Jim Moseley is one of my favourite folks in ufology. I'm not exactly sure how many people are "non-subscribers" to Saucer Smear, his less-than-regular but always timely UFO newsletter, but for those who aren't (which would be most readers here, I suspect), I'll be running, as "non-scheduled" columns, some of my favourite observations that Moseley has made over the past few years, as well as some excerpts from his book, Shockingly Close to the Truth (co-authored with Karl Pflock), which is a must-read for anyone interested in either ufology or ufoology. If someone ever starts up a sociology or history course dealing with "ufology" (as opposed to UFOs), I predict Shockingly Close to the Truth will become one of the standard texts (at least it should be).
Here is one of Moseley's recent observations, found in the January 25, 2006 edition of Saucer Smear, which was written after Bob Pratt's death:
"Well, it seems, doesn't it, that the old-time ufologists are dying off like flies! If only there was "new blood" in the field, of the caliber of J. Allen Hynek or even Stanton Friedman! Instead we have mostly people who make outrageous, unsubstantiated claims about government secrecy and/or their own ufological adventures. Somewhere out there lies The Truth, but it really doesn't seem we are going to find it any time soon."
Exactly so. Where are the younger, serious researchers? A young Brad Sparks, for example, or a young Jim McDonald?
Go to a UFO convention. There's more grey hair there than at an AARP conference.
Heck, even the "big news" on the fringe is old (Paul Hellyer, Phil Corso).
A sports team, if it wants to keep on winning, develops younger talent. The veterans are eventually traded, or retire, to be replaced by the next generation. The alternative is a complete collapse. Politics work the same way (ask the Canadian Liberal Party these days). So does business. Even Star Trek eventually discovered a "Next Generation".
The "kids" don't step in right at the top, but they need to be encouraged to get involved, and the veterans slowly need to cede a larger role to them.
Is ufology actively developing that "next generation"? Nope. As a result, there are few, if any, new ideas in ufology these days, and a lack of real investigations of newer cases.
If you disagree, cite examples. Name someone under 40 who has the drive, interest, and talent to be the future of ufology. Nick Redfern and Greg Bishop are two of the best candidates, because, even when wrong, they fit the "challenger of the unkown" mold, but they're not exactly well-received by many in ufology these days, and Nick just passed 40 a couple of years ago. The only other person that I can think of is John Greenwald. But (and it's a big "but"), while he's good at getting documents out of the government, he doesn't have the training to interpret what they mean. He's the medium, not the message, and while the medium is important, in this case the two are not the same thing.
This is a dilemna that Jim Moseley, as one of the most senior figures in ufology, understands. It's an example of what makes him well worth reading.
Keep 'em comin', Jim. May The Space People continue to watch over you!