High Strangeness: New Age Claptrap

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Age Claptrap

I blogged a few days ago about the leadership change at MUFON, and today I can inform you that the repercussions of the new power structure are already being felt...

First came the invitation to to join a MUFON State Leadership Forum on Facebook, which I did somewhat reluctantly... I knew the new MUFON boss, Jan Harzan, was all about beefing up MUFON's social media presence, and this Forum seemed like a good first step. But in only a few days it has lived up to my worst expectations: the latest conversation is about whether we should have color-keyed ID badges--"Let's say a gold one for State Directors, a silver one for Assistant State Directors, and a green one for State Section Directors"--or maybe color-keyed golf shirts with our names and ranks embroidered on them. 

Speaking as a State Section Director, I question why the color scheme goes from gold to silver and then directly to green. Why don't I deserve at least bronze? What is MUFON trying to tell me? Can you imagine the furor if the Olympics started giving out green medals for the poor saps who come in third? At the next Olympics there would be exactly two competitors in every event.

The discussion that followed this suggestion was entertaining and informative... What about colorblind MUFON members? What about MUFON people who live in hot climates who prefer wearing light colored shirts? Who will pay for the embroidery? Would everyone have to stick to one standard font, or could we get creative?

This is the new MUFON.

A perennial  MUFON favorite, the human-alien hybrid...
Reading further into the MUFON State Leadership Forum, I came across a lively discussion about a recent blog post (not one of mine, I'm sorry to say) that went after the credibility and effectiveness of MUFON and created great angst among the MUFON State Leadership Forum members. The post, "The UFO Trail: MUFON, Science and Deception" is a very well-researched and very well-written piece about the challenges MUFON faces in trying to remain relevant, and how MUFON often makes these challenges even worse, or--truth be told--creates these challenges all by itself. The post used the nonsense science featured at last month's MUFON 2013 UFO Symposium to make its case, and I couldn't disagree with any of it...

My favorite part of the blog post came in the section about a gentleman named Antonio Paris, who has founded a pretty cool-looking new group called "Aerial Phenomenon Investigations" (API). Mr. Paris offered some sound advice for Mr. Harzan as he takes the reins at MUFON:
"After two years at MUFON, I quickly realized several problems that can be easily fixed by Mr. Harzan. The first and most important mission for Mr. Harzan is to ensure MUFON recalibrate its compass. After attending dozens of MUFON conferences nationally, for example, it is clear that MUFON has been inundated with topics that have nothing to do with Ufology – it is intoxicated with conspiracy theories, hoaxes, junk science, new age claptrap and a level of sensationalism that would make The National Enquirer envious. His first goal, therefore, should be to drain the swamp of all this garbage and bring the science back to the subject."
 Amen, brother. Amen.
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