Call me a crank, but for many years now, I have been a watcher of sunsets and sunrises, a sky gazer in general, on this “pale blue dot” we call Earth, a “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam," as Carl Sagan so beautifully and humbly immortalized our predicament. I was recently talking to a landscape photographer, and we both agreed it had to do with perspective, whether photographing or just gazing, of catching a moment, a zenith, the cusp before it turns. A kind of boundless immanence where nature, where life does not stop to catch its breath and goes on forever, into the inky phosphorus dark of imperial night, or the unconditional mystery and open promise of a new day.
These are the kinds of things I think about but the last six months have given me a new way to ponder because of two projects that seem to have "right place, right time" written all over them.
A.D. After Disclosure: The People’s Guide to Life After Contact
Richard Dolan and Bryce Zabel have some much more radical ideas on the question of UFOs, and the far ranging implications thereof for us on terra firma. Published in 2010, the book is a collaboration between an Oxford trained academic turned UFO researcher and historian, and a producer and writer who created the cult classic show Dark Skies, and former chair of the US Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Dolan has spent the last decade writing and publishing volumes of his UFOs and the National Security State, which meticulously chronicle a history of UFOs and their cover-up that is still being written, in the real world and on the page. A modern archeology of declassified documents and witness testimony, of lives and careers that were made, and even buried because of the UFO, the conceptual rosetta stone to understanding this subterranean world being the historical formation and ascendant hegemony of the National Security State. ‘Like the “missing mass” astronomers are trying to locate in the far reaches of our universe, the UFO phenomena rests on an ocean of dark matter, deep secrets, and forgotton wars fought only in shadows,' writes Jacques Vallee in the foreword to Vol.1 of Richard’s history.
Dark Skies: History is a Lie
Mid-January 2011 saw, for the first time on DVD, the release of Dark Skies. Watching it, the first thing that struck me about it is just how good it really is. It was ahead of its time, and tragically cancelled just as it was beginning so promisingly. No wonder that some people speculated it was cancelled for political, i.e., conspiratorial reasons, owing to its themes, which cover crop circles, cattle mutilation, alien abduction, ancient astronauts, secret space programs, and many historical personalities woven into the script including the Kennedys, with every episode reminding that History Is a Lie, following John Loengard and partner Kimberly Sayers as they go on the run across America from Majestic 12 and the alien threat. Certainly, it is criminal, the treatment the series was handed, given how much work and clearly love was put into it. The show captures some of the optimism, idealism, wonder and terror of the 60’s. The beautiful, glowing cinematography brings to life the ambiance of the times, without gimmick but with plenty of novelty and dark humour, each episode flies by and each year rolls on, passing through the decade, through the heights and the depths, bittersweet and retrospective, archive footage blending seamlessly and kinetically with the story, the sci-fi with the historical.
The need you buried deep,
The secrets that you keep are at the ready,
Are you ready?
Foo Fighters, The Pretender
In the Beginning...
One of my favorite scenes is from the pilot, where Captain Bach of Majestic 12 and his suit-and-tie adorned team of need-to-knows investigating a classic-style crop circle make a fly-over in a military helicopter of the field. It’s just charming. It captures such a quality of the mystery and wonder and even naivety that must have accompanied any such incidents, where now the phenomena proliferates multidimensionally on dorm posters and fridge magnets, but back then was a very new world to be discovered, studied and conquered. You can easily imagine it would have been just like this, back then, to those in the know.