Youthsplaining: Are People Really Storming Area 51?
We want to believe ... in the summer's oddest meme
Sometimes the internet goes over our heads. Luckily, we have a college student on staff to help us navigate those times. This is the Storm Area 51 meme, youthsplained.
The most popular meme of the summer, next to Hot Girl Summer of course, is one that might get a million people arrested.
In the past few weeks, you may have seen the plethora of jokes about people planning to storm Area 51, picking out their own aliens to take home and attempting to explain our culture to them. While the meme took off around the beginning of July, it’s still going strong — a rarity as the lifespan of a meme nowadays lasts maybe a week. So there is still time to engage in and enjoy the jokes, but you can’t do that if you don’t know what the hell is happening, so allow me to explain.
What is Area 51?
Area 51 is a highly classified United States Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range, in Lincoln County, Nevada. Officially, the facility is called Homey Airport or Groom Lake, named after the salt flat next to its airfield. Despite the fact that the details of the facility’s operations are not publicly known, USAF has stated it’s an open training range that deals with the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
But don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it because the government didn’t even officially acknowledge Area 51’s existence until 2013, which, yes, is super shady.
Because Area 51 is top secret as fuck, it has long been a frequent subject of conspiracy theories surrounding extraterrestrial life, with many people believing it’s a place where the government is hiding information about aliens and UFOS. Which, I’m not saying they are, but they totally are.
How Did This Become a Meme?
On June 27th, a public Facebook event was created called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.” The event is scheduled for Friday, September 20, 2019 from 3 AM – 6 AM PDT, and the description reads:
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.”
As of July 8th, the page had over 120,000 members, and by July 12th it rose to over 400,000. Currently, the page has 1.9 million people attending, while 1.4 million are “interested” in going. Eventually, members started posting satirical plans for how they would storm the base. The jokes made their way to other social media sites, mainly Reddit and Twitter, where the meme gained even more popularity.
And as with most memes, brands have tried to capitalize on it in an attempt to sell products, with “relatable” tweets that ultimately end up sounding super lame. The only brand that may have successfully pulled this off, though, is Bud Light, promising a special-edition Area 51-inspired can. Unfortunately, it’s still Bud Light.
PornHub also experienced the effects of the meme, as they reported that from July 12th, searches for “Area 51” had surged from zero to 160,000 in just 4 days, and July 16th alone had nearly 59,000 searches. They noted searches for “alien” had also increased, so that’s some information you definitely didn’t need to know.
Will This Actually Happen?
It’s anyone’s guess. Storming Area 51 is still very much illegal as it is dangerous. The Air Force had to release a statement, issuing a warning for those who actually plan to partake in the event:
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
It can be assumed that the majority of users who RSVP’d to the event will not be storming the gates. The creator of the group, Matty Roberts, stepped forward after having been anonymous, and was concerned that people might get hurt. He reiterated that the page is just a joke and that the warnings should be taken seriously.
There is still a possibility people will move forward with the plan. An alien-themed hotel and the Alamo Inn on Highway 93, among other local hotels, are all booked up for Sept. 20, but we’ll have to wait two more months to see how that all plays out.
In the meantime, you can enjoy the memes and, instead, maybe storm an animal shelter and adopt a pet or something? And while it might not be an alien, you have a smaller chance of it eating you.