Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Put Yourself in Their Shoes"

Andre over at the must-read Alien Project posted the trailer to The Battle for Terra, one of four big Hollywood movies this year in which we see humanity through the eyes of extraterrestrials. Or more accurately, children are presented with this tableau, since three out of four of these films are geared towards them.

I understand that conventional wisdom has it that we're all being prepared for some large-scale alien invasion hoax, but the psychology here is extremely interesting nonetheless. Human beings are the antagonists in these films, meaning children will clearly identify with the oppressed aliens.

These films are not generating a sense of fear ("the government will save you from the evil aliens") or a sense of worship towards aliens ("worship the aliens, they are our space brothers"), they are inspiring sympathy and compassion towards them. We are driven to identify with aliens and see them neither as a threat nor as divine.

This in no way fits the conventional psychological narrative presented by the ET-hoax theorists. It's beyond even what we saw in E.T. or Alien Nation, where the aliens remained distinctly other. These are the kinds of films you would make if you wanted children to sympathize with actual aliens. And to see it in four separate films certainly gets my agenda-decoding antennae up.

Reverse psychology? Well, I guess it's possible. But given the current climate there's no doubt in my mind such a gambit would sail straight over most people's heads. The fact is that the propaganda I've discerned is mind-numbingly literal and repetitive, as if those producing it are convinced their audiences are low-grade morons. Having worked in the media and in advertising I can tell you with utter confidence that that is the case.