When I was growing up my teachers always assigned us a bunch of “summer reading books” at the end of each school year. I guess they were afraid we’d lose our chops, slip back into illiteracy before school spooled up again in the fall. I was too busy swimming and fishing and building forts with my buddies during the summer, so I don’t think I ever read any of those assigned books. This makes me the last guy who should be recommending any summer reads for anyone. As such, I’m gonna let my friend George do the dirty work. Don’t worry. George is a softy so the books are easy-breezy.
But first, please allow me a brief digression. I promise I’ll connect the dots and swing this back ‘round in a minute.
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In case you haven’t noticed amidst the shit-ton of stuff happening these days: UFOs are making a splash, and mainstream media outlets are paying attention. Even 60 Minutes, that bastion of credibility (wink, wink), recently did a UFO segment. This was followed by our good buddy, Barry…err Barack, stating publicly that “there’s footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are.” And then former National Intelligence Director, John Ratcliffe, weighed in, saying that “There have been sightings all over the world.”
We’ve been discussing UFOs here at TPD for over a decade, so it’s really interesting for us to observe all this recent mainstream spotlighting. To be honest, I never thought I’d see the day. But, as you might expect, the mainstream narrative contains a few Easter eggs. Here’s an overview of that narrative:
The U.S. government acknowledged many years ago that UFOs are real, so this is actually old news. By the way, you should know that UFOs are no longer referred to as UFOs. They’re now called UAPs. This stands for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. The U.S. military is watching UAPs closely because anything that enters restricted U.S. airspace without permission is considered a threat.
What a bunch of malarkey. Did you catch the Easter eggs, the core nuggets of propaganda planted by the spin doctors? Here they are, spelled out more explicitly:
1 Some time ago the U.S. government publicly acknowledged that UFOs are real. You must have missed this important announcement.
2 “UFO” is old-speak that can still be ridiculed. “UAP” is new-speak that should be taken seriously.
3 UAPs are a national security threat. Luckily, the government/military will protect us.
Skipping over this emerging rhetoric for a minute, as well as the agenda behind it, I have a question: How is it that this UAP business is not the #1 topic of dinner conversation right now and/or #1 news item in every media outlet, worldwide? Below are some possible front page headlines that we might see:
U.S. Navy Pilots See UFOs Flying at Mach 17 Every Day
According to multiple verified sources, intelligently controlled aircraft that can travel at speeds in excess of 13,000 miles per hour have been seen by Navy pilots “every day over the last two years”. The observed and recorded flight speeds and maneuverability exhibited by these commonplace UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) far exceed any known terrestrial technologies…
Congress Orders U.S. Intelligence Agencies to Spill the Beans on UFOs
The $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and funding bill signed into law by former President Donald Trump on Dec. 27, 2020 contained a number of “riders” (spending attachments that piggyback onto the main bill) that had nothing to do with COVID-19. One of the more interesting riders provides funding so that the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense can provide an unclassified report (with a classified annex) to Congress about advanced aerial threats and unidentified aerial phenomena before the end of June, 2021…
Would you have any interest in reading news stories with headlines like these? I for one sure would. But I get the distinct feeling that most people are less than curious about this topic.
How can this be? It really makes me wonder.
Have people been so beaten down that they no longer have an interest in things that are fundamentally spiritual and/or existential? I sure hope not. But I suspect that this may indeed the case. I’m going to blame the spin doctors and their suffocating barrage of nonsense. After all, it’s hard to be curious and see the wonders in the world if we’re being continually prodded into a fight-or-flight state of being.
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So…How do we shake off the cobwebs and get curious? I’ll admit that a discussion about UFOs may not be the place to start. After all, once you’ve lived enough to existentially ponder the possibility of extraterrestrial life, chances are you’re already hard-wired to be either fundamentally intrigued or dismissive about it. Heck, if you’re old enough to be reading this article you’re in the same boat. And I’m right there with you. The fact that I’m writing this article is evidence that I’m wired in my own special way.
Maybe we can help each other “get curious” if we all lighten up a bit, rather than swinging for the fences on heavy topics like aliens and UFOs and whatnot. Maybe we could reach for some low-hanging fruit. For example, if we can find some really simple, obvious examples of propaganda it might help us develop our spidey senses for spotting it in general. And it also might help us prove to ourselves in a fundamental way that propaganda can and does exist, and that it’s put in place to shape our perceptions and potentially undermine our natural curiosities. Let’s give it a try.
Since summer’s now beginning, I thought we could try this in the form of a summer reading list! Thrilling, right? Let’s call it Curious George’s Summer Reading List to honor the innate curiosity of that little monkey of book / movie / TV fame. In keeping with George’s sensibilities – and in the spirit of keeping it light, as described above – let’s only put children’s books on our spot-the-propaganda reading list. So without any further ado, here we go:
Tootle by Gertrude Crampton | 1945 | Golden Press (Western Publishing Company, Inc.) | ISBN: 9780307020970
Join Tootle the Train in this classic, heartwarming Golden Book tale that teaches us to abandon our dreams because they are silly. Instead we should work hard for the Mayor Himself and “Stay on the Rails No Matter What!” [Fun fact: Up to 2001, Tootle was the all-time 3rd best-selling hardback children’s book in the English language.]
The Dangers of Strangers by Carole G. Vogel and Kathryn A. Goldner | 1983 | Dillon Press, Inc. | ISBN: 9780875182537
Immerse yourself once again in one of the most popular nightmare scenarios from the 1980s: Getting kidnapped, tortured, and killed. But rather than wasting your time with one of the many books in this genre that focuses on prevention strategies, why not read something that fills you with fear by providing explicit details of what will happen to you at the hands of an evil stranger?
Why?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything by Crispin Boyer | 2015 | National Geographic Kids | ISBN: 9781426320965
This book really does have tons of good questions and answers, I swear. But the folks at Nat Geo just couldn’t stop themselves from tossing in a few zingers. One example: This book introduces the kiddos to the idea that we can soon look forward to receiving routine injections containing nanobots that will “swim through our bloodstream like a swarm of mechanical bees” to help us cure diseases. Hmmm. And you thought the 1980s were rough?
A Child’s First Book of Trump by Michael Ian Black and Marc Rosenthal | 2016 | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | ISBN: 9781481488006
Young and old readers alike will appreciate the sophisticated humor and wisdom found in this lively little book. I feel like I learned a lot from it. For instance: If you don’t like someone, it’s perfectly OK to ridicule them based on their physical appearance.
Fake News by Tom Jackson and Cristina Guitian | 2020 | Quarto Publishing PLC | ISBN: 9780711250345
This book tackles one of the hottest topics of our time: Fake News. After reading this, you’ll be able to make your own informed opinions based on the authors’ advice on what your opinions should be. Follow? Don’t ask any questions, just read it. For instance, this book told me why I’m a “conspiracy theorist” – something that’s been puzzling me for years. See the page scan above. Thanks, Tom! Thanks, Christina! Now that that’s been cleared up, I feel like I can finally go do something constructive with my life.
Books are just the tip of the old indoctrination iceberg. After all, printed-on-paper words are probably one of the least intrusive, least influential forms of propaganda nowadays. If we take the above-exposed book swill and extrapolate it upward and outward – especially into digital space – where does it take us? What does a lifetime of exposure to this type of content do to a person? Is it any wonder that so many people have a tough time wrapping their heads around existential topics like the possibility of UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence?
At the time of writing, there are still brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries around. I suggest we go visit them and see what’s on their shelves. Especially in the children’s section. We might be surprised by what we find.
I suspect that having a good look at children’s books has the potential to do more for us than help develop our own propaganda-detection senses and stimulate our own curiosity. If we have the opportunity to read to or with kids, we have a great opportunity to point out the hogwash that we come across. In so doing, maybe kids will get the idea that they themselves have the power to question the rhetoric that’s coming at them from the written page – and from elsewhere. Wouldn’t that be something?