Given the recent furore over comments about UFOs by Hillary Clinton, her campaign chairman, John Podesta, and punk rocker, Tom DeLonge – it’s time for a reality check. From the subculture that is ufology – the study of UFOs and their alleged occupants – to the mainstream media, punk musicians, The Pentagon and now even presidential candidates, everyone… yes, everyone, is using UFOs and the idea of alien visitation to sell something. So where’s the truth and what’s the reality? And is there really any money in UFOs?
UFO Sociology Part 1 – The Subculture
Within the tiny branch of the entertainment industry that is the UFO research community, I’ve rarely seen so much delusion, conjecture and false advertising. For me, this has been a personal journey. I have long since had enough of many of these people misrepresenting my experiences and bringing disrepute on those of us who have had UFO or related phenomena in our lives.
This has been, at times, a jarring trip. For many others it seems more like a self-branding or marketing opportunity, or a chance to sell trinkets and fake alien skulls at yet another poorly-attended convention. The UFO community has turned one of mankind’s most profound mysteries into a tiny cottage industry where the most profound outcome any of us can possibly experience is to buy more shit that we don’t need. It says little of the subject. Is it any wonder that the majority of the wider public, whilst expressing a genuine interest and curiosity in UFOs, is uninterested to any degree in the deeper UFO movement or subculture? Apart from a few notable exceptions the UFO subculture has failed to make any serious headway in influencing or educating the wider public on the UFO issue.
A quick glance at conference attendances or website traffic soon discloses the truth about this. The internet revolution, whilst promising so much for subjects like UFOs, has certainly been a double edged sword. Whilst giving the world access to UFO information like never before, much of it is of dubious quality. It’s also polluted the subject with insane amounts of content – nondescript Youtube videos, net radio shows, podcasts (yes, we can include my own) and poorly written or researched blog posts and articles. It’s also given birth to an epidemic of bizarre, new age beliefs from people who claim to have most or all of the answers. I guess in the absence of any kind of content editing or information filter, we all become our own editors, choosing who and what to believe many times a day. Finding relevant and worthy content is becoming harder and harder amongst the noise.
UFO stuff and things and stuff
The UFO subculture and the subject as a whole also suffers from an indelible image crisis. The tin foil hat wearing, window licking cliche lives on and many respectable people with respectable jobs feel uncomfortable dealing with it. The image of a white guy in his ginch, watching Youtube videos whilst smoking bowls of hydroponic weed and eating Doritos isn’t actually that far from the truth in some cases. Looking at stats. of other subculture events and net traffic (Furries, Bronies, Star Trek, Sci-fi, Comics, Cat Fanciers, etc., etc.) – these all tower over anything the UFO community can currently dream of. Whilst the bizarre subculture of Bronies (men who obsess about My Little Pony) get thousands of attendees at their BronyCon, UFO conferences often struggle to get a couple of hundred. Houston, we have a problem.
Bronycon – adult fans (mostly male) of My Little Pony – 10,000 attendees in 2015
Whilst I am aware we can’t make direct comparisons with these groups of people, I’m merely trying to point out that – given the large numbers of people polled that believe in UFOs – these attendances just seems staggeringly low. Perhaps UFO events are far less entertaining, the research simply isn’t engaging enough to a wider audience, or maybe there are just too many dullards in sensible shoes. One thing is certain though. There is currently a large disconnect between the UFO subculture and the wider public.
Current UFO Market Value Rating – <$
UFO Sociology Part 2 – The Mainstream Media
Beyond this is a largely controlled mainstream media that has primarily tried to do what it always has – sell advertising whilst attempting to entertain and sometimes inform. But in also doing so has instigated genuine interest in UFOs amongst the general populace and wider culture. It’s also been less than honest, muddied waters and even set out to confuse about UFOs. This is hardly surprising given who owns and controls most of these media companies.
Raised on a steady diet of sci-fi and cliched National Enquirer type headlines from our earliest memories, the last few decades gave birth to the The X-Files and more recently, a barrage of poorly put together reality/fake TV shows – Ancient Aliens, Hangar 1, Chasing UFOs, Fact or Faked, UFOs Declassified, UFOs: The Untold Stories – the list goes on and on. I’ve lost track of how many of these shows there are. Today things are a far cry from the classic UFO lore shows of the nineties. Who remembers Tim White and Sightings, the seminal Channel 4 (UK) documentary Billion Dollar Secret (a billion seems somehow quaint these days) or even Linda Molten Howe’s A Strange Harvest? Although not all strictly mainstream created shows, all garnered considerable mainstream attention or distribution and were important in the propagation of the subject being seen by millions and showcasing the subject in a relatively serious light.
And so to today.
Let’s take just one of the aforementioned shows – the MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) sanctioned 2014 show, Hangar 1 – The UFO Files. MUFON are the largest civilian UFO research organisation on the planet, yet according to Wikipedia have just 3000 members. Let’s be kind and assume they have at least tripled that after the mainstream exposure of Hangar 1 – that’s still under 10,000 members – roughly equivalent to a single BronyCon event for the subject that deals with what is (arguably) one of the biggest questions of our time.
(NOT) Hangar 1
MUFON’s official mission statement reads : The Scientific Study Of UFOs For The Benefit Of Humanity.
Yet, amongst the supposed MUFON case files, Hangar 1 was riddled with fiction. There is no Hangar 1 – it doesn’t exist – and many of MUFON’s more interesting cases are not even available to many of their own members, let alone the general public. As if this nonsense wasn’t bad enough, paid ACTORS played ufologists alongside real ones. Interestingly, these fully scripted segments got equal amounts of air time to many of the leading lights in the UFO field. As far as I’m aware, nobody from MUFON or anyone who participated in this charade have ever publicly expressed having an issue with this. How is this scientific or benefiting humanity? By giving us something to watch whilst eating our Doritos?
This pattern is simply repeated – Chasing UFOs was of similar integrity and employed spurious characters posing as UFO investigators who never investigated anything, let alone found anything. And yes, that’s right, the show Finding Bigfoot, never found Bigfoot either. I realise this is, at best, mediocre entertainment for the masses – but doesn’t this blending of reality and fiction do a huge disservice to the potential seriousness of the UFO subject? The subliminal takeaway is – don’t take this too seriously. It’s just fine for mindless entertainment, bringing in viewers and advertising dollars though.
Ufologist… actor Dwight Eqkitz
In the past week, MTV have commissioned a whopping thirteen scripted reality TV shows because… guess what? Many people now don’t actually care if anything is real or not. They just want to be entertained and sedated. This barrage of appalling paranormal shows that merge half truths and fiction have helped turn huge amounts of interest toward the UFO subject, of that there can be little doubt. Indeed, most surveys since the advent of The X-Files have thrown out staggering numbers of the US population who “believe” in UFOs. Surveys vary, but most agree that this demographic now makes up the majority of people in the United States. More on this later.
Current UFO Market Value Rating – $$$
You’ve Been Punk’d!
Tom DeLonge is a guitarist and frontman, formerly of punk band Blink 182 and now with Angels and Airwaves. Blink 182 were responsible for the adolescent, frat boy musings on albums Enema Of The State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and massive hit singles All The Small Things and What’s My Age Again?
With an interest in UFOs for years, Tom now claims he has special access to Above Top Secret information and programmes regarding UFOs and aliens from a group of government and military insiders. Much of this alleged information was recently included in his novel with A.J. Hartley, Sekret Machines Book 1 – Chasing Shadows. Check out his mainstream media coverage – it’s impressive. Most major publications ran features over the past weeks. (Rolling Stone article here).
So let’s get this straight. All of those self ascribed experts who jumped into UFOs thinking that when the big UFO disclosure day would come would be MADE and appear 24/7 on CNN or Fox News were just upstaged by…. a guy from a punk band. And worse still, DeLonge’s big “inside info” reveal is basically the deFacto mantra of the military-industrial elite and the perfect reason why we need to carry on spending $650 billion a year of public taxpayer money into the largely private accounts of the military-industrial complex. Hell, with full on disclosure (or even just disclosing to policy makers or hinting at it over and over) maybe they can even multiply that by a ten or hundred? He’s their poster boy (“Lockheed Martin are AWESOME”) and he’s reaching the masses via the mainstream in a way that most UFO disclosure campaigners could only have dreamt of.
Here’s what Tom has to say about his work with these top-secret insiders.
“I wanted to reverse people’s cynical view of government, not politicians. But the government and what it’s doing. There are people doing really heroic work. When people hear this they’re going to be so relieved that it’s not some big, bad secret government. It will change the way people feel about our military and intelligence leadership”
With all due respect Tom, how on Earth would you know?
I see Sekret (PR) Machines spinning above my head right now. And let’s not forget Tom’s multi-media and merchandise selling operation – To The Stars Media. The pay off for being the military-industrial PR wunderkind is that you get to sell lots and lots of swag to the kids.
DeLonge Current UFO Market Value Rating – $$
Military Industrial Current UFO Market Value Rating – $>∞
… Enter The Dragon
On March 24th 2016, Democratic presidential candidate, front runner and friend to the elite, Hillary Clinton, appeared on The Jimmy Kimmel Show where she was asked about UFOs. This wasn’t so surprising as Kimmel – someone with a passing interest in UFOs – had already asked presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama about the topic on previous occasions. What was more notable was that her campaign chairman, John Podesta, had earlier that month actively encouraged members of the press and public to ask her about UFOs during this election campaign.
Some people got excited at her use of the more recent, military term for UFOs – UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon). I’m unsure as to why this was at all meaningful. With Podesta at her side, surely it was simply some media savvy coaching and a blatant attempt at hooking the believers in? The term is also hardly contemporary – it has been around since at least 1980. A former Counselor to President Obama and Chief Of Staff to Bill Clinton, Podesta has long been known to have a deep interest in UFOs. He caused an almost collective heart-failure amongst UFO disclosure fans when, in February 2015, he tweeted that his biggest regret on leaving Obama’s office was not securing UFO #disclosure. Let’s actually look at exactly what Hillary Clinton said on the show.
“I would like to go into those files and hopefully make as much of that public as possible. If there’s nothing there, let’s tell people there’s nothing there…. if there is something there, unless it’s a threat to national security, I think we ought to share it with the public.”
To say there’s quite a lot of wiggle room in those three sentences would be an understatement. If John Podesta really cared about UFO disclosure why didn’t he talk about it when he was counselor to Obama? The answer is, of course, he doesn’t that much.. and neither does Hillary. The answer lies in – it’s the election, stupid. Oh, and that sensational tweet as he was leaving Obama’s office? That was his parting shot as he was leaving to begin working on the Hillary 2016 campaign.
Nice set up.
But wait, there’s more. Podesta – as if by some wonderful synchronicity of timing – met with Tom DeLonge for his Sekret Machines project, who just so happens to be in the midst of a massive mainstream media campaign. What are the chances that this would syncopate in near perfect unison to the drums of Clinton’s UFO… sorry… UAP tinged election campaign? As if by magic, UFOs are everywhere in the mainstream right now and if you are a believer then Hillary is most definitely your gal.
Current UFO Market Value Rating – $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
And So Back To The Bunker…
There can be little doubt that the UFO mystery is being used by pretty much every strata of society to generate dollars, attention and even as leverage for power and votes.
Central to this fine example of capitalism and democracy in action – not to mention a few weapon, trinket and Doritos sales – there IS a genuine phenomenon. But there is also deception, delusion and disinformation – something that’s gone hand in hand with the UFO subject since the birth of the modern UFO era in the 1940s. Many people are having experiences with this enigma on a somewhat regular basis and – for the most part – we aren’t any closer to explaining much of this. For all of this mammoth effort, for all the people dedicating their lives to this and the people experiencing this having their lives turned upside down… here we are.
I’m not suggesting that there aren’t good people trying to do the best they possibly can, genuinely trying to seek answers, who aren’t genuinely wanting truth in all of this. But Lockheed Martin or The Pentagon aren’t going to tell us anything straight about UFOs. Not without a serious change in the current system, a cultural or political revolution or something of equally seismic proportions. Many of the old guard of UFO researchers are in their 60’s and 70’s. We are no closer now to finding out much about what is going on than when they started their quest for answers. That’s not to dismiss their work at all, it’s just a statement of fact.
We have to stop this personality driven culture and lose the idea we can simply ask the establishment to come clean. We must do the work ourselves. And joining research organisations with decades long links to the intelligence community or asking the government or the military-industrial complex for answers is beyond illogical. Who really knows who is who or what is what in that fractured hall of mirrors and dubious intentions?
In my opinion, what we are calling UFOs isn’t one thing, but several that we lump into one catch all term. At least one of the things behind this appears to be interactive – let’s call it some kind of external intelligence for want of a better phrase. Being interactive means that it relies as much on being observed and interacting with an observer as anything. I repeat, it appears to be INTERACTIVE. So why would any of us really need to ask for disclosure from the powers that be? What if disclosure – should you want or need that – happens on an individual basis, one by one? But here’s the reason why real UFO disclosure can’t and won’t happen from any individual or organisation in Washington or Virginia. Somebody or something else is calling the shots. Something that has been just fine being hidden for the most part since at least 1940 – and maybe for even centuries or millennia too.
So, with all this in mind let’s simply apply Occam’s Razor and let’s go back to basics.
Is it not possible that, far from UFO disclosure being drip fed by the powers that be, the UFO meme is now almost openly being used to propagandize and justify massive black budget military spending? All this, whilst hinting further at a dystopian future that necessitates expanding this spending and thus transferring yet more billions – if not trillions – from public to private bank accounts in the name of further protecting us? Is it also not possible that, at the same time, John Podesta realises that attempting to pick up election votes from UFO believers (now a majority demographic of the US population) is just a really, really good bet?
Expect further references to aliens, UFOs and little green men from the corridors of power. Especially ones that don’t really lead anywhere.
In the words of Johnny Rotten, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
A huge thanks to Lauren Kott for much help with the discourse and inspiration for this article and podcast.
Podcast Music: Cutts/Bradbury – OK!
Now watch Mirage Men.