You know how in Stranger Things the Department of Energy has a secret facility? And you know how it houses a portal to another dimension? And how its employees conduct sadistic experiments on children with telekinetic powers? Well, the DoE would like you to know that those things are completely not true. Why, they would never. They’re a completely innocuous federal agency that has not even once allowed a petal-faced monster to cross into our dimension and wreak havoc on a sleepy Indiana town! You think they run covert projects weaponizing kids? Prove it!
In a blog post titled “What Stranger Things Didn’t Get Quite-So-Right About the Energy Department,” digital content specialist Paul Lester debunks a series of misapprehensions you may have after watching the Netflix show. Which, if you think about, is exactly what an evil, secretive government organization would do. We thought it was only fair to give Paul Lester–if that’s his real name–a chance to prove once and for all that DoE doesn’t actually stand for “Department of EVIL.”
Dubious Claim No. 1: “The Truth Is Hawkins National Laboratory … Doesn’t Exist”
Paul Lester (which obviously anagrams to “Dr. Martin Brenner”) starts out by claiming that Hawkins National Laboratory is most definitely, totally, not real. “However,” he writes, “one of the National Laboratories has a forest connection!” Classic misdirection, Lester, but we weren’t born yesterday. The government has been saying the same thing about Area 51 and whatever it is that’s hidden at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We know about Project Blue Book. We’re not fooled. The first thing masterminds do is lie. When we asked Lester about Hawkins, Lester’s overlord, DoE director of public affairs Eben Burnham-Snyder, interrupted to say, “We are categorically denying the existence of the Hawkins Laboratory.” But wait, we said. That’s exactly what an evil government organization would say. “This is a catch-22,” he said, laughing in a not un-evil fashion. “If we deny the existence, that’s expected. So…” So…check. And mate.
Dubious Claim No. 2: “The Energy Department Doesn’t Chart Parallel Universes”
To refute that it’s ever gone into the Upside Down, the DoE tries to distract you with some public-relations spin about how the department makes batteries for NASA or something. Nice try. We asked Lester and Burnham-Snyder the obvious question: aren’t the batteries just a cover-up? “Well, we have a video that explains it,” Lester said, “but I don’t even know if that would sell you.” Please. As if Stanley Kubrick didn’t also film the moon landing. “Some people probably think that working in government is like living in a parallel universe, but we’re still of this world,” Burnham-Snyder added…unconvincingly.
“There’s also some people who don’t even think I exist, so you can say that you actually talked to me,” Lester added. “But I do have an identical twin brother, so now the conspiracy deepens…” If you need us, we’ll be burning off our fingerprints in a gas station bathroom.
Dubious Claim No. 3: “We Don’t Mess with Monsters”
In Stranger Things the Hawkins lab, which “doesn’t exist,” is where the DoE makes contact with whatever that thing it is that lives in the Upside Down. But in its rebuttal, the Energy Department claims it “doesn’t mess with monsters.” Asked to define the parameters of “mess with,” Burnham-Snyder said that the monsters the DoE deals with are nuclear weapons non-proliferation, climate change, and other energy issues: “We’re proud of the work we do with those kinds of monsters.” Straight out of the ol’ Burnham-Snyder Handbook of Spin. WAKE UP, SHEEPLE.
Dubious Claim No. 4: “National Laboratory Scientists Aren’t Evil”
In the most bald-faced–and obvious–lie of the post, Lester says “national laboratory scientists aren’t evil–they’re actually really nice (and smart)!” That’s the federal-government version of your ex saying “I’d never do anything to hurt you” right before setting up a new Tinder profile. Once again: Evil people always say they’re not evil. That’s why they’re evil.
Also, their scientists may be nice, but that doesn’t mean their public relations team is. “If only I could have ESP like Elle does, then I could–god, I would use it on reporters like you all the time,” Burnham-Snyder feebly joked, unaware that we could hear his torrential flop sweat over the phone. “It would be phenomenal. The pen would just fly out of your hand.” You can take our pens, you hapless lackey for the dark arts, but you can’t take our voice!
Dubious Claim No. 5: “Electric Current Actually Powers Christmas Lights, Not Monsters or Other Lifeforms”
One of the best (and saddest) parts of Stranger Things comes when Joyce (Winona Ryder) hangs up a bunch of Christmas lights to try to make contact with her missing son. Each light gets a letter, and he’s able to communicate with her by spelling out messages. The DoE would like you to know that energy, not monsters, powers decorative lights. Well, you’re the Department of Energy, so doesn’t that make you the monster? Either the Energy Department is run by monsters or in cahoots with them. Think about it, man.