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For Fear Indexing The X-Files, Nora Khan and Steven Warwick combed through the first 9 seasons of The X-Files television series—which ran from 1992 to 2002—gathering and indexing the fears that occurred as themes throughout the show. The authors employ a documentary-style commentary to narrate how the show posited fear as an inherent quality of domestic life.
The original run of the series aired in the period nestled between the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror—a time in which enemies of the state shifted, with aliens replacing Communism, and a fear of ghosts and the paranormal prefacing our current climate of Islamophobia. Throughout the show, deregulated neoliberalism continually hovers, like an invisible man in the room.
Khan and Warwick take this index and link it to the rise of the World Wide Web and the global internet, which emerged in the same era. As the show developed, its characters became more adept at using the internet, as did its fans, many of whom visited chat rooms and dedicated forums to discuss episode content, speculate on theories, and come up with urban legends of their own. This behavior provides a through line to the present, as conspiracy theories discussed on those vanguard message boards eerily echo today’s fake news stories perpetuated by the alt-right. - Primary Information