UFO Conjectures

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It’s time to stop calling them UFOs


After the term “flying saucers” was ridiculed out of existence, UFOs became the epithet for the mysterious phenomenon (or phenomena) that various peoples keep observing overhead and sometimes on the ground.

Unfortunately for aficionados of the enigma, the UFO sobriquet has also evolved into a term representing foolishness (or worse).

Science and media, even much of the public sector, skews up their eyes and minds when UFOs enter the overt arena.

Getting past the laugh-factor is a hurdle that can’t be overcome; it’s too ingrained as a derisive element of the UFO conundrum, maybe even the essential element, to allow serious discussion of the things.

There are many reasons why this happened, starting with the military debunking of the 1940s and exacerbated by the contractee movement of the 1950s.

Media didn’t help, as newspaper stories and television accounts made light of sightings and the people involved in those sightings.

Media likes a good joke, and flying saucers and/or UFOs were (and are) grist for the lame attempt of journalistic efforts to appear funny, something reporters and editors try to foster to assuage the public’s disdain for media aloofness and condescending attitudes.

Science and scientists generally won’t touch the UFO debate with ten-foot poles. Science won’t even address the topic jocularly. UFOs are anathema in scientific circles.

But the phenomenon deserves serious scrutiny and investigation.

UFOs have more substance than quantum particles or black holes, and are even more intriguing in practical ways.

Science fools around with string theory but can’t tackle UFO theory? That’s not being scientific, just ostrich head-in-the-sand behavior.

Ufologists – a mantle just as tainted as UFOs – are at fault here too. Those UFO mavens have brought down opprobrium upon themselves and the phenomenon both.

By cavalier investigations and acceptance of loony accounts by loony people seeking publicity and a modicum of fame, ufologists muddied the very waters they were supposed to make or keep clear.

But that’s all water under the bridge. What should happen now?

UFOs as a term for the ongoing, but greatly diminished phenomenon, has to be scrapped, and replaced by a new terminology, and a new, more rigorous scrutiny, by persons who have no distinct connection with the whole UFO history.

This means that the Renses, the Clarks, the Friedmans, the Randalls, the Lazars, the Halls, et al. and the repository of UFO history have to be discarded and the phenomenon looked at anew, with new people, and new paradigms.

We’ve written about erasing the UFO past (in our tabula rasa post here), but that won’t happen so long as the current members of the UFO community remain intact and in charge of the UFO discussion.

But, perhaps, we can get the Tonnies, the Redferns, the Bishops, the Millers, and that “objective” ilk to restrain themselves when they take on “UFOs” in their colloquies with other devotees of the phenomenon.

Mac Tonnies has already started dialogues that stray away from UFOs as such, but he’s in a definite minority, and shunned by the UFO old-guard who need UFOs as their mantra because of the time and effort they’ve expended on UFOs, the term and accoutrements to it that they’ve tried to capitalize on, some to a greater extent than others, but all with an investment in the term UFOs that can’t be easily dismissed.

Nonetheless, if the phenomenon is to be resolved or explained, it can only be so by a fresh start, and a whole new group of persons, with new thought and new insights.

And that new group can’t be saddled with the badgered term “UFO.”

(The phrase "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" is too wordy for a sound-byte and too complex for the mental faculties of the public at large, or media. So that replacement doesn't work.)

As Alien Worlds magazine Publisher/Editor Stuart Miller has it, UFOs need to be reinvented.

He’s right, and the study of UFOs concomitantly.

We’ll address the issue further upcoming, and will suggest new terminologies for the besmirched mystery, even though even we will have to rework our blog titles and our outlook on those things that intrude now and then, causing minor uproars amongst persons whose curiosity hasn’t been sated thus far by anything or anyone who presumes to know something about UFOs….er, we mean…..ah….um…


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