Friday, May 06, 2016

Stanley Kubrick and the Reality Stargate: Secret Space

UPDATE: Reader Andrew points us to this must-watch video.

NOTE: I'm reposting this piece from last January since it very much ties into the series we're in the middle of now. I also recommend "Stanley Kubrick and the Reality Stargate, Revisited" for more background on this piece and more tales being told out of school. 

I have a lot of completed (or nearly-completed) posts in the pipeline but I wanted to put all of this in context first- this seemed like a very apt way to do that.

A recent news story covered the recent controversy over NASA feeds from the International Space Station, which some sites have claimed were cut after strange objects entered the camera view. This is not a new phenomenon, NASA has been accused of monkeying with its feed since the mid 90s in order to cover some very strange goings on in earth orbit.

That this story might be more than just a bunch of "UFO nuts" letting off steam was inadvertantly revealed by the graphics that CBS chose for the story. Rather than publish the objects in question so that their readers could decide for themselves, the editors pulled a corny old Unarius snapshot out of the archives so everyone could have a nice chuckle, feel superior for a minute or two and go back to being expendable cogs in the global economical hegemon.

This object showed up on a YouTube video, claiming to to be an ISS UFO, but it could be one of the endless parade of bad CGI creations that the popular UFO channels lure viewers in with. The more interesting-- and compelling-- videos are generally hard to find on the site (they don't tend to come up in searches for some strange reason) and don't get much traffic.

Of course, there's always the chance that what we are seeing on these ISS feeds is not alien craft but products of the secret space program. I admit that's unlikely, since even NASA wouldn't be so sloppy as to let classified hardware sneak into camera range, at least not while they're broadcasting, but mistakes are often made. But that raises the intriguing possibility NASA is out of the loop...

Given the availability of powerful telescopes for consumer use I'd love to see some interesting orbital hardware start to show up online, but aside from the controversial work of John Lenard Walson, I'm not seeing much.
Templar/Solar cross on 2001's lunar module

But the topic of the secret space program got me to thinking of the work of Jay Weidner, which reached the mainstream via the documentary on Stanley Kubrick's adaption of The Shining entitled Room 237

Weidner's argument, as explored here, is not that there were no moon missions at all, but that the Apollo missions were a made-for-TV cover of the secret space missions using classified hardware. Having researched the issue I've come to basically agree with this position.

Overall, the Apollo skeptics present thoughtful, detailed arguments while their opponents merely argue from authority (or just act like dicks). But there are too many moving parts and the inconvenient fact of a very, very hot Cold War to argue against any moon mission at all. And as I've written before, the Cold War in fact is an excellent argument in favor of a Apollo hoax (as a opposed to a Moon hoax), since you don't want your enemies poring over your mission data in order to reverse engineer the hardware.

And if Kubrick was confessing to an Apollo hoax in The Shining, he was also talking a secret moon mission, undertaken right underneath the Soviets' prying noses in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And there may be a very obvious clue as to the technology that got the US up there embedded in the film itself.

The more familiar you are with high weirdness and its tributaries the more you tend to pay attention to what Kubrick is saying in 2001 and the less attention you pay to all the people telling you- at endless lengths- what they think Kubrick is saying, especially since all of that theorizing tends to pay little or no attention to what's actually onscreen.

For instance, Heywood Floyd's short speech to the directors at Clavius paraphrases talking points from a paper published in 1960 by the Brookings Institution about the possibility of the discovery of alien artifacts on the moon. This can't be an accident. The Stargate sequence- itself the subject of endless theorizing- replicates the experience of subjects under powerful doses of hallucinogens* (Krystle Cole recounted a nearly-identical experience to Bowman's while tripping on DMT in 2007). 

The oddly-lit white room Bowman finds himself in has been recounted by several 'alien abductees', most significantly Betty and Barney Hill, whose account was published in Look Magazine during the filming of 2001. A coincidence? Doubtful. The fact that Bowman's experience is preceded by an electronic signal matches then-classified stories of abductions being preceded by subjects being struck with an electronic beam. 

The Stargate scene ends with the creation of the Starchild, a new evolved being. This parallels stories only then emerging of abductees claiming to be used in hybrid programs. Again, coincidence? Whatever your opinion of the provenance of these accounts, we're at the far reaches of what can be rightly called coincidence here. Kubrick was clearly processing material outside the realm of recognized science fiction.

What is even more remarkable about the film is how it showcases technology that would not commercially available for decades, including seatback video, voiceprint ID and optical storage media. The film seems like a showcase for future technology, hardware the rest of the world wouldn't be aware of for some time to come. 

OK, now let's go back to the original topic of this post. What do you do when the public has become aware of something you don't want them aware of?

Well, as we saw with the ludicrous Unarius snap, you muddy the waters. 

Ridicule is a surefire trick. Flooding the market with conflicting and outlandish information is another (in 2001, Heywood Floyd cleverly leads the Russians to believe that the bogus plague story is true) Sending out shills to attack and insult anyone who discusses a forbidden topic is an old reliable as well. 

And of course, all of these have been used over the years over the topic of the alleged flying saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico.

As I wrote in the previous installment of this series, I don't believe the "Dawn of Man" vignette in 2001 has anything to do with prehistory. I think it's a continuation of Kubrick's parodying of the Cold War that we saw in Dr. Strangelove, the film that Weidner argues led to this film and Kubrick's Apollo work. I see now- in the context of the secret space paradigm, that there are very clear visual cues as to this fact.

Remember first that Kubrick has apes-- jungle creatures by definition-- lounging around in the desert. Establishing shots were filmed in the Monument Valley of the American Southwest, just a few hours drive from Roswell.

Remember next that the source of conflict between the two groups of apes is a watering hole.

Or, uhh, well.
Note the strategically placed lens flares following alien revelation,
subliminally reminding the viewer of UFOs

Remember also that the Moonwatcher tribe wakes up one morning and finds the Monolith-- by definition an alien artifact-- in its midst. In much the same way the ranchers of Corona, NM woke up one morning and allegedly found an alien artifact in their midst as well. Remember that the base at Roswell Army Air Field was no ordinary fort-- it was also the site of the world's only atomic weapons arsenal.

Keeping in mind that we're analyzing what Kubrick is showing us, let's look at this pivotal scene in 'The Dawn of Man'. Moonwatcher is essentially doing weapons research with some debris he found on the desert floor. He's going to take this material and transform it into a tool and then a weapon. Later he will supply the strong-arms of his tribe with these bones. They alone will have these weapons. Their enemy tribe will not.

Exactly the same situation as the US and USSR in 1947 when the US has nukes and the Soviets did not.  (Note: This connection seems inarguable in light of this fact from the Wiki: "Stanley Kubrick originally intended that when the film does its famous match-cut from ancient bone-weapon to orbiting satellite that the latter and the three additional technological satellites seen would be established as orbiting nuclear weapons by a voice-over narrator talking about nuclear stalemate.")

Note those walls- they seem oddly unnatural. They look like embankments, as if the tribe has built a fort. That's a classic OOPart--out of place artifact. An important clue in Kubrick's narrative. 

So what we see onscreen is weapons research taking place inside some kind of fortification. 

We soon see a lot of yelling and screaming over the well by the opposing tribes, punctuated by the death of an enemy warrior.

And following this victory over the "well", Moonwatcher throws the bone into the air and it immediately becomes a spaceship. It's not out of the realm of reason now to assume that this bone symbolizes the remains of a spaceship, since that's what it instantly becomes.

Kubrick shows no suggestion of the march of time, of evolution, of progress, nothing at all. 

There's no reason at all to imagine any such thing, and in the context of his previous film every reason that this sequence is an even blunter and brutal parody of the Cold War, which filled many people with existential dread at the time of the making of this film.

What this bone is in fact is a secret weapon-- that's exactly what the narrative is describing the bone as exoterically. That it becomes a spaceship, that it was found in a pile of debris in the desert (where apes don't live), that this was filmed less than a day's drive from Roswell Army Air Base suggests that whether or not there is any truth to the Roswell stories that Kubrick thought they were compelling enough to tell a story around.**

Well, Rus
As I've said before, the scene with Floyd meeting the Russians is meant as a parallel to the watering hole scene and in my view proves that the latter is a parody of the global politics of the former.

For etymology buffs note that Roswell is a variant of "Rosewell" and by conjoining these two scenes we have a well- the water hole-- and red symbolism in the chairs and the Russians ("Rus", "Reds") themselves. Again, too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.

We see that this scene isn't much different than the previous one; the players are cordial but are clearly playing on opposite sides of the field. Floyd practices diplomatic deceit rather than physical violence to disguise the fact that his team too has had secret contact with an alien intelligence and is keeping that fact secret from their adversaries. 

Note that Floyd ends up in roughly the same pictorial space in-frame as Moonwatcher during the well battle.

Kubrick drops in a little more water symbolism here in case you didn't pick up on it and has the male Russian very subtly turn the table so the amber colored drink is now in front of him.

Leading the Russians to believe that the phony plague story that's been leaked through intelligence channels is true, Floyd hides the fact that he is on a secret mission to the Moon, and will be later ordering a secret space mission to Jupiter.†


I think space travel is a lot more expensive and dangerous than we're led to believe by the science propaganda. We hear a lot of brave talk about Mars but the fact is that no one I know of thinks it's anything but a suicide mission. Unless of course there is hardware along the lines of what Ben Rich hinted of all those years ago. But I'm sure all of that is so black we'll never know even a hint of it unless it crashes in a place so public that a thousand videos pop up in an instant.

But then, the Internet does have an off switch, you know.

With a new Cold War brewing, it will be interesting to see what revelations about space are kicked loose. So far we haven't heard Putin say America never went to the Moon but we have heard Medvedev talk about aliens in the context of nuclear security. America has been reliant on Russian boosters for ISS missions but that arrangement looks shaky at best. Will Elon Musk and other corporate space raiders take up the slack? I don't think their pockets are that deep.

More importantly, if we did go to the Moon-- and my current opinion is that we did in some kind of secret mission(s) that had nothing to do with playing golf or doing wheelies, using some technology that will never show up at the Smithsonian-- what did we find there? Are there missions that are still going on that we aren't hearing about? How would we know the difference?

Finally, please note that all of the propaganda techniques discussed in this post apply to a lot more than space or UFOs or science fiction.

UPDATE: Reader NDL reminds us that not long after 2001 a TV series premiered in Britain in which a movie studio in Borehamwood was used as cover for a secret space program... 

* Despite Kubrick's anti-drug protestations, the film is riddled with incongruous mushroom design symbolism.

† In 2000, the controversial Cassini spaceprobe performed a Jupiter flyby. The Cassini drew criticism for its plutonium power source.

** Kubrick and Clarke may well have heard the Roswell crash reverse-engineering stories but not had sufficient influence to get to any truth beyond them.