Writing Diary, Entry #25
Atlas TV Guide is hardly the most glamourous media magazine in the world. If I didn't suspect that the term "guerilla journalism" already meant something else, I'd use it for what I have to do when my editor asks me to review a movie or TV show but doesn't tell me how she expects me to see it.
There has been one assignment to write about a movie that hadn't come out anywhere in the world yet (See Entry #11); but the rest of the time, it's implied that my editor expects me to find a bootleg copy that I can watch on my own. And unfortunately, since the Philippines is a hotbed of digital piracy and rental stores have become completely extinct in my lifetime, it almost always is a bootleg copy I have to watch--or at least a "free" digital one someone uploaded onto YouTube without necessarily having asked the owners' permission first.
This assignment has been no exception . . .
See my article on Ancient Aliens, Season 2
in Atlas TV Guide, June 2011!
My initial "research plan" involved watching only the first couple of episodes from the assigned season . . . but soon I found that that was like eating only one potato chip (or if you prefer, only one chocolate chip cookie). So I started gorging on episodes, alternating between Season 1 and Season 2. (For the full experience, you know?) It took just under nine hours of that before I realised that I don't actually like the "taste" of Ancient Astronaut Theory. =P
The idea that aliens enabled us to build the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge and other mysterious monoliths and ruins all over the world certainly is fascinating--and I honestly don't have much of a problem with it. As I told my friend Cathy, I believe it could have happened . . . although I doubt it actually did. My big issue is that inasmuch as this theory is such a perfect "key" for unlocking multiple mysteries, it is being used to open virtually every other closed door its eager locksmiths come up against. But (to quote my own article), "what seems like a lucid explanation for the engineering of Stonehenge starts to sound a little embarrassing when applied to German military technology during World War II."
Could the Nazis have been helped along by extraterrestrial intelligence? Oh, yes, anything is possible. But to also find it highly plausible . . . well, that gives me pause.
Much of what I saw of Ancient Aliens reminded me of the "Evangelical" History textbook I had to use to help homeschool my cousin Fire Storm. (See Tutor Tales, Volume 7.) Its author saw everything she looked at--every period of history and every culture on earth--through the lens of her own Bible Literalism. She did everything possible to make the past fit a procrustean interpretation of the Protestant Bible: no ambiguity or paradox allowed. And to prove that there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden and on the Ark (i.e., dinosaurs co-existing with people), she cited the dragons of Chinese and medieval European legend, which were "obviously" dinosaurs.
Ancient Astronaut theorists do very much the same thing, seeing "obvious" proof everywhere in history. In fact, one or two of them pointed to those same Chinese dragons and said they were "obviously" alien spaceships.
My own opinion? Dragons are dragons. I'm perfectly open minded about the existence of pretty much every magical creature you could name, but please let each one keep its own integrity.
Let me close this post with the same paragraph I wrote to close my copy (which is the best I've written in a long while, so you should really snap up the June issue if you can):
In a nutshell, Season 2 puts some wild spins on an already incredible idea and seems more likely to fuel skepticism than to win converts. Yet it remains as watchable as a bad Dan Brown novel is readable, because it appeals to our deep desire to know the truth. As [Ancient Alien theorist Giorgio] Tsoukalos puts it in one interview: "Something in our past has been lost, and we’re looking for that answer."