You might have noticed many references to area 51 which re-emerge in jokes or memes over social networks. Like the Jacques Pradel of the Internet of 2019, Pixel teams explore and decipher the origins of the phenomenon, born of a joke on Facebook to invade an American military base.
What is area 51?
It is a vast desert expanse in the heart of Nevada, where several American military installations are located. The place became world famous in 1947, after an aircraft crash near the town of Roswell.
According to the variations of the history, the American army would have captured an alien which would have crashed; or the accident would have been that of an aircraft built by the military, inspired by extraterrestrial technologies. Various whimsical testimonies came, over the years, to feed this mythology, which was further enriched in the 1990s after the publication of a rigged video presented as that of an extraterrestrial captured in the area. The US military has always claimed, with supporting photographs, that the Roswell UFO was a simple sounding balloon, like those frequently deployed by the army in the area at the time. This explains why the existence of Area 51 was not officially recognized by the United States government until 2013.
What are the origins of the return from area 51?
On June 27, 2019, three Facebook users created a group called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us”. The idea was to gather in the parking lot of a shop in the middle of the Nevada desert. From there, Internet users intend to launch an assault on a nearby military zone, to “go and see these extraterrestrials”.
Since then, things have gotten out of hand. As of Friday, April 24, 2020 two million Facebook users are ready to participate in the event, while another 1.5 million people are at least showing their interest. The initiative is also available over other social networks. In particular on the sub-categories “r / teenagers” and “r / dankmemes” of Reddit. References to area 51 have spread like wildfire.
Is this project serious?
No it’s a joke. Even the most conspiratorial ufologist would have trouble seeing this plan.
If some participants are probably convinced that the American base hides dark secrets, and perhaps even evidence of extraterrestrial life, the idea of an attack is, on the other hand, just a joke. A message pinned to the top of the Facebook page “Storm Area 51” finally indicates that “this is a joke”: “I do not really intend to execute this plan. I just said to myself that it was funny and that it would earn me some “likes” ”.
Bet won. And the creators of the group now seem to take very seriously the potential fallout from what has become a viral phenomenon. “Storm Area 51” therefore opened its “official” store of T-shirts, sold for $ 20. This approach is reminiscent of a proud local tradition. The villages closest to area 51 have lived mainly, and for years, on “alien tourism”. The few hotels in the area play the card of the little green men and local guides offer night excursions to observe UFOs.
Located in the middle of the desert, difficult to access and served only by route 375 (“extraterrestrial highway”), the area is under permanent surveillance by the American army. The army technically has the right to open fire on possible intruder.
Why such a craze on the Internet?
As often with viral phenomena, it’s impossible to say. But the recent release in the United States of a Netflix documentary devoted to the area 51 seems to have provoked a renewed interest in the place. This is largely based on the testimony of Bob Lazar. Bob claimed at the end of the 1980s to have worked on prototypes using extraterrestrial technologies for the American army. This conspiracy “documentary” (denounced by sites like Conspiracy Watch ) supports his version facts. Later the Los Angeles Times proved his testimony wrong.
Whatever the initial spark, it is not very surprising that the gag quickly found an echo on the net, as it is in tune with the times. It takes up the codes of “shitposting” (literally, “shit poster”, that is to say, a deliberately regressive and often self-deprecating humor) dear to young Internet users.
Is it funny?
It is in any case in the form of memes (diversions of popular images or video) amused that the operation spreads on the web. We see in particular celebrities supposedly bringing their support to the movement, like this false message Donald Trump is already delighted to be able to expel the “aliens” (term which designates in English as much extraterrestrials as migrants) who are hidden there.
Others develop absurd plans , drawing inspiration from Bollywood films or other fashionable memes . Or imagine what they will find there, whether it be futuristic material to steal or innocent aliens to deliver.
On social networks, users are directing their colleagues to move on. The old-fashionedness points: the proof, the pop culture begins to recover the phenomenon. And many brands refer to the phenomenon to exist online.
Aside from being an engineer, I am a software developer, an enthusiastic musician, a regular reader and a hobbyist writer. I love traveling, exploring new places and, of course, playing games (all sorts).