Area 51. Roswell. Come on, don’t pretend you don’t know. That’s where the government is hiding UFOs, or UFO wreckage, and some alien corpses. Or maybe they’re frozen aliens, awaiting further study. Or maybe they’re defrosting as we speak…
The notion that governments, or specifically our government, conceals or even creates diversionary shields to protect us from something has been around for a while. Maybe it was the “red scare” and McCarthyism that seeded legends like Area 51. Or, as someone with a Star Trek wristwatch might offer, “Maybe it was the aliens, dude…”
I was thinking of smokescreens and mirrors last Friday while watching an ABC News report at the top of the broadcast (the “really serious” story, right?), a story that cited all the recent evidence that North Korea was preparing to set off a nuclear weapon. Spy satellites had detected a large hole that was dug and refilled in an area in the north suspected to be a test site. Other photos showed what might be “reviewing stands,” bleachers, set up to watch the test. (“Popcorn, get your popcorn…”) A U.S. defense official speaking under the condition of anonymity said the business with the hole was consistent with conditions for a nuclear test.
Then ABC’s reporter suggested something interesting: That perhaps it was all just a big show. “We Have Nukes: The Musical!”
The theory was that Kim Jong-Il and the Pyongyang were simply making it look like they were about to set off a nuclear weapon, as a means of rattling the world and reminding everybody that they’ve certainly been thinking about it.
By the time this column sees publication, this “show” theory might be distressingly proven wrong. But it was interesting to me that, last week anyhow, the big charade theory felt oddly weird or unbelievable. Like someone babbling about flying saucers and alien cadavers. They dug a hole, filled it up… moved stuff around just to look like they were ready to set off a bomb…?
Then I remembered another recent experience I’d had. I was watching the trusted Secretary of State, Colin Powell, at the United Nations. He was going on at some length about mobile labs, germ warfare factories on wheels. He had drawings, sketches, charts, and vials of something. It was a pretty good show.
There were other presentations. Concerning “yellow cake” and “weapons of mass destruction.” And then, months later, there was nothing. It had, in fact, all turned out to be a big show. Not in North Korea, where some weird Elvis wannabe in Elton John eyeglasses was presumed to be the unstable leader of a hungry country struggling economically and playing “Where’s The Nuke?” No, this show had been produced and staged in the United States, for the largest and arguably best-informed audience in the world. Something whipped and folded like batter, then evenly heated and cooked by alleged “news” channels, had turned out to have less credibility than the stories out of Area 51.
Social Security is in trouble; Social Security is not in trouble. Baghdad is secure; Baghdad is not secure. We are turning a corner; more than a hundred die in one day. We are giving our troops every possible means of support; they are dying in vehicles lacking armor. We are bringing freedom and liberty; we are torturing prisoners and here is the photographic evidence. The people will greet the troops with flowers and applause; the people will riot and burn human beings then hang the remains from a bridge. We support our troops; we pay the Halliburton employees five times more money. We’ll be right back with more; “Mission Accomplished.”
This Week’s “Know Your News” Quiz
1) The government reported that
(a) the economy added 274,000 jobs.
(b) the Easter Bunny is nice.
(c) Santa loves children.
2) Photos of Mars have revealed
(a) Wal Mart bulldozers.
(b) a previously lost “lander.”
(c) Spring Break beer empties.
3) Almond growers are hurt by a shortage of
(a) bees to pollinate the plants.
(b) tasty almond recipes.
(c) drunks shouting, “Almonds for everybody!”
1) (a) “Many new jobs involve coffee…”
2) (b) “Those tires are still good…”3) (a) “No, Larry can’t pollinate the plants…!”