Academic journal article Utopian Studies

The Reptoid Hypothesis: Utopian and Dystopian Representational Motifs in David Icke's Alien Conspiracy Theory

Academic journal article Utopian Studies

The Reptoid Hypothesis: Utopian and Dystopian Representational Motifs in David Icke's Alien Conspiracy Theory

Article excerpt

I am the lizard king, I can do anything. Jim Morrison, "Celebration of the Lizard"

Alien reptilian invasions, blood-sucking, pedophilic Illuminati agents acting as totalitarian world leaders, trans-dimensional alien-humans interbreeding to support a program of cosmic imperialism on an unimaginable scale--no, this is not an X-Files episode, neither is it an undiscovered Philip K. Dick or H.P. Lovecraft novel, nor is it the latest Hollywood science fiction spectacle. Rather, it is the real-life and ever-evolving conspiracy theory of the self-proclaimed "most controversial speaker and author in the world," David Icke. Icke, one-time British soccer star turned BBC sports personality turned UK Green Party spokesman, is now today's most (in)famous proponent of what we are calling the "Reptoid Hypothesis"--the idea that alien lizards conspiratorially control the Earth and with it human destiny. Inasmuch as the reptoid, a figure of radical difference--what we have termed "UFOtherness"--also takes on decidedly animal overtones, we will seek in this paper to examine how Icke's narrative stands today as representative evidence of a popular dystopianism that projects onto the animal (as cause) the sum total of the fear and discontent that have arisen around contemporary issues such as global imperialism and transnational capitalism. Yet, a closer investigation of Icke's theory also suggests that utopian readings of his work are possible in which it is theorized that the end to global domination can be arrived at only via the formation of new human/ reptoid alliances toward peace. In this paper we will attempt to unravel these various layers of ambiguity, arguing that Icke's theory simultaneously represents a progressive desire for the construction of a holistic animal/ human future and a reactionary attitude that is unable (or unwilling) to overcome the fetters of capitalist spectacle and conservative conceptualizations of liberal-humanist subjectivity.

While those unfamiliar with Icke and reptoid discourses may wonder if this is a discussion worthy of the non-lunatic, we want to caution against relegating Icke's work to merely fringe status. Rather, Icke is representative of a major counter-cultural trend that is indeed global in proportions. For instance, Icke's web page purportedly received over 600,000 hits in its first year alone, and for over four years he has been invited to lecture in at least 25 countries (Cowley). Icke's most recognized publication--the massive 533-page Rosetta stone for conspiracy junkies, The Biggest Secret--has already gone through six re-printings since its release date in 1999, and his latest conspiracy/ufology testament, Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster, passes for vogue amongst American, British, and Canadian audiences as well as in non-Anglo international cultural arenas such as South Africa (where the book has been an enduring Top 5 seller). The demographic breakdown of his audience is, in and of itself, an interesting phenomenon. Icke appeals equally to bohemian hipsters and right-wing reactionary fanatics. As regards the latter, in England the British Nazi Group Combat 18 supports his writings, and in America the ultra right-wing conservative group Christian Patriots often attends his lectures (Taylor; Crumey). But they are just as likely to be sitting next to a 60-something UFO buff, a Nuwaubian, a Posadist, a Raelian, or New Age earth goddess. (2) Thus, Icke has an expansive popular appeal that cuts across political, economic, and religious divides, uniting a wide spectrum of left and right groups and individuals under his prolific and all-embracing meta-conspiracy theory.

Icke's rise to international fame is not in and of itself an anomaly. In fact, his theory is part of a larger alien conspiracy culture that began its ascendancy as a post-WWII Cold War phenomenon (lung, Flying Saucers; Peebles), and with the recent success of X-Files, asserted itself as a popular aspect of a global media culture (Pritchard et al. …

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