Anyone familiar with Blink-182’s seminal pop-punk album Enema of the State will recall a song curiously titled “Aliens Exist.” While it may have seemed, in 1999, like the ramblings of another bored California kid, the song was a sign of things to come: Tom DeLonge, the band’s frontman and guitarist, spent the next 18 years diving deeper into the world of alien conspiracies, and his efforts have paid off: He’s just been named “UFO Researcher of the Year.”
The prize was awarded by Open Minds Productions, which describes itself as “media company focused on UFOs, extraterrestrial life, and other mysterious phenomena.” The company’s home page, like those of other “alternative news” companies like Collective Evolution or The Mind Unleashed, features headlines like “North Carolina witness unsure: UFO or Drone?”. In a video uploaded by the company, a seemingly over-caffeinated DeLonge rambles through an acceptance speech in which he displays his deep familiarity with alien conspiracies. (“Roswell, Dulce, Serpo, Churchill,” he says, “I’ve read it all.”) Later in his speech, he acknowledges an unexpected event last year that lent his public image, tarnished by his erratic behavior, some much-needed legitimacy:
“And then the WikiLeaks thing happened, and you guys saw that I’m into some serious shit, and I’m making really good progress.”
The “WikiLeaks thing” that he’s referring to is the organization’s mass release of e-mails in October 2016, where it was revealed that DeLonge had corresponded with Clinton campaign chairman and former Obama and Bill Clinton staffer John Podesta about a potential UFO documentary. Podesta’s long-standing obsession with extraterrestrial life has not gone unnoticed by the media; in May 2016, the Washington Post, while noting that it isn’t clear what Podesta knows, alleged that “it’s clear that he thinks that what does exist should be made public.” Podesta’s leaked e-mails also revealed that DeLonge had tried to set up a meeting with “A-Level officials” from the U.S. Government’s “most fragile divisions, as it relates to Classified Science and DOD topics.”
Whether those plans amounted to anything remains to be seen; certainly, no one from the science community, which generally believes it’s far more likely we’ll find extraterrestrial life in the form of microbes on water-bearing exoplanets, have corroborated DeLonge’s research. However, it’s clear that DeLonge’s willingness to use his resources to pursue his research has not gone unnoticed by the UFO community. In the short video preceding DeLonge’s speech, Open Minds praises DeLonge for his efforts to engage Podesta and tech giants (like Rob Weiss, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president) in a project exposing the U.S. Government for covering up existing alien technologies.
Currently, UFO sightings are on the rise — a sign that humans have not only gotten a lot better at documenting “evidence” and disseminating it on the internet but also are feeling a lot more disenfranchised and undervalued, which scientists have linked to an uptick in conspiracy theories. A lot has changed in the 18 years since DeLonge first sang about “Twelve majestic lies” — a reference to UFO folklore — on “Aliens Exist,” and perhaps today, in uncertainty-riddled 2017, DeLonge might actually find the audience he’s been looking before.