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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 1

Re: Witness Anonymity

From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 12:22:50 PDT
Fwd Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 14:15:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Witness Anonymity

> Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 21:53:10 -0400
> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
> Subject: Re: Witness Anonymity
> To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>


> The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments.

> >From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
> >Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 15:52:33 PDT
> >To: updates@globalserve.net
> >Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: A New Question about Witness Anonymity

> I have been staring at this message every so often over the
> last eight days trying to figure out what it is supposed to convey.

> >Sorry, Duke, but anybody who would accuse a skeptic of being
> >"witty" need only read Phil (Ufology Is Tantamount to Communism)
> >Klass, when the just-named thinks he's being so, to be disabused
> >of this strange notion. Unca Phil has all the wit of a particularly
> >unfunny 11-year-old.

> Very odd. Phil Klass is not funny (although I find him riotous, but
> there again I do enjoy irony; most of us who went to English boarding
> schools had a well-developed sense thereof by the age of 11), ergo
> all skeptics are, so to speak, witless? Is that what it means? Or
> does it mean that blood sports in ufology are okay as long as the
> hounds are baying only at skeptics over 70 years old?

Huh?  I do agree with you, though: Unca Phil is indeed "riotous."

> Very odd indeed. Phil Klass thinks - or once said - ufology is
> tantamount to communism. Interesting comparison if you're intrigued
> by secular alternatives to religion. Maybe Phil didn't mean that.
> Maybe quoting people out of context is not always illuminating. Maybe
> John Mack meant something very profound when he said (to Jerry Clark,
> indeed - I think) that "Anti-communism is a form of racism". Maybe
> we can all agree, on the data presented by these two luminaries, that
> ufology is a form of anti-racism? That would be the first positive
> statement the field has made since Allen Hynek suggested that some UFOs
> that some people saw somewhere once were "swamp gas", and meant it.
> On the other hand, where are all the black ufologists?

What?  The only thing I can add here, of no particular interest
to anyone, is that Mack made his strange observation in the
context of a complaint about a column by neoconservative pundit
Charles Krauthammer, who'd savaged Mack for expressing the
above-quoted idiocy.  Perhaps of more interest is my "Big (Space)
Brothers" (IUR, March/April 1994) wherein I discuss Mack's
leftish/anti-anti-Communist/multiculturalist politics and their
apparent relationship to his idiosyncratic reading of the
abduction phenomenon.

> Odder and odder, really. Why does Phil Klass get a bashing when I am
> merely wondering aloud why Mrs Linda Cortibaloni thinks being witty
> is tantamount to being wicked? Why does Phil Klass get dumped with
> ad hominem contumely when not only is his name not mentioned in my
> post but my post did mention that Mr B. Hopkins persistently mentioned
> Mrs Linda Corsairbanana's real name - or one of them - in a public
> forum, albeit one slightly more distant from Manhattan than Albuquerque (or
> wherever) where Linda Cuddlytarantula first tasted the sweet wine
> of public adulation?

Where does Linda Cortile object to witticism as a general
principle?
What evidence is there that skeptics -- with the honorable
exception of you, of course, if that is what you are -- are
especially witty?  What evidence is there that UFO proponents and
witnesses object to humor? (I seem to recall your and my sharing
lots of laughs together.  Correct me if these are false memories.
 I have many other memories, confabulated or otherwise, of laughs
with colleagues, not the least of them the now routinely
demonized Budd Hopkins.  What any of this has to do with anything
is beyond me, but you did bring up the subject.) Why is it ad
hominem to note Klass' equation of ufologists with Communists and
Nazis and not ad hominem for  Klass so to equate?  Why does the
phrase "selective outrage" come to mind?  Have you any evidence,
by the way, that Klass is averse to "the sweet wine of public
adulation"? And if he isn't (as I suspect), so what?  Some people
love the spotlight. Others shrink from same. It's a personal
characteristic, not a character flaw, and tells us nothing
particularly interesting about either Klass or Cortile.  C'mon,
my friend.

> > >If we can no longer promise a witness anonymity because
> > >down the line somebody may decree that he or she doesn't deserve
> > >it, then let me be the first to urge that no UFO witnesses desiring
> > >privacy step forward ever again.

> >Of course the sentence ought to have opened "If we can no longer
> >promise to honor...."  Satisfied?

> Absolutely. Everyone's mind, like John Renbourne's, when they "lay
> down at night, just tryin' to take some rest" may get "to wanderin'
> like those wild geese in the West". I don't entirely agree with the
> sentiment, but if the news from San Marino is correct (and I know
> some who say it surely is, and there are weirder rumors yet now
> afoot from elsewhere), then Mr B. Hopkins is the last man you should
> trust with your real name. Did Crazy George have a point after all?

No.  By the way, as surely you know, the blues verse you quote is a
floating folk lyric, long predating John Renbourn (no "e").

> I look forward to the customary deafening silence on this, of course.

Stunned, not merely customary, silence.  Of course.

> PS: Jerry, what *is* the story on Terry O'Leary of Larson fame?

What story?  I wish there were one.  He's always been the missing
testimony (except as gleaned from the brief telephone interview to
which he consented) in the case.  At the time I wrote up the
original article (in UFO Report long ago), I gave him the
pseudonym "Larry Mahoney" for reasons that escape me.  Writing
the story again nearly two decades later, I decided to use his real
name.

Cheers,

Jerry Clark

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