Saturday, February 10, 2007

Marginalization of UFO "Buffs"

Two related blog entries by two blog authors on the marginalization of UFO "believers." Lesley, of the DebrisField blog, has good comments about this. In her essay Ufology: A Cult of Personality she writes:
Beyond that, for ufology to be a cult there would need to be a belief system that everyone followed. Anyone who is a member of ufo updates would quickly realize that ufologists agree on almost nothing. They all have their own theories and personalities and anyone who thinks they would all agree on anything, except that there are strange things in the sky, has never spent any quality time with a ufologist.”


As Lesley points out, sure, there are the “cults” within UFOlogy; the Raelians, etc. To consistently use those groups as an accurate representation of UFOlogy is dishonest, as those who rabidly attack UFO studies know full well.

On the Sanity for Sale blog, there is a good piece:

UFOs: To Believe Or Not To Believe.

The author writes:
”You may have noticed that, in the media, UFO believers are usually referred to as buffs, a term used to diminish and marginalize them by relegating them to the ranks of hobbyists and mere enthusiasts. They are made to seem like kooks and quaint dingbats who have the nerve to believe that, in an observable universe of trillions upon trillions of stars, and most likely many hundreds of billions of potentially inhabitable planets, some of those planets may have produced life-forms capable of doing things that we can’t do.”

In contrast, those who believe in Jesus, God, other forms of mainstream religions are not only acceptable, but considered honorable, trustworthy people. A recent poll (I forget where I read about this) revealed that the majority of voters would not trust an atheists as president. The tension between Upstanding Religious Person and UFO “Believer” is hypocritical, one could say, but it’s a given oppositional juxtaposition in the realm of the Trickster.

As both articles point out, many mega-skeptics and anti-UFOists refer to a “belief” in UFOs, which automatically calls up the memes of: faith, blind faith, miracles, religion, cults, craziness, delusions, and hallucinations. With such labeling, the UFO witness, writer, researcher and investigator are dismissed. People who study UFOs are “buffs” as the author of the Sanity blog says, or they’re “enthusiasts” which some anti UFO skeptics insists on calling those of us who are involved in UFO research (meaning, from a non chronic skeptic perspective) “enthusiasts,” as if we’re all fanatical NASCAR fans. Both terms further trivialize the subject, and more to the point, those who are involved in its study. By consistently using these terms and phrases: buffs, enthusiasts, fans, believers, etc. the topic of UFOs, and those involved with UFOs in whatever way, are presented to the culture as goofy, eccentric, unintelligent, uneducated. Certainly not a topic to be taken seriously, nor the humans involved with the topic. (Unless it’s to debunk, deny, and discredit the topic. Then those people count of course.)

Our culture -- our infrastructure -- has many ways it perpetuates anti-UFOism, along with anything outside of the mainstream. Misdirection, disinformation, appropriation, trivialization, marginalization, outright lying and dishonesty, questioing the patriotism, morality, sanity, intelligence and or honesty of UFO "believers," are among the dozens of ways this populates throughout our culture.

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