The latest scandal in UFO Land -- Phil Imbrogno's lies about his academic and service background -- is still being discussed. I'm not supporting Imbrogno's lies, nor defending him for doing so. His ideas about things UFO -ish are still interesting, and, while not new, still worth exploring. I had respect for Imbrogno and am sorry this happened. But, it does seem clear it did happen. Which made me wonder: why would someone feel the need to lie about his or her background, when it comes to UFOlogy? Phil Imbrogno isn't the first person to have been exposed for lying about his credentials, and realistically speaking, he probably won't be the last. Yet, why do some people feel they need to lie, in the context of UFOs?
UFO culture is a grass roots culture. Anyone --- despite the UFO Police and snarky researchers who dismiss whatever, or whoever, they don't agree with -- can live in UFO Land. (Well, except scofftics.) Anyone. It doesnt' matter if you have degrees or not, or what those degrees are in. Degrees do not denote intelligence; oh, they point to a specific type and tell us the degreed person has focus and perseverance in order to receive that degree. Don't misunderstand me, I am not "anti degree" and I have one myself. [Sidebar: full disclosure in case anyone tries to out little ol' me: I have an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Ed, a Bachelor's in English lit with an emphasis on Folklore, a Certificate in Ethnic Studies and Folklore, and two years of grad school. ] Does this make any more or less qualified than anyone else? Nope. Not a damn bit. I'm intelligent if discussing Beat poetry or folkloric applications but a goddamn dummy when it comes to math, business or 12th century military history.
So why do some feel the need to lie or exaggerate in context of UFO research? I have a theory. Ahem.
It's the damn debunker skeptoids. As well as those within UFOlogy, many of whom are in the UFO Police camp, who drone on about being "scientific" and academic and all kinds of -ics. No, I'm not implying science is useless, of course it isn't. We need it all in UFOlogy. But because someone holds a degree in the sciences, or at the least, in academia, does not make them any more qualified in any way to research UFOs. Not one damn bit.
In this culture we place a lot of esteem onto those who have college degrees. We automatically think they're smarter and better than the rest of us. Studying UFOs is a fringe thing to do, a kooky, silly thing to do. You're not serious or smart if you consider UFOs to be anything more than a curiosity. (I know, some co-workers and acquaintances think I'm not as smart as they thought I was, once they find I'm "into" UFOs. Surely someone intelligent wouldn't waste their time...) Some think that having a degree gives a little bit of legitimacy to an illegitimate field.
But there's no need. No need to lie about your background, whatever it is. As long as you're using your head, are truthful and honest and following your own voice, you can't go wrong. Despite what some others might say to you about that, the research and the work will stand on its own. And that's all you need.