Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hiding Data: Excluding the Folk

This was originally published on-line by UFO Digest in May of 2007. It fits in with the theme of this blog, so I thought I'd repost it here.

In a delicious bit of synchronicity, and fitting to be sure, over on UFO Digest, at the end of this article, appeared this image of Monty Python. It's an advertisement for ring tones.

Hiding Data: Excluding the Folk
by Regan Lee

Posted: 00:35 May 12, 2007

Jerome Clark coined the neologism "pelicanist" (initially jokingly awarded to James Easton, who insisted that Kenneth Arnold's 1947 UFO sighting was ... pelicans) to define "the practice of ascribing _any_ explanation, however scientifically unsustainable, illogical, or fantastic, to a UFO event or experience, in a desperate effort to deny that anything seriously anomalous may be going on". Pelicanists are advancing extraordinary claims masquerading as prosaic explanations. Source:
I cannot abide, nor understand, the exclusivity factor a handful of so-called UFO and Fortean researchers insist upon maintaining. Actually, they're not UFO, crypto, Fortean, etc. researchers at all; they're wanna bes, new thugs, -- basically chronic cranky skeptics. Sometimes trolls, sometimes confused fence sitters, often a variety of Pelican, they get up blogs and forums and clubs that announce to the UFO/Fortean World that they're all about research. What makes their research different, better and true?

Well, it's only for the few. The bona fide researcher, as the bloggers at the UFO Iconoclasts blog refers to them. The serious, somber and apparently humorless individual, with some vague criteria that is never openly revealed, seems to be the type who can join these private research groups.

Documents, books, writings, research, data (allegedly) is kept from the common folk. Only the privately invited and arrogantly sanctioned can access such real information.

One of the messages of such pompously covert shenanigans is that only real researchers will get to join, therefore only real researchers will have knowledge of the real information. The great unwashed masses (that's me and you, according to the UFO Iconoclasts) don't deserve to know. We're all idiots anyway. We're time wasters, wasting time blogging about our experiences, theories, research and thoughts, trying to find out what happened. What the hell do we know? Not a thing. Who are we to dare to speak? And who dares to listen? No one worth mentioning. No one serious. They're all over at the private bona fide UFO Iconoclast group, or the Magoniax Project, or some other full of themselves group. Those of us out here aren't serious, nor are we telling the truth. If we were, we wouldn't be out here, so public.

But more than being just full of themselves, and silly, puffering around in their musty slippers among piles of squirreled away data, is the fact that this mind set hurts UFO and Fortean research.

It is also highly ironic. It's ironic, because such things as UFO experiences, Fortean experiences, Bigfoot sightings and the like are of the folk. They are folklore. They are experienced by, and told by, the folk, the everyday person. Which is most of us, including you and me. We're everyday people with jobs and families and bills who've had some weird things happen. The very nature of UFO and Fortean experience is folklore; living folklore. It lives on the fringe among the folk, forever outside the institutions of society.

To have stuffy individuals who sneer at the folk; the so-called unwashed masses, and keep their doors closed to the very people that experience and make up the phenomeana, is not only ironic, it's hypocritical, and harmful to research.

It hardly needs mentioning, the fact that there is a lot of bad research out there, or, what passes for research. The field is littered with liars, hucksters, the deluded, the sad, the mean, the weird, the disinfo agents, the garbled. But it's part of the folk and the answer isn't to hide behind thick doors, eeking out data and research to a self-imposed holy few.

The next time you read a blog or article that supports the following: exclusive research organizations, hoarding data, rejecting other forms of data, and calls for some sort of cleansing of the UFO and Fortean landscape, watch out. They do not have the truth as their objective, they do not want the truth at all. They do not seek knowledge; inner or outer, and they do not wish those of us with experiences or a vital interest good will.

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