Aliens have made it the news at least three times in the last week. This is fairly impressive considering the fact that there have been no shortage of actual events to report on (stock market collapse, the fallout from the Uk riots, Syria, etc.). This could be taken as symptomatic of the usual August slow news cycle, less a reflection of an actual lack of newsworthy stories than a collective decision not to reflect on the world. Past Augusts have brought us such stories as "Shark Attack Summer." August is the month dedicated to frivolous stories that make the rest of the years sound bytes and pseudo-events look serious by comparison. Taken together, however these reports construct an interesting snapshot of our existing political imaginary, the reflection of our social and political condition in our avoidance of it.The first instance of Aliens in the news was from Paul Krugman, who argued that the build up to prepare for an alien invasion would be precisely the stimulus program that this country needs.
This has led some would be Rorschachs on the right (excuse the Watchmen reference) to conclude that Krugman was involved in a liberal plot to fabricate an alien invasion in order to advance One World Government. (Because openly declaring how useful a fake alien invasion would be is the perfect way to construct a fake invasion). Aside from such hystrionics Krugman's joke is indicative of how impossible it would be, given the prevailing political and economic ideologies, to pursue a Keynesian stimulus project. For the past few years of the recession, Krugman has written numerous columns and editorials representing the Keynesian point of view, the point of view that we were supposed to return to after the collapse of neoliberalism, advocating for government spending focusing on unemployment as an antidote to our economic situation, but now he even seems to understand that given our political climate such an idea is just as likely as an alien invasion.
This connection between what is politically feasible and what is imaginable is underscored in the next appearance of Aliens in the news. A study was published that argued that Aliens might attack us because of our destruction of our environment. As the report states,
"A preemptive strike would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions," the report states.
"Green" aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. "These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,"