Sirius Squanders Its Political Arguments on CSETI Hippies in the Desert


It would be easy enough to write off Sirius as mere catnip for the UFO/conspiracy theory crowd. From its countless images of “flying saucers” streaking the night sky, to its function as an uncritical mouthpiece for featured player and CSETI (Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) founder Steven Greer, and its intimations of 9/11 trutherism, Amardeep Kaleka’s documentary often seems like little more than preaching-to-the-converted, New Age drivel. And yet, by framing its argument about governmental cover-up of alien contact with Eisenhower’s famous warning about the military-industrial complex, and then by taking that dictum into the present day to indict mega-corporations for burying efforts to develop clean energy, the film presents a tenable political argument. But like many a misguided politico, it spends this capital unwisely, purporting to expose the persecution and ridicule suffered by E.T. true-believers and demand that the U.S. government open its UFO files. While Kaleka does marshal seemingly credible ex-military talking heads in order to prop up his arguments, it’s depressing to see that the upshot of the doc’s activism is to swoon over a group of CSETI members camping out in the desert as they send out good vibes to the cosmos and claim to interact with friendly alien communities.