One of the most miserable years in modern existence is coming to its end, and the only good sign of hope came on Thursday night in New York City, when the sky illuminated in blue strobes, as if aliens had finally fucking come to save (or destroy) us. One man reportedly drew his samurai sword to defend against the aliens. Officially, the blue lights were caused by the explosion of a transformer at a Con Edison facility in Queens, but try telling the internet that. As Time reported: “There have been 18 UFO sightings in New York in the last two months,” and despite the terrestrial explanation for this event, people just don’t want to believe it wasn’t intergalactic intervention.
Why would they? Life on Earth is becoming increasingly more stupid every day, from the trivial, like sartorial obsessions over and mid-rise jeans, to the critical, like the irreversible decimation of our climate and the United States’ decline into total madness. Bad things have been happening since I was a kid, but I wanted to be abducted by aliens then, too, so the recent destruction of social norms and rise of blatantly bigoted political psychopathy hasn’t exactly reduced that desire.
When New York’s sky was filled with pulsing blue lights, I was in bed, watching Michael Carbonaro perform magic tricks on TruTV, so, unfortunately, I did not get to bear witness to the latest symbol for America’s desire to abandon Earth for another world. That’s okay, though—there have been so many recently that I don’t feel I’ve missed out too much. The last few years have been filled with exciting alien news, all of which has gone viral and caused people to speculate about the possibility of other beings in other galaxies with other, less idiotic problems, or, perhaps, none at all.
Three years ago, researchers at the Kepler Telescope observed what some experts speculated could be “alien mega structures,” indicating the existence of an advanced civilization surrounding star KIC 8462852. (This year they figured out it was just fucking space dust. Way to go.) This year, Harvard scientists suggested that a cigar-shaped interstellar rock named Oumuamua which appeared in our solar system in 2017 might actually be an alien spaceship. Unfortunately, further research has failed to prove it was made by aliens or artificial in origin. These were just two of the most disappointing failures in the advancement of humanity’s departure from this planet, although I hold out out every time these headlines appear. Even Hillary Clinton has expressed the hope of our exposure of alien life, but she didn’t fucking win the presidency, and Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be into The X-Files at all.
I just find the lack of action here sad. It’s almost 20 years into the new millennium, and we haven’t seen a single goddamned alien. I have been watching The X-Files since I was a child in 1990s, when American culture peaked in Delia’s catalogs, at Spencer’s Gifts, and in the hard ridge of properly shorn bowl cuts. We were ready for everything to end back then, and we had the haircuts and the beanbag chairs and the South Park plushies to prove it. These cultural artifacts represent the apex of pop cultural advancements during the dawn of a new technological revolution; they were so bad, such trash, and unlike anything the world had ever seen before. The shamelessness of the 90s taunted us over our own existence, and over our precious little foresight for a future after war and happy capitalism throughout the 20th century. We produced bigger, better fantasies about how we might leave this world. (Titanic was essentially a romanticization of the total destruction wrought when humanity’s stride toward godliness collides with forces more powerful than our will; we were fantasizing about how beautiful oblivion might be.)
When the warnings about Y2K were raised, the disaster we were promised seemed like the most logical thing in the world. Of course computers would destroy us and the world would end within a decade of their popularization. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and since, we’ve been missing the future we so eagerly anticipated. We’re still waiting for the aliens, with samurai swords and open arms. I hope we’ll get to meet them in 2019.
This content was originally published here.