One should always be careful about comparing oneself to an icon.
For example, former Vice-President Dan Quayle may be best remembered for his 1988 debate with Democratic VP candidate, Senator Lloyd Bentsen.
Quayle (above), who was perceived as a lightweight who did not have the experience to be President, should the need arise, compared his length of experience with that of John Kennedy.
Bentsen, in what was one of the most devastating political exchanges in American history, pounced:
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Quayle tried to answer:
"That remark was uncalled for, Senator."
Bentsen twisted the dagger:
"You're the one making the comparison, Senator... Frankly, I think you're so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well taken."
And that was that.
Fortunately for the Republicans, people vote for the top of the ticket, so George Bush survived his selection of Quayle as his running-mate, but Quayle never recovered from the impression created by that one moment. It defined him. [For anyone interested, the full debate transcript can be found at www.debates.org/pages/trans88c.html]
I call this a "Dan Quayle" moment.
Exopolitics-guru Dr. Michael Salla has just had one.
It all began when Dr. Salla, who was getting rhetorically and logically pounded by Brad Sparks, Kevin Randle, Stan Friedman and others at UFO Updates, sought to invoke the memory of Major Donald Keyhoe, one of ufology's early pioneers, by claiming that Keyhoe was, in fact, the idealogical father of exopolitics. When some suggested that this was "a bit much" (to be polite), Salla reiterated the comparison.
That was a mistake.
Dick Hall, playing the role of Lloyd Bentsen, has now weighed in on Salla's attempt to compare himself to Keyhoe (which, in ufological circles, is sort of like comparing yourself to Kennedy in politics).
Here's what Dick had to say at UFO Updates today, in response to Salla (who had the effrontery to call Dick - and by implication anyone else who disagreed with Salla - "naive"):
"Michael, I will venture to say without fear of contradiction that I knew and understood Major Keyhoe and his thinking far better than you did or ever will... Major Keyhoe never believed what you say. We all thought UFOs probably were spaceships; that's no secret. But Maj. Keyhoe always depicted two opposing camps within the Air Force, one of which favored total secrecy and one that wanted the full truth to come out. This analysis has been totally confirmed by historical documentation, and is a far cry from what you are claiming. Later he came to believe that the CIA was behind the secrecy policy, and there also is good evidence of that being true after 1952. You go right ahead and spout your exocranial blatherings. No real scholar is going to pay any attention to them, and as Paul Kimball pointed out, the dubious and often badly flawed "sources" that you continually cite will go a long way toward further discrediting the subject in the eyes of the people whose help we badly need. - Dick" [The full post can be found at www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/aug/m21-005.shtml]
Allow me to translate:
Dick - "Dr. Salla, I served with Donald Keyhoe. I knew Donald Keyhoe. Donald Keyhoe was a friend of mine. Dr. Salla, you're no Donald Keyhoe."
Salla (as I anticipate his response will be) - "That remark was uncalled for, Mr. Hall."
Dick - "You're the one making the comparison, Dr. Salla. Frankly, I think you're so apart in the objectives that you choose for ufology that I did not think the comparison was well taken."
The only difference between the 1988 vice-presidential debate and the 2005 ufological debate is that, unlike Quayle and Bentsen, Hall and Salla are pretty much at the top of their respective "tickets."
It's time for ufology to choose.
The UFO Evidence vs. Exopolitics.
The Real Inheritor of Keyhoe's legacy vs. The Imposter.
Fact vs. Fiction.
I know where my vote goes.