SeaSquawks 9/19/19: UNCW speaks on the Area 51 raid


David Montero / Los Angeles Times/TNS

Matty Roberts started the Storm Area 51 event as a joke in June before it exploded into an internet phenomenon. It has since been called off, but he is helping promote a music festival in Las Vegas instead, called Alienstock.

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

If you have been keeping up with meme culture for the past couple of months, you know all about the “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” Facebook event that kicked off tons of internet in-jokes for all to enjoy. This topic has quickly wormed its way into pop culture, including one of the many remixes for Lil Nas X’s summer hit, “Old Town Road,” and it just might be one of the things 2019 is remembered for years from now.

However, hype for the event has died down in recent times. The joke reached its peak in the middle of the summer, with many celebrities and internet personalities jumping in to get in on it. With the event itself taking place in mid-September, though, it was easy to forget about.

There are still issues abound — two Dutch YouTubers were arrested just this week for trying to get a look at the military installation — but it has lost a lot of steam in general.

Things are set to really hit the fan on Sept. 20 at noon, the official time and date for the aforementioned Facebook event. Is anybody going to show up? Is anyone going to get hurt? Are people even thinking about it anymore?

The Seahawk asked UNC Wilmington staff and faculty their thoughts on the matter. Here were there answers:

“I’m afraid that people will still show up. Because the memes died down, I’m hoping that people have forgotten about it, but I think if people do show up, it’s not going to be good… I’m afraid for the people that do show up.” – Chelsea Tippett, Senior, Creative Writing

“I can’t even find memes about it no more, so I think it’s going to be a dud.” – Malik Gordon, Freshman, Undeclared

“I’m not worried about it, per se; I’m more interested to see who’s dumb enough to actually do it.” – Brad Reynolds, Senior, Human Resource Management

“I don’t think anyone will do anything. I think it’s just a meme. If they were actually going to try to do it, they did it way too early because the hype is so down now.” – Chase McFee, Senior, Supply Chain Management

“…I worry about anyone who shows up at Area 51 for any reason: innocently, in good fun, to film satirical videos of the ‘event,’ or because they’re on a mission. As we’ve seen in so many other recent contexts, our government flagrantly encourages brutality against peaceful protesters or anyone else they decide to scapegoat. I don’t want to see people hurt because of something that started as a joke. It’s not worth it. Save your wonderful energy for activism that can make a difference, and save yourselves because this world needs you. The UFOs will be revealed in good time!” – Wendy Brenner, Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing

There is mostly doubt in the air here at UNCW, but with recent arrests, legitimate warnings from the U.S. Air Force and people already in the area for the “Alienstock” event on Sept. 19, there is definitely reason to worry. Will the memes stay memes, or will things truly devolve into a dangerous comedy of errors like our government suspects? Only time will tell.