Graphic from The History Channel
Since 2010, “Ancient Aliens” has proven to be a solid ratings winner for both The History Channel and the A&E Network. This is despite the show’s reliance on unique and often unproven theories; in fact, one of the show’s biggest criticisms is how the show presents these theories as if they were indeed factual in nature (the low-end production values didn’t help, as noted in this review published in the McGill Tribune.)
I admit I’ve watched a few episodes of “Ancient Aliens” with a sense of bemusement on random late nights. But as my interest in history grew in my later years, I realized there was a deeper undercurrent of something more disturbing within shows like “Ancient Aliens” – the whole concept that ancient peoples (especially those of indigenous or non-Caucasian societies) couldn’t have possibly built all the fantastical structures themselves.
This concept is hardly a new one – despite their own encounters with savagery, disease, and superstitious beliefs, European societies developed a sense of superiority which led to a cultural imperialism – in the four centuries between 1500 and 1900, European powers had conquered 84 percent of the globe.
In reality, what was presented to them in lands outside their borders was merely different. The judgment of inferiority was strictly their own creation, and it led to laughable, dire, and sometimes fatal consequences for the eventual colonists.Continue reading “Aliens unto Aliens”