How Area 51 memes enticed a generation to Naruto run at a military base – The Independent

When Bob Lazar, the original Area 51 whistleblower, emailed me late last month to tell me his thoughts on the Storm Area 51 meme, he wrote that he was glad my information has reached so many people.

The meme he was talking about grew out of a mock Facebook event called Storm Area 51, They Cant Stop All of Us, which jokingly proposed that people ambush a military base in Nevada to find the aliens the government was supposedly hiding there.

The event spawned countless alien rescue memes, whose levity, Lazar thought, sent the wrong message. The meme absolutely cheapens a serious matter, he wrote. I liken it to the Weather Service giving local residents a warning about a dangerous hurricane approaching, and the residents responding with a Woo-hoohurricane party! There are secrets in the Nevada desert, and its a crime to keep the truth from the public.

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Lazar, 60, is known for saying that he had reverse-engineered alien spacecraft at a classified military base in the Nevada desert. He first delivered this information during a 1989 interview with George Knapp, a reporter for KlasLas Vegas, under the pseudonym Dennis.

In late June, Lazar was on Joe Rogans podcast, and the interview inspired Matty Roberts, a 21-year-old petroleum engineering student, to create the mock Facebook event.

In addition to the memes, it spurred non-digital activity: three separate, ET-centric events in Nevada between 19 and 22 September: an EDM concert in downtown Las Vegas thrown by Roberts; a Burning Man-like event in the approximately 35-person town of Rachel hosted by the towns only business, the Little AleInn; and a gathering of UFO enthusiasts at the Alien Research Centre, a glorified gift shop in Hiko.

Since then, other Storm copycat events have emerged, from an unserious proposal to Storm Loch Ness to find the notorious cryptid, to the possibly real protest Storm BlizzCon 2019, They Cant Censor Us All, targeting video game company Activision Blizzards censorship of a gamer who spoke in support of Hong Kong protesters.

The event that started it all (Facebook)

There was even a Halloween stoop devoted to the whole shebang in the Fort Greene neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Its 2019, and no one can stop the spread of an internet joke gone too far.

After all, were living in the era of Pizzagate, a time when outrageous Twitter claims about a child enslavement ring involving Hillary Clinton inspired a man to fire a gun into an unsuspecting pizza parlour in Washington, DC.

Politicians and journalists repeat and retweet hoax news stories on the regular, like the one about Syrian refugees being relocated to Navajo reservations, repeated by Sean Hannity and Donald Trump.

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Yet you can hardly blame people for taking digital jokes seriously, a practice codified in 2005, when someone with the username Nathan Poe posted to a Christian forum: Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone wont mistake for the genuine article.

Alien-hunters headed to Area 51 after a viral craze that saw them commit to storm the mysterious US military base as a variety of events are taking place to mark the weekend, including music festivals in a variety of locations

Reuters

Martin Custodio wears a Pepe mask while standing near razor wire at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51

AP

A boy wears a tinfoil hat at the gates of Area 51

Reuters

A man dressed as an alien dances at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock

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Reuters

Revelers pose at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock'

Getty

Alien-hunters gather to "storm" Area 51 at an entrance to the military facility near Rachel, Nevada

AFP/Getty

People dance during a DJ set at 'Alienstock'

EPA

Women dressed as aliens

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AP

A group of people take the "Naruto run" position before they faux ran at an entrance

Reuters

Audrie Clark smokes a vape outside of the Storm Area 51 Basecamp event

AP

Attendee Ellie Urquhart walks past a security line

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A man poses at an entrance gate

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A mans holds an inflatable alien

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AFP/Getty

AFP/Getty

Hundreds gathered in Nevada desert to 'see them aliens'

Getty Images

A military personnel member patrols with a dog

Reuters

AFP/Getty

Reuters

A man poses in an alien costume near an access point to Area 51

EPA

Attendees listen to music during Alienstock festival on the "Extraterrestrial Highway

AFP/Getty

A security guard stands at an entrance

AP

People dance during a DJ set

EPA

People dressed in costumes chant as they approach a gate to Area 51

Reuters

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EPA

A woman is detained by law enforcement after crossing into Area 51

Reuters

A bus arrives for a 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event

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A man poses for photos as attendees gather to "storm" Area 51

AFP/Getty

An attendee wears a tinfoil hat

Reuters

Danny Philippou, of Australia, pretends to "Naruto run"

AP

EPA

Law enforcement monitor a gate to Area 51

Reuters

People play with a football during a DJ set at 'Alienstock'

EPA

People do the "Naruto run" at the gates of Area 51

Reuters

People celebrate on the road back after visiting a military security gate near Area 51

Getty

Men dressed as aliens dance at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event

Getty

Alien-hunters headed to Area 51 after a viral craze that saw them commit to storm the mysterious US military base as a variety of events are taking place to mark the weekend, including music festivals in a variety of locations

Reuters

Martin Custodio wears a Pepe mask while standing near razor wire at an entrance to the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51

AP

A boy wears a tinfoil hat at the gates of Area 51

Reuters

A man dressed as an alien dances at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock

Getty

Reuters

Revelers pose at the 'Storm Area 51' spinoff event 'Alienstock'

Getty

Alien-hunters gather to "storm" Area 51 at an entrance to the military facility near Rachel, Nevada

AFP/Getty

People dance during a DJ set at 'Alienstock'

EPA

Women dressed as aliens

Original post:

How Area 51 memes enticed a generation to Naruto run at a military base - The Independent

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