John Schwartz reminds us to look up occasionally, in the New York Times:
How did you celebrate World U.F.O. Day?
Dang. Nobody seems to remember any more that July 2, 1947 was the day of the Roswell crash in the New Mexico desert (a spacecraft from another world, say some; a test balloon, says the government) that became the touchstone for those who believe aliens have come to Earth.
And they certainly don’t remember that World U.F.O. Day is celebrated by some on June 24, to commemorate the first widely reported U.F.O. sighting by Kenneth Arnold, a pilot who claimed to see what he would call “flying saucers” over Mount Rainier the same year.
From those days, our cultural love affair with little green men has gone through the stages of many passionate relationships — the fear and hopefulness of “The Day The Earth Stood Still” in 1951; the quirky cuddliness of Ray Walston as “My Favorite Martian” in the ’60s. We laugh, we cry, and then we scream again.
Off screen, however, we seem to have drifted apart: sightings rarely capture the popular imagination. Now that cellphone cameras are all but ubiquitous, there isn’t a moment that can’t be snapped — so if the truth really were out there, we’d see it. And we haven’t.
That isn’t to say that the number of sightings has dwindled. Groups like the National UFO Reporting Center receive hundreds of reports each month, and The Weekly World News supplies the latest in otherworldly headlines. (“Alien Tells Larry King to Leave CNN,” the newspaper reported on June 29.)…
[continues in the New York Times]