As mentioned previously, I have an inexplicable fondness for the “Ancient Aliens” show on the History channel. It’s such a bizarre mishmash of every crazy idea out there in the UFO community that it ends up being hilarious where it ought to be just reprehensible.
To give you an idea of the wackiness, the episode they re-ran last night featured a guy whose job title was “Biblical archaeologist,” which is usually incredibly dodgy– most of the people appearing on the History channel with that job title are trying to use archeology to demonstrate the literal truth of some Old Testament story. On this show, though, he was the voice of reason.
Anyway, while I was half-dozing and watching them swing between weirdly literal readings of the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, I thought of the scene in Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco, in which Jacopo Belbo divides the world into four types of people: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics. Cretins and fools never bother publishers like the Belbo and the narrator, and morons just use logic incorrectly. A lunatic, on the other hand, is “a moron who doesn’t know the ropes”:
The lunatic is all idÃ©e fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
It seemed like the Ancient Aliens folks had hit all the bases of Eco’s definition of the lunatic, except for the Templars. I didn’t really see any way they could be connected to the loopy cosmology of the show, though.
It turns out, though, that I was underestimating them.
In the final half-hour or so, the meandering discussion of crazy things somehow wandered into Nova Scotia, specifically Oak Island. Whereupon everybody’s favorite windblown alien expert explained that the hidden treasure at the bottom of the Oak Island “money pit” was the alien power supply/ communications device, knife missile known to humans as the Ark of the Covenant. Which wound up at the bottom of a deep hole in Nova Scotia because it was carried there by…
…wait for it…
… The Templars!
He shoots! He scores! The crowd goes wild!
I think they really have achieved the Grand Unified Theory of Kookiness with this show. They’ve managed to tie essentially every batty belief, fringe fantasy, and nutty notion into a giant web of lunacy. It’s an astonishing piece of work.
And that was only the next-to-last episode of this season. I have a hard time imagining what they have left to connect to this all-encompassing kook cosmology. Suggestions are welcome in the comments, though.