UFO Conjecture(s)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Stanton Friedman needs pocket change?

This letter to Beyond Reality magazine [March/April 1978, Page 6] from Stanton Friedman indicates, to me, that one of the purposes of Mr. Friedman’s immersion in the UFO mystery was and is to accrue some money, not riches perhaps, but monies with which to subsist.

Retired from his profession – a profession that seems to have ended early for him; we’re not sure why, retirement or ?? – Mr. Friedman has tried to gather or recoup costs for his UFO adventures.

For me, trying to obtain money from an obtuse hobby, any obtuse hobby, is unseemly and detracts from the credibility of one who honestly pursues an interest, above or beyond one’s main source of livelihood.

If UFOs, for instance, are a nagging source of curiosity, scientific, ufologically, or any other kind of curiosity, one can try to capitalize upon that curiosity, but to do so invites mercantile motivations that make questionable one’s interest in the matter.

A number of “ufologists” have tried to make a living from UFOs – Jerome Clark, Brad Steiger, Kevin Randle, Mr. Friedman, and many more. Some have been successful (Steiger), while others have struggled to even break even; that is, they haven’t even gotten back the monies spent on travel (to conventions and UFO event sightings) or the expenses of running web-sites and blogs, as niggardly as those expenses are.

One can’t condemn a person for trying to make a living, or from trying to get back monies they’ve spent on their obsession. But one can question one’s motivations when asking for money becomes the sine qua non of their initial curiosity.

Mr. Friedman may have needed the few dollars he solicited in his Beyond Reality offering, way back in 1978. And he may need the few dollars he gets from his writings today or from his sojourns at conventions or from TV appearances.

I don’t begrudge him the little bit of money he is able to gather. But I do wonder what lies at the heart of his UFO pursuit – an explanation of the phenomenon, or the need to keep his head above the waters of everyday living.



  • Don't forget to add Nick Redfern to that list of people who make money from UFO books.

    By Blogger Kristofer, at Sunday, October 02, 2011  

  • Kristofer...

    Nick has addressed the issue of how much money he's made, which is paltry he tells us.

    I accept a person getting paid for imaginative thinking, research, and investigation provided in book form or magazine articles.

    But scrabbling for a few pennies by exploiting the work or experience of others is almost contemptuous.

    If someone wants to get involved with a topic that interests them, I should think they'd bite the bullet and absorb any costs involved.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, October 02, 2011  

  • This is one of those contentious questions that isn't necessarily ufologically-anchored. In any field, people who make a living, or reach the dizzy heights of media 'talking-head' status, should expect to be questioned about sincerity and motivation.

    Such figures will be criticised by peers and rivals. We see it in the music and publishing industries were there has always been support for the struggler and then a 'knock 'em down' approach when people are perceived to be 'too big for their boots.'

    Human nature.

    The guys you mention have enjoyed some success making money from the subject and I'm not sure whether that matters. Randle still has a fire burning and genuinely wants answers, in my opinion.

    I guess it comes down to the significance of contributions to the field? Such valuations are then subjective. For example, Steiger and Friedman haven't particularly informed my views but they have been influential in generating interest in the subjects of high strangeness and ufology. If income is the reward...fair enough.

    The Nicks, Redfern and Pope, spring to mind. It's a 'job' for both and yet each is qualitatively different from the other.

    By Blogger Kandinsky, at Sunday, October 02, 2011  

  • I'm sure, Kandinsky, that Randle will admit to not becoming rich in his UFO writings.

    It is universally known that UFOs produce little income for those involved.

    But my point is that if you love something or have a creative obsession for something, don't ruin that obsession by trying to capitalize on it.

    Pursue your obsession, your art, whatever, and reward, if you excel, will come your way.

    Trying to exploit your love, your obsession, will take you down a path that has nothing to do with what you started out to do.

    Having the premise of making money from your "hobby" -- the thing you love doing -- corrupts that love, ruins that hobby...perverts your purpose, your search for truth and beauty, as Keats had it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, October 02, 2011  

  • Kristofer

    I'm out of town right now with very limited net access.

    But so what I make money from UFO books? Would people complain if i wrote books on the Gulf war or the history of the United Nations? No they would not.

    But it seems making money from Ufology is somehow wrong in many people's eyes.

    Fuck 'em all.

    What's wrong in turning your passion into a job? Isn't that what musicians do? Or painters?

    I go out of my way to try and present people with new books covering new ground. And if it takes me a year to write a book, I'm not able to earn money in a regular job, so there's nothing wrong with earning money from Ufology if it's for the right reasons.

    But, as for money, my book sell in small quantities - a max of 1 - 2,000 copies in their lifetimes. And I get about a dollar in royalties per book. Hardly much of an earning.

    So, yes I make money, but the amount i get per year probably just about pays my mortgage for about 2 months per year.

    This is why - as a full-time writer - most of my income is derived from none ufo things, such as a lot of porn mags (Penthouse etc) and porn sites, military magazines, and ghost-writing books for authors (generally on issues that have nothing to do with UFOs, such as asbestos exposure in the workplace and the history of the Realtor industry to name but too.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Sunday, October 02, 2011  

  • Let me note that we've not posted several comments from persons who've missed, totally, the intent of the Friedman posting or the date and source involved.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, October 03, 2011  

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