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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Oct > Oct 3

Re: Witness Anonymity

From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 21:36:17 -0400
Fwd Date: Fri, 03 Oct 1997 01:39:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Witness Anonymity


The Duke of Mendoza presents his compliments.

>From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
>Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 12:22:50 PDT
>To: updates@globalserve.net
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Witness Anonymity

For easy reading, I'm splitting this up into bite-sized bits, graded
by my perception of their degree of tedium. Nanny always said keep
the best till last, so those easily bored are advised to drag quickly
to point 5 toward the end of this post, which is where you'll find
the bit that's really relevant to the thread.

1. VERY TEDIOUS BIT INDEED

>Where does Linda Cortile object to witticism as a general
>principle?

Here is the history (which you may have missed).

On 5 September 1997 Linda, playing one of her many games (I mean
games of the kind amenable to transactional analysis), posed some
questions of me, which ended:

> 5. Do you think that you're witty?
>If your answers to #1 is - Yes, #2 - No, #3 - No, #4 - Yes, #5 - Yes,
>And you answered the above questions in that order, then, you're an
>official, unethical member of my poop list, which means that you're
>a user and a pest.

Now, I could be wrong in this; but taking that quotidian risk: in the
context, it seemed to me that being classed a user and a pest were
very nearly equivalent to expressing doubts about the reality of
Linda's case (I won't say claims: the "case", such as it is, is
embodied in "Witnessed", which Linda is careful to say is Budd
Hopkins's story, not her story). What being, or thinking oneself,
witty had to do with it is a mystery only Linda can explain. But
there did and does seem to me to be at least the alien embryo of an
idea there that expressing a degree of amusement at Linda's case
consigns one to her private shitpile. I think it might be hard, tho'
not impossible, to endorse the thesis laid out in "Witnessed" and be
both witty and amused by it, so the equation of skepticism and joking
is not that difficult to make. But the way Linda put it simply made
it seem as if she was implying that being witty was sufficient to
turn anyone, in her eyes, into a smoaking turd. This itself I find an
uproarious notion, indeed one so bizarre I repeat it from time to
time in the hope of provoking an exegesis from Mrs Cornipone herself.
Silence so far. In the interests of good taste I refrain from
hypotheses as to why.

2. PRETTY DAMN TEDIOUS BIT REALLY

>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?

O, I am very skeptical. Skeptics "especially" witty? Well, I wouldn't
say that, and have enjoyed chuckles with parties on both sides of the
somewhat factitious ufological fence. However, skeptics do tend to
make better jokes about ufology than "proponents", which broadens the
scope of the humor somewhat. Betty Hill takes some beating for
sidesplitters about abductionists, though. But for my real take on
this (I'm really only spinning this out to be as boring as possible,
and if Sam Beckett could make a living at that kind of humor, I reckon
I can at least do it as a hobby), see point 3. below.

>(I seem to recall your and my sharing
>lots of laughs together.  Correct me if these are false memories.

Not false at all. One of the funniest stories I have ever heard came
from your own lips: The Day The Man Who Invented The Perpetual Motion
Machine Came Face To Face With The Man From The Patents Office. I
mention this merely to underline what I hope is obvious: I am not
being personal here. May we long continue to laugh together. And if
one of us is in real luck, Debbie Benstead might be there to reward
every punchline.

3. QUITE TEDIOUS BUT NOT ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT BIT

>Why is it ad
>hominem to note Klass' equation of ufologists with Communists and
>Nazis and not ad hominem for Klass so to equate?

It isn't. Neither, as I uderstand the term, is ad hominem. The
ad-hominemery I was - am - bemused by was - is - not Klass's whimsy
here (although I still don't know the context), but your hauling
Klass in as an example of how all skeptics are not witty. At least,
that *is* what this--

>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.

--seems to be saying. Which I thought a strange generalization. And
your post seemed to be a thin excuse to clobber ole Phil. And really
rather gratuitously, I reckon. If you want to belabor Phil, there are
better reasons for doing so. Why, in some instances, I may even be
found agreeing with you. For not even I claim that he is perfect,
although I do enjoy his jokes, which come out faster and more
prolifically than in his writings. Maybe you two should have dinner
together sometime.

>Have you any evidence, by the way, that Klass is averse to "the sweet
>wine of public adulation"? [It] tells us nothing particularly >interesting
about either Klass or Cortile.

I don't think it tells us much about Klass (I think he is genuine
and sincere in his devotion to his version of the truth). I think
Linda's interest in attention and let's call it approval is pertinent
to her case *as it now stands*, especially in light of her recent
writhings, and failure to answer questions, about her famous
anonymity. The naughty trio of HS&B may have got a lot of things
wrong but I suspect their highlighting the theatrical side of Linda's
case may turn out to be a real insight. Only time will tell. I am not
pretending to any final answers here, so don't ask me to justify
that in detail. A whole lot of other stuff needs to be put together
before it could be justified as "evidence".

4. OF INTEREST ONLY TO MUSICOLOGISTS AND THE "E FAIRY"

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

Yes, I did know that, but it is the one verse of that blues that I have
heard sung only by John Renbourn(e). Who else has?

Renbourne, as spelt on the Pentangle album within reach. Renbourn as
spelt in Orbis's 12-volume "The History of Rock", consultant editor
yours truly. I had better agree with myself as well as you.

Clearly the E Fairy, who steals Es from the middle of my name and
puts them on the end of yours, and when that gets boring turns Dennis
into Stacey, has been at work here. Beware this dreadful entity, the rest
of you. To be cursed by the E Fairy is a terrible thing. Jerry,
Dennis and I must have done something awful in a former life to be
plagued by this demon. Imagine "Rrol Bruc Knapp". "Donald Kyho". Ad
infinitum. It is worse than having a K in your name. At least you can deny
being a gubmint agent. You can only get your E back by begging
and pleading, and leaving little bowls of milk in your hearth at
night. Even if the fairy obliges, the people may not. Aaiiiii!

5. WITNESS ANONYMITY AND STUNNED SILENCE

>> 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.

O well, there y'go. I thought that as you *had* used his real name
in the "UFO Encyclopedia", perhaps you had been in touch with him
in the interim. And may have gleaned more. My turn to be stunned,
if not into silence, however, by this:

>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.

You also wrote, on 2 September 1997, to this List:

>If a UFO witness requests anonymity, it is our ethical responsibility
>to guarantee it and protect it. Period.

According to the earliest account I have to hand of the Larson case,
in "Abducted! Confrontations with Beings from Outer Space", Coral and
Jim Lorenzen, Berkley Medallion 1977,

"The friend, who was driving, does not wish to be identified, so
hereafter we shall refer to him as Larry Mahoney, a pseudonym given
him by the investigator." (page 77)

"The investigator" would appear to be you. Any comment?

Meanwhile, while I'm prepared to protect to the hilt the anonymity
of anyone who requests it of me, I still feel it's not a satisfactory
arrangement when it comes to cross-checking or re-investigating such
a case. The claims in "Witnessed" are so gargantuan that anonymity
only weakens it (further); and it makes a bad template for arguing
for witness anonymity in general. Linda was either naive or
calculating to go to Albuquerque, or possibly just foolhardy.
I don't think she is naive.

Yours &c
Patacake D. Marzipan
Sweet Tooth





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