[Marxism] Fwd: Close encounters of the racist kind | Southern Poverty Law Center

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 18 07:10:06 MST 2018

Over the last decade, the History Channel has exploited and fueled the 
popularization of alternative archeology, or alt-history. Numerous 
programs on the network showcase ideas that, while not explicitly racist 
or anti-Semitic, have origins in colonial projects and have been 
championed (for a reason) by modern extremists.

Take “America Unearthed,” which aired between 2012 and 2015 on H2, a 
defunct History Channel network. That show’s host, a geologist named 
Scott Wolter, promoted theories that ancient Celts and Scots settled 
North America and hybridized Native Americans centuries before Columbus. 
The details can be found in Wolter’s contributions to Lost Worlds of 
Ancient America, a 2012 anthology edited by Frank Joseph, born Frank 
Collin, founder of the National Socialist Party of America. (In 1993, 
following his expulsion from the party for “impure blood”, Collin became 
editor of Ancient American magazine and has authored dozens of books 
dealing with ancient “suppressed” history.) In another episode, when a 
guest professes admiration for the Knights of the Golden Circle, a group 
of wealthy Southerners who sought to create a hemispheric slave empire, 
Wolter just nods. (Wolter has denied that he or his ideas are racist, 
and claims to be politically liberal.)

Whatever the personal politics of the host, these shows serve as vectors 
for racist ideas and scholarship, argues the independent scholar Jason 
Colavito, who has been tracking this cultural crossover and 
amplification of fringe history for years. In books like Foundations of 
Atlantis, Ancient Astronauts, and Other Alternative Pasts, Colavito 
explores and debunks many of the ideas promoted on the History Channel 
and far right websites alike.

“These shows serve as entry points for discredited nineteenth-century 
ideas and point viewers toward the sources of extremist 
pseudo-scholarship and politics,” says Colavito. “The idea that aliens 
built the pyramids isn’t so funny when it draws young people to websites 
that quickly switch out aliens for Jews and start talking about gas 

Shows like “America Unearthed” are heavily discussed on white 
nationalist alt-history forums, as well as general far right political 
sites like Stormfront. They are routinely praised for introducing 
viewers to variations on the Solutrean Hypothesis (see below) and 
raising the profile of racist pseudo-scholarship.


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