By Kenneth Shipp
I was watching Independence Day a few weeks ago and had an epiphany. It happened while I watched one of the characters in that film, Russell Casse (Randy Quaid), who everyone believed to be a lunatic. He truly thinks that he was abducted by aliens and subjected to various probes and tests. It wasn’t until an alien invasion actually shows up that he starts to turn around in his own life, while the doubters are quickly silenced.
How would it feel to know in your bones that you were completely right, but have no one believe you? Russell is ultimately vindicated by the alien arrival although that comes at the cost of millions of lives. But that got me thinking, who else may be subject to such a situation.
Enter the Men in Black. Yeah, we get why they are doing their work in secret and use the neutralizer. One of my favorite quotes is when Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) explains why the MIB keeps alien existence secret:
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow”
Which is actually cool if you are drafted to be a member of the MIB…but what if you’re on the other side of that equation? The folks who get neuralized? Nope, I’m actually talking about the people who don’t get neutralized. People have picked on the neuralizer as being a plot hole since there’s no way they could ever get everyone. But that’s the point; they don’t have to get everyone
It doesn’t actually matter if you don’t catch everyone with the neuralizer because human nature will take care of the rest. For example, suppose you see an alien spaceship land in your backyard. You flip out and run out of your house in paranoia as the rest of your family sees it. While you’re gone doing cartwheels, hiding behind a car, or peeing your pants (all viable options really) the MIB shows up, handles the alien, neuralizes your family, cleans up the crime scene, and then books it out of there. By the time you get return, your family is back to “normal” while you come back to tell them a ridiculous tale. They are not going to believe you, which in turn will probably make you angry thus ingraining what you saw further in your mind. At this point, they will be genuinely concerned for you since you sound like a raving maniac and get you committed to the nearest psychiatric ward. BOOM, you’re screwed
That’s the genius of the device. If the Men in Black can get the majority of the crowd, they win. Because we will discredit the other people ourselves because we were there. The Chinese restaurant wasn’t attacked by a giant alien fish, it was some large bear. We didn’t see a ship blow up in the sky that was just fireworks. It’s always easier to dismiss information.
So, what happens to the people who don’t get neuralized? They become Russell. They become the drunken alcoholic father who crop dusts the wrong field because they can’t reconcile what they’ve seen or what’s happened to them. The MIB may be “saving” the world from itself by keeping alien existence hidden, but they are destroying perfectly good lives in the process. Russell’s children would probably love nothing more than to have their father back with full mind, but they never get to see that man. It’s not till the ships arrive in ID4 that they start to regain respect for him, which is solidified at the end. But for everyone else, they remain marginalized to the edges of society…
And here’s the crazy thing about the MIB or Independence universes and why I really hope nothing like those scenarios exist in our world. We would be setting ourselves up for disaster
While the growing pains of accepting alien life would be hard, it would not be impossible. The dangerous game the MIB is playing is that they will always be able to stop whatever threat comes their way. What if a ridiculous armada of ships heads to Earth and decides they want our planet suddenly? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we are not exactly equipped to handle anything that massive. And yeah, you could say the MIB has it under control, but they are a small force. They’ve had to rely on mostly last-minute, fourth quarter saves to protect the planet. If it’s a straight up war, I don’t see where they are getting the manpower or resources. Now switch to the ID4 universe. While millions have died now, if you’ve checked out the new set photos from ID: Resurgence, you can see that scientists led by Ian Malcolm….I mean David Levinson
They’ve been busy creating new fighters and tech based off the alien design in case they come back. This is something the humans don’t have an opportunity to prepare for in the MIB universe. In the event that a large force attacks the MIB Earth, everything they worked for was a waste of time because no one else besides them would be prepared. And God help them if everyone figures out they knew beforehand and didn’t tell anyone.
So what have we learned? MIB universe has an impending doom and it’s all the Men in Black’s fault.
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