For whatever reason, possibly because life on Earth has steadily been getting shittier and shittier, the federal government has started to display a sudden interest in aliens… or at least UFOs that have been spotted over the years by pilots (who refer to them as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs, even though the other name is pretty much synonymous). The previous presidential administration requested that a UAP report be released publicly, which makes sense since the previous presidential administration certainly had nothing better to do, and 60 Minutes dedicated an episode to UAPs earlier this year. A few days later, former president Barack Obama even revealed that he has seen “footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are” (but, again, they’re UAPs and not UFOs), and he says there are “people” who are taking these sightings seriously and trying to figure out what they are.
The government’s new UAP report came out on Friday, but, unfortunately, it didn’t end up having much convincing evidence for either side of the “are aliens real?” debate—the people who don’t want to believe will continue to not believe, and the people who do want to believe will find just enough information to convince them to keep going. That brings us to Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, who wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about the resurgence of UFO/UAP talk. Carter is practically an expert in whether or not The Truth Is Out There (or at least in the discussion surrounding it), as he lays out in the Times essay, and he doesn’t think this recent UAP chatter is really going to mean anything in the long run. Basically, the fact that nobody seems to care about the government admitting it has investigated potential flying saucers is very telling, but he also points out that nobody should ever really trust the government anyway.
Carter points out that government conspiracies were a major theme on The X-Files, and he says this is “X-Files territory if there ever was any” because this UAP report involves the Department Of Defense spending $22 million on a secret investigation that nobody knew about (an investigation that hit a wall when sponsor Senator Harry Reid couldn’t even get access to certain things). At the same time, though, if the government thinks there might be other life in the universe, even as a remote possibility, why only spend $22 million? And if there’s some deeper secret layer to the government’s UAP knowledge, why has there not been “a Deep Throat of the UFO world”?
Then again, Carter himself steps around the answers to these questions by pointing out that a lot of people are afraid of being ridiculed if they confess to believing in aliens, because a lot of the people who believe in aliens are insistent that the government as secret moon bases full of lizards. Maybe there is a Deep Throat of the UFO world, but nobody listens because the “truth” is so outlandish? Carter says that people can’t even get together to stop climate change or to wear masks during a global pandemic, so why would we all agree to believe anything we hear about aliens? Carter isn’t really arguing here that he thinks aliens are real and everyone’s lying, or the inverse, that government has inexplicably been telling the truth for once. It seems like he just wants everyone—the government and us regular people—to try and little harder and find a good answer either way. He even closes the piece with “I want to believe,” which puts a better point on it than we ever could. That’s the thing from his show!