Weaponising The Narrative

for Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniac

who helped create the modern imagination

Published in UFO Magazine, Volume 24, No. 5, June 2012

Descartes versus Chocolate-Fudge Bananas

Almost all human beings now spend their entire waking lives talking to robots and watching silver screens.  In this world, composed almost entirely of simulations, there is detectable a new form of life: the cultural advertisement. As can be seen by the present state of the world’s great institutions, so-called real structures as conceived by the deep past are now little more than fossilised advertisements consisting of disintegrating images rather than objective facts.

This is the result of an inevitable historical process.  Humanity has been subjected to 150 years of intensive image-processing mounted by very different types of media culture and supported by the burgeoning power of technology. Such is the penetration that mind and thought both can now be conceived as forms of ever-evolving mass media rather than mechanistic psychologies with hard differentials and finite inputs and outputs.  Suffering in a similar way are those truth-versus-falsehood paradigms which were supposed to reveal the physical realities of our world. 

Defined as any system of abstract symbolic persuasion, the cultural advertisement as a social construct has now grown so powerful it may be seen as a complete, meta-biological cyber-animal built of forms of different kinds of story lines.  Rather like the fabulous crypto-zoological creature and rather like the UFO indeed, such a living advertisement is full of enticing promises, always poised between fact and fiction, suspended between matter and spirit, spinning out bits of the more or less real as if in a metaphysical centrifuge. 

Hence passeth the Mechanical Age into the Age of Virtuality, with time itself become imagery.  As a multidimensional advertisement, our cyber-creature is then rather like Bigfoot and also the extraterrestrial alien: these things being new forms of image-life consisting of enticing persuasions forever under construction, rather in the manner of Hollywood culture, and indeed, exopolitics.

This model could perhaps provide our first glimpse of how an alien intelligence might work.  It might well indeed avoid what it conceives as primitive fact-versus-fiction categories and, like Hollywood and exopolitics again, it lets such things flow in and out of one another, making all our own solid Cartesian frameworks of perception moribund.

In addition, an alien intelligence might well be non-cerebral and therefore more like a Hollywood or exopolitical product than any product of a laboratory. In this sense we should not expect anything which has any kind of connection with linear Cartesian rationalism.  Indeed, coordinate geometry and our digital colonisations may be jokes in prime time for any level—and there will be many different levels—of alien intelligence.

In this sense we can perhaps begin to dispense with the primitive scientific idea that experience is split between absolute fact and equally absolute fiction.  We may now conceive of the world of experience as consisting of fields of dramatised and warring information, evolving somewhat in the manner of Darwinian competition but with one big difference: a typical cyber advertising system will persuade its opponents to change and evolve in a propaganda war, which is the cyber equivalent to a savage Darwinian search for food, protection, and environmental advantage. 

This change of state is achieved by exploiting our far too easy acceptance of what to see and what not to see.  A bus, say, runs out of control down a steep hill.  Its top deck contains a tribe of rioting drunken skinheads.  This magnificent event is seen by science as a point mass moving down an inclined plane.

If that is not de-naturing nature, then nothing is.

Scientific Decay

Eventually Big Science, as General Leslie R Groves of Los Alamos called it, may well decay as similar big-system narratives have decayed.  These include the Jesus story and the Greek tales drawn from the pantheon of gods.

Our own recently abandoned space story, which must surely be the deserted Hadrian’s Wall tale of our time, is a good example of an abandoned narrative which finally lead into nowhere, rather like those Mayan temple steps which reach up into the sky.  Under the influence of Richard Branson alone, space has become entertainment, just another part of the media-leisure industry.

Such narratives—and I include the sceptical narrative here—whether alive, dead, or dying, are nothing but highly persuasive arrays of pure information which are massive media domains in the mind.  As systems of powerful manipulation, all such domains are multi-dimensional cultural advertisements functioning as live creatures in the thoughts of the mass mind.  Given such an idea, the great scientific adventure—which poses as being mechanically objective—can be deconstructed as readily as can commercials for chocolate fudge bananas. 

Central Image Control: The Need to Disbelieve

Cultural advertisements consist almost entirely of finely crafted, intensely focused dramatizations of different kinds of persuasive mystique, involving all conceivable archetypes. We have the prime-time authority of science with its professional-sounding vocabulary, plus the humourless, scholarly tone of the po-faced experts in the field. 

No matter what, all is media, all is style, and all these things are dramatic presentations, advertising via techno-mythological imagery.  It is Central Image Control in terms of, for example, warp-drives and black holes. 

Inevitably such images, symbols, and metaphors represent belief shares in the constellated, prime-time real. As such, the real, propagandised by culture as an absolute, contains as much pseudo-complex bullshit as any soap opera for the pseudo-complex-hungry, bourgeois intelligentsia.

Such an audience consumes the mythology of scientific breakthroughs and advances as herrings in the sea consume an infinite biomass of algae.  As for science descending more into whimsical entertainment than anything else, check out the links in these resources. [1]

You Will All Come to Love Your Scientific Breakthrough

Recently Andrew Basiago and Laura Eisenhower have been guests on Coast to Coast AM radio claiming that they travelled to Mars—accompanied by President Obama, no less.  We might ask, what fresh and new set of tall tales will appear for our minds to feed upon? What metaphysical cud will we next graze upon? What ideological software is inevitably heading our way?  Will it be David Icke’s lizards, Ed Komarek’s Tall Greys, or Dr Richard Boylan’s Fran the Mantis Woman and her Altimarians? Could we have another virgin birth, another walking on the water, or even a coming back from the dead?  Could we have another moving star of Bethlehem, which must be the greatest UFO story ever told?

We might bear in mind that Rome was overcome eventually not by military means but by Christian story-software. Yes, David Icke’s equally fantastic views are pure postmodern software but, as we can see, a great many people are inclined to believe him.  What physical empires will be demolished by the eventual maturing of such views?

The accepted mythological power-trains—Hollywood, royalty, media, glamour—are surely no less fantastic than the idea of extraterrestrial lizards running the Pentagon.  Michael Salla, Alfred Lambremont Webre, and the exopolitical crowd supported by Project Camelot have been spinning such SERPO-type tales for many years now.  As a unique flourish, Basiago claimed that he travelled to Mars in a DARPA time machine! Weekly, there are fresh revelations which tend to reduce ufology to a form of prototypal super-entertainment. As a comment on this kind of phenomenon, check out mine own article on exopolitics: “Child Brides from Outer Space.”  [2]

The Story Spectrum

Human beings may be defied as creatures thriving on stories based on dramatised appeals and fantastic persuasions more than rationally considered, objective facts.  Like the Jesus story, science is yet another over-blown narrative, another engineered framework of perception. Ever since the cow jumped over the moon, similar absurd projections have been characteristic of all traditional accounts of creation.  We cling to these baubles as a monkey clings to a hot water bottle in place of a nourishing mother.

Considering that we are paste sticking to a spinning rock in space and the death of Steve Jobs has been compared to the death of Elvis Presley, perhaps the greatest wonder in the universe is our imagination.  In our modern, media-soaked world, mainstream TV inoculation alone—never mind the myriad other silver screens—has so blurred fact and fiction that the once-cherished concept of the real has surely gone with the knight’s castle, the penny-farthing bicycle, and the Peasant’s Revolt.

Even the Holocaust and the moon landing are challenged.  In the web alone images, symbols, and statements of material certainty and rational clarity look like the wooden ships of long ago.  As lost, woebegone viewers, we now look upon statements of cosmic certainty with an almost bemused nostalgia. 

Like it or not, here is the brave new world that is going to dwarf both science and religion, and it’s the image that counts.  From The Sun, October 13, 2011: marketing experts at Royal Holloway University of London have applied their mighty brains to explaining the power of the Simon Cowell and X Factor brands. Their conclusion, reports The Sun, is that Cowell is akin to a high priest who has tapped into a human need for ritual and sacrifice.  Hmmm.  “Cowell serves as an intermediary between the world of dead-end jobs and the sacred space of superstardom,” said Professor Chris Hackley.” [3] 

All cultures collapse in time because their advertisements fail to sustain their product range.  The word nuclear—still used by some ufological physicists as a badge of honour and achievement—is now a badge of shame.  From Chernobyl to Fukushima, from Three Mile Island to Fallujah, it is doubtful if the world will recover from such devastation caused by nuclear physicists and their satanic manoeuvres. 

Mass animal experimentation carried out universally by other scientists completes the picture of a science which has lost its way morally, physically, and intellectually. Scientists now stalk the quads and laboratories just like the Jesus freaks of 1400.  They pout and drop pearls of over-rationalised wisdom as if they had just popped out of the anus of the Christ child. Every single one of them thinks he is either Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton.  There is nothing comparable to these walking pieces of cultural advertising, with their facts and figures and devastating breakthroughs, most of which turn out to be absolute disasters. 

But there are now clear signs that science itself is degenerating into a technical support base for big media.  It started, perhaps, with the great vision of Star Trek and it ended with insect vehicles crawling around sterile planetary deserts.  Hammer-and-anvil science won’t compete in the image-evolution race.

Non-Computing Image Engines:

CERN Collider, George Adamski, and Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a patently absurd figure and yet she is of far more interest to the world than, say, the CERN Collider. This machine as a cyber-animal is already keeping its options open in that it now produces at least as many images, symbols, and metaphors as scientific facts. 

The idea that Lady Gaga, the CERN Collider, and indeed, the UFO as a postmodern icon easily as big as Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley, might be in symbiotic competition as different kinds of cyber-animal is not a scientific thought.  But then the idea that perhaps the Palomar Observatory encountered its own counter-meme in George Adamski, serving burgers in a café just below it,  is again certainly not a scientific thought.

We should pay more attentions to symbolic connections such as this. Factually, Palomar achieved almost nothing and Adamski possibly even less. But considered symbolically, what a rich relationship exists between this pair of opposites! 

The great observatory gazed out upon what appeared to be an uninhabited universe, but certainly the great white man’s god on the mountaintop above Adamski’s burger bar was dying: an empty relic full of more lists and filing-clerk case histories than an annual MUFON report and just about as useful.

Adamski had the admirable cheek to suggest that this utter mechanical vacancy was populated by forms that Palomar Observatory couldn’t see. In this sense, Palomar represented a decayed storyline while Adamski’s UFO script—a powerful, non-competing, performance-art suggestion if ever there was—helped give birth to the haunted pages of modern ufology.  Here, facts were nowhere near as important as an active symbiosis between images activated by different kinds of cultural advertisement. 

TechGnosis of the Product

CERN, Lady GaGa, George Adamski, the Palomar Observatory, and Big Science are now best seen as product spectra within the general consumer syndrome.  Such deep historical context ranges from Michael Jackson to Marilyn Monroe, from the Cadillac to the J-35 fighter.

The science story and the Jesus and Roswell tales are all mythological narratives.  As such, they contain archetypal elements which are very similar to one another and such ideas, images, and stories make up our mental structure as much as do Marilyn Monroe, the UFO, and the Big Bopper.

Yet today, because of apparent scientific material success, such ideas do not enter the general debate about causation, a notion that still clings to a mechanical base.  For instance, it does not appear to have entered the minds of many 9/11 theorists that the Twin Towers complex and the Pentagon as institutions were undoubtedly hated by many millions of people throughout the world, not only, as many say, as symbols of mammon and Babel, but as symbols of imperial conquest and consumer control.  The positive view of the neocon liberals and social democrats is that the Twin Towers complex represented the summum bonum of corporate capitalist enterprise.

Although this subject is not to be debated here in detail—surely great relief all round!—it is of note that, again, such symbolic power as described above is not regarded as a component within any kind of field of mechanical causation.  In this respect, scientists—all of whom practice physical measurement of different kinds— appear not to have even reached the age of mass TV inoculation yet, where Cartesian measurement and indeed facts mean practically nothing.  Most scientists appear to think that TV, for example, is something to keep the kids quiet upstairs. 

Therefore, although now somewhat long in the web-tooth, the image-based world otherwise known as media, which is now pushing traditional objective science aside, appears not to have registered yet in the scientific mind: although of course, it is the very mind that created the media technology in the first place. 

It is therefore extraordinary that neither images nor their attached emotional fields are regarded as functional within any strictly scientific scheme of things. That contemporary mass experience is controlled not by measurement but by the manipulation of live and immaculately structured images—countless billions of which enter the human mind every minute of the day and night—appears to be of no importance as regards the causation or measurement of anything at all.

Thus, the kind of old East German, Good Scout Communist science dispensed in schools and universities relates to a pre-media, wheel-weight-watchspring universe which is hardly representative of the modern experience as received. This avoidance is most likely due to the fear that the intrinsic quality and character of both images and experience cannot be measured by Cartesian paradigms based on mechanical cause and effect. 

Measurement is not possible here: no more than we can adequately measure a Picasso face or that abstract human quality called personality, which is essentially an atmosphere begging for applause to allow it to become at least partial flesh.  In the consumer experience, fame is the only path to cosmic initiation, which is a sacred play of labels, advertisements, and silver screens in which the smoke and mirrors of personality now reign supreme in a world reduced to acts, performances, and images.

By contrast, the basic scientific assumption is that the limitless absorption of countless powerful images through various media means that nothing happens of any importance at all with regard to the physical, objective world as structured and conceived.  That images are forms of intelligence which continue to develop long after the finite moment of perception is again hardly recognised by science, since this would upset all the objective machinery set in place for political, intellectual, and cultural domination. 

Science cannot measure either media or personality or such things as jokes and laughter or any measure of life-enhancing, comic absurdity.  We are left with the antennae-touches of the insect-chatter of official science.

Yet arguments without number are based on the assumption that, despite Plato, absolute differentiations between fact and fiction are possible through sensible, well-informed, rational discourse.  This is surely the height of bourgeois scientific optimism.  In the way of all imperial states of mind, any philosophy which conceives of the universe as consisting of various sets of fixed rules and regulations is bound to come to a sticky end.

From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through H.G. Wells’s equally demoniac science to what Winston Churchill called the perverted science of Nazi Germany, science and scientists are now looked upon more like threats than givers of sweetness and light. They are primarily concerned with war and weaponry and social control of various kinds. 

Certainly, compared with texts generated by image-based systems such as media, glamour, royalty, and religion, most strictly scientific books read like dentist’s manuals from of East Germany,  with most scientists on TV looking and sounding like Frankensteinian morticians. 

Once pulled out, the rotten (as it were) teeth go into the reject dish as false stories. But is there such a thing as a completely false story?  Indeed, as Charles Fort might have said, is there such a thing as a complete imposter? [6]

Weaponisation of the Narrative

In the sense meant by Errol Morris, can we deconstruct fact?  Is the universe meant to work properly, or does the fabled noise in the machine function—like the UFO—as an anomalistic destabilliser?  Does the slightest abnormal incident blossom out like the proverbial butterfly’s wing and throw any and every partially stabilised system into chaos?

Certainly belief structures from Jesus to UFOs, from Nazism to Capitalism, can be designed, managed, and cultivated as crops in a cosmological nutrient.  The symbiotic relationship of what we call a soft Lady GaGa mass-media system to those hard spines of rational belief structures thus appears to concern the somewhat political management of different degrees of counter-ritualization concerning metaphor structure.

Storylines dispute fact, and fact does not like storylines.  Storylines tend to destabilise the inner dimensions of fact, which propagandistically—and all culture is propaganda—would like to be seen as absolutes. 

This leads to the somewhat postmodern thought that live consciousness is a manipulation of theatres that manage a scaling of allowances rather than objectivities.  Thus in our new-model ufology, here, we may say that the extraterrestrial alien, for example, is permanently under construction rather than being either strictly factual or strictly fictional.  The answer to Fermi’s question of where are they is that the alien is under construction. [4] 

Therefore, as is happening, bits and pieces of a complete phenomenon may arrive before its main body. This is a good model for the process where Darwinism and the nineteenth century eugenics movement formed gradually and eventually into the main body of Nazism in the form of Adolf Hitler.

Such a model of an intermediate form of matter and idea gives us great flexibility in resolving the gridlocks that involve absolute claims and absolute denials concerning such matters as the Roswell crash, alien abductions, the claims of Colonel Corso, or the MJ-12 papers: all ideas seriously attacked by the live algae of our binary colonisations.  Thus, in our postmodern new ufology, the extraterrestrial alien, rather like Jesus, becomes a quasi-magical form forever moving between the theoretical limits of absolute fact and absolute fiction.

The locus of the impacts of the denial-acceptance sets sculpts the shape of our postmodern extraterrestrial alien. Like the UFO again, this liminal creature has a partial structure suspended between fact and fiction composed of various degrees of allowances rather than mere fact versus fiction oppositions.  In the fullest sense, this is an intermediate state which hangs in the conceptual air like an unfinished portrait or an incomplete tale. How are such states created? How do they work?

Big Dolls and Storyline Initiation.

People don’t reason by facts.  From Jesus to Marilyn Monroe, from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson and Orwell’s Big Brother, people reason by inspirations supplied by such Big Dolls of one kind or another.  These Dolls range from those within royalty, Hollywood, and priesthood cults, through to the domain of New Age gurus, to the blogs of those pan-fried basket cases who think extraterrestrial aliens are helping to clean up the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf.

As for knocking out the firing mechanisms of intercontinental ballistic missiles, I think it is reasonable to assume that any extraterrestrial alien—as a Big Doll under construction—would not be able to distinguish such a singular mechanism from Aunt Jemima’s rice pudding. Culture is essentially about such attempts at image manipulation.  It launches on a whim enough smoke and mirrors to run entire ranges of mass-suggestion, with scientific discoveries and breakthroughs being no exception.

Big Dolls are made and controlled by big media, which may or may not be electronic in nature.  The older sandalled and robed prophets were called magical figures, but there is no difference between these and modern showbiz stars in that both place images in believers’ heads by whatever technology may be available.

In this sense, all image-based systems may be called magical in that they initiate audiences into a storyline or narrative, from the Vril Society to American Idol and The X Factor.  Similar figures range from royals to priests and prophets, although these latter are now losing their power at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, whereas the pop star reigns supreme with the scientist and Jesus trailing behind. 

Bar-Coding the Believers

Once bar-coded by the storyline as it were, individuals become active customers for the current range of stories on offer from corporate product culture.  This is doll culture by any other name and it will sell us anything, even goods to our own design, as if the process can persuade us to buy into a particular belief system.

The target of the Big Dolls is therefore to make human beings into willing hatcheries for particular storylines, each one of us secreting different episodes, much in the manner of the honey bee.  With powerful support affording the expansion of themes, a particular story line can indeed easily become a universal viral panacea, a cannibal tale eating all the other tales competing for prime time in the cultural petri dish.

Nazism and Communism were both examples of systems going into psycho-social fission, as it were.  Certainly the scientific narrative tragically supported both Nazism and communism through eugenics and the philosophy of dialectical materialism, which purported to be a scientific view of history, no less. 

Within such a heavy story-framework model, each heavily propagandised scientific breakthrough morphs gradually into yet another ancient soap opera withering on the bough.  This is the eventual fate of the MJ-12 tales, the Area 51 aliens, and the crashed-discs of UFO lore, which are little more than well-managed, semi-corporate liturgies with sci-fi and techno trimmings to sweeten the injected storylines of various agendas.  In time, such things will be regarded as the equivalent to Thomas Percy’s Reliques (1765), Richard Totell’s Miscellany (1557) or the wonders of Sir John Mandeville’s Travels  (published between 1357 and 1371).

The Structure of Fact

It follows that cultures are run by scalable and best-selling designer narratives, not facts.  We conceive, therefore, our cosmological big-media model of new ufology as being built of steadily evolving and equally deteriorating claims and episodes rather than facts. Whether within the Jesus narrative or the scientific narrative, facts perform only as the final development stage or showroom stage of any product which, once launched, appears to be objective in that it appears to be free of all the cluttering subtexts of the advertisements which go to make up cultural product ranges.

Fact appears, therefore, merely as a fine-tooled program independent of any ideology.  This tactic helps divorce the product from history, hence concealing the agendas and targets of the product, whether that product range be science, the Ten Commandments, the MJ-12 papers, the 2001 film Mars Needs Moms, or the UK Royal Wedding of 1981, which was bigger than anything science had to offer.

The UFO itself is at the fine-tooling stage of fact after being under construction for a very long time.  In the same sense, Adolf Hitler the man, and eugenics the philosophy, were both under construction throughout the nineteenth century, reaching out towards each other like strands of rogue story-protein.  Here, by analogy, is the interior of the Roswell atom, as it were.  Deconstructed, this can be seen as being an expression of the architecture of such cultural advertising protein.

Fact is, therefore, the final development of the long chain of advertisements which help run and support the Big Dolls that hold us in thrall, whether they are Einstein, Lady Gaga, Hitler, or Mickey Mouse.  Each and every one of these Dolls can be regarded as intelligent, non-carbon lifeforms in themselves. They can be deconstructed to reveal that they are built of competing archetypal advertisements. Such Dolls can be inserted into the head as easily as can commercial TV programs, whether they express a nudist philosophy, religious software, or scientific claims for UFO “reality”—surely the favourite word of the more archaic UFO investigators.

The Big Dolls themselves fight for prime time consciousness and they come in different sizes and pseudo-physical forms.  Examples from world literature include Hamlet’s Elsinore, Hardy’s Egdon Heath, and Kafka’s castle and also, from real-world culture, we have our media and entertainment complex, manufacturing the biggest non-cerebral Dolls of all history.

Thus, literature and life are mirror-like reflections; like Hitler again, Goneril and Regan of King Lear become massive, savage Dolls laying waste to what was once called intellect. The cult of objectivity destroyed the relationship between mind and landscape. This is why, when 9/11 happened, we had no adequate language left to describe just exactly what hit us.  See my essay, “9/11: Did a Fishmonger Do It?” A Theory of Explanations: a Fortean Essay in Story Technology.” [5]

Showroom Culture: the Invisible Head of Mr X

Thus the exopoliticians Basiago and Webre, Bill Ryan and Dan Burisch know exactly what they are doing via their fantastic claims. It is nothing to do with accusations of insanity. Accounts of DARPA time-machines travelling to Mars with President Obama aboard are exactly about such image fertilisation. They are making ideological hatcheries, and that works in the following way. 

Suppose Mr X claims he has two heads on his shoulders, but only one is visible. A torrent of claims that the invisible head has been seen or partially seen will surely follow. Clusters of images will swarm, as if in a process of crystallisation.  Sketches and screenshots of the invisible head will doubtless appear, only to be denied by the original Mr X, who might insist that these attempts of portrayal of his invisible head are not accurate.

This situation is created not by facts, but by images.  Others will claim to have an invisible head themselves and thus a whole viral meme will have been created. These many pseudo-heads will cross-breed. Mr X will be interviewed by Project Camelot, Jerry Springer ufologists, and Foil-Hat Radio, in which—in most cases—pseudo-evidence of a particular pseudo-event will be produced.  It follows that the beloved scientists as commissar-gauleiters managing the Thou Shalt Not control system will thereafter weigh in with numberless denials of anything and everything beyond the sun and moon.

Here is the structure of the narrative meme cell exposed, complete with all its claims and sets of counter-claims.  The locus sculpted by the relative motion between these competing sets provides the driving energy producing a swarm whose suggestive power will secrete partial forms of, in this case, the invisible head of Mr X.

The much more powerful forms of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and the UFO follow, necessarily.  Once such memes-as-suggestion-domains are activated, we can regard such a swarm as existing in an intermediate state; that is, poised eternally between fact and fiction. The two-state switch, binary culture of absolute fact versus absolute fiction is far too crude a mechanism to describe such a big-media swarm and its overwhelming operations. 

The meme, of course, is a web-borne story machine.  It is as much a part of the cyberspace body of the web as the biological cell is conceived as part of the physical body. Conceived as meme cells, product Dolls such as Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and the UFO—now a star as big as any of the others—live their shadow lives in such a liminal story-region, suspended between fact and fiction. 

All three of these personalities, and consequently their cohorts of countless other harpies bidding for prime time, may be described as systems animals whose indestructible and self-replicating images possess utterly whole and entire world populations.  Cerebral functions are quite dismantled by these images: therefore, resistance to Michael Jackson is not an option open for anyone. 

Conceiving the product as lifeform, it does not even make much difference whether such a big doll is alive or dead or whether the UFO is believed, yea or nay.   Whether humans like it or not, they cannot help looking at and listening to such hypnotic Dolls, implicitly and explicitly. 

Hence they become themselves transformed into elements of the virtual life lived by such pseudo-beings without even being conscious of such a change within.  The Dolls create and control those narratives which hold us all in thrall. They establish the prime-time agendas from fashion and glamour to styles in both art and science. 

Nick Redfern, in his foreword to Martin Kottmeyer’s An Alien’s Who’s Who, makes the point that many of the aliens of the nineteen fifties had names that “were invariably made up of a lot of Q’s, Z’s and X’s.” The same quirk of vocabulary can be seen in the naming of commercial post-war cosmetics, pharmaceutical beauty treatments, and skin and haircare products. [9]

These names represented a new, experimental consumer vocabulary.  After 1945 a new generation of professional beauticians, wannabe starlets, and media personalities appeared.  Their images, symbols, and metaphors formed virtually part of the same universe as aliens Motag, Nokyle, and Aura Rhanes from the planet Clarion. [7]  Redfern concludes by saying that he’s going to join Solar Commander Xzzobovaxx for a spot of dinner, followed by a flight around Venus with the bikini-clad Amazonians of Delta-Zorvog 12!

It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that all is media. In this sense, human beings can be explicitly deconstructed: we consist of sets of archetypal commercials as much as a Big Ben clock tower can be made up of tiny Swiss watch parts.

The story of Science, reduced to sets of commercials in this sense, has a lot in common with the sequential tales of gothic Batman or Rupert the Bear.   New adventures within this continuum are the equivalent to the breakthrough mythology of science, which has been just a stage in the sequential development of the consumer experience. 

That this might be how the mind of an alien would work is a thought to be reckoned with. Put away your clocks and measuring rods, ladies and gentlemen, for now the world is not measurable. 


Postscript 1

Why is the U.S. Government Interested in Storytelling?

March 22, 2011

Posted by Jeannie Vanasco

According to an impenetrable special notice from the DSO of the DARPA of the DoD [that’s the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects  Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense], the government wants to turn literary criticism into an exact science.  DARPA invited interested literary theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, and related “ists” to the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month to answer a question frequently posed to junior-high-school students: “What is a story?”

I’m simplifying the whole thing because I’m confused.  DARPA funds projects involving cyborg insects and killer robots.  Why the interest in narrative theory?  The special notice says last month’s workshop was intended to be a precursor to exploring the neurobiological mechanisms which undergird narrative processing so as to establish fertile ground for connecting our understanding of the neuropsychology of stories with models, simulations and sensors salient to security concerns.

DARPA calls the project “Stories, NeuroScience and Experimental Technologies” (STORyNET) and its overriding goal is to understand the biological and literary processes behind story-telling.  Here are a few questions DARPA posed to the “ists”:

Does the structure and function of stories vary considerably across cultural contexts or is there a universal theory of story?

How can we take stories and make them quantitatively analysable in a rigorous, transparent and repeatable fashion? What analytic approaches or tools best establish a framework for the scientific study of the psychological and neurobiological impact of stories on people?

DARPA officials declined comment, so I e-mailed Balkey Vermeule, a Stanford professor of English interested in cognitive and evolutionary approaches to literature. 

“I’m truly puzzled by DARPA’s interest in storytelling,” she replied, “Last I heard they were making robots that could move around easily in sand.  I guess this may have something to do with the rise of the conspiracy blogosphere and its power over otherwise rational minds.  But that’s just a guess.”

Once DARPA discovers a way to write clearly and understand narrative, I think they should drop special notices and turn to sci-fi novels. [8]


Postscript Two

Photographs That Walk on Water

Like the UFO, such creatures as Bigfoot leave hardly a trail. There are no traces of fur or faeces, no signs of even slight injuries or serious fights, no evidence of nesting or foraging for food or shelter.  The life-needs of such a huge animal would leave signs as visible to investigators as the habitats of gorillas and larger apes. 

The amount of food needed for such a large animal and, of course, its family, could hardly be sustained by a common European or US environment, assuming that, like most ape-forms, these creatures are vegetarian.  If so, they would leave food swathes big enough to bankrupt farmers who would certainly hunt them down and kill them as large vermin.

If they are not vegetarian they would have to hunt for flesh, and then their presence would be quite spectacular and obvious to all. There would be blood, bones, carcasses, and chewed pelts all over the place; herds of vulnerable animals would be seen fleeing their usual habitats. There would be countless sightings and doubtless many attacks both on domestic animals and eventually human beings. 

Yet, lacking the slightest thread of any such factual evidence, Bigfoot creatures are seen, nevertheless.  Like the UFO again, such beasts are witnessed by the widest possible spectrum of class, income, professional disposition, age, intelligence, and culture. Therefore, we have to consider seriously that such manifestations as both Bigfoot and the UFO do not exist completely within the Cartesian frame of objective reference.  Certainly Bigfoot—just like the UFO—cannot be measured in any traditional sense, yet Bigfoot leaves images on photographic emulsion: digital memories, just as the UFO leaves traces on radar screens and sometimes on the flesh and on the ground.

But nevertheless the UFO, like Bigfoot again by analogy, leaves no trace of pseudo-techno-Industrial formulation as a device.  It is as if it is aping some kind of partial expectancy. Tool marks, castings, machining, drilling, pressing, and finishing are as absent from the UFO as biological and environmental evidence is absent with Bigfoot.  If rivets were detected, then such a muscle-bound nineteenth century analogue as nuts and bolts would be part of a complex deception, equivalent to mere skunk smoke. 

We must be under no illusions about an advanced alien intelligence and the way it could reason for its own purpose.  Certainly, contact will not reveal a good MUFON bourgeois with a row of pens in his top pocket, his arms full of the wonders of his culture, ready to give us all the facts of the situation.  Should such a thing appear then, like the natives fleeing from stout Cortez with their wrists chopped off, we must run for our lives.

Given that both Bigfoot and the UFO are intermediate states between fact and fiction, we may indeed have a totally new form of both matter and experience on our hands.  This idea brings such things into the category of what postmodernists call liminal objects, in that this state partakes of both fact and fiction. 

The Victorian station masters of the previous age of old ufology conceived of the universe as a kind of Rubik’s Cube crammed full of railway timetables and number systems.  It was a world full of the weights and measures, rules and regulations of a scientific system that was essentially mechanical in nature.

This world, with its calculable pushes and pulls and steady-state inputs and outputs, was an age much more certain of its identity than is our own.  Our anomalistic creatures and mysterious alien vehicles all pour out of the new cracks in our shattered self-confidence, which once assured us that we were the lords of all creation.


  1. ly/2nwMZ4Q; bit.ly/2nGrBdK;  bit.ly/2moYATL;  bit.ly/2nGAWSP.
  2. See “Child Brides From Outer Space,” in this volume.
  3. ly/2nOk1uq
  4. See the essay, “The Alien is Under Construction” in this volume.
  5. See the essay, “9/11: Did a Fishmonger Do It?” in this volume.
  6. ms/2n9TlWX
  7. ly/2nOp9ij
  8. ly/2mQCy8K