A result of substantive ufological growth over the last couple of years? I've instituted a personal attitude shift for myself that was a little more subtle for me than it's going to be for another, perhaps. But, I am provoked by a dishonor perceived, and, preferring efficacy and relevancy? My sensibilities are pushed hard to port with regard to the *other*. The way things are shaking down it seems the soul of rationality.
The shift? I'm done apologizing.
That *other* to which I've referred is as sure as a handful of squishy back-fat on your garden variety boobis americanis, CSICOP adherent, or flaccid pelicanist. Intellectual back-fat you can wad, you know?
Be it for good or ill... three hots and a cot afforded by a small military pension has provided me a lot of time to think (...out of the box...) ...as I endure a scurrilously imposed unemployment! This is an unemployment informingly born of conventional pique, uninformed persecution, and an unjustified if condoned juvenilism... age discrimination et al... and... none of it, reader, none of it my manufacture. Not where it counts. Consider, in some of the places I was teaching? ...12 year old girls were getting pregnant but their teaching cadre was uncomfortable with me talking about the sex parts of FLOWERS for Christ's sake!
Science/Society fumbles the ball, discredits itself and provides for its own invalidation. It's not me being obstinate, so much. It's society... ...being disrespectfully duplicitous and expecting the individual to just suck that up.
Wrong. Not at this station, reader.
I've come to some seriously interesting if tentative conclusions as a result of my aforementioned idle thinking (...but God knows what the Devil makes of that, eh?)... I'm thinking more seriously about my cultural criticism to facilitate a more efficacious and productive reality? Consequently, perhaps because efficacious thinking loves company, I unabashedly suggest my encouragement to as many individuals as I can... ...*Shift* with me, reader. I feel it's the future accelerating towards us, regardless. Really. I do.
Why not? Each day that goes by seems to provide a little more external validation for this invigorating attitudinal *shift* we all will have to face, so bear with me if you can (...and can decipher the "personal code" I've been accused of writing in...[g].) because the result, I think, is the more timely acceptance of an unavoidable and quickly approaching ...future... that we are all largely ignorant of... kept so, and so... ...for which we are generally unprepared, myself included. Moreover, I suspect there's real meat on this bone, reader.
I think we would do well to prepare, more, for this future. Presently, as I've alluded, we are being denied, I suspect, by our conflicted culture (...its governments, agencies, and institutions...), the tools and materials for that alluded to preparation...
...That future could be wonderful, folks. We'd do well to be reasonably prepared for it to facilitate same. I digress, again.
Before my just specified "attitude adjustment," and while maintaining a general profile as a confident proponent for an *other*... (...some obliquely oriented form of the extraterrestrial hypothesis ... no apologies here! ...Jesus, grok Drake and pay attention to a night sky!), I still endured an undercurrent of personal embarrassment, actually, regarding any discussion I might try to initiate with someone in the mainstream world I'm drowning in... ... regarding my ufological activities, projects, or concerns... ... ...excluding, for the moment, the off-line world of friends and acquaintances also sharing that *mainstream* world with me...
...Prudence, locally practiced... seemed indicated? Lack of same, apparently, got me disqualified from a second career, after all... I was a tad gun-shy... but now I pull fewer and fewer punches, even with them, as the days go by... Life's short, you know?
On momentary side-bar ... If "the man" is going to deny a person a living wage for thinking out of the box or refusing to skip to a disrespectful tune... what will "he" do if a person persists in their rationality? Well, I intend to find out... and report it to you... reader.
...Anyway, I used to be oversensitive and demonstratively *understanding* (ironic, ~that~!) about the discomfort of persons around me regarding the subject of UFOs. I was*indulgent* of their lack of ufological interest, and *understanding* (more than is remotely appropriate) of their own lack of understanding ... or their pitying or scornful expressions and abrupt subject changes (...if I tried to bring the subject up cold?)...
What follows is a brief composite conversation with the "mainstream," over the years, for illustration...
"I saw a strange light in the sky this morning doing some really impossible things..." I might start...
A sidelong "Oh yeah..."? ...is the abruptly guarded response...
"Yeah... it looked like the shuttle or the space station going over, was brighter than Venus, and..."
"...It likely was the shuttle or the space station going over..." he'd impatiently interrupt.
"I've got an animated schedule from the NASA site that ruled them out...," I'd counter.
"Well -- it was some other satellite, then... there's hundreds, thousands of them up there..."
"Well... yeah," I'd concede, "but few as bright as Venus... I get forecasts on those too. Additionally, these lights..."
"...Still" He interrupts again, "...it had to be a satellite, or a plane or a balloon, or something..." He shakes an impatient head...
"Well -- it changed speed and direction, stopped, and was traveling more or less due west..."
"Well -- it was comparatively erratic in flight and absolutely silent... with no navigation lights, ruling out a plane; balloons and satellites don't abruptly change direction, rate of speed, and... stop. Moreover, satellites generally don't go west."
"...Um-hmm... [...starts humming "Twilight Zone" theme...] ...so it must be aliens, then, huh?"
His pitying smirk begins its slow bloom. "Well, no, not necessarily... it just seems to be a logical thing to wonder given that as the *impossible* begins to be eliminated about UFOs... ...whatever remains, however improbable, might be the truth about UFOs..."
...Blank look from the addressed, followed most usually by a subject change or retreat, or in one memorable case, even open hostility...
...Look. I know these people have lives -- families, jobs, and mortgages. Further, I know that it's me making the waves, rocking their boat, or kicking at the last-century wooden spokes of the wheels on their aggregate cultural applecart!
I know that I can be discomfiting with regard to my ready willingness to question general reality or providing for a too ready invalidation of everyone's, too comfortable, status quo. I understand the need to believe in something rock solid so the night shadows are held at bay, and I can appreciate that it's difficult to contemplate the *other*...
"...*Everything* one *knows* is *wrong*..."? A hard swallow... but true, still, for my money. It's where the data seems to be going. Screw your cloistered and conflicted peer review, Herr scientist. I'll do my own science. You seem to betray the trust of any respect I would extend to you. ...Judged by the fruit produced, Sir.
... That's what kept me at bay, generally, with regard to a more strident and challenging approach on my part... ...in some chance discussion with the... ...call them, respectfully, the ufologically unwashed.
This is what embarrassed me, reader, provided for my over-sensitivity to an another's arguably specious or contrived or unexamined sensibilities... ...compelled an understanding, an acceptance even (Jesus!), of their lack of intellectual bravery! I figured they were innocent and victims in the social duplicity... just like I was. I was worried about their feelings.
Hit the reset!
It's not that entirely that way anymore.
I would be remiss if I didn't voice my concern, express my opinion, or make my contribution to the thought pool available as it is. It's the least I can do, reader, when I have the manipulating and programming thoughts of scurrilous others imposed upon me in an even more forcefully disrespectful manner... ...and in an authoritarian two-faced way considerably less efficacious than I would ever dispense... or... have dispensed... to me.
I'm expected to be honest, forthright and dependable with regard to my society while my society is, plainly, clearly, transparently... ...not honest, not forthright or not dependable to me in return! TILT!
I have... difficulty... respecting a society that has no respect for me, and shan't, reader.
I have solid ethics, myself, but my society, seemingly, has no morals. This creates problems for me that are not of my manufacture...
You see, it's not my problem that I've paid attention and the scales have begun to fall from my own eyes. It's not my problem that I still possess a bravery honed, refined, and made baldly mandatory in the social conditionings of two decades of combat, combat aviation training, and troop leadership in the Armed Forces.
It's not my problem that another will choose to turn a blind eye to a substantially abundant ufological evidentiary base... and masquerade their equally blind ignorance with obligatory debunker-isms, spoon-fed CSICOPian platitudes, faux-intellectual talking points, and head-in-the-sand congested and bigoted worldviews!
I reject the obvious preceding!
It's not my problem that people prefer to trust the realities manufactured for them by a thoroughly corrupted lap-dog and bogus imposter *mainstream*, or put their faith and cognitive stock into the canted thinking contrived for them by those who would disrespectfully try to manipulate them... ...to dark ends we "manipulated" would not appreciate if we knew what those ends were... (...no apologies here either)! And remember: It's not my song, folks! You'd be remiss shooting the piano player. Do enough of that and pretty soon you won't hear any music at all... with the exception of what's state approved! "Music" dry and uninspired as chalk dust.
It's not my problem, friends and neighbors! Rather, it's a problem inflicted upon me by an imposed, encouraged, or even nurtured cultural naiveté (...I once gleefully supported...) that society was ultimately predisposed to provide the greatest good for the greatest number!
...Pause for squirty guffaws!
Upon discovering that the truth was more... uh... ...*oblique* than that (...that society was actually only interested in providing the credible [and grudging] illusion of "providing-the-greatest-good-for-the-greatest-number"...)? I'm compelled to hold the mainstream authorities, their representatives, and their faith-based apologists to the same fire that has been held to me, and protest, stridently (...if needs be!)... ...where they can be found to be breaking the *rules*, advantaging themselves in the codification of these *rules*, or selectively interpreting the *rules* to suit the aforementioned few!
...Piss on THEM, reader. Yea and verily and with prejudice!
Besides, that's a discredited CSICOPian charter! I'll have no part of that!
The arguments and the credibilities of the *mainstream* (and CSICOPia!) are dead, flatly (...become more decomposed and odiferous with each accelerating second...) and can no longer be counted upon to be the common-sense-retreat-to-traditional-solid-ground that a reflexive conservative apologist might shrilly advise that they *once* were. No. Steve Allen rolls in his grave...
They're decidedly not the "step back to better times," they suggest! When the coffee's perked? At the denouement? When you paid your money and took your chance? They're a step back to medieval times of neo-feudal social atrocity and the unrestricted lusts of cold-fish and elitist psychopaths legislating sociopathy! Search your heart, damn it!
Devoid of any responsibility for fairness, and with zero regard for the sensibilities of individual persons ground up in the institutional machines of these new "neo-lords of the imposed and official ignorance"? They destroy the middle class, supplant the "freer republic" and replace it with an anti-individualist's "new theocracy" every bit as bad (for the rising and the advancing of the individual human spirit?) as fundamentalism of ANY stripe. ...Even worse in many ways, I fear.
...None of this is lost on you, reader; not any of it. The pretence of same only enrages me further!
...Which brings me, albeit the long way around, at last, to the Friedman/McGaha debate at TSUM on January 24, 2004, or what may come to be known as, "The Day CSICOP Died..."...
The punk is lit, folks. The box of fireworks is opened. The fun starts.
There is precious little hyperbole in the preceding and the aforementioned debate is an apt citation in strong support of the ufological attitude change proclaimed at the beginning of this essay!
A "standing room only" crowd witnessed the complete and total demolition of all of CSICOPia in the person of one (decidedly less than intrepid) Mr. McGaha, apparently the only person in all of CSICOPia willing to stand toe to toe with Mr. Friedman in a controlled debate. The reader can witness the rout, the carnage... on tape, herself, for a small (tres reasonable!) fee. Goliath gets stomped, again, by David.
The plainly one-sided debate began with Mr. Friedman, his usual faultless ufological rationality in full sail! He stuck to the facts, outlined his justifications splendidly, and did one more significant thing. Abundantly provoked? He refrained, himself, from any gratuitous insult.
Mr. McGaha, quite simply, failed to perform in a, remotely, similar fashion. His facts were blustery proclamations, his justifications were silly, specious, and unconvincing, and... he was sneering thinly veiled insult from one end of his unpracticed presentation to the other, not so lightly intimating that Mr. Friedman was a fool to be discounted out of hand.
The reader will understand when I say it was perfectly obvious who the fool, really, was, reader! The outrage!
Mr. McGaha paid (and will continue to pay, I suspect) heavily, I'm sure, for his easy insolence and reflex disrespect. He was rude, presumptuous, condescending, unclear, pedantic, arrogant, patronizing, and not a little duplicitous... ...where Friedman was the textbook opposite of these things, verily. Additionally, McGaha was a case study of Friedman's Four Laws of Fraudulent debunkery... To wit:
1). "What the public doesn't know, we certainly won't tell them."
A look of flawless innocence on his moon-like face, McGaha resold the "Robertson Panel" and the "Condon Report" as straight-up peer reviewed reports born of balanced science... instead of the admitted torpedoes to serious ufology they were first designed to be and then found as they actually were! Well documented, reader!
There were more than a few of these anecdotes proffered by Mr. McGaha... some of them real head-scratchers... He claimed, for example, that the sheer volume of reports regarding different UFO appearances was proof they didn't exist! All the descriptions of UFOs should be the same to demonstrate the remotest verity... McGaha expected us to believe... ?!?
2). "My mind is made up, don't bother me with the facts."
His nose thrown high in almost laughing and unjustified scorn... he pontificated during one of his pompous verbal faux pas that there was "...zero physical evidence of UFOs... PERIOD," and this was after Mr. Friedman had just talked about what constituted physical evidence, indicated some 5000 trace cases, and showed some slides of same. What a feather-brained and oblivious thing for Mr. McGaha to do and say. An example of the "big lie" and cognitive dissonance in solicitous action...
3). "If one can't attack the data, attack the people. It is easier."
A large portion of Mr. McGaha's presentation was taken up with insult to those of us decidedly not in Mr. McGaha's camp, deriding the abduction community, or dismissing the rest of anyone else with an open mind (...forgetting those thoroughly convinced, like myself...) ...as malingering "little" people trying to connect to something "big" ... patent misleaders, the credulous mislead, or the weak-willed mentally ill!
Finally, dismissing the noted professor Dr. Peter Sturrock (...a trained scientist with more courage in a nail paring than can be found in a gaggle of soppy pelicanists or pompous klasskurxians...) as a credulously thoughtless "believer"! This was simply infuriating. Sturrock is one of a hand-full of men and women willing to be eye to eye with the deepest levels of our reality, whatever the reality really is.
4). "Do ones research by proclamation rather than investigation."
I don't think Mr. McGaha answered one question asked of him that evening, at all, that sparks didn't just fly like angry bees off the CSICOPian axe he ground in the faux-answering of them! Additionally, he was clear as churned mud with half of what he said all evening, anyway -- all of it airy proclamation of his scientistic (sic) faith, bland misinformation, and pointless ideological saber rattling.
Moreover, his overuse of the expression, "Period," was amateur, ill-informed, and unconvincing. He used it like it was a citation all its own when all it really was... was a demonstration that he had no citation.
"There are no UFOs... (wait for it!) ...Period"!
Oh, OK... ...Mr. McGaha said, "Period"! ...Everyone turn in your tin-foil hat and laser pointer post haste! We can at last disband and go our separate ways"! Such is the verity and validity of McGaha's citation: "Period"!
Mmm-no... Reader! We're not idiots to be shined on, children to be wrongly inculcated, marks easily impressed with sonorous proclamation... ... mere workers to be mal-employed!
Doing more harm to his denialist CSICOPian position than would have been forecast, reader, Mr. McGaha's strutting patronization pointed up only the paucity of his facts, his startling ignorance regarding the topic he attempted to debate, his reliance on fallacy and misdirection to make his point, and, finally, his illumination of the certainty that the hallmark of CSICOPia is *reflexive thinking* in support of the *suspect status quo*... and not *reflective thinking* in support of the *advancement of individual human efficacy*.
He and his knee-jerk reactionary institution are the fuel on the fire of my rejection of same!
He allows me (...nay, compels me... provokes me... tasks me!) to pull off my gloves and be solicitous, no longer, of the specious sensibilities of persons with a ready sneer, a complacent ignorance, or a self-closed mind!
Why... McGaha's put me into a situation where I have to "start scaring the straights," (to quote Bill Murray), too, and that's regrettable... but, it's not me kicking the spokes out of their cultural wheels, but that their *spokes* were bad (or missing altogether) to begin with! The emperor is nude, brothers and sisters!
Couple the preceding with the stark refusal of these same persons to perceive that their *emperor* (or Mr. McGaha for that matter) is decidedly without a stitch of cognitive clothing... and a mandated shift in ufological attitude becomes more than justified!
Shift where? Again...if it hasn't been clear...? That is, reader, to shift from the apologetic and unsettled *fringe* as a reviled and dismissed "believer" (as purposefully degraded by Mr. McGaha), ...to the brave and un-conflicted individual... comfortable and confident that he/she holds the higher rational ground, would do the purer, more courageous science (given tools and fund-age), be more in line with where the mainstream should be, and so should be the mainstream, in fact!
These *new* mainstreamers alluded to can be secure in their more supportable convictions regarding the *reality of things* as it pertains to the ufological and its peripheral ancillary issues... based on a stunning mass of "six kinds" of evidence for same (anecdotal, photographic, historical/artistic, physical, scientific, and personal)!
Finally, it's seen that they discredit themselves the disrespect they prosecute for YOU, reading truth-seeker! They disabuse, themselves, the validity of the contempt they say they have for you! It's them the enemies of reason, reader, not yourself. The irony is rife!
Look up with a hard new eye! It's down to you, reader. It always has been.
Unfounded and unsupported criticisms of canted and denying bias from this *former* mainstream remove it to the "real" fringe, friends and neighbors, and the higher pressure open-minded move in to supplant the resulting void! That's when we take off in this new millennium, fellow motes, and not before! My feelings...
It is a new age. Prepare to live in it. There's no other choice. The non-nuanced sub-realities of George W. Bush aren't remotely enough if you think man lives by bread alone, sour gruel from a grudging soup kitchen... I'd have a more satisfying board, thanks.
...And? The kingdom is at hand remember. What lies at the approaching denouement is heaven or hell, reader, is a repudiation of soullessness and misogynous domination or a God that has never known a woman. It is the discredit of a science that sets itself as the final arbiter with regard to questions on the reality of things... ...when it does not even do itself the courtesy of following its own rules or adhering to its own ethics!
Step off! Don't debate definitions of science with ME, boyo! I'll rip you a new one! Science is finally going to be... ...what is accomplished in its name, the attitudes and motivations of the men and women practicing it, and how the past is bowdlerized to facilitate the fallacies of the mal-contrived future! You know a tree by its fruit after all, reader, right?
Oh, and pleasantly surprise both of us and try to do something more than railing at me for reminding you of the just preceding, with my thanks. Regardless, I'll give as good as I get. Sincerity, examined faith, and supported conviction are my protectors and impervious to darts, sticks, and stones.
Lead... follow... but get out of my way. If you're getting this? Buckle up.
To close: Buy the Friedman/McGaha debate tape by contacting Stanton Friedman at firstname.lastname@example.org... I'd wager Mr. McGaha won't be providing them.