The Appeal of UFO Narratives: Investigative Journalist Paul Beban Visits Pretty Much Pop #14

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is PMP-UFOs-on-TV-with-Investigative-Journalist-Paul-Beban-400-x-800.jpg

TV news reporter Paul Beban (ABC, Al Jazeera, Yahoo, and now fea­tured on the Dis­cov­ery Net­work’s Con­tact) joins your hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt to dis­cuss the pub­lic fas­ci­na­tion with UFOs, both at the peak of their pop­u­lar­i­ty in the 50s and in the cur­rent resur­gence. Do accounts of sight­ings nec­es­sar­i­ly make for good TV? Do you have to believe to be enter­tained? Is belief in UFOs relat­ed to reli­gious belief? To beliefs in con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and anti-gov­ern­ment ven­om? To humor?

We get into the mechan­ics of Con­tact, the Area 51 hubbub,and also touch on the show Project Blue Book, films like Arrival (2016) and UFO (2018), the doc­u­men­tary Unac­knowl­edged (2017), the short sto­ry “Road­side Pic­nic,” and more. To learn more about UFO lore in Amer­i­ca, check out some of these pod­casts.

Some of the resources we used for this episode includ­ed:

Plus, here are some stats from Gallup about UFO sight­ings and belief, you might want to pick up the book Nos­tal­gia for the Absolute that Paul refers to, and here’s the 2014 talk by Rob­bie Gra­ham that Bri­an referred to describ­ing “hyper-real­i­ty” and the Hol­ly­wood UFO con­spir­a­cy. Here’s a list of UFO doc­u­men­tary series.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Perfecto Rossellimi says:

    If you real­ly want to find out about aliens and their exis­tence, just look into the Travis Wal­ton sto­ry. I read his book back in 1979. Now, he did come across actu­al aliens as well as being abduct­ed in there space­ship. The only dif­fer­ent thing about this was that in the lat­ter part of his sto­ry in the book, there were no men­tion of vis­its by the “oth­er ALIEN Gestapo “Men in Black“I saw the Dis­cov­ery show with Paul Beban and exact­ly what was shown regard­ing that fast mov­ing so-called UFO…
    Launch­pad­DM: USS Nimitz Tic Tac UFO Incident…this was NOT an actu­al ALIEN UFO but some of the test­ing that was being done by the “SHADOW 51 government…you need to be spe­cif­ic with the type of gov­ern­ment that is work­ing in some sort of col­lu­sion with aliens. I myself under­stand all of this ALIEN stuff. I fall in the STAR PEOPLE cat­e­go­ry, so I can sense these thing with­out all of that mum­bo jum­bo data, gov­ern­ment project research etc. Sin­cere­ly: Lucifer♀

  • Andrew Amato says:

    Watched your episode on cat­tle muti­la­tions. I thought the bald head­ed man you had on in the end is not telling you the truth. If the gov­ern­ment det­o­nat­ed that many nuclear war­heads under­ground, don’t you think seis­mome­ters would have been going off all over the Unit­ed States, let alone the world.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.