That's the imposing title of the segment I'll be doing tomorrow on the "Strange Surroundings Secret Universe" podcast on July 24th at 9 pm Central (otherwise known as "tomorrow").
When host Loren Hatfield asked me to be on his show, UFO world was still all abuzz over the Roswell Slides fiasco, and honesty in UFOlogy was a pretty hot topic. Now, nearly two months later, the "honesty" buzz seems to have died down to a whisper, so I suspect the talk will be somewhat more subdued this time than it was when I appeared last month on the Dead Air Paranormal podcast. Whatever happened to those Dream Teamers and their slides? Is anybody talking about them anymore? Does anyone care? Doesn't the whole silly thing seem like ancient history nowadays?
Maybe the relative quiet that has settled over UFOlogy in the past month makes this the best time to talk about honesty again. I certainly thought so the other day when I got a promo email for the upcoming "Out Of This World UFO Conference & Festival." My first reaction, quite honestly, was to roll my eyes and think, "Here we go again!"
Isn't it time to be HONEST about the damage these events can do to serious UFOlogy? Must we embarrass ourselves like this over and over again? I mean, the organizers aren't even trying to be serious: they even have the word "Festival" in the title of the damn thing!
But then I read the name again. "UFO Conference & Festival." Suddenly it didn't seem so embarrassing. At least they're separating out the "Conference" part from the "Festival" part, and acknowledging the two reasons people go to these things. Isn't that what we talked about on the Dead Air Paranormal podcast: being honest about the "entertainment" aspect of the UFO industry?
I checked on the link and was surprised and delighted to see the roster of speakers. The headliner is a man who has shamelessly exploited the entertainment value of the UFO phenomenon for years, George Noory. And I'm not criticizing him for that. It's a fact that Coast to Coast AM keeps the UFO phenomenon alive by emphasizing the entertainment aspects while giving a nod to the "serious" researchy side of UFOlogy. What better person to headline such an event?
|Major Don West, protecting the Robinson family and the Jupiter 2 from an alien menace...|
Then I saw the next featured speaker and I had to grin. Getting second billing on the program is actor Mark Goddard, best known for his portrayal of "Major Don West" in the campy 1960's science fiction TV series "Lost In Space."
What does Mark Goddard know about UFOs? Nothing, I'd wager, aside from the fact that he used to pretend to pilot a saucer-shaped spaceship on TV 50 years ago. But it's pretty funny -- and, I admit, pretty cool -- that he's making an appearance, just the same.
Oh, there are also a few speakers -- Noe Torres and Ruben Uriarte among them -- who seem to be serious UFO guys, but to be honest I don't know much about them. Still, they would appear to make up the "Conference" side of things.
The there's also a screenwriter who will be talking about "Star Wars." I'm going to say he's part of the "Festival."
So... what kind of a crackpot Conference & Festival is this?
Well.... I guess it's an honest one, because it's admitting up front that it's at least as much about campy entertainment as it is about serious UFO research, and it seems to be making the bold if perhaps inadvertent assertion that both sides of the program can exist side-by-side without detracting from each other.
Maybe they're onto something...