I’m really disappointed with liberals this week. Actually, I’ve been disappointed with liberals for awhile, but everything came to a head for me this week. In case you missed it, Bill Maher said “nigger” on his show and the internet exploded.
Ben Sasse: “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
Bill Maher: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.”
Cue the demands that HBO fire him.
DeRay McKesson, BLM activist, tweeted: “But really, @BillMaher has got to go. There are no explanations that make this acceptable.”
Chance the Rapper tweeted: “Please HBO Do Not Air Another Episode Of Real Time With Bill Maher.”
This is exactly what’s wrong with liberalism at this moment in history. This is exactly why the other side doesn’t take us seriously, and why we lose independent voters. The left has abandoned issues of substance for identity politics. Ironically, this is a point Maher has made over and over again on his show.
The republican party is taking away your healthcare, fucking up the climate, destroying our education system, and Trump is under investigation. Meanwhile, liberals are trying to get one of their own fired for making a tasteless joke.
The joke itself is stupid. But it doesn’t make Maher himself a racist. Maher uses his show to give a platform to movements like BLM. Maher himself would be the first one to support legislation that helps minorities. Maher is outspoken in his support for the many things that the very people calling for his firing also support.
The right doesn’t let identity politics stop their agenda. The President of the United States admitted to sexually assaulting women. He blatantly made fun of a handicapped journalist. Of course what he said was wrong, but now he’s president and he gets to set the agenda for this country because conservative voters don’t give a shit about that stuff.
Meanwhile, in liberal land, things like single-payer healthcare, protecting the environment, voting rights–all of that is drowned out by incensed Twitter activists who steer the conversation away from issues toward microaggressions and trigger warnings.
If we had to fire every media personality who’s ever said or done something stupid, we’d have to fire pretty much everyone on TV and radio. It’s mind-boggling to me that liberals can let a joke take priority over every other issue on the docket.
“But the joke was racist!”
Fine, yes. But Maher arguably isn’t. Maher supports people like Killer Mike and Cornell West and Nina Turner and has had them on his show many times. He supports every piece of legislation that would help black people, like decriminalizing marijuana use (which disproportionately affects black men) and ending private prisons. This is the same guy who donated a million dollars to Obama’s re-election. You know, because he’s such a huge racist.
Because while liberals argue about whether the jokes that comedians tell are appropriate and which talking head should be fired, there are things detrimental to minorities happening right now: Gerrymandering. Voter ID laws. Rolling back the Voting Rights Act.
This is reaching such absurd levels that I’m hesitant to even all myself a liberal anymore, because liberalism has changed. It seems like the core principles of liberalism have been replaced by PC warriors patrolling every joke and phrase that politicians and pundits use.
Stop talking about racist jokes and start talking about racist legislation. Stop focusing on shit pundits say and start focusing on shit politicians say.
The issue of fake news on social media has suddenly become a hot button issue, and Facebook has found itself square in the cross-hairs of public ire. The issue recently came to a head after an armed man invaded a local pizza parlor because a “news” article he read online said that Hillary Clinton has a secret child slavery ring based there.
At first glance, any rational person would hear or read something like that and say, “Sure, whatever. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. How could anyone fall for something like that?”
Well, there are several reason why someone would believe something that outlandish. First and foremost, there are a lot of people out there who simply aren’t rational. Second, there is now a whole industry of trolls out there dedicated to creating fake news, and they’ve gotten quite good at it, to the point where fake news, by all outward appearances, resembles actual news. And finally, there is such a huge distrust of mainstream media, that increasingly people are turning to alternative and, shall we say, less vetted news sources.
All of this is creating a perfect storm wherein people are reading things on the internet that simply aren’t true, but are nonetheless being presented as fact. After public outcry, Facebook is taking some steps to trying and help crack down on fake news. In short, the plan is to create a feature whereby people can flag an article as “disputed.” People can still read the article, but they’ll be able to see a message saying the there are others who dispute the “facts” in it.
Cue people crying foul.
Immediately there was a backlash that Facebook was trying to “control” the news. The new measures, although sent to third-party fact checkers once flagged, are user generated. And they still don’t prevent you from viewing a disputed article. In reality, Facebook isn’t taking any false content off their site; they’re simply giving people a warning that what they’re about to read might not be entirely factual.
Despite this, there are still cries that this violates freedom of speech. Like this article, which warns that such measures limit the public from hearing “different points of view.”
Frankly, such arguments are bullshit, because anything that isn’t a fact really isn’t “a different point of view.” That’s a false equivalency. Saying that the earth is flat and gravity isn’t real isn’t “an alternate point of view”–it’s just plain wrong and not rooted in fact or reality.
Now, that isn’t to say that people shouldn’t be allowed to believe whatever they want. If you want to believe that the earth is flat or hollow or that vaccines cause autism or that lizard people run the government, fine. I can’t stop you. But there’s a difference between voicing your opinion and trying to represent your opinion as fact. One is clearly protected by freedom of speech while the other is not. Freedom of speech gives you license to say and believe whatever crazy thing you want without fear of imprisonment, but it doesn’t give you the right to proclaim it as fact.
An example. Person A posts something on their own Facebook feed that says, “I don’t believe vaccines work. I think that they cause autism, and I think parents shouldn’t vaccinate their children.” This is clearly someone’s personal opinion. Then there’s person B who creates a Facebook group with a title like, “Vaccine Research Group” and creates an article called “Vaccinating your children gives them autism,” which is filled with personal opinion organized in a journalistic format, but contains no factual information or citations.
There is a clear difference between what person A has done and what person B has done. Person A has expressed his or her own thoughts on a public forum. That, to me, is clearly protected by freedom of speech. Person B, however, has dressed their opinion up as journalism and represented it as fact. The latter is much more likely to influence someone to not vaccinate their children because they view it as a credible source–it’s news. This could lead to very real, physical harm in children. Which is what the difference is. Deliberately misleading people in a way that causes them harm goes beyond freedom of speech.
There’s a clear difference between being able to freely voice your opinions–which everyone has the right to do–and trying to represent your opinion as fact. The former is a critical part of a free society, while the latter is incredibly dangerous to society as a whole. The latter can get you in a whole heap of trouble, as Andrew Wakefield found out if we’re sticking with the vaccine example. He falsified research. That isn’t protected as ‘free speech.’ That’s fraud. And that’s what fake news is essentially–fraud.
As far as I’m concerned, the steps that Facebook is taking don’t go nearly far enough. I’d like to see Facebook create an algorithm that scans an article and looks at 1) how many citations there are, and 2) where those citations are from. Fake news has the potential to lead to great harm: further denial of climate change, dropping vaccination rates, increased use of “alternative” medicine that doesn’t work. And, as we’ve seen already, armed people invading pizza parlors. It’ll lead to further polarized politics, less discourse, and a greater misunderstanding of political and governmental processes.
It occurred to me a few weeks ago that the media does a real disservice to American society in terms of our elections. I’d go so far as to say that next to money in politics, the media is the most damaging thing to our electoral and political processes.
This all started because of something that happened on Facebook. An acquaintance of mine who’s very pro-Hillary posted something about how scary it is that Jill Stein is “Anti-vaccine.” The post came with an article, which I read. In the article, Stein says nothing about vaccines being evil. What she said was that people have “A lot of questions about vaccines.” That’s definitely true. People do indeed have a lot of questions. Some of those questions are either stupid or unwarranted, but they’re questions nonetheless. What she said specifically about vaccines is that she has a problem with the FDA being so closely tied to the medical industry. The words straight from the candidate’s own mouth:
In reality, there is no anti-vaccine controversy here because Stein isn’t anti-vaccine. The next criticism is, well, that just plays into the conspiracy that Big Pharma really controls everything.
While that might be true, it’s also true that Stein’s position is all about social responsibility, and that extends to corporations. But being anti-corporate isn’t the same thing as being anti-vaccine, and it isn’t even the same thing as confirming or suggesting that the government and drug companies know that vaccines are bad and conspire together. But that fact is lost on the media, which only cares about ratings and clicks.
I considered unfollowing (not un-friending) this person on Facebook, but then I realized that she wasn’t the problem. It seemed like everything I was following in social media had something to say about politics. Even pages that have absolutely nothing to do with political issues seemed to throw their two cents in. So I made the step to give up social media until the election is over. After November, I’ll re-evaluate and determine if it’s worth going back.
But the experience made me realize just how detrimental the media is to our national political discourse. The media doesn’t report at all on Stein or Johnson, who in my mind are just as viable candidates as Trump or Clinton. But the media gets to control the narrative, to direct the conversation. And the direction they take the conversation frequently seems to be at odds with what would in my mind constitute a healthy political environment.
It used to be that the news just reported the objective facts. But we’ve all seen how over the decades, and especially in recent years, this has devolved into opinion and commentary as news. This devolution of course meant that things began to separate along party or ideological lines. Entities like Fox News and MSNBC cater exclusively to ideas that their viewers want to hear, not information that their viewers need to hear. And so we get conservative and liberal folks who live in bubbles where the facts that support the other side of the argument don’t exist, and everyone else is wrong. The echo chamber is created.
And social media only reinforces the echo chamber. It gives everyone a chance to repeat the talking points and the headlines, and the more people who do that, the more something like “Jill Stein is Anti-Vaccine” becomes a fact in the minds of many people. It gives people like Glenn Beck a chance to stir the pot and make opinion and drivel sound like news. I mean, honestly, who would argue that politic discourse wouldn’t be more productive and civil if the likes of Rush Limbaugh didn’t pollute the airwaves?
But the media loves shock jocks because they drive up the ratings, and more ratings means more money. Perhaps along with getting the money out of elections we should also get the money out of the news. As long as money is the prime motivation for reporting the news instead of informing, we’ll always get sensationalizing and editorials en lieu of actual facts and objective information.
Ultimately, though, this leaves me wondering how anyone is supposed to get legitimately objective information about politics in this country. I suppose you could limit yourself to what the candidates themselves say. Watch their conferences and rallies, read their press releases and websites, watch their interviews and ignore everything else. But the “everything else” is so pervasive and ubiquitous that seems like a huge task, especially if you’re not a person who’s adept at evaluating informational sources.
But something has to change, and it has to change soon. The media gave birth to Donald Trump by feeding that machine until it became a reality. Hopefully people will also rise up and take control of their media when they take back their elections.
Suffice it to say, the Bernie supporters at the DNC this week simply weren’t having any of it. And I can’t say that I really blame them, in light of the DNC emails that surfaced right before the convention. I’m angry as hell, too, and I would have booed as well had I been there.
It’s one thing to tell Bernie supporters, “Get over it, he lost fair and square.” But there was nothing fair or square about it. There’s now ample evidence to show that party officials actively colluded to make sure that he didn’t get elected. That’s horrible on a lot of levels.
What was particularly galling to me was how so many people on that stage could get up and talk about principles and integrity at a convention where the heads of the party basically cheated to get their candidate the nomination. That’s not the Democratic party I want to be in. That’s not any political party I want to be in. It’s major hypocrisy.
What role did Clinton play in any of this? I have no idea, but it probably was a stupid move to make Debbie Wasserman Schultz her campaign chair right after the scandal caused her to resign from the DNC. That doesn’t look good, Team Hillary, if you’re reading this. It’s why nobody trusts your candidate.
In an election where democrats are already split, it’s especially upsetting to hear idiots like Sarah Silverman telling people who are upset that they’re “being ridiculous.”
Really? If that’s your attitude toward cheating, Sarah, then you’re a shitty human being. It wasn’t funny and it wasn’t poignant. What it was was demeaning. You don’t win over a coalition of voters by denigrating and bullying them.
And yet…come November, I’ll still vote for Hillary. Only because I don’t want Trump to win. Come 2020, I sure as hell hope some other candidate challenges her for the nomination.
But just like Republicans have reaped what they’ve sown with Donald Trump, so too will the Democrats regret their actions when 2018 rolls around. They’ve made it abundantly clear that they simply don’t care about their voters. And when those congressional midterms roll around, it’s probably a safe bet to say that they won’t be taking back control. They’ll win a few seats, but it won’t be enough.
Because people will remember how they were treated. Especially young people.
This is what should upset people the most about how the DNC behaved. Young people don’t support Clinton. They don’t support the status quo. They support the likes of Sanders, Stein, and Johnson. The future of the party is probably going to be very rocky, because I’d guess that young people will turn away from it in droves. Whether that means they’ll all identify as independents or join third parties is anyone’s guess.
Personally, I hope more of them join third parties, because it’s clear that the two parties we currently have just don’t give a shit about the people anymore. The smartest thing Sanders can do going forward is to help found a new political party for progressives. His followers are loyal, numerous, and on the right side of history. He could start a party that could actually challenge future mainstream candidates; he could help make third party mainstream.
I’ll vote for Hillary through gritted teeth this November. But I’ll be on the lookout for candidates and parties that actually support progressive and liberal ideals for future elections. Maybe Bernie would have still lost even without the plotting of the DNC. That’s certainly possible. But it’s also not what happened.
Folks, if you read me regularly then you know there’s nothing in the world I hate more than pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. Which is why I’ve been fairly perturbed as of late by my social media feeds being inundated by posts about “Natural cures they don’t want you to know about!” I’m sure a lot of you have seen the ads or sponsored pages pop up on Facebook or Twitter. Bullshit like this:
Look at that. 100k people think that cannabis just cures cancer. That’s something I’ve seen pop up quite a bit these days. Crap like, “Man with stage 4 cancer gets rid of it in a month with simple cannabis trick!” It’s the worst kind of social media offender: it’s simultaneously clickbait AND pseudoscience.
Just a cursory Google search yields all kinds of wacky bullshit results:
I mean, come on guys, this is totally on the up-and-up. If you can’t trust premier research institutes like Leafly, MedicalJane, and cureyourowncancer.org, just who the hell can you trust? I mean, just take a look at what this promises. Seven months of cannabis oil treatment and poof, goodbye cancer. Six terminal patients taking illegal cannabis oil?! Holy smokes. Of course, this kind of nonsense isn’t relegated simply to cannabis. “Natural cures” are the herpes of the pseudoscience world.
Which prescription meds is turmeric better than? For what diseases? Who knows! I think it’s safe to assume, though, that the claim will be something along the lines of “All of them, of course!” But we can climb one more rung up the bullshit ladder and arrive at the detox fad:
Well look at all of the stuff lemon and flax does. Not only will it “detoxify” you, but it’ll also cure your diabetes and get rid of that pesky cellulite. Simply amazing. Especially in light of the fact that “detoxing” is complete and utter horse shit, with all of the evidence in the world pointing to the inescapable fact that such cleanses do literally nothing for your health. And would you like to know why? Because your goddamned body already has an amazing filtration and detoxification system that works 24/7 your entire life. Folks, meet the real stars that keep you free of harmful toxins, your kidneys and your liver!
And there’s the granddaddy of all the natural cure bullshit: vitamin C. Motherfucking vitamin C, everyone. It cures everything, didn’t you know? Like, literally everything. Here, just take a look at this complete and utter drivel. What are some of things Natural News claims vitamin C therapy can cure?
Wow, that’s weird, exactly the diseases that vaccines eliminated. Almost as if these people are, I don’t know, trying to market something to a specific group of people, an untapped economic niche. It gets better, though. Here’s what else vitamin C can cure:
Ruptured intervertebral discs
The crux of this therapy is receiving high doses of vitamin C intravenously. Because somehow science. Who knows what the alleged mechanism of action here is because it’s never explained. In fact, no evidence or explanations are offered at all. Instead, the sell is in the fear.
Manufactured drugs are poisons that are slowly killing you all to make a profit! These natural cures are, like, way better, because natural always equals better. Duh. You can’t trust the government and Big Pharma. They’re all evil and just want your money. That’s why they make you sick, so that they can take your money!
Okay, let’s take the stupid one step at a time here.
First of all, vitamin C is water soluble. Meaning that whatever your body doesn’t absorb gets peed right out. In other words, there’s a saturation limit with vitamin C–cramming more than your body needs or can absorb into your veins is going to do precisely dick. Then there’s the matter of overdosing. Yes, even though it’s water soluble, you can still overdose, by doing something like, I don’t know, RUNNING IT INTO YOUR SYSTEM IV. Then you can suffer the nausea, vomiting, and kidney stones that nature apparently wanted you to.
Which speaks to another irony: there’s nothing “natural” about injecting vitamin C into your body intravenously. If you wanted to get your vitamin C the way nature intended, you’d fucking eat it, because that’s how your body was designed, to obtain vitamin C through diet.
As to the conspiracies, there are plenty. First, the idea that vaccines and modern medicine are a way to poison people and depopulate the planet. If that’s the plan, I’d say that they’re doing a super shitty job, considering the population continues to grow. Plus, isn’t it a rather stupid business model to kill your customer base? How the hell are you supposed to make money if you kill everyone?
Second, creating cures for things is not an excellent business model if you’re part of a conspiracy. Why bother creating vaccines when letting people just catch the diseases would result in much more profit? You’d think that the last thing Big Pharma would want to do is eradicate polio and smallpox, and yet…that’s precisely what they did. You’d think that they wouldn’t develop a cure for Hepatitis C, yet that’s exactly what Harvoni is. Again, this doesn’t really jive with the conspiracy theorists’ models.
“Well follow the money!” That’s what all of these people who think Big Pharma is out to get everyone and suppress the truth say. That’s an excellent idea. Why don’t we indeed follow the money…right over to the Natural News store! Well, that’s funny. Why are these guys making a profit if the only people who are motivated by profit are the bad guys?
I mean, fuck getting vaccines for free (which actually causes doctors to lose money, which again speaks against conspiracy) when you could just spend $650.00 on a stupid herbal medicine cabinet.
Or you could spend $164 on a single bottle of vitamin E. Seems totally legit. But you know what, guys. Before you do any of that, you have to know what health dangers are lurking in your house in the first place. But don’t worry, because the Natural News store has you covered again!
Better fork over that $379.00 to detect those electromagnetic fields before they fuck up your chi or reiki or whatever other bullshit you believe in. Never mind the fact that every electronic device and appliance in your house will emit an EM field, so the product is guaranteed to make you think you’re being besieged by electromagnet fields –electromagnets are killing you and giving you cancer! Ahhhh!
I mean, why on earth would you pay a $20 copay for a visit to a medical professional and get a generic prescription for $10 when you could fork over $1,029 to Natural News for an EM detector and some herbs? I mean, you don’t want those money grubbing physicians to win, do you? They’re only after your money!
Do vitamins play a role in health? Yes, obviously. Does cannabis have the potential to lead to new cancer fighting drugs? Yes. But simply claiming that if you shove the shit raw into your veins you’ll cure all diseases known to man is stupid in the highest degree, without a single shred of evidence or science to back it up. And, by the way, most drugs on the market are based in some way on something completely natural, like how aspirin is derived from willow bark, or ACE inhibitors came from the venom of pit vipers–most medication you think of as poison really comes from completely natural substances anyway.
Okay, one last thing to convince any natural cure advocates reading this. Let’s grant for one moment that cannabis really does cure cancer. And let’s say that vitamin C really does cure all of the things that they say they do. And let’s say that all those herbs really are curative. Why on earth wouldn’t Big Pharma take advantage of that? I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that if all of those things really did work, then drug companies would have already patented them and the only way you could get your vitamin C or lemon and flax detox would be by prescription. At the very least, if the conspiracies were true you’d think that the drug companies would still patent them and then just make them inaccessible to everyone so nobody could cure themselves. What kind of a stupid conspiracy is it to sell everyone poison but leave well known cures out there for anyone to use?
Maybe it’s because there is no conspiracy. Maybe the drug companies do rip you off as far as price gouging goes, but at least their products work. Or you could just fork over your cash to Big Vitamin and literally piss out all of your hard earned money.
Well, it’s time to debunk some more bullshit, folks.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff floating around online that revolves around two premises: 1) we have photographic proof of time travelers! and 2) there are secret alien bases on the moon.
Like all good conspiracy theories, they appear to have some validity visually. There’s always a hook, right? Some tantalizing morsel just within reach of reason. In this case, it’s strange things in photographs that seem anachronistic and weird shapes on the moon. To avoid confusion, let’s address these topics one at a time.
We captured a time traveler on film! Aha! Surely some of you have seen such claims on the internet recently. Stuff like this:
This guy is apparently a time traveler because he’s dressed in “modern” garb that doesn’t fit the period: a graphic t-shirt, cool sunglasses, and some kind of device in his hands. He’s basically a time traveling hipster. And then there’s this lady:
This is from a bit of film taken during the premier of a Charlie Chaplin movie. In the video, the woman walks across the screen, and it appears like she’s talking on a cell phone. And for something a little more recent, there’s this:
Look! That guy has a smart phone and he’s taking video with it…but it’s 1995! Obviously he’s a time traveler. Duh.
Except that all of these pictures have perfectly simple explanations. As far as the hipster goes, sun glasses have been around a lot longer than most young people think, and his clothing actually is typical of the era–he simply sewed a patch onto the front of his shirt. And how about the cell phone lady? Well, it’s probably not a cell phone, but rather an old timey hearing piece. One of these thingies:
And what about the smart phone at the Mike Tyson event some 20 years ago, before your Nokia had that snake game on it and Minesweeper was the most advanced computer game known to man? It’s actually just a really early model digital camera. Turns out that Eastman Kodak built the first electronic camera all the way back in 1975. By the time the 80’s had rolled around, Sony invented a camera that stored pictures on floppy disks. The “real” first digital camera went on sale in 1990. Here’s a pretty interesting timeline of the development of the technology. You’ll notice that a lot of those cameras look super weird and futuristic, even though they’re 20-30 years old.
So no, nobody is time traveling. Sorry to burst any bubbles out there, but it just ain’t happening. Or if it is, it hasn’t been caught on film. And if you think about it, the whole “caught on film” thing is where this entire theory starts to come apart.
Let’s grant for a moment that in the future someone does invent time travel, and that eventually it’s marketed for tourism. Well, surely there would be rules, right? Like, you’d have to go back wearing clothing appropriate to whatever period you’re going to. So you don’t end up wearing a Banana Republic ensemble in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, sticking out like a sore thumb and drawing unneeded attention to yourself. So, there goes the time traveling hipster: it would be really stupid and dangerous to let people go back to the distant past in future clothing for obvious reasons.
One would also think that there would be a rule against bringing technology from the future into the past, precisely so that that shit wouldn’t be caught on camera. Or, more practically, what if you died during your trip, and the people of the past found all of your crap from the future? Can you imagine if the old woman from the Chaplin premier was a time traveler and keeled over from a heart attack right outside the theater? The police and coroner of the time would find her magic future cell phone and then everything would go to shit. So no, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to take technology back with you.
It’s fun to imagine time travel, sure. But all of these pictures and videos prove nothing other than the fact that people are totally gullible.
Again, at first glance, this idea sounds remotely plausible. After all, if aliens were going to secretly monitor us, the best place to do that would probably be the moon. But when you look at the evidence and really dig into the theory, it all really starts to unravel, just like the time travelers. The ultimate claim is that there is leftover technology from aliens up on the moon, and NASA and the government know this and are altering or covering up the evidence to keep us in the dark. There’s a whole “documentary” about this on Netflix called Aliens on the Moon. It’s two hours, so I’ll summarize by telling you that it’s just a bunch of grainy pictures that have been retouched to highlight the parts that NASA supposedly altered. Like this crap:
I mean, really, guys. Those are totally secret alien moon base things. And obviously NASA is hiding them and covering them up. That’s why we stopped going to the moon: the aliens kicked us off (I’m not kidding, that’s what these people think).
Alright, let’s start with the obvious. Those pictures are so grainy and blurry and enlarged that it’s impossible to tell what the hell you’re looking at. So to claim that you can tell that a smudge on an old piece of film is really an alien piece of technology on the moon is quite the claim. Most of those pictures look benign or like they’re photoshopped. And speaking of Photoshop, let’s talk about those allegations against NASA.
Let’s grant for a moment that NASA did indeed discover that there either are or were aliens on the moon. And let’s also grant that there is photographic evidence of this. The next obvious question is why the fuck NASA would release those images in the first place, even if they are doctored. It’s stupid on NASA’s part to release any of those images, even the doctored ones, if they want to keep it secret. Why wouldn’t NASA just point the cameras at some totally boring part of the moon devoid of alien technology and then release those, keeping the smoking gun photos a secret or destroying them? It makes no sense to go through a convoluted plot of doctoring evidence you want to suppress in order to release it for public scrutiny, when there’s no reason to do that in the first place.
Ultimately this conspiracy, just like the time travelers, is a load of crap. And you can smell it a mile away. I’ll never understand for the life of me why some people cling to this stuff as literal truth. What the hell is going on in the minds of people who jump into these obviously stupid conspiracies and hold on for dear life?
A long time ago, I wrote a piece about how my brother loves that show Ancient Aliens, on “The History Channel.” I use quotations because over the last few years, the channel seems more concerned with Bigfoot, pawn shops, and aliens than it does with actual history. But, suffice it to say, I don’t really care for Ancient Aliens and other similar shows. It’s not because I don’t believe that aliens exist, or even that I don’t believe aliens may have visited the earth. No, it’s because the arguments and “evidence” used on the show are absolutely ridiculous.
My brother and I were watching one such show the other day. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was hosted by the doofus with the spiked hair and goofy name from Ancient Aliens. You may recognize him from all of the memes out there that celebrate his bias toward aliens.
Anyway, he was on some sort of expedition exploring the ruins of Puma Punku in South America. This place is home to some amazing architecture and construction…which obviously means that aliens did it. Duh. And that seems to be the fallback argument for all of these shows: “These structures are too advanced for ancient man to have built.” Here are some examples what was “too advanced for ancient man.”
Here, the show provides some pretty stupid arguments about why ancient man couldn’t have built these:
1) The angles are too perfect.
2) The stones are too huge and there aren’t any trees around to move them via log rolling.
3) The natives didn’t even have a written language back then! How could they have built these?!
Let’s address these points, shall we?
As to the tree dilemma, the answer is fairly simple: just go get some goddamn trees. It doesn’t take much. You just have to, you know, walk down the hill and cut some down and then drag ’em back up. You know where else there wasn’t an abundance of trees? Egypt. You know, where the pyramids were built. They just imported them. Finding trees isn’t hard.
They didn’t have a written language? Oh, heavens! I guess it would impossible to draw out instructions. You know, like a blueprint. Seems pretty simple to me. In fact, we still do that. If anyone has ever assembled Ikea furniture, you know that all of their instructions are diagrams.
And that leads us to the first point. The stones are “too well crafted.” The bullshittiest argument of them all. You hear this a lot in these kinds of shows. Something is too advanced for ancient man to have done. They didn’t have the knowledge or the tools or whatever.
To listen to these shows, you’d think that 1,000 years ago people walked around blowing spit bubbles and smearing their own feces on cave walls, totally inept and devoid of any logic or critical thinking. Obviously, that’s not true. And anyone with a modicum of intelligence and the most basic of education would know that.
People 1,000 years ago were no different than you or I, biologically speaking. Same thing if we go back 10,000 years. No difference. They had the exact same brain capacity that we do now. They were capable of the same complex thinking and problem solving that we’re capable of today. There’s zero reason why they wouldn’t have been able to understand or innovate when it came to math, architecture, construction, astronomy, or anything else. They were functionally no different than any human being alive today.
In fact they had some advantages that you and I don’t have. For one thing, time. Back when Puma Punku was built, people didn’t sit around all day watching cat videos and playing video games. They actually spent time outside, in nature, doing things, understanding how it worked.
A prime example of this is the recent discovery that the Egyptians built the pyramids simply by using wet sand to drag the large stone blocks. See, it didn’t take aliens to build the pyramids, just good old fashioned human ingenuity. How do we know that this how the Egyptians did it? Because there are freaking hieroglyphics depicting it. See, pictures can be just as powerful for instructing as a written alphabet.
Another advantage they had back then: zero light pollution. They knew a lot about astronomy because they could see a lot more of the night sky with the naked eye, not because aliens gave them star maps or whatever bullshit these dumbasses on Ancient Aliens believe.
I guess ultimately what I’m trying to say is that ancient human beings had the same sense of curiosity, industry, and ability to reason that we do today. There’s no reason to suspect they were simpletons because they didn’t have modern hydraulics or the internet or telescopic observatories. In order for these ancient astronaut theories to work, the human beings living in the pre-modern world would have to have been complete morons. Unfortunately for spiky haired guy and others like him (I’m looking at you, Von Daniken), there’s zero evidence to support that, and all the evidence to support the idea that ancient humans were basically the MacGyvers of their day.