DVD Review: Ancient Aliens
Written By: Jeff Behnke
As a matter of principle, I would watch just about anything with ’aliens’ or ’ghosts’ or ’conspiracy’ in the title— “Ancient Aliens” thus fits the bill quite nicely for a Wednesday evening. And considering I’ve watched so many of these documentaries, I’ve developed a taste for certain things in them…much like a connoisseur of instant coffees would develop preferential tastes for certain flavor crystals. I am looking for merit—and by God, I will find it.
This documentary went as expected—interviews were conducted with experts of anthropology, archaeology, religion, and physics—in contrast to interviews with unqualified ancient astronaut ’enthusiasts’—what else would you call them?-- who have published books and articles that give more than just a tip of the hat to good old Erich Von Daniken.
The enthusiasts, on one hand, are passionate about everything they say, like
“And the only thing that can cut diorite is a diamond saw!”
“This is the equivalent of finding a jet airplane in a sealed Egyptian tomb! So I’ve heard!”
“And I think no architect can even do anything like this today!”
“And this calculating device--which can only be described as a computer--was found in something, like, 200 BC!”
Now, I really wanted to believe the guys making these statements because it was similar to watching David vs Goliath—with David being ’open’ to the possibility of his absolute destruction since he has but a sling and some heart. As such, I found myself rewatching the documentary just to re-experience the enthusiasm. All of their statements were quite easily attacked, however, by the experts who seem to be more than willing to correct the flaws and reasoning of these so called ’enthusiasts’ while flashing their PhDs on the bottom of the screen as if they were FBI badges. Yes, my friends, ancient astronaut enthusiasts are nothing more than murders of the truth--who must be stopped!
When I see a PhD of anything who is there to ’correct’ the enthusiasm people from the street have for things like polished rocks, I am immediately assaulted by one thought: fuck you. In all honesty, though, this is a generalization--some skeptical people with PhDs and no imagination aren’t half bad. But in the same light, people without PhDs who express a “mystery” that could have a natural explanation, doesn’t mean everything they say should be thrown in that same ’ignore everything else from here on out’ bucket as well. Enthusiasts are looking for a reason to be in AWE of existence and of our origins—and in many cases, they do indeed find it where others just find bones and old superstitions. Yes, it’s true, for instance--you can cut diorite with more than just a modern day diamond saw—but did they? Sure, you can make a pyramid without an anti-gravity device—but did they? And there are still legitimate mysteries, such as how the hell were 800 ton blocks moved to Puma Punku in the first place, and why? If the explanation isn’t ancient astronauts, does the high bizarreness of the activity of these ancient people at least open up the door to an advanced civilization from beyond 12,000 BC? Atlantis? Doesn’t it at least open up the door to holes in accepted axioms? Many professionals with PhDs get paid to respect even flawed precedence just as the editor of Skeptic Magazine gets paid to be skeptical—both of their jobs depend upon them ’remaining’ so. Without enthusiasts pointing out reasons to be enthused, however, no one would be enthused. There would be no mystery, no secrets, no new world order to fight—just bland, monotonous repetition.
You cannot help but see the sparkle and wonder in the eyes of the enthusiasts, just as you cannot help but see the sparkle in the eyes of the ’experts’ being killjoys. It is important for all of us to find meaning and purpose in any way possible—and it is obvious on both accounts that all of these people interviewed in this documentary have found just that. To my fellow enthusiasts, hats off for another glorious effort against the invincible thought police. To my fellow PhD resistance—there will come a day…when the enthusiasts shall win.