Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stanton Friedman needs pocket change?

This letter to Beyond Reality magazine [March/April 1978, Page 6] from Stanton Friedman indicates, to me, that one of the purposes of Mr. Friedman’s immersion in the UFO mystery was and is to accrue some money, not riches perhaps, but monies with which to subsist.

Retired from his profession – a profession that seems to have ended early for him; we’re not sure why, retirement or ?? – Mr. Friedman has tried to gather or recoup costs for his UFO adventures.

For me, trying to obtain money from an obtuse hobby, any obtuse hobby, is unseemly and detracts from the credibility of one who honestly pursues an interest, above or beyond one’s main source of livelihood.

If UFOs, for instance, are a nagging source of curiosity, scientific, ufologically, or any other kind of curiosity, one can try to capitalize upon that curiosity, but to do so invites mercantile motivations that make questionable one’s interest in the matter.

A number of “ufologists” have tried to make a living from UFOs – Jerome Clark, Brad Steiger, Kevin Randle, Mr. Friedman, and many more. Some have been successful (Steiger), while others have struggled to even break even; that is, they haven’t even gotten back the monies spent on travel (to conventions and UFO event sightings) or the expenses of running web-sites and blogs, as niggardly as those expenses are.

One can’t condemn a person for trying to make a living, or from trying to get back monies they’ve spent on their obsession. But one can question one’s motivations when asking for money becomes the sine qua non of their initial curiosity.

Mr. Friedman may have needed the few dollars he solicited in his Beyond Reality offering, way back in 1978. And he may need the few dollars he gets from his writings today or from his sojourns at conventions or from TV appearances.

I don’t begrudge him the little bit of money he is able to gather. But I do wonder what lies at the heart of his UFO pursuit – an explanation of the phenomenon, or the need to keep his head above the waters of everyday living.


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