Debunking Truth: 'The X-Files' as the Harbinger of the Post Modern Era

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Title: Debunking Truth: 'The X-Files' as the Harbinger of the Post Modern Era
Creator: Christine K. Rogalski
Date(s): February 1, 1999
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: Debunking Truth: The X-Files' as the Harbinger of the Post Modern Era, Archived version
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Debunking Truth: 'The X-Files' as the Harbinger of the Post Modern Era is an essay by by Christine K. Rogalski. It may have been originally posted to

It is posted at The Gossamer Project in its non-fiction section.

Some Topics Discussed

  • the word "debunk" as it it relates to The X-Files
  • the current world as on of super-paranoia and how the show reflects this emotion
  • how the show debunks our idea of love as flowery and sweet


If most 'Philes' are asked to come up with a single word to encapsulate the series, they would doubtlessly bring up such words as 'truth', 'trust', 'belief', 'conspiracy', or that shipper-friendly yet all-so-subjective word 'love'. But really, The X-Files' all comes down to one word: Debunk.
'Debunk', according to Webster's, means to expose the sham or falseness of (as in a hero). Although this term has become, for us 'philes', inseparable from meaning, to shut down Mulder's 'work,' the truth (so to speak) is that the show itself is a vehicle bent on debunking' much of society. It does this not by overthrowing the ideas of society as a whole, but by invalidating our ways of thinking piece by piece. Creator and sometimes evil maniac Chris Cater has systematically debunked our ways thinking of science, trust, love, and the Truth'. The 'hero', in the grand scheme of things, is the increasingly outdated modern view of the world. Through 'The X-Files', we begin to question societal views of truths, and, ultimately, to expose them as the shams they are. I.E. - to debunk them.
All of these: science, trust, love, focuses our society on the real issue: truth. In the past, humanity has held the three aforementioned doctrines as truths. Science was truth because the experts said it was. Trust was truth because the ones we trusted (by definition) would not betray us. Love was truth because the emotion was an expression of the purest form of human senses. In debunking these ideas, 'The X-Files' seeks to debunk our theories as to what is truth. Science can be falsified; it can be distorted and used for evil. Trust can be, and often is, betrayed. It is better to trust no one and bring isolation upon oneself. Love is the result of impulse and sexuality and is no longer a union meant to create a family. So what is the truth? The truth is what remains after all the false pretenses surrounding it have been debunked. This will occur as the world reaches the Post Modern era. 'The X-Files' is a perfect vehicle for this era.