Man was the elusive “Raoul.”rnWhen Gorbachev resigns, Cancer Man thinks that his missionrnhas been fulfilled, but that very night, an actual alienrnspaceship crashes in Virginia. Cancer Man reveals more aboutrnthe depths of the government conspiracy when he remarks,rn”The timing couldn’t be worse. The Roswell story we concoctedrnwas gathering momentum. Had them all looking in thernwrong direction.”rnBut this distrust of government was perhaps most evidentrnin “Unrequited,” The X-Files episode that aired oppositernSchindler’s List in late February. What is most remarkablernabout the episode is the deliberate inversion of heros and villains.rnDuring preparations for the rededication of the VietnamrnVeterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., high-ranking militaryrnofficers are murdered by an assassin who seems to be invisible.rnThe assassin, Nathaniel Teager, turns out to be a POW/MIArnfrom the Vietnam War, deliberately abandoned by the U.S.rngovernment. His targets are the three military officers whornserved on the commission which made the false claim thatrnno American soldiers were left alive in Vietnam. Teager wasrnrescued from Vietnam in 1995, not by the government whichrnhad abandoned him, but by a radical paramilitary organizationrncalled “The Right Hand.” When Mulder and Scully attemptrnto interview the group’s leader, viewers expect a confrontation,rnSonnet 259rnby MichelangelornTranslated by John Frederick Nimsrn(Ben pud talor col mie ‘rdente desio . . . )rnNo question but, when my desire’s aflame,rnit soars, sometimes, its confidence no lie.rnIf heaven thought all our passion gone awry,rnwhy would God make the sort of world we’re in?rnWhat worthier cause, I’d ask, to love you, then,rnthan to glorify that eternal peace above,rnsource of the heaven-born soul in you I love,rnand reason enough true hearts are free of blame?rnFalse hope attends on love that dies with dyingrnbeauty of earth, more ashen, breath by breath;rnhope brief as the pale fair face is—^briefer even.rnSweet is the hope on a shamefast heart relying,rnindifferent to wrinkled skin or the hour of death,rnand prime executor of our deed to heaven.rnbut the leader goes peacefully, claiming that someday, armedrnresistance will be necessary, but that day has not yet arrived.rn(As she arrests him. Agent Scully informs him that, althoughrnhe is not suspected of either violence or conspiracy, he can bernheld indehnitely under the provisions of the new, post-OklahomarnCity antiterrorism law.) As events unfold, Mulder becomesrnconvinced that the only person telling the truth aboutrnTeager is the leader of The Right Hand. When Teager is killedrnas he attempts to assassinate the final member of the commission,rnit is hard not to harbor the sneaking suspicion that thernwrong man died.rnDiscussing hypnotism with Agent Scully in the “JosernChung” episode, the novelist marvels, “as a storyteller, I’m fascinated,rnhow a person’s sense of consciousness can be so transformedrnbv nothing more magical than listening to words, merernwords.” Perhaps more than any other television show, The XFiksrnhas taken those words to heart. While it reflects popularrnsuspicion of government, it has also clearly shaped it.rnWhy is The X-Files so successful? Not because of any popularrnfascination with aliens, but because, after Ruby Ridge,rnWaco, Whitewater, Vince Foster, Mena, NAFTA, and GATT,rnAmericans have every reason to believe that their governmentrnis being run with a callous disregard for their rights and welfarernand for the enrichment of an entrenched ruling class. Why didrnmillions of Americans flock to theaters to watch IndependencernDay, one of the worst films of all times? Certainly not becausernBob Dole declared it a patriotic film, or because Bill Bennettrnlauded its “family values” (before going into battle, one of thern”heroes” marries his live-in lover, a stripper with an illegitimaternchild). No, they craved the vicarious thrill of seeing the WhiternHouse and the Capitol blown to bits. Every newspaper orrntelevision report on the movie mentioned the crowds wildlyrncheering at those scenes, and only Bob Dole, who had spentrnalmost half of his life in the Capitol and wished to make thernWhite House his retirement home, expressed dismay.rnGovernment’s new role as “Them,” however, has done littlernto unite “Us.” The erosion of community, the destruction ofrnbonds between generations, the rootlessness and mobility thatrncharacterize our lives today—all have served to narrow thernboundaries of “Us.” While most of us distrust centralizedrnpolitical and corporate power, we distrust our neighbors, ourrnrelatives—perhaps even our own husbands and wives—evenrnmore. Goosebumps, the popular children’s series of sci-fi/horrorrnbooks, thrives on this theme of familial distrust and paints arndark picture of where we are headed. While traditional fairyrntales often cast step-parents as the evildoers, many of thernGoosebumps stories present parents and grandparents as incompetentrndupes of the evil forces threatening their children, and,rnoccasionally, as the sources of evil themselves. When we canrnno longer trust even our loved ones, then “Us” becomes “Me”rnand “Them” becomes everyone else.rnThe X-Files may present a dark wodd where resistance is almostrnfutile, but in the real world, there is reason to hope. Herernin Rockford, the resistance is beginning to coalesce, and therernare signs that the old order—too centralized, too arrogant, toorncorrupt, and perhaps too cowardly to do what is necessary tornmaintain power—is beginning to crumble. As citizens gatherrnand reacquaint themselves with one another, “Me” once againrnbecomes “Us,” and they can begin to unite effectively againstrn”Them.” If the same thing can take place across America, thenrnthe day may come when science fiction is once again strangerrnthan truth. rn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn