2020: A Space Odyssey … or a Collective Shrug?

Yes, yes, this one’s a play on Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

There was a Tweet I RT’ed earlier today that said, “2020 is when you hear there’s an NYT article with top officials maybe or maybe not confirming space aliens are real and you still haven’t gotten to it a day later because there’s stuff going on.”

A-L-I-E-N-S. I’ll let Joe Schmo take it from here.

But, like that Tweet said, it’s 2020 and nobody is really invested in the aliens storyline, so it becomes another one of the endless tabs on my browser or a “liked” story on Twitter that I hope to return to at some point.

So, let’s dig into it. Here’s the NYT story.

First, let’s caution an obvious point here: unidentified flying objects, aka, U.F.O.s, does not mean alien. There is quite a distance between, “We don’t know what this is that we’re seeing,” (and there could be plentiful reasons for why that is) and, “Oh, aliens.”

But still. With that throat-clearing out of the way. The gist of the story is that the Pentagon has “disbanded” a previously covert program to investigate U.F.O.s. That program is the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force. That sounds fun, but really, as the article points out, the main objective was to see if other nations are “using breakout aviation technology that could threaten the United States.”

Take a gander at this, though:

Mr. Reid, the former Democratic senator from Nevada who pushed for funding the earlier U.F.O. program when he was the majority leader, said he believed that crashes of objects of unknown origin may have occurred and that retrieved materials should be studied.

Again, that doesn’t then mean we leap to an extraterrestrial explanation, but … it’s interesting, huh? I also would be remiss if I didn’t point out that The Times made a rather serious error with Reid’s quote that change the entire thrust of the article:

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But still, Reid’s point that he believes it may have happened is still interesting. And his later point about the need for transparency is also true.

Or this:

Mr. Davis, who now works for Aerospace Corporation, a defense contractor, said he gave a classified briefing to a Defense Department agency as recently as March about retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

It makes you go, “Hmm.”

There’s also the three declassified videos from earlier this year:

Those videos factored into the Unsolved Mysteries episode about U.F.O.s, where they tried to bolster that story by pointing to, “Hey, the Pentagon is looking into this, too!”

The Washington Post did a nice investigation into aliens being in vogue again, and it’s another article that makes you go, “Hmm,” but in the, “It feels like a grift,” way.

Well, now I’m disappointed. Between the correction on The Times story, and then The Post story that completely dismantles (in my opinion) the, “It’s aliens!” story, I’m left with that “shrug.”

At least the murder hornets were real. 2020 writers, write better.

I’m left going, “Eh,” to the “alien” article. I should have kept that one mysteriously sitting in my “likes.”

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