UFO Conjecture(s)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stanton Friedman: Derivative UFO Researcher?

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Stanton Friedman is notorious for his incessant use of the term “Cosmic Watergate” which he applies to his conjecture that the U.S. government and its Air Force have been covering up the real story of what happened at Roswell in 1947.

But the Watergate reference derives from noted UFO researcher Raymond Fowler as found in an article by Mr. Fowler in the May 1976 issue of Official UFO magazine.

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Mr. Fowler applied his phrase for all UFO accounts, whereas Mr. Friedman applies his sobriquet to the Roswell incident only.

Click here for a look at the Fowler piece in Official UFO:

Mr. Freidman’s use of his term stems mostly from the period of 2000 forward and was used “officially” in his book:

Top Secret/Majic: Operation Majestic-12 and the United States Government’s UFO Cover-up (Marlowe and Co. 2005)

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While Mr. Friedman was the first person to re-invigorate the Roswell episode by his 1978 interview with Jesse Marcel, his contribution was snubbed by Charles Berlitz and (discredited?) William Moore in their book, The Roswell Incident of 1980, the book that got the Roswell story back in the public arena.

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But everything by Mr. Friedman about Roswell after his initial interview with Marcel is reactionary, not revolutionary or original, by a long shot.

While some UFO researchers, such as Jacques Vallee, offer imaginative conjecture and hypotheses, Mr. Friedman maintains a defensive, non-original stance on Roswell and UFOs generally.

He has done the same with the MJ-12 documents, which were dealt with or publicized by others (Moore, again and his cohort, Richard Doty, and Canadian Arthur Bray et al.).

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Mr. Friedman has co-opted, as he did with the “UFO Watergate” mantra, the MJ-12 controversy, providing some interesting interpretations and insights while offering nothing that would clinch the truth or falsity of the documents.

Mr. Friedman is the face of “ufology” and has provided UFOs with a patina of respect and sanity.

But as a revolutionary UFO thinker, Mr. Friedman, like most of his fellow ufologists, falls short.

After all, Friedman’s many years at the forefront of the UFO mystery has produced nothing like a “smoking gun” although he has to be given props for a good try.

22 Comments:

  • Your contention is that, in bringing more obscure (and arguably better) research to public attention, Friedman merely serves as an ambassador for the field - one that doesn't acknowledge the shoulders upon which he stood to do so?

    Well, if you're going to shoot him down for that, you're going to have to target television network executives, too. It's high time someone paid for creating a world in which there are 14 different cooking competition shows, 67 different programs about families with more children than the population of some South Pacific countries, and 93 different versions of classless but nonetheless rich woman who are forced into mock catfights each week.

    The time of retribution is at hand!!

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • You're not becoming a TVaphobe are you, Cullan?

    Those TV conglomerates love the money they get from advertisers, so they'll push anything and everything that the rabble might gulp down.

    As Marx also told us, the time of retribution was and is at hand...

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • I thought Friedman's Majestic 12 book was a bit of a bait and switch. There really isn't any useful research about the time frame the alleged docs were written in, just a rehash of his own bio and his feud with Klass over their authenticity.

    I did learn one thing . . . don't buy a UFO book online. Look at it in a store first to make sure it has any value.

    Gutenberg was the man of the last millennium anyway. Bloggers are where it's at, despite the dinosaurs telling you they aren't on the verge of extinction.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • Frank:

    I rarely disagree with you about anything...well, maybe Truman, but that's about it, except...

    Bloggers are scum, generally, us included therefore also.

    Journalists and good writers, with their books vetted by good editors are the best bet for credible information.

    Friedman has made some good points about the MJ-12 documents and the possible reality behind them, even if they prove to be totally spurious.

    But, as stated in our post, Mr. Friedman's work isn't in a category that moves the UFO mystery closer to solution.

    Nonetheless, his material isn't snarky or rude, and he is a decent fellow, unlike many of the blokes we come in contact with here and elsewhere in the UFO universe.

    I can name, on one hand, the few people in the UFO community who get our respect.

    Friedman is one, grudgingly perhaps, but he is a fixed star in the UFO heavens, which is more than one can say about the gaggle of others who've come along recently to add their two cents worth about the UFO enigma.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • "Journalists and good writers, with their books vetted by good editors are the best bet for credible information."

    I'm not so sure about that. Journalism absolutely distorts information, sometimes cynically and sometimes due to time constraints (a broadcast piece has to be x minutes, print has to meet deadlines).

    In a blog, I can site a 200-page report and instead of including a footnote where you'll have to track down the cited publication to determine whether I quoted the source accurately, I can link to the report and the reader can vet me directly.

    I'm certainly not saying that big print is bad, look at the power of Random House to get Leslie Kean out there and promoting her new UFO book, but the track record of journalism, newspaper, book and periodical, is hardly pristine.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • F:

    Print media (newspapers, magazines, et cetera) seem to be the lesser of many evils.

    But, for us, bloggers are the bane of knowledge, generally.

    A lot of unintellectual jerks are blogging and we get comments from many of them here...which we do not post -- our Fascist nature as you know.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • I hoped you detected my cheek planted firmly within my cheek. :-D That being said, I agree. Print media is still the lesser of many evils. I think there are a great many blogs, this included, that are worthy of the time we dovote to them. It's often where you find discourses such as these, that otherwise, wouldn't see print.

    That aside, Friedman at least brings a sense of respectability to the field. While UFO researchers might not agree upon his work, I can say this: better Friedman on the evening news than some backwoods hick.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • C:

    While we're broadbrushing blogs and bloggers, there a few -- yours among them (Strange State) -- that contain exceptional insights and information, but they, are just that: the exceptions.

    And, yes, Friedman is a gentleman, and behaves with decorum and genteel grace.

    He may not be an innovative thinker, but he is the face of ufology, and has an established cachet, which is more than one can say about most in the UFO field.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • Friedman is very good with a microphone in front of him, no question about that. He's the best interview in the racket and it seems he'll talk to anybody. The guy has done the work to get where he is.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • "The guy has done the work to get where he is."

    Yes, and we can ask of nothing more than that, because only the facts, seen together in their proper contexts, can bring us what we collectively seek. I for one thank him, and others as well, for doing said homework.

    Nice article.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Tuesday, August 31, 2010  

  • The term "Cosmic Watergate" actually originated with J. Allen Hynek.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, September 01, 2010  

  • We had Stanton on the Paratopia program quite some time ago for an interview. My co-host and I are not big fans of the ETH - and we made it a point to try and get something out of Stan that might crowbar open some alternative theories he might have, to very little avail.

    He does "bring it" to the professional (see fundamentalist) skeptics, but after listening to him since the 70's, you realize he's got an internal script that he doesn't deviate from. That script unfortunately seems to be vastly dependent on the sorely lacking ETH.

    I think he's a good and kind man, and an asset to his end of the field (however loosely defined that is)- but unfortunately I think he's become married to his long held notions and there's little chance of a divorce this late in the game.

    For those looking deeper/alternatively into this ridiculously complex phenomenon, I think we've simply outgrown his stance on the data.

    By Anonymous Jeff Ritzmann, at Wednesday, September 01, 2010  

  • Jeff:

    You make our point eloquently and succinctly.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 01, 2010  

  • "That script unfortunately seems to be vastly dependent on the sorely lacking ETH."

    It's only sorely lacking if you don't follow the news. There's something called exo-planet research and scientists are finding not only individual planets orbiting distant stars but entire solar systems. You should check it out.

    It's a shame that ETH and ground breaking scientific discovery are so boring to you.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, September 01, 2010  

  • > exo-planet research

    That's a bit like arguing that because a coelacanth was found in the water off South Africa, I should also find them in my bathtub.

    By Blogger terry the censor, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • "That's a bit like arguing that because a coelacanth was found in the water off South Africa, I should also find them in my bathtub."

    That's a cute line, but you need to explain to me how our scientists finding exo-planets and solar systems makes the ETH less likely.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • "It's a shame that ETH and ground breaking scientific discovery are so boring to you."

    I'm not referring to the notion of life elsewhere - what I'm referring to is it's alleged origin for the UFO phenomenon. I have no doubt of the high probability of life in the cosmos.

    The problem is the UFO question has tried to be explained for 60+ years of modern UFOlogy as E.T. However, there's an issue with that: it doesn't fit the phenomenon.

    We are no closer to finding answers (or for that matter, better questions) in all these decades because UFOlogy is chasing it's collective ETH tail. Stagnation has ensued.

    Think about it in the simplest terms: in all the years of research by capable people not ONE shred of a nut or a bolt to support the nuts and bolts folks who think flesh and blood ETs are here in flying machines.

    People would point to landing trace cases. That's fine. But that doesn't say conclusive ET either.

    Abductions? Past the stereotypical nonsense proliferated by Hopkins and Jacobs - which has more basis in wish fulfillment than actual research data - there's nothing pointing to ETs there either. Regression hypnotherapy (the most used "method" in study)is demonstrably flawed as a research tool of any kind and is likely dangerous - but aside from that, what doesn't fit the abduction researcher's preconceived notions is summarily discarded.

    The phenomenon has shown itself to be far more complex and even more bizarre: one that seems connected to anti-structural and liminal elements.

    We have learned nothing about this enigma following the ETH - it's time to try an examine the deeper issues and take new directions. The ETH has been outgrown - although we can't remove it from the table entirely, it has not yielded anything of real value.

    By Anonymous Jeff Ritzmann, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • Jeff,

    Again, you state a position with which we totally agree.

    Thanks,

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • "I'm not referring to the notion of life elsewhere - what I'm referring to is it's alleged origin for the UFO phenomenon."

    But the two are inexorably linked. You can't have an ETH without life-bearing exo-planets, which have been long suspected and are in the process of being proved. I have no control over ufologists ignoring these exciting programs, but that hardly means there is no connection.

    I regard the UFO evidence that exists compelling. That the case hasn't risen to the level of proved is no reason to dismiss ETH.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • "I regard the UFO evidence that exists compelling. That the case hasn't risen to the level of proved is no reason to dismiss ETH."

    You can't dismiss it. And, like you, I too see there are many compelling things in the UFO data.

    The question without moving the goalposts yet again here, is does that data point to an extraterrestrial source? Another material race coming here and interacting?

    No. It doesn't fit. The ETH is simply the easy way out for those who want the Reader's Digest version, and ignores many significant (and largely unpublicized) issues.

    The UFO "Community" has ultimately become a club of good 'ol boys who've hung their hat on the ETH so long it's too late for them to look anywhere else. To do so would lose them street cred and tumble too many UFOlogical capital driven careers and aggressively defended data. No one wants to be ostracized for going against the grain and upsetting the apple cart.

    For all the "science" touted in UFO research, they lack one specific thing: in science you get points for being wrong, and reassessing your data as new developments present themselves. You revise yourself as you learn and discover. This may be as extreme as a complete tear down of all previous work. Most often your own work.

    In UFOlogy, you're ignored, maligned and marginalized for that. You're expected to pick a theory and then squeeze the data into that pedestrian, view that's somehow palatable to the audience.

    The ETH stranglehold is one reason why UFOLogy is in the stagnated mess it is currently in. It's high time to look around elsewhere.

    When I became actively involved in the field a little over 20 years ago, the "lunatic fringe" was a relatively small element. Now, it's taken the driver's seat to the "mainstream" portion of the UFO subject. Look around. Tell me I'm wrong.

    I agree, we can't take the ETH off the table. It's the easy answer. It's one everyone can get their head around. Start talking about anti-structure and the nature of human perception, the question of reality, and everyone has the same answer:

    "I don't know where to go with that."

    It's high time we learned. Better questions will not come from UFOlogy. It's going to require going outside the "field" to different disciplines, and possibly ones that don't outwardly interest us. Threads are out there to be pulled on...and they might lead back to this arena with meaningful clues.

    Unfortunately, no one wants to do that, as UFOlogy isn't interested in new ideas. New ideas threaten the old ideas.

    The UFO subject is incarcerated in the ETH without the possibility of parole.

    I'd like to try and bake a cake with a file in it. ;)

    By Anonymous Jeff Ritzmann, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • Jeff you make some excellent points, but there's no fun in agreeing with those. I think spirited debate moves things forward better.

    The serious proponents of ETH point to it as a last resort, after all other prosaic explanations have been exhausted.

    Some of the more exotic Kaku-inspired theories like a multiverse explanation for UFOs have gained their hold. I can't discount them, I just see ETH as the simple, not easy, exotic explanation and it's the one backed up with the most science fact.

    It's not like our astronomers are being shocked by what they aren't finding. We live in a galaxy that's teeming with planetary systems. That is clearly on its' way to being proved.

    I think ETH has merit and am not fond of one size fits all explanations for UFOs as there are many of them out there and they can't all be right. Venus=some . . . Cover for secret military projects=some . . . Psychological/Sociological manifestations=some . . . but not all. There are still those UFO cases that ETH does seem to fit.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

  • "The serious proponents of ETH point to it as a last resort, after all other prosaic explanations have been exhausted."

    That's the problem. I understand we have to work with what we've got between our ears - but this phenomenon hasn't catered to prosaic directions (yet we do still keep going down this dead end don't we?)in any way. We're still stuck with the earthbound pedestrian thoughts on this, applying cultural filters as we see fit to cater to the preconceived notions. All that doesn't fit, is regulated to outlier data and ignored. That's a problem. A big one.

    "Some of the more exotic Kaku-inspired theories like a multiverse explanation for UFOs have gained their hold. I can't discount them, I just see ETH as the simple, not easy, exotic explanation and it's the one backed up with the most science fact."

    Simple answers are usually easy...the ETH is easy. Science fact says there's a high likelihood of other cultures out there. But the question is does the UFO represent an extraterrestrial source. There's no "scientific fact" backing up that UFOs are ET craft whatsoever.

    That extraterrestrial cultures very likely exist in plenty, does not equate to the source for the UFO enigma.

    "It's not like our astronomers are being shocked by what they aren't finding. We live in a galaxy that's teeming with planetary systems. That is clearly on its' way to being proved."

    No disagreement there.

    "I think ETH has merit and am not fond of one size fits all explanations for UFOs as there are many of them out there and they can't all be right. Venus=some . . . Cover for secret military projects=some . . . Psychological/Sociological manifestations=some . . . but not all. There are still those UFO cases that ETH does seem to fit."

    I'm not into a unified theory either. Some in fact might be ET. But those seem quite sparse in comparison to events involving high strangeness in UFO sightings and alleged contact with "others".

    Again Frank - there's no nuts, and no bolts to be found here. Yet UFOlogy keeps playing with the ETH like it's still the end-all answer - and I don't think that's after all others have been exhausted. There's been entire belief systems and data structures within the community based on ETs. It's castles in the air. Again, you can't deny this, as I'm sure you've seen it yourself.

    There's all sorts of unmentioned components: psychological (the anti-christ of all paranormal studies), marginality, it's association with manifestations of other paranormal phenomena like poltergeist activity to name but one, and decidedly psychedelic themed elements.

    These are the things no one wants to discuss. To speak of this phenomena or an encounter with it in complete 100% honesty is to be thought a fool - because it's much more "alien", complex, and multi-leveled than little green spacemen - and it often strains it's own credulity. This is the rally cry of the paranormal - "Make them look like a nut."

    But if we pretend to care about this subject, we have to come out of the idea that we can build and build upon a theory that doesn't fit because the other(s) makes us uncomfortable.

    By Anonymous Jeff Ritzmann, at Thursday, September 02, 2010  

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