Chance Harmonies

I wear it as a badge of honour that the perspective I take here at Skunkworks is unique.

I am aware, nevertheless, of at least some whose interests are close. There’s the second, more theoretical, part of M. J. BaniasThe UFO People: a curious culture (glowingly reviewed by no less than Thomas E. Bullard, here). Gittlitz is, to my knowledge, the only person to reflect on the pertinence of Marxism to ufology (he is presently promoting his new book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism). Recently, too, I became aware of Luis Cayetano, whose website “Ufology” is corrupt” is concerned more with the social, political, and psychological aspects of ufology than with UFOs themselves, a description that could be applied to what goes on here; however, Cayetano’s stance is much more vehemently skeptical and dismissive (along the lines of what one reads at author Jason Colavito’s blog).

Occasionally, however, I chance across the likeminded. Among these, I was happy to encounter Doug Johnson, who recently published the article “Decolonizing the Search for Extraterrestrials” in Undark. Here, in much the same way that I criticize certain unconscious colonialist strains in ufological discourse, Johnson shines a light on the same orientation in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Johnson’s article is thorough, unmasking the colonialist language of space exploration, the indifference of SETI researchers to Indigenous perspectives, conflicts between SETI research and Indigenous peoples (e.g., the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii), and the speciesism and Eurocentrism that underwrite speculations about “intelligence” and “civilization”, longstanding themes here at the Skunkworks.

You can read the article—which I urge you to do—either by clicking on its title, above, or at the link just under the picture, below.

Thomas Bullard reviews M. J. Banias’ The UFO People

Sometimes “the UFO community” reveals that some of its members are just shit-gibbons (which is an insult to gibbons):  point of evidence is the recent hacking of Diane W. Pasulka’s social media accounts and email (if I have the story straight).

Pasulka statement

What is wrong with some people?

But, then, the less socially-challenged among us (admittedly, a relative judgement) are edified by something good that comes out it all. To wit, this review of M. J. Banias’ The UFO People by no less than folklorist Thomas E. Bullard in the no less auspicious Journal for Scientific Exploration. Bullard devotes just over eight pages of cogent appreciation to Banias’ work, one whose concerns are shared here at Skunkworks.

Here’s to less shit-gibbonry and more serious, civil work!


On the launch of MJ Banias’ The UFO People

Monday 29 July 2019, MJ Banias launched his first book, The UFO People, in his hometown of Winnipeg.

I had a commitment of my own that evening, in Montreal, to give a poetry reading at the Accent Reading series. Though I couldn’t help Banias celebrate in person, at least I was able to acknowledge the launch of his book with a performance of the poem “Flying Saucers” from my book Grand Gnostic Central.

Congratulations, MJ! A review of your book is forthcoming (eventually) here at Skunkworks…