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BAD SIGNS - 27/05/2002

A ‘sign’ of the times? Here are some of the comments and reactions we’ve received about our recent reviews of the new Mel Gibson movie...

Let's just hope that by August the TRUTH will be greater than any fictitious movie. The Americans are never the first to deal with reality.

Hang on, we have the summer to get through. Maybe something Absolutely Wonderful will happen and then the world can see with its own eyes that the circles cannot be done with smoke and mirrors. Maybe a circle on the White House Lawn would be appropriate. And then, when the movie is released, it will seem as stupid as it really sounds like it is.

ELAINE ANSLEY, Victoria, BC, Canada


I read your review of 'Signs' and my only question is: what else did you expect from that director?

I am one of a small minority who did not care for his other two movies 'The Sixth Sense' and 'Unbreakable' because of the way in which he distorted paranormal phenomena in these movies and because how he then exploits these distorted views of his for profit. I very much expected 'Signs' to be another big disappointment by him.



Why are we acting all surprised? Did we really think Hollywood would be interested in truth? The trailers for the film should have been ‘signs’ enough that reality would play no part in the script and that something wonderful would be trivialized to death for titillation and amusement.

Woe betide those who seem to have hitched their careers to promoting this film…

PETER SMITH, Hull, Humberside


‘…The first ever - as far as we are aware - first-hand review of the forthcoming Mel Gibson crop circle movie 'Signs'…’

Not quite the first - had a bunch of reviews from the first test screening in California online on Tuesday 30th April. Read them at:

And was pointing to three online sources for reviews
(including the one above) from May 2nd....

But you get the bronze!

I'm amazed how negative your reviewers are; seems everyone else is pretty ecstatic about the movie.


Well, we did say it was the first “as far as we were aware”! Bronze is still pretty good, we can live with that. It’s the first review to appear in the world of cerealogy, that’s for sure.

Only time will tell what everyone will think of the movie when they get their own chance to view it, but it certainly looks like aficionados of the real phenomenon aren’t going to be impressed, even if the popcorn masses are entertained… - Ed.


Personally, I smell a rat in another direction. The technique is this: once it becomes untenable to claim that crop formations are hoaxed, and once the possibility of apologists like Colin Andrews losing his pants becomes feasible (because of the strength of evidence and the integrity of other researchers), the next ploy is.... commercialise it! This is the next best way to take the steam out of the whole thing. There's also the matter of Hollywood and mass media, which has grown particularly strong in recent years: films and media coverage as a way of ‘replacing’ reality. It will matter less and less what happens in the fields - truth is established through box office sales.

I'd suggest that there will be little danger of serious debunking in the up-coming media output. The next step is trivialisation and potency-reduction. The best way to deflate this phenomenon is to make a movie of it and then go give it (or its starring actor) an Oscar - so that the film becomes the defining instrument of reality, and everyone can, again, go home and feel that the whole matter of crop formations is comfortably sorted.
I'd suggest that ufology was, in a sense, killed or at least dumbed down by such films as ‘ET’ and ‘Close Encounters’. This might or might not have been intentional, but these films 'sewed up' the matter so neatly that nothing more really needed to be said. Though there are clearly other reasons too for the decline of ufology. But, once outright denial becomes invalid, the next best thing to do is to commercialise something and to 'do and dust' it by giving it full, profitable and simplistic coverage.

There's another tendency to watch out for too. Some might disagree with this. Around 1990 there was a fundamental subtle shift in the 'movement for change', from 'transformation' (personal, but particularly social) to 'accommodation'. Suddenly, green, transformative, cross-cultural and other nascent ideas gained an increased acceptability around that time, but they also lost some of their depth and profundity. So, for example, people started becoming healers not primarily because of their unconditional dedication or deep life-choices, but because it started becoming a good career option. Women's magazines started validating vegetarianism, though, in doing so, it was a quiche-oriented vegetarianism with the radical bits taken out, and macrobiotics became something of a joke. Similarly, green beliefs no longer involved commitment to changing one's complete lifestyle - instead it became sufficient to buy biodegradable wash-up liquid at the same supermarket as before. Growth courses became reoriented from transformation to 'success' and an expanded persona-orientation with bright teeth and a practised smile. One of the consequences of this was that the auto-didactic geniuses who were the main creators of these new ideas were themselves sidelined by newly-qualified, certified practitioners bearing set answers, agreed techniques and belonging to professional organisations. I would not disapprove of all this as such, except many people have overlooked things that have been lost through this change. The change looks like a positive progression, because things seem to be progressing and 'getting out there', yet it has definite watering-down and de-radicalising characteristics.

I suspect that, with the upcoming films, we do have a change of agenda coming along, in terms of public-domain treatment of the formations. I think debunking is being abandoned. First of all, we'll have some quite positive films, to soften us up and take the argument out of it. Then will come films and programmes which introduce new twists, suggesting the corruption of ideas, or trying to make researchers look naive or passé. In ufology, some good films came out to soften up the public in the late 1970s, and then a steady trickle of 'threatening aliens are out to get us' movies came out after that - with the result that while many people latently accept the notion of ETs, when they give themselves time to think about it, they also unthinkingly regard them as potentially dangerous or threatening, or ‘alien’ (that is, not friends). So my prediction is that there will be some positive films/books/news coverage, followed by the sowing of doubts and questions, and a general watering down of everything. Croppies will not be seen to be mad any more, just a bit quaint - a bit like bearded guys in sloppy-joes and sandals, with paintbrushes between their teeth.

Sorry if this sounds pessimistic, but I smell a rat!



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