image source: http://www.rion.nu/v5/archive/000371.php
Really, it is. We found him ten years ago; he was the most freaked out little thing I’ve ever seen. One night, I heard this awful yowling; it just wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t take it any more. It went on for a couple of hours. I went outside, found that the sound was coming from a house across the street. Looking around, I discovered the sound was coming from underneath the porch. I could see a tiny little black and white kitten (a hell of a noise coming from such a small thing) and I tried to coax it out but no way was he going to leave. Yet he wouldn’t stop yowling.
What surprised me was the complete lack of interest from the neighbors. Already at that time we had a reputation; one neighbor did step out and say to me, “Oh, we wondered when you’d come out and get it.” Some people. (And what of the people who lived in the house? Oblivious. I find that astounding.)
I kept leaving little bits of food, further and further away, until he came out, only to run back under the porch. After a few days he came out and stayed on our porch. While I kept agreeing with my husband, who said, every five minutes, “We are NOT keeping him,” I knew better. So did he. (He’s the one who said, “Where’s our heating pad? Poor little guy shouldn't be out there in the cold.”) Next thing we know, he’s in the house.
The name Roswell fits; he’s a happy though slightly hothouse pampered little thug of a cat, never going outside since his traumatic brief life outdoors. We’ve tried to put him out; he won’t have it.
When I say my cat’s name is Roswell, almost everyone gives a slight, startled, brief little laugh. A few have paused and said, knowingly, “Roswell, eh?” then I realize I’ve entered a dimension, a secret society of people who know. He/she too is “into” UFOs , and so the conversation begins. Others are aware of the name and its place in pop culture, but don’t go further.
Maybe I’m wrong about my firm opinion that the infrastructure will never allow things like full disclosure, scientific respect and investigation, etc. (At the same time, I’ve also always maintained that the lone squeaky voice needs to be heard and maybe, over time, all that nudging will bump the paradigm enough to cause a shift, no matter how slight.)
Maybe I’ve been too harsh. Jeremy Vaeni’s recent piece in this issue of UFO Magazine,: Whose Time Has Come?, suggests that we put it all out there, without expectations, or offense. Yes, the meme of alien probes appears in sit-coms, from the mouths of talk show hosts and comedians. Corporations appropriate abductions; the Energizer bunny shows us how well its batteries work, even while being sucked up into the Mother Ship. While “they” may think they’re diluting the phenomena by trivialization, maybe they're also, inadvertently, helping us all to acknowledge the reality.
Yes, let it be known that 2007 heralds the arrival of the new phase: The complete integration of ufology into normal everyday acceptance by the average person. Gone are the days of paranoia and demanding the truth. Gone are the days of highs and lows, the peaks and valleys of public clamoring.
Vaeni urges us to just put it out there, and not expect everyone to get it, because they won’t. That’s okay Don’t take offense; just put it out there. My cat’s name is Roswell. You get it or you don’t. Some may even snicker. I tell them I have a UFO blog. They can Google me, ignore me, or back away, slowly.
The inspiration for Vaeni’s piece is his review of the book U.F.O., written by four artists “with philosophical and anthropological underpinnings.” (Vaeni.) Part of that inspiration was the search for the identity of a graffiti tagger who calls himself (or herself) UFO. Vaeni describes the graffiti art:
UFO tags the city with bulbous-headed alien and fiery spaceship spray art.”
The artists who wrote the book U.F.O. discovered that this graffiti image has appeared all over the world, including Thailand, and that the image is a replica of the symbols found in Australia, painted by the Wanjina.
Vaeni interviews one of the artists involved in the book, Jack Warren, who told Vaeni:
If you’re going to write an article on this book, I think the story is that we’re bringing this [ufology] to the broader public.”
Vaeni says something very important about UFOlogy and the general public’s interest:
”We’ve been trying to shovel legitimacy down the public’s throats for decades now, haven't we? This is real! This is real! Pay attention! They did; they didn’t; did; didn’t, like a tide. then the tide stopped. We thought the field was dead.”
Vaeni believes that this yo-yo effect is done; now we’re entering a phase of above board acknowledgment of aliens, UFOs, the anomalous.
He may be right.
We’re not quite finished yet.
Discussions about the book U.F.O. continue on graffiti blogs.
Razor Apple blog has a very different take on the book, and the author’s (who are also artists themselves) exclusion of U.F.O., the tagger:
Last week, U.F.O. showed up in disguise to chat with Combustive Motor Corporation at the release party they held to push their book. Though no minds were changed, the discussion continues on Suckapants. Intentional or not, we agree this book exploits U.F.O. and his work. Conducting an “urban anthropology” on U.F.O. without involving him is unethical and exploitative research by any definition.
Worth noting. Another layer to the phenomena.
My background is in folklore and, aside from UFOs and related topics, my other favorite area was folk art. Graffiti is certainly folk art. This does bring up questions of appropriation, or maybe just laziness. The issue of the artists being ignored is a personal one with me; being an artist myself, and married to one, I am acutely aware of the treatment of artists in communities. (For example, using the artists art to push/sell institutions to corporate and municipal entities, all the while either ignoring the artist, or treating them like an embarrassing bastard stepchild. They will use our art, but they don’t want to stink up the place with us.)
There’s a parallel here with some of those who study UFO cases, from the chronic skeptic to the UFO researcher, while ignoring the witnesses. At some point, and this is true in the case of anti UFOists, the witness is long forgotten.