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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jun > Jun 17

Re: Who is Jerome Clark?

From: The Duke of Mendoza <101653.2205@compuserve.com> [Peter Brookesmith]
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 09:06:41 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998 10:02:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Who is Jerome Clark?


With the compliments of the Duke of Mendoza:

>To: "UFO UpDates - Toronto" <updates@globalserve.net>
>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Who Is Jerome Clark?
 [was: Corso, Stacy & Birnes]
>Date: Thu, 11 Jun 98 20:51:56 PDT

Congratulations on a masterly demonstration of smoke-blowing,
Jerry. I'm sure your many fans will have admired it & learned much
from the techniques deployed & displayed. An exquisite performance
indeed.

Now, those with longer memories than Jerome will recall that far
from dragging from the mire some ancient piece of private
correspondence in order to defend Phil Klass, I cited Klass's
assertion that Jerome had once believed that Klass had uttered a
"serious 'death threat'" against Jerome's august person, in order
to illustrate the truth of a pithy epigram of the said Jerome (in a
message to UpDates dated Thu, 04 Jun 98 10:13:00 PDT), viz: "some
people will believe anything".

It struck me that Jerome might welcome this opportunity to comment
on Klass's version of events, and so purge himself of the suspicion
that he too has believed an "anything" or two in his time, even if
one a good deal dafter than the notion that Kenneth Arnold saw
pelicans.

In responding, Jerome then - despite having had his inexactitude
very recently tweaked a bit by yours truly - rashly repeated his
favorite factoid about Klass & communism. I suppose I was supposed
to let this pass by in meekness and reverence? Having made the
provocation, Jerome can hardly complain that his time is being
taken up in unpaid toil in trying to obfuscate everything.

>Here the "joke" has Klass implying that it is he who will
>have me murdered. Let's have a show of hands out there. How many
>of you would take as a "joke" -- not even from a friend here,
>mind you, but a longtime adversary -- a remark intimating a
>desire to have one done in?

>> "Clark replied on May 21, saying that he considered my May 14
>> letter to be a 'death threat,' and not a joke. 'Unless you make
>> a full, immediate and unqualified apology, all communication
>> between us will cease and I will have nothing further to do with
>> you.'

>The "joke" was so staggeringly tasteless, rude, and offensive
>that an apology was clearly called for. How many of you out
>there would make a "joke" like that? No, Mr. Brookesmith, as I
>said before, you've already voted. Any further votes in favor?
>No?

(Actually, Jerry, on this question I haven't voted. For many good
reasons, I don't make *jokes* about bumping people off. And I
wouldn't have made the first of Klass's jokes, let alone the
second. Like the ETH, I can't prove that, but I did say I didn't
find it particularly funny: another fit of meiosis.)

The question was, and remains, whether Jerome took Klass's joke
literally, as Klass implies ("he considered my May 14 letter to be
a 'death threat,' and not a joke"), or as a somewhat lesser thing,
an exercise in black humor.

Incompetent at reading, and obtuse, as I allegedly am, that first
paragraph quoted above does seem to imply that despite the obvious
connexion between Klass Joke 1 and Klass Joke 2, i.e. the context,
Jerome really did think Klass would push him overboard, possibly
having shot him first.

>The remark about having no sense of humor shows the depth to
>which one has to sink when one chooses to apologize for Klass'
>excesses.

And remarks about competency in reading and kindergarten requests
for shows of hands show a mature and incisive intellect, natch. I
am not attempting to apologize for Klass or to defend him. Read my
lips, Jerry: at this point I am trying to find out (a) if his
account is accurate (b) if you really thought he was really
threatening you.

After a lot of ad-hominemery & flannel, which must have pained his
knee considerably, Jerome parades the nearest he has yet come to an
accurate representation of Klass's actual complaint, in quoting his
1992 piece from IUR:

>My point was simply this: In disputing official pronouncements,
>Klass contends, ufologists are equivalent to Communists in their
>effect, which is to undermine faith in the American government.

But not all ufologists dispute official pronouncements. And of
those that do, some are more extreme than others. Yet, within a few
lines, Jerome has Klass saying, "In what he thought would be a
private conversation, he likened ufologists to Communist agents."
The distinction between fans of a cover-up (let us then distinguish
between them and conspiracy addicts, though I fail to see the
difference in Keyhoe's or Friedman's cases), I contend, and repeat
that I contend, is real.

To say that Jerome misrepresents Klass habitually in this respect
is also no more to defend Klass or his subsequent behavior than to
remark that beheading Charles I was a truly dumb move is to defend
Cromwell & his appalling Puritan hordes. (Likewise, to say John
Brown - he of Harper's Ferry &c - was a crackbrained ignoramus is
not to defend the peculiar institution of slavery.)

For the third time of asking: if we knew - if I knew - the names of
the cover-up artists invited to speak at the Lincoln conference of
which Klass was complaining, one would be better able to judge how
eccentric Klass's complaint actually was. Who, exactly, in this
case, is Jerome defending?

>I refer readers to Brad Sparks' extended treatment of the case
>in The UFO Encyclopedia, Volume 2, pp. 761-90, for an eye-
>opening study of the numerous fatal errors Klass made in his
>imaginative recreation of the RB-47 case.

As I said, I am looking forward to seeing this.

Mysteriously, in his brief commercial interlude, Jerome did not
answer my question as to why he omitted, in the first edition of
his Encyclopedia, the fact that members of that RB-47's crew agreed
with Klass's analysis. Did they too "imaginatively recreate" their
experience? Such things have been known.

Finally, I might address a question raised earlier in Jerome's
post:

>Is there
>possibly something wrong with somebody (e.g., Klass) -- or his
>publication -- that he and/or it actually devotes space to a
>private 1984 exchange between him and me, on a subject that
>could be of no interest to anybody [...]?

Apart from what I've already said, it was of interest to me because
it bore on the matters of representation, accuracy in scholarship,
objectivity, and misrepresentation (by whatever sleight of hand). I
was not interested in defending Klass per se. I can see a clear
connexion between Klass Joke 1 and Klass Joke 2 that Jerome cannot
- and that connexion seriously undermines the purport, if not the
dubious taste, of KJ2.

I can also join up the dots between that, the misrepresentation of
Klass's remarks about cover-up fans and Soviet agents, and the
omission of a key point about Klass's analysis of the RB-47 case. I
wonder if there is not another line to be drawn between those items
and Jerome's failure to answer the actual questions raised, and his
preference for whole paragraphs of ad-hominemery ("If you can't
attack the data, attack the man"--STF) & darting out and about
among the bushes of related, but not relevant, issues.

Jerry, please answer the questions. If you'd done that
unambiguously, or at all, in the first place, you'd have had so
much more time to catch up on your deadline.

best wishes
Pierrot-le-fou D. Mountainbike
Dream Pedlar




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