Explaining the Unexplainable: Blame It on Aliens
The day after Thanksgiving, as I was flipping channels, I came across the show Ancient Aliens on the History Channel, a network whose name I pronounce Quote-History-Channel-Unquote. I don’t think they can legally call it “History” without placing it in air quotes. And I know what you’re thinking. Flipping channels? Yes, I was flipping channels. People do it all the time.
But as I craved cornbread dressing leftovers and watched the show, I began to realize what a rich vein of entertainment these folks are mining, how perfect a formula they’ve stumbled upon. As I’ve mentioned before, the History Channel already has the hellish apocalypse market sewn up, but its assortment of paeans to ancient aliens must be just as lucrative.
These shows feature heavy hitters from the secret alien crowd, including the granddaddy of them all, Erich von Däniken, author of the bestselling books Chariots of the Gods and History is Wrong. Also included is a gentleman named Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, best-known for his perplexing hair and equally confusing pronunciation of the word “extraterrestrials.” Tantalizing show titles include “Secrets of the Mummies,” “Decoding the Cosmic Egg,” “The Great Flood,” and “Aliens and Ancient Engineers.” Is there a better way to spend a holiday?
Calling themselves “ancient astronaut theorists,” these wide-eyed thinkers swell with pride as they speculate about the origins of structures, features, and locations like the Egyptian pyramids, the Nazca Lines, Stonehenge, and the fabled city of Atlantis. When these theorists refer to actual researchers—you know, the ones who offer rational explanations for things—they call them “mainstream scientists,” with all the disdain you’d expect to hear from a snobby art gallery director dismissing a Thomas Kinkade painting.
The sophisticated premise of the Ancient Aliens series is as follows:
1) There are many unexplained things in this world.
2) Aliens are responsible for all of them.
It’s utter genius, and it all comes down to this: Everything inexplicable was built by aliens. Or built for aliens, at least. So the Nazca Lines may be folk art tributes to faraway visitors or artificial references to help the ETs land their spacecraft. Atlantis, long thought to be the one-time hometown of Aquaman’s kinfolk, may actually have been a fancy spaceport for out-of-town aliens.
Never mind that if these ancient monuments, obelisks, and drawings were meant to serve as guides for alien craft, our ancestors were either incredibly bad at following directions or those aliens were the crappiest delegators who ever broke the speed of light. We’ll forget all that for the moment, though. In fact, we’ll forget it forever. Let us not speak of it again.
“Can I say that ancient aliens built the pyramids?” the breathless truth-seeker asks.
“No,” he answers.
“Can I say they didn’t build the pyramids?” he inquires right away, before someone can ask why he just answered his own question.
“No,” he replies again, revealing how liberating it can be to both ask and answer your own questions.
This unassailable line of reasoning led me to what I do best, asking “what if” questions. Going down that road, what other inexplicable things might those overachieving ETs be responsible for?
For instance, can we say that Jesus Christ was an ancient alien? No. Can we say he wasn’t an ancient alien? No. Think about all those supernatural things he did: turning water to wine, multiplying people’s lunches, calming storms, returning from the dead. As ancient astronaut theorists know, those are the bailiwick of ancient aliens.
Here’s another one: Can we prove that ancient aliens developed the concept of Daylight Savings Time? No. Can we say they aren’t responsible for Daylight Savings Time? Come on, you know the answer. And even if the U.S. government is directly responsible for DST, we know from another Quote-History-Channel-Unquote show that aliens are behind our government and have been for years. By the transitive property of terrible logic, then, Daylight Savings Time equals ancient aliens.
What do you know? That actually is fun.