the 2008 movie “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which Lucasfilm hired him to promote with a TV special. 

Envisioning an updated “Chariots,” he approached the History Channel with the “Ancient Aliens” concept, which grew from a two-hour special into a series.