Pentagon UFO report lands, so do memes and jokes: Where are the aliens?

Shout-out to that one deflating balloon.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
2 min read

Like the X-Files finale, the Pentagon UFO report disappointed many.

Fox/20th Century Fox Television

The truth is still out there. On Friday, the US Pentagon report on UFOs finally came out, and it was about as disappointing as the X-Files series finale. It's unlikely anyone expected little green aliens to come marching out of a flying saucer and give an interview, but this report seemed unlikely to satisfy either true believers or total skeptics.

"The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP," a report summary said, with "UAP" and "unidentified aerial phenomena" replacing the more common "UFO/unidentified flying object" terminology.

Some of the unexplained sightings are likely sensor anomalies, and some are likely "physical objects," the report says. Just don't ask what those physical objects are. Except for one instance that the report says likely was a "large, deflating balloon," the task force that dug into the mysteries lacks "sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations."

Watch this: Pentagon's UFO report is here, all the answers are not

Social media was not satisfied.

Report was a snooze

"The US  government released its unclassified UFO report," writer Nina L. Diamond tweeted. "To sum it up.... 'What the hell is that?' 'We have no idea.'"

"How the hell does the government make aliens boring?" asked someone on Reddit.

Stay away, aliens

Some decided the aliens are too smart to get involved with our planet.

"Listen, aliens definitely exist and have probably been studying the human race for centuries trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with us," said one Twitter user.

'Deflating balloon'

That one incident described as a "deflating balloon" came in for some jokes and mentions, too.

"Shout-out to the deflated balloons out there just trying to do their thing. I feel ya," was one response.

"I, too, have been identified as a large, deflating balloon," said writer Ted Genoways.

We want to believe

The report, of course, offered a good opportunity to dig out ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, X-Files and other GIFs and images.

"This shit was released right before Independence Day" said one person, citing the 1996 alien-invasion movie. "Coincidence?? I think not!!"

And the actual creator of the X-Files TV show, Chris Carter, wrote a piece for The New York Times expressing his skepticism in the report.

"I think in all likelihood this report will come and go, and with it the mainstream chatter around UFOs, until definitive proof is exposed," Carter wrote. "A planet that can't come together on climate change or a global pandemic might not pay much attention even if wreckage or an alien corpse is discovered."

It seems that Carter, like the rest of us, still wants to believe, but Friday's report didn't really help.