If you sifted social media on Sunday, you probably saw one of the worst possible uses of the platform and one of the best. The latter being the continued groundswell of love for a plan to "storm Area 51." The classified government facility is best known to the public as a hub of alien conspiracy theories and pivotal scenes in Independence Day.
An event on Facebook suggests that people "all meet up" at Area 51 and "storm" the facility because "they can't stop all of us." The comically short event description concludes with "lets see them aliens." Nearly one million amateur Mulders and Scullys have signed on for the joke event, while another 814,000 have indicated that they're "interested" in the event.
The description also says, "If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets." "Naruto run" is a reference to an anime character who runs with his head straight ahead and arms behind him.
While the event is a joke, the memes are oh, so real. We rounded up some of the best memes and the excellent, unclassified Area 51 jokes floating around social media in response to the event.
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Of course, no fun meme can be left unsullied by brand Twitter. So, every brand sporting a quirky social media personality has taken the opportunity to insert their products into the faux raid on the base. This would be an excellent meme to study if you were looking into the way memes develop, gain popularity, and then get sucked up into the ecosystem of companies on social media using memes and personalities as a marketing technique.
This cycle is frequently a sign of the end of a meme, especially when half the fun of the meme seemed to be how little sense it made. Now, instead of people making funny attack plans, we have photoshopped images of aliens holding a bag of Funyons. (The below is just a tiny sampling of what's out there.)
The Facebook event may be a joke, but it has raised the question of what happens if not everyone is joking about the raid. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post that the government is aware of the event. "[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force," she said, "and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets."
Clearly, running into a restricted government facility like this is a bad idea.
For decades the government denied the existence of Area 51. However, the CIA confirmed its existence in 2013 through a public records request by George Washington University. The facility was used to test high-altitude spy planes during the Cold War. The documents that have been shared didn't make mention of aliens. Then in 2017, the Pentagon confirmed a $22 million program that analyzed "anomalous aerospace threats." So, the revelations, often intended to debunk conspiracy theories, have served to fuel them as evidenced by this faux project to "see them aliens."
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