Reputedly slower for news are the long, hazy (we wish) summer months. Not only are 99% of the workforce on holiday, but school traffic is a distant memory and we have all just rediscovered Pimms – hardly factors leading to increased crime levels. It just seems that there isn’t much happening. Well, so we thought…
I can’t help but notice that in the last few months, I have increasingly been disgruntled by more and more news articles purporting to let me in on a little secret – aliens exist, they are here and they have always been here. But it’s not only because this is almost obscenely foolish that it has caught my attention – it’s also the brilliance of the scope and range of coverage this would have had if it was a PR campaign.
Gone are the days when the chronically unemployed and lonely would be the main claimants of alien activity. Now, not only are articles emerging in otherwise reputable papers, but they are also creeping into my life with an intensely insidious regularity. We have been graced not only with sightings on Mars, but also with celebrities who believe, spooky unearthly architecture we are reliably told could not have been manmade and even the claim that aliens prevented World War III by destroying missiles during the Cold War.
Perhaps most worryingly, we are now also being confronted with people who we would usually believe; people at the forefront of science are claiming octopuses are our out-of-this-world compadres and Steven Hawking – who we all trust, right? – is investing $100m in a search for alien life.
So aside from grabbing my attention on a day to day basis, there are now people I trust about issues of science – plus archaeologists, astronauts and war strategists – seemingly reassuring me that it’s not a farce and that I should buy into it all. Do I believe aliens are here? No, no I don’t. But have I been forced to consider it? Begrudgingly, yes. So if they really are out there making all these publicity stunts, finding their way to the right journalists and getting reputable thought leaders from all sectors to defend and support their existence, they are masters of PR – and, er, the Universe.