Monday, March 17, 2014

The Tasteless Aesthetic of Ufology

We live in a world where, for better or worse, appearance matters. 

When a person shows up for a job interview, for example, they're better off wearing a business suit, or at the very least something neat and presentable, than a t-shirt with mustard stains on it and a pair of dirty sweat pants. 

Ufologists have never really understood this simple truth. Case in point - Frank Warren's website, The UFO Chronicles, which aggregates various news and opinion items about UFOs.

The design is the equivalent of the t-shirt and sweat pants I mentioned above. 

People in my business like to say that "content is king," and in the end they're right... but that only applies if your content is presented in a way that is aesthetically appealing. A website is like a job interview - if people are turned off by your appearance on first sight, nothing you say or do after that is really going to matter because most of them will have already turned the proverbial channel.

I find it most amusing that people who desperately want the mainstream to take them seriously have created an on-line presence that virtually guarantees that nobody outside their core fanbase will take them seriously. It's almost as if someone approached them and said, a la the infamous Robertson Panel, "hey, buddy, design a website that will make UFOs look as goofy as possible," and Warren and his fellow travelers said, "sounds good!" 

Memo to ufologists: style and substance aren't mutually exclusive.

If space aliens ever saw the way that ufology presents itself they would be appalled. Then again, I think it's safe to say that's true for most things having to do with ufology.

Paul Kimball


Anonymous said...

What's an example of a good website? A good book cover? A good movie advert?

Paul Kimball said...

A good general rule with website design in particular, but also applicable to things like book covers, is to follow what an old boss of mine called the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid.


Bruce Duensing said...

The study of the anomalous has managed to separate the inseparable while using an imaginary language that lacks a demonstrable relationship to the study of consciousness. Separating the observed from the observer. The nature of the question results in the nature of the answer.Who in the paranormal field is familiar with the experiments of Rodger Penrose? ( as one example)
The skeptic assumes that everything under the sun has physicality while the paranormal field assumes the role of defining the incommensurable with stupid terms like UFO, or Demon, or MIB...
The whole field needs to be rebooted and the study of the nature of consciousnesses must be folded into the study of the paranormal or anomalous if you prefer that term.
Otherwise, it will never be transformed into a useful search and will be relegated to where it now currently belongs, a sort of loony self referential non starter.

Eugene H Frison said...


No truer words have ever been written!

The importance of the nature of consciousness and of the human perception system in the study of UFOs and the paranormal is of prime importance. However, the majority of people active in these fields have no understanding of this essential truth and are really not qualified to be doing investigation or research into anomalous phenomena. That's why the field is the circus that it is today!

Most of the perceived 'guiding lights' within the field are will-o'-the-wisps leading the inquiry astray and far from the territory of science.