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Look Over There, at Marco Rubio's Flying Saucer

Illustration for article titled Look Over There, at Marco Rubios Flying Saucer
Image: Mario Tama (Getty Images)

In the ’90s The X-Files became a nearly instantaneous addition to the American zeitgeist after building an entire television series and movie franchise around the idea that the government has known about the existence of extraterrestrials for decades and engaged in a vast, deadly conspiracy to withhold that information from the American public. But as covid-19 turns out to be a vast, deadly testament to the ineptitude of the American government and the president sends g-men in vans to snatch peaceful protesters off the street, a more timely conspiracy theory is one in which the American government starts talking about aliens to distract from the fact that they’re fucking killing people.

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The government’s UFO branch—named the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, ostensibly because Space Force was already taken—has announced plans to make public some findings about the retrieval of what former official Eric Davis told the New York Times are “off-world vehicles not made on this earth” in March. The new UFO unit is preceded by another Pentagon UFO program that gave classified intelligence briefings on unexplained sightings of unidentified flying objects to congressional committees from 2007-2017.

Now, for the first time, some of this information will be made public as the newly formed task force updates the Senate Intelligence Committee on its findings every six months. But in an interview last week, acting intelligence committee chairman Marco Rubio told CBS Miami that he’s worried the objects aren’t from aliens, but technically advanced weapons built by our old Cold War enemies (though X-Files was the first to ask “Why not both?” in regards to this scenario):

“Frankly, that if it’s something from outside this planet — that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary,” Rubio said in the interview.

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Whether these materials were sent by intelligent and hopefully benevolent lifeforms from space, enemies from abroad, or perhaps a higher power finally getting around to punishing us for the myriad transgressions various religious texts prophesy that we will eventually have to die for, the question for Mulder and Scully remains: Why is the government suddenly so chatty about the spaceships they’ve got lying around? What are they really hiding? Scully would say there’s a perfectly logical explanation for this, but fans of the show know that she always sounds right but never is.

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DISCUSSION

OneHandedSquire thinks the post office is good

My personal theory, as someone who holds a modified version of solipsism and has a neurodegenerative disorder, is that reality is going to get weirder and scarier as my brain continues to melt. Sorry, if true.

But playing along with my perceived rules of reality, as I do, I hazard a few guesses for the sudden drip, drip of UFO news:

The conspiratorial take is that the powers that be expect something to happen they can’t conceal, or they’re preparing the public for something. 2020 would be a good year to do a Friday news dump that, BTW, there are aliens. It would probably still be page six news, buried behind Trump’s latest tweet storm.

The story on Gizmodo mentioned that Harry Reid thinks the private sector has some evidence of these UFOs. If it’s gotten that diffuse, it’s probably inevitable we’ll find out more, one way or another. Also, living in a more connected and surveilled world, we’re likely seeing more UFOs, making them impossible to hide. (Side bar: in 100% seriousness, UFOs indisputably exist. What’s debatable is if they’re aliens, weird physical phenomena we don’t understand, experimental craft, Wakandans, maliciously edited video, whatever.)

The only thing that I think lends the “preparing the public” theory any credence is that the New York Times was comfortable printing “off-world vehicles,” which is new and way bolder than saying, “yeah, there’s some weird stuff going on, but we don’t pretend to know what it is exactly.

I think, more likely than any of that, politicians, their constituents, officials, researchers, contractors, etc., are probably really interested in all these weird sightings and supposed physics defying materials and can’t/don’t want to keep it secret. Why would they? It’s all weird and cool and mysterious! And people want to know! I mean even such fringe weirdos as Bill and Hilary Clinton casually mentioned declassifying UFO information when they were running for POTUS. So, of course, there’s going to be UFO news.

I suppose it could also be some sort of convoluted psyop, a la Reagan’s “Star Wars,” where we’re hoping to make rivals waste a bunch of money looking for UFOs and strange materials. Though, if that were the case, I’d expect Trump wouldn’t be capable of waiting for a slow build-up. He’d be out there every day talking about how we have the most tremendous space ships, like you’ve never seen before.

Of course, with something this weird, it could be something less readily imaginable.