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

Re: Witness Anonymity

From: clark@canby.mn.frontiercomm.net [Jerome Clark]
Date: Fri, 03 Oct 1997 09:52:02 PDT
Fwd Date: Fri, 03 Oct 1997 11:16:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Witness Anonymity

> Date: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 21:36:17 -0400
> From: Peregrine Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
> Subject: 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: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 12:22:50 PDT
> >To: updates@globalserve.net
> >Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: Witness Anonymity


> >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.

Duke, This is a mighty long-winded way of observing that Linda does
not like to be made fun of.  So she's a human being.  What else is new?


> >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 am very skeptical, too, and among the phenomena about which I
entertain the deepest doubts are self-proclaimed "skeptics," on whose
curious and often hilarious ways I have written at length. (See, for
example, the revelations about Menzel in my forthcoming book.) My
interactions with them are extensive, and I have found militant
disbelievers every bit as humorless as (and sometimes more frightening
than) true believers. Of course by "skeptics," since you seem to find
Klass a paragon of wit and wisdom, I assume you mean debunkers.
My friend Marcello Truzzi, who is a skeptic (a doubter), not a
debunker (a denier), is one of the funniest people I know.  Another
of the funniest men I know, by the way, is Budd Hopkins.


> >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.

I think I'll pass.  I've spent as much time in Klass' company as I hope
to ever again, and it wasn't fun.  Once he tried, or at least acted as if
he were trying, to put out a cigarette in my face, this after a loudly
voiced "joke," implying -- in the style of insult favored by 11 year olds
of all ages -- that I have same-sex affectional preferences.   To the
best of my observation, he was not drunk at the time.  Yeah, the
man is just loads of laughs.  I'm glad he's YOUR friend.  I'm a little
choosier about mine.

> >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".

To the "genuine" and "sincere" I would add two other adjectives:
"obsessed" and even "nutty."  Next to Klass' excesses, about which
you continue to maintain a tactful silence, Linda Cortile's alleged
"theatrical side" is of no moral consequence whatever.


> >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?

Good question.  I've heard the verse numerous names, in any
number of  rural-blues recordings, but I'll be damned if I can
remember one at the moment.
I'll get back to you on this one.

> 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!

Ah yes, the "e" fairy.  There are some who persist in adding an "e" to
my last name, and now some have taken to giving me a middle initial
of the same letter (e.g., latest Arcturus catalogue).  My middle initial,
folks, is not "E.", and in any event I never use the real one, either.
Obviously the "e" is being stolen from Brookesmith, often rendered,
I note, as a mere Brooksmith.

John Renbourn may be a particularly abused victim.  Every solo
album of his in my possession -- and I've been a Renbournphile for
years -- is devoid of a concluding "e."


> >> 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?

"The investigator" is, of course, me.  I don't recall O'Leary's asking
me to keep his name confidential.  I'm certain that if he had, I would
have remembered and honored it.  The Lorenzens, not always the
most accurate reporters, are wrong in suggesting that the witness
asked to be anonymous.

I do recall that O'Leary expressed intense antipathy to Sandy Larson
and her daughter Jackie (even while confirming the UFO incident
and the missing time).  It is possible that I invented the pseudonym out
of consideration for his desire to put as much distance as possible
between himself and the Larsons.  Remember, all of this was more than
20 years ago.

Jerry Clark

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