Aliens were not found in Nevada this summer. At least, not the grey men we’re used to.

 On September 20, meme enthusiasts and herds of alien enthusiasts donning tin-foil hats gathered outside the rural town of Rachel, Nevada in preparation for an event with nearly three million Facebook fans: the Area 51 Raid.

Over the summer, the event gained massive traction, both from memers and concerned government officials alike, starting from a maxim of solidarity: “They can’t stop us all.” Although the event didn’t remotely culminate in the exciting military-bust many had hoped for, it certainly led to an interesting cultural display of parties, music, and quirky enthusiasm.

But the fun-loving and seemingly uneventful raid in Nevada was surrounded by the increasingly popular appeal of alien culture. On September 18, the US Navy confirmed a collection of footage of “unidentified aerial phenomena” recorded aboard the USS Nimitz in 2004, called since the ‘Nimitz UFO Incident,” bringing conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork. In 2017, Alien Covenant, a film depicting humans terrorized by aliens on a faraway planet, was released, restarting a film series that was first innovated in the 1970s and has since been untouched. In addition, alien memes have permeated meme culture in the last few years: from the ayy lmao meme to Howard the Alien.”

This phenomenon begs the question: why?

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