Friday, March 30, 2012

The Good Guys Dress in Black, Remember That: How Movies and Music Rewrote MIB Lore

By Robbie Graham Silver Screen Saucers

Exclusive artwork courtesy of David Sankey

The line between documented UFOlogical fact and speculative pop-cultural fiction has always been blurry, but it disappeared in spectacular fashion back in 1997 with the release of the hugely successful Men in Black. As any student of the UFO subject knows, civilian encounters with the enigmatic ‘MIBs’ have been documented for decades in relation to mysterious aerial objects, and those who have been unfortunate enough to attract the attention of these black-clad mystery-men typically describe them as creepy, imposing and outright threatening in their behaviour. But Steven Spielberg’s big-budget production (based on the comic book by Lowell Cunningham) re-spun MIB-lore in favour of the Men in Black themselves and of government secrecy surrounding the UFO phenomenon. It was a message encapsulated by Will Smith’s Grammy Award-winning title rap for the movie’s soundtrack:

The good guys dress in black, remember that
Just in case we ever face to face and make contact...
We’re your first, last and only line of defense
Against the worst scum of the universe
So don’t fear us, cheer us
If you ever get near us, don’t jeer us
We’re fearless...

Let me tell you this in closin'
I know we might seem imposin'
But trust me, if we ever show in your section
Believe me, it's for your own protection
Cuz we see things that you need not see
And we be places that you need not be
So go with your life, forget that Roswell crap
Show love to the black suit, cuz
That's the Men in
That's the Men in...

And, well, you know the rest.

In the minds of the many unfamiliar with UFOlogy, Men in Black would now and forever be associated exclusively with a movie and a song of the same name – with science fiction cinema (and Will Smith) rather than reported historical encounters. Moreover, MIBs went from being sinister witness-harassers to heroic “galaxy-defenders.” Such is the power of entertainment.

This power that entertainment – particularly cinema – wields over our perceptions of complex political issues was something legendary 20th Century Fox Production Chief Darryl Zanuck understood with crystal clarity. In 1943, while serving with the Army Signal Corps, Zanuck said: “If you have something worthwhile to say, dress it up in the glittering robes of entertainment and you will find a ready market... Without entertainment, no propaganda film is worth a dime.”

The Men in Black franchise may not be movie propaganda in the traditional sense (in that it was not pushed into production by the state for political ends), but it serves the UFO-related interests of the national security state nonetheless in its presentation of a just cover-up of extraterrestrial visitation orchestrated by a covert, yet entirely righteous organisation that, by necessity, operates without legal oversight for the good of all mankind.

If the time ever comes when Disclosure is forced upon the US government and the President is called upon by his citizens to justify the UFO secrecy that has metastasised for over sixty years behind the most impenetrable layers of America’s national security state, he need not prepare an elaborate speech, but say, quite simply: “Go watch Men in Black.”

No comments:

Post a Comment