by Skylaire Alfvegren
For eons I have continued gathering strange and esoteric facts, traveling the globe in search of lost archeological wonders and heretical truths; consequently, many moons have passed since my humble words have graced these pages. But a tremendous burden has been laid upon my bosom, and before FIZZ rides off into the sunset, I feel it is my duty to share it with you, dearest reader.
A decade ago, when I was an impressionable elfling, E.T. represented all I was looking for in escapist childhood fantasy; he offered something no Cabbage-Patched monstrosity could. That interplanetary pug-ugly instigated my lifelong fascination with the unknown, the hoary nether regions of inner and outer space. I asked myself, 'Is there life on other planets?' 'Is it smarter than us?' and 'Why can't I make my finger light up?' As I've matured, so have my queries, and they've been condensed into one that you're to answer: Where were you in the Great Alien Invasion of 1997?
Observant readers will note that UFOs and the alien presence have never been brought up in File o' the Damned. This is not for lack of material or opinion. (The 50 year-old UFO question is simply impossible to dissect in 2000 words). UFOs and alien imagery seem to be the hot topic today. Like all effective propaganda, it's influence grew quietly, with Bill Barker's stick-figured SCHWA graphics; ubiquitous, ovoidal cranium dimestore decals and smiley-face aliens decorating the psychedelic chests of cyber-hippie love muffins. Some time later came aliens smoking Locoweed on blacklight posters and T-shirts at the local Wal Mart, child-incinerating polyurethane Halloween costumes and cute household items. The archetypal Gray has become an icon, the '60s smiley face updated for these apocalyptic times, found alongside Elvis, Marilyn and Jesus, even (if the wall art at my local 99¢ store is an accurate barometer of public taste).
Sure, extra-terrestrials have long been in the minds of the masses. They have provided thrills, chills and comic relief on My Favorite Martian, ALF, The Man Who Fell To Earth, decades filled with half-baked sci-fi entertainment. Aliens, in their various forms, have been a staple of pop culture. (E.T. and Invasion of the Body Snatchers are among the 25 films chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.)
But never has the 'invasion' been pushed, as it is being presently. The press has become unusually straightforward about UFO stories; aliens, saucers and abduction imagery have been integrated into corporate advertising. No matter what side of the wormhole you fall, everyone agrees we super-advanced humans need a diversion. Predictable elements and time-tested explanatory systems are nearly gone: Communism, Capitalism, Religion, Tradition. 'Acceleration at warp-speed' can't adequately describe the progress made in this century.
Historically, one can parallel the alien revolution of the 1990s to the spiritual movement of the 1890s, when Blavatsky's mysterious Tibetan gurus resided, conveniently, on the spiritual plane. But an endless carpet of stars makes for an even greater hiding place than the astral plane. That was the end of century, this is the end of a millennium. The worries have magnified and compounded. The inticing images of spiritualist utopias have been replaced with demonic visions of a wasteland in need of extraterrestrial intervention, wisdom to make right the blunders of man. People are angry at science; after all, it gave us bombs, pollution and that damned personal computer. This makes some more receptive to mysticism; conversely, The alien of today has replaced the spooks of yesteryear, lurking under beds and in the dark corners of the bedroom.
Aliens are on the go; they have been thought to traverse sacred energy grids; to station themselves in underwater bases; blamed for livestock mutilations which came to light in the 1960s. (Which have been occurring for centuries, just like UFO sightings). Aliens are ascribed mystical powers, telepathic powers, the ability to travel inter-dimensionally. Aliens are blamed for everything, though UFOs are just as inconsistent as their enthusiasts. Some individuals are searching for something incredible, new smoke and mirrors to replace their Harlequin romances and karaoke fantasies. And while as a whole, the scientific community operates by dogma, ostracizing dissidents, it is just as unhealthy to discount it as it is to take "Coast to Coast" as gospel. Aliens probe, invent, heal and kill. They are very exciting.
New-agers have been quite taken by the idea of ETs as endlessly benevolent, peaceful beings concerned only with righting the ills of humanity (the environment, race relations, male pattern baldness). Their culture is advanced millions of light years beyond our own.
Current opinion polls have recorded the highest number of UFO believers ever; and 80% of those believe the government is lying about UFOs. We need aliens. They will save us. Or they will decimate our major population centers and enslave the miserable remaining few. But the action word here is THEY. They will control our destinies, our lives. We won't have to! It doesn't matter if they eat us or teach us to end war, the point is, we won't be accountable for what happens. Sandy Duncan appeared on a talk show a few years ago speaking of ET visitations. "They want to save us," she said earnestly. "They know we've practically ruined the planet."
Earthlings love to blame other earthlings when things fuck up. This is a species-wide response. We blame the teasing our corrective shoes brought in youth for the bloated shrink bill we've run up as an adult; we blame our bosses for lack of motivation at work, we blame, we blame, we blame... for our mistakes, we blame everyone but ourselves. Sometimes we blame our government and represented officials, still a nebulous group, even though they do actually shape our destinies. (So stop griping and do something, dammit!)
The 50th Anniversary of the Crash at Roswell
Now that the hoopla surrounding July's 50th Anniversary of the Roswell incident has wound down, one can examine our government's real UFO policy. The Air Force explanations become increasingly dubious while allowing the idea of an extraterrestrial presence to flourish. The Pentagon claims "we're not prepared for an alien invasion". One response? "pre-emptive surrender."
Col. Philip J. Corso's 'monumental' expose "The Day After Roswell" asserts long standing, world-wide alien contact has been kept from the public; and that it can be thanked for propulsion psychics, fiber optics and pacemakers. (Our military didn't want a repeat of the panic caused by Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast.) One would expect a congressional investigation when a retired Pentagon official exposes an half-century of government lies. But no. Our government is encouraging UFO confusion; they have released no decisive message, but have ensured the concept of ET contact is planted firmly in the collective unconscious.
What would the government get out of scrambling the UFO issue? Plenty.
Aliens are portrayed as sinister geneticists hell-bent on mass destruction and/or enslavement. Clinton embraces the corrupt leader of China, the last Red superpower. Who can the government make us scared of in this age of global understanding and tax-free trading? Inter-galactic enemies are an intangible, amorphous threat, and a great diversionary tactic: in this post Cold War era, the throngs must be convinced all those billions sucked up by the military aren't wasted.
So now that the idea of ETs has finally invaded mainstream consciousness, we find the least camaraderie among believers. The more varied theories and ideas circulating the more confusion possible. One must ask, are alien activists like Art Bell, Whitley Streiber, Col. Corso and Richard Hoagland... for real? Are they government marionettes, egomaniacs or truly inspired? (Commander X, contactee/hybrid parent/philosopher is actually a well known conspiracy author fattening his bankroll during off-season) When one's desire for the extra-ordinary becomes stronger than a desire for truth, you are in trouble.
The CIA is too busy overthrowing democratically elected governments in South America to deal with the ragtags who gather for UFO conventions; still, jokes are made about lecturers being tapped. When asked if the government were hiding their alien contact from the public, one observer commented "They could barely hide their sale of arms to the Contras; what makes you think they could hide ETs?" Conferences are a forum for non-academics to present their ideas, that's important, but shouldn't do away with principles of research. Everything in moderation.
In a nutshell, my message for today is: don't be a sucker. Ask questions, read books, think thoughts. Few people have all the answers, and they all sit on the Bilderberg Committee, and you can't talk to them anyway. The UFO question is still shrouded in mystery. Ask: Why are sightings of certain types of 'ET' craft concentrated in one part of the world? Why did triangular, mile-wide 'holographs' make nonstop appearances over Europe last year ('Coast to Coast' host Art Bell reported one of North America's only sightings of such a craft in Nevada)? Why is Mexico inundated with 'plasma crafts', nebulous orbs pulsating with soft, amber light, which appear almost no where else? The naive days of George Adamski, Kenneth Arnold and Valiant Thor (a dapper emissary from the planet we call Venus) may be over, but the UFO question has only grown more complex. It would take a helluva lot more than pie tins to fake a saucer scare in this day and age....
Please send all letters, clipped articles, elf magic, alien artifacts, and general pleasantness to: Skylaire Alfvegren, P.O. Box 291842, Los Angeles, CA 90029. (enclose SASE for a recommended reading list and/or sparklingly witty response).