High Strangeness: UFOs and the Ridicule-Free Zone

Thursday, July 13, 2017

UFOs and the Ridicule-Free Zone

In the coming days my biography of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, The Close Encounters Man, may be reviewed in both the Fortean Times and Literary Hub, which gives you a good idea how the book is being received.

I feel certain Dr. Hynek would have wanted my book in every science lab in the world.
As I've mentioned in a couple interviews, I wanted to write a UFO book that you don't have to hide from other people, and these two possible upcoming reviews indicate to me that I've succeeded. I've done dozens of interviews and podcasts now, and they break down pretty evenly between UFO-centric media and mainstream media. And, as fun as it is for me to do UFO and paranormal podcasts and radio shows, it's the more mainstream venues that I really enjoy, probably because I know I'm not just preaching to the choir. I'm reaching a lot of people who may never have given UFOs much thought before, or were interested but never wanted to pursue it because it might be embarrassing.

I was encouraged early on when the book got positive reviews at Vice.com and UnboundWorlds.com Things looked even better when we got this terrific review in Library Review that concluded with this little surprise:

VERDICT Scholastic and casual readers will find this fact-packed biography informative and enjoyable; highly recommended for school science departments.
Holy shit! A UFO book "Highly recommended for school science departments"?? How often does that happen?

I started to think about this even more after the Rolling Stone interview was posted. I was very happy with how the article turned out (even with Lee Speigel's completely justified complaint in the Comments section), but I didn't fully appreciate it until I got this wonderful comment here on the blog:
...Just read the ROLLING STONE piece. Quite good. I'm grateful that cynicism and ridicule are no longer considered requirements for reporters writing about the UFO subject.
I usually play a mental game in which I count the number of times a reporter uses the usual hackneyed cliches such as "the truth is out there" or "conspiracy theorists" or "little green men" in an article.
Didn't have to do that with this one.
That's cool.
So, my Rolling Stone interview created a ridicule-free zone, a space where UFOs can be discussed openly without condescension. Isn't that something? Wouldn't it be wonderful if that was the default setting whenever UFOs were discussed socially or in the media?

The ridicule-free zone was in force in my interview last week on Wisconsin Public Radio, and I guarantee it will be in force when I appear on the July 17 edition of Chicago Tonight on public TV station WTTW, and later this fall when I take part in the Wisconsin Book Festival and Wisconsin Science Festival.

I like being in this space, where my book and I are taken seriously by both UFO enthusiasts and mainstream media outlets.


Bill Pilgrim said...


Thanks for the tip o'the hat.
There's a factor that might be contributing to the creation of the "ridicule-free" zone: the new generation of reporters and writers for established news outlets. Many of the "old guard" reporters and editors who came of age in news rooms in which the UFO topic was seen as a career tainting Great Taboo...are gone; retired or dead. They worked in an atmosphere that didn't require orders from on high to ridicule the subject. It was "socialized" but unspoken in nearly every news room...since the 1960's.
...To fully understand what I mean, THE MISSING TIMES. NEWS MEDIA COMPLICITY IN THE UFO COVER-UP, by the late Canadian journalist Terry Hansen, is an immensely valuable expose of how the subject was deliberately degraded by the MSM in conscious co-operation with government intelligence agencies.
...Younger reporters working now might not be so conditioned by the "rules of the road" established in those days. Plus, they might simply be more open-minded individuals.
...I'm not suggesting that the legacy news outlets have dissolved The Great Taboo. But I agree whole-heartedly that your greatest achievement will be busting through their bulwarks.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

I LOVE the sound of "busting through their bulwarks!"