Besides serving as a brilliant case study for the evolution of 1990s hairstyles, The X-Files taught an entire generation that Occam's razor -- the simplest explanation for strange phenomena is usually the correct one -- is boring and stupid and completely wrong. No, the superior explanation is always 44 minutes of aliens and Sasquatches.
That same lesson applies to these four recent news stories, which are all so bizarre that even the Gillian Andersonest of Gillian Andersons would have a tough time denying the involvement of interstellar poltergeists.
#4. The Mars Rover Found a Mystery Rock (That Wasn't There Before)
As far as exciting discoveries go, Mars has been kind of a wet noodle -- the Opportunity rover has found no signs of ancient teleportation arks, atmospheric reactors, or dead John Carters. Just as it seemed we were all about to stop pretending we cared about any of Opportunity's billion-dollar photographs of orange dirt, it sent back this picture:
Big deal, it's a shiny rock. We've got those here on Earth. Now, look at a photo taken of the same area 12 days earlier:
Most days, major organizations both public and private hire a small battalion of copy editors and proofreaders to ensure that the words they're lobbing out in public aren't an Encyclopedia Britannica's worth of F-bombs sneaked in by a hungover intern.
And on other, rarer days, that intern is so exquisitely shit-hammered on Wild Irish Rose that he accidentally shows up to work on a Saturday and runs the entire place unsupervised. That's the only explanation we got for these gaffes:
#4. Marines Tweet Advises Not to Be "Lone Shooter" on MLK Jr. Day
Right before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the helpful soul running the Marine Corps Special Operations Command's Twitter account posted the following tweet endorsing firearm safety and friendship. It did not go over well.
The Internet is a tool that allows us limitless access to information -- most of which is apparently created by bored assholes committed to making our species stupider. This applies to both fan-fiction forums and the biggest news websites in the world.
#4. China Doesn't Fight Smog With Televised Sunrises
Here's another shocking picture you probably saw on Facebook that made you think, "What's this world coming to?" Then you resumed stalking your ex.
Ironically, all that smog is produced by giant screens showing sunsets.
As we've mentioned before, Hollywood ran out of original ideas about five minutes after the first movie camera was invented. That's exactly why no one should be surprised that studios are reaching back to the freaking Cold War to dredge up next year's blockbusters.
#4. The Naked Gun 4 and National Lampoon's Vacation 2
Some Hollywood big shot is apparently being blackmailed by Ed Helms, because Helms is set to star in sequels to two comedy franchises that stopped being fun by the '90s. The Naked Gun 4 -- which, based on the franchise's naming convention, will probably be called The Naked Gun 444.4 -- will introduce Helms as a new character with the exact same name as the dearly departed Leslie Nielsen's. That means they can revisit the franchise without "technically contradicting the events of any of the previous films." Because you definitely want to keep the rich history of a franchise whose most recent entry to date starred an about-to-be-arrested O.J. Simpson and the extraordinary acting talents of Anna Nicole Smith.
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
"Plus we won't have to worry about Ed Helms looking nothing like Enrico Palazzo."