Combat Diary Number 1


With full acknowledgement to "Virtually Strange Networks" http://www.virtuallystrange.net

The Combat Diaries are authored by Colin Bennett 

Roll up, roll up all you good UFO savants, enchantresses, warlocks, and seers and heirosarchs!

Walk straight into the Big Top and see the greatest mini-show on earth! This being the Journal of the adventures of Panzerben, the Cervantian Hero who tilts at Ufological windmills and has demented dreams. Thrill at the sight of our hero as he wanders through the middle Earth of Ufology, fighting trolls, waking roaring giants, and meeting guardian angels!  

From: Colin Bennett sharkley@panzerben.fsworld.co.uk

Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 02:34:54 -0000

Fwd Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 11:27:28 -0500

Subject: Combat Diary Number 1

Hello all good List folk,

 Jan Aldrich contacted me privately and asked me the following questions, in response to a recent posting of mine concerning a possible Roswell-RAF connection that I am researching. I thought that the List might be interested in my reply.In this reply I discuss what is meant by fiction, and in order not to compromise the bandwidth of this List, I intend to answer his other important questions at a later date.  Colin

 
Dear Mr. Bennett,  

 I “know” that Roswell is the key to everything, but please explain what any of this has to do with Captain Ruppelt? Is this to be a work of fiction? What is Ruppelt's connection to the Roswell incident? Why would a unit committed to the Strategic Air Command be used as a training unit? Not while General Lemay was in command it wouldn't! Of course, Lemay was not commander of SAC in 1947 and was 1948 was in Europe.

 There were other facilities for training B-29 crews and for training with nuclear weapons. Since the majority of 509th members and others assigned to Roswell knew nothing of the Roswell incident, why would British "students" know anything?

 I think that there is not any violation of the MacMahon Act by leasing Honest John, Little John and Corporal missiles to the UK. Obviously, certain nuclear data was given to NATO. The reason for the "Atomal" access in the NATO security scheme.

Probably there was an adjustment by Congress in the authorization of NATO.   

Sincerely, Jan Aldrich, Project 1947  

 

Dear Mr. Aldrich,   

I would like to answer your question simply and directly sir, but even though I bear a Degree from the university of Oxford in English Language and Literature, I am somewhat ashamed to say that I do not know what a fiction is, quite. Many philosophers, from Aristotle to T.S. Eliot through Cervantes and Melville have tried to define what "fiction" is exactly, and all have failed.

Some modern puritans refer to a book that does have a document box number or a security reference or a footnote about statistics in every single clause in every sentence as a work of fiction. In a recent IUR, a profoundly silly woman reviewer went so far as to say that the lack of an index made the book she was reviewing a work of fiction! On the other hand, some writers proper ("proper" refers to those dreadful people who use image, symbol, metaphor and imagination as entry to a system instead of statistics and documents) refer to books of researchers as manuals, not books.

 "Fact" is just one way amongst others to try and come to knowledge of a thing. It is merely one component of experience, and must be considered in relation to other components that have equally valid claims to be arbiters of experience.

Primarily, I am a satirist and portrait painter in words. For the Fortean Times and Philosophy Now, I paint landscapes and personalities, and in the February 2003 issue of the Fortean Times, Mr. James Oberg can stand back and gaze at his (not exactly uncomplimentary) oil. As a painter, I see features of character and soul, the atmosphere and background of a person rather than where he or she was on a particular date. I enter the system that way. Within a person I seen landscapes stretching round the Moon and back. I can't help it. People pay me to do it. I carve these things as a gypsy carves pegs. In the words of that great American novelist Toni Morrison, I listen and let the trail talk to me. Even the most dour and sober investigator should this. It is an old Indian trick that will survive laboratories and nuclear power plants. Facts are a guide, but you don't let them control the situation, you don't let them define it. As in any painting, you make them produce more than their sum.

 Yes, I start with "facts" in the respect that I know that Captain Ruppelt was not a 18th century cabbage farmer from old New York. After I have narrowed him down to a post-war conscript officer in the US Air Force, a deeper state of trance begins, induced by facts, almost as if facts want to re-focus themselves. Then nudge, hint, and grumble. Then I listen. I turn off the facts like

 I turn off a light. I enter the hidden system. The system talks to me. Then the book almost writes itself. The system opens up. Everywhere in Ruppelt's 1956 book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects I find conspiracy and fantasy. I find things that don't fit anywhere, missing pieces. The facts are just not sufficient. Yes, they lead you to the trail, but they can't take the journey themselves. A typical Ruppelt day was like an Oswald day or an Adamski day or indeed a Joycean Bloomsday. The 24 hour span of Joyce's novel Ulysses matches the single-year plan of Project 1947. We push the Ufological envelope to different limits. As such, we move Ufology nearer the "truth" of artform than anything else. Just as you point out, Jan, many of the events in Project 1947 do not fit, and in Ruppelt's hours as he described them do not fit, perhaps were not even meant to fit, as in life. Ruppelt varies his impressions all the time, comes in from many different angles, he keeps on the move like a good boxer, and like Che Guevara (another amateur writer), just happens to discover that he is a prose master. Ruppelt produces sketches of whole and entire military landscapes, then a crayon daub here, a mere doodle there. He is depressed, accusatory, and devious in turn, like a character in a novel. His book is a first journey into the surrealistic psychology of the Military-Industrial-Complex, an essay in time and technology. After reading The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects a reader is convinced that a scrape of paint off a mid-twentieth-century bus stop is sufficient to convince us that Matter itself is pure Plot.

You see therefore Jan, in this matter of the defining of fiction, we must be most careful. I myself see your magnificent Project 1947 web site and others like it indeed (Maccabee, Rudiak, et al) as a new kind of authentic 21st century text. I see these things not so much involved in trying to define the UFO, but as long metaphysical novels about identity and human thoughts and endeavour involved with whole landscapes of developing science, technology and national history. You are unbeknown to you, creating a language; like it or not, you are telling a story rich in fantasy and lore and multiple associations beyond the sun and moon. Sir, you are walking tall!

 Project 1947 is a work of art. You are a modern Quixote. On this List, the word fiction is virtually a swear word, and that is because the concept of fiction is little understood in a supermarket and TV age that demands very simple-minded consumer-consumables in body, mind, and spirit. If we cannot define fiction, we can at least say that psychological, socially and intellectually it is of vital importance. From cave walls to Keruoac, fiction defines the moral condition. Fact alone, as a somewhat historically arriveste concept, cannot do that. If fact and fiction have any proper correspondence, it is that they are equally as full of old historical ghosts. They act different theatres in rival shows with different scripts, but they are both cultural performances, nevertheless, as is indeed your own site, sir! Antiquity of course solved this two-state problem.

 From Homer to Shakespeare, the rather elegant solution was the conception of a scale of being in which there is possible all kinds of translations of matter, being, and spirit. There existed a mythopoetic dialogue between an infinite variety of intermediate states of being, from the almost vaporous to the almost solid. We have fallen from that of course, and so we grate our teeth of the mechanical and wonder what is wrong. Antiquity was a much more sophisticated world than is our own. Rich in semi-forms and anomalous states, it had a much creative and fruitful relationship with the unconscious than ourselves, with our bad-tempered rattling cans full of facts.

 Now don't just sneer at all this as verbal salad (to quote a prominent List member who should have know better -- it made him sound like an intellectual top of the head yob, which as a prominent physicist he most patently is not). Whether you like it or not, Jan, you are creating (as indeed are the Moderators of this List) a new form of expression. I have given up reading novels for this glittering mysterium of the Web. Please don't sneer at my long haired words. Have pity for me. I am doomed. I have a touch of the poet. Only a touch, but it has almost ruined my life, as Project 1947 has I guess, probably nearly ruined your own. Being artists, we are both stricken with what Kierkegaard called the sickness unto death. You have only to add the recent dialogue between Stanton Friedman and Kevin Randle posted 12/9/02 and your Starship Enterprise, sir, will talk and walk, the first intermediate life-form since Adamski's Orthon. I have never ever read anything like this Friedman/Randle dialogue in my chequered life, and the blessed pair are to be congratulated. They have made my Christmas. Their List contribution in this case is vastly superior to the kind of "fiction proper" put out by pre-electric spoilt brats who should have their over-affluent over-stimulated over-fed little bottoms smacked soundly. Sorting out just exactly who is talking to who at any one time should be made into a Christmas board game. Add this Friedman/Randle dialogue, and the labyrinths of Project 1947 will have both a live brain and a live developing story.

Trailing fragmentary contributions from others, this kind of pure theatre will certainly make Project 1947 the first Web Animal Mk 1. What is the story behind this Friedman/Randle dialogue?

 The story is about how many impure comrades can pass through the eye of a rather impure needle. Ufology it appears, has now reached its proto-Maoist stage where erring pilgrims such as Frank Kaufmann are interrogated by an inner circle of savants and examined for imagining and fictions and half-forms rather like the bodies of witches were examined for marks of devilish intercourse. Like most well educated Western folk, the examiners are force-fed like a Christmas goose with the binary dialectics of false and true, that is the two-state empirical indoctrination of most well trained "researchers". This kind of "knowledge" is a consumer product in itself; countless tons of such Boolian colonisation pour in and out of the university main-frames by the microsecond, and most of it is just about suitable as hard-core for motorway foundations. That there might indeed be forms of life existing between these two narrow and primitive (and forever approximate) yes/no alternatives is not for the moment anything like a Western tribal option. Thus do we keep bumping into things that we don't understand because we have not yet reprogrammed that paradigm within which such a twilight half-life as the UFO can be recognised.

 I notice that the old Soviet Commissar word "refurbished" is used for those lost souls who are forced to confess that they might just have imagined something. Mao Tse Tung himself called this process "fanshen". In the Soviet Union, this meant that certain faces in publicity photographs were brushed out. In Communist China, this was a means of purifying the village of all consumer desires (sex and pleasure) and capitalist contaminations (property and profit), and independent initiative (entrepreneurial individualism). The contactees and abductees are easy meat for fanshen. To disastrously fact-prone personalities, the abductees are in a very weak dialectical position. Like the lost souls of Christianity and Communism, and in turn Science, their fallen state has to be somehow "corrected" and their dialectical impurities washed away as one of the various equivalents of "sin". If I had been the said Frank Kauffman before this worthy group of fact-prone personalities, rather than "confessing" to the miniature child-brides in front of him, I would have stood on a table, unzipped, and pissed all over their worthy liberal factual puritanism, their terribly restricted view of basic human instincts and psychology (most researchers lack all life experience and lack that criminal instinct required to fight for significant information), and their petite-bourgeois lust for clean intellectual linen and far too comfortable sense of proper purpose. It is most obvious that many of these Ufological interrogators have lived lives that have been far too well protected. 

I imagine future crimes. Has he stolen a car? No, your honour, he has been imagining things. Twenty years in the slammer! The attempt to annihilate certain kinds of mental activity is not that they are false or unreal, but that partial forms of imagining might just come about. It is the oldest single aspect of human culture that survives still in its primordial form. The Friedman/Randle dialogue is about the casing out of impurities: the visionaries, the social failures, the liars and fantasists, the con men, all these things to be replaced by "real science" who will clean up the farm and get rid of the falsehoods and freaks in the ghetto and their "wrong answers" from their "failed culture". The kind of high-school condescension as regards what Mom told them about the Other Side of Town is found in Donna Kossey's otherwise excellent book, Kooks. For the record, like Mr. Velez, I have had a UFO experience, and know that I lost some time. But unlike Mr Velez, I have no recollection of abduction at all.

 I think that Mr. Velez might agree that we are not careful here, Ufology, in its urge to get into a white coat and handle test probes and analyze "proper" grown-up pointer-readings is going to be accused of using coercive group-pressures in order to get the answer it wants. This is the problem with science, which on its worst side is a semi-automated systems-machine demanding standard binary responses. Just like Ufology, science has great problems with the unique event of the kook experience, or with a complex of low-frequency events, such as the paranormal spectrum. Both cultures, in filtering out noise and anomaly, throw their separate babies out with two separate tubs of bathwater. It is no use grumbling about "subjectivities" when subjectivities have produced almost all the good ideas we have ever had, including the high-impedance voltmeter of 1890, the souped-up versions of which still comprise most scientific "instrumentation". There has been little work done on seeing "fact" as a dialectical procedure. I suggest that any proposal to a university for a psycho-social analysis of "factual" systems would arouse as much intellectual prejudice as would a suggest for a course on UFOs, both things being threats to present Western thought.

 Like the high-impedance voltmeter, all these dialectical procedures are but tarted-up contemporary versions of ancient tribal metaphysics. They are used to try and boil out the subjectivities until the answers required duly appear (that is the answers most easily managed). This is a common procedure within a scientific culture. In the Frank Kauffman case, and in the case of the Benveniste experiments (see The Anomalist No 6) the process of forced interrogation can be seen as raw systems-anthropology in action. Yes, it is on a much smaller scale of course, but it is certainly analogous to the kind of mini show- trial seen the old Communist bloc. The interrogators go off wagging their tails with a juicy bone of a "fact" between their teeth and leave the carcass of a sacrificed human being behind them. This bone will be used to construct yet another pseudo explanation to join those other piles of cannibalized bones called factual explanations. One day it will dawn on "objective" researchers that without impurities, the great unwashed, the fantasists, the creative fibber, Shakespeare's Fool and George Hansen's Trickster, no "reality" works at all, that is unless you equate reality with a mass of rattling skeletons in rattling cupboards, which is as good a description of western scientific high-impedance pointer-readings as any.

 What has this got to do with Ruppelt, you ask? What has Ruppelt got to do with Roswell? All his working life, Ruppelt was a systems man encased in a very tight system. He did not have a youth worth the name outside the fuselage of a warplane on active service. Though flesh and blood, he was therefore built of all the resonant inferences of such a specialized system. Take a man from such a unique cultural context, and he is a wet sack underfoot. Ruppelt's connection with nukes is implicit. I don't want to reveal much out about my book, but Ruppelt through a chance death or illness might well have come within hours of being chosen to be navigator/bombardier aboard Enola Gay or Bockscar. When a man comes that close to apocalyptic forces, he doesn't need to go to Roswell to know all about Roswell if you know what I mean. Bless him, he was a Warrior amongst the stoutest of American hearts.

 Jan, your almost-sneer at the word "fictions" is not worthy of you. Life and experience are far too complex to consist of fictions on the one hand and facts on the other. One of the reasons why Ufology remains an outsider culture is because of its very primitive intellectual structure. Writers such as Jacques Vallee and George Hansen try to correct this, but still we hear the simple minded cry of "I must get the facts of the situation, and to do this I must de-mystify, get rid of the fantasies". In Philosophy and Art, Literary Criticism, simple-minded debates about "did he imagine it or was it real?" are laughably na=EFve. Ufologists may be baffled by Frank Kauffman and many like him, but literary types would smile at the bafflement.

What we learn from the makeup of characters in major world fiction is that say, Kauffman is between Conrad's Lord Jim and Mann's Auschenbach of Death in Venice. Without such cultural contexts Ufologists are trying to re-invent the wheel in this crude "lets separate the facts from the fiction" effort. This is the blue-collar garage-question approach, and contains the laughable assumption that both personality and experience are made up of bundles of very clever spanners, and all a very clever investigator has to do is find the spanner that is made of marzipan. In other words, get rid of the nutcases and there will stand the shining truth! The older cultures have thrown out such Neanderthal concepts hundreds (if not thousands!) of years ago.

 Fledging Ufology had better start growing up quickly and rid itself of these witless and simplistic industrial contaminations. Frank Kauffman's mind, like every single mind on this planet was a criminal mess, a ghetto, a shanty town, a gipsy camp, and long may consciousness remain so. As such, a single isolated strand of consciousness is not to be trusted for a moment, any more than a single action of a single idea.

Between life and death, we are the carriers of limitless agendas. We can only imagine what alien culture A is necessarily going to be like in this respect, and compared with alien culture B, and so on.

 Contact will entail both surprises and some disappointments, of which linear bourgoise hard-working plain honest dealing will the most unlikely. In order to understand the UFO must cast off every single strand of mechanistic industrial determinism within is. And must demolish almost every single assumption we ever had about the structure of the world and the makeup of what we call personality. Aliens may already be here as huge system-implants, their Dulce "vats" being rather huge interacting web sites in which they lay their eggs.

 Their brain might have evolved to pure media, and be constructed of the kind of living advertisement that looked George Adamski in the eye. Aliens might well be disembodied web-games leading to ever-widening penumbras of uncertainty. All is ambiguity. The highest level of "them" might even be induced metaphor that we incubate and spread like seed-corn through all our systems of reference to make up that Copernican change of paradigm that many people on this List know we are about to experience.  Thus we have to be very careful when we use the words "fiction" and "reality". We can expect certainly that what humanity is about to experience will not be based old-industrial objective work-and-worth based paradigms. We will experience things that we did not expect, recognise, and things we are least capable of dealing with. We should not expect advanced super-extensions of our industrially-oriented WASP selves, but possibly jokes and shows, advertisements and quadrupal takes as alien levels C and G interact with very different alien levels P and Q, again compared with levels S and P, say. Certainly, as with our own colonisation of people, what the "primitive" sees is not what the primitive gets.

 Their software and image and media manipulations of first level A will be out of this world, and they will of course be in a state of decay or war. Certainly they will have internal conflicts. Therefore yes, I can readily believe say that there was a landing at Kirtland AFB, but if there was, I do not think that it would be nearly as real as the nut and bolt folk claim. We might be seeing something as quasi-substantial as their equivalent to a rejected prototype for a graphic toothpaste advertisement, and how real is that, relatively to us? When the redesigns of the toothpaste advertisements of alien level A are combined with the rubbish tips of alien level Q, and combined in turn with the lies, evasions, and disasters of alien level M, the concrete "reality" of the nut-and-bolt view begins to look like a newspaper shredded by a heavy downpour.

 When these things in turn are combined yet again with our own culture (built essentially of similar multi-layed advertisements), the idea of analysis based on mechanical ideas of truth and reality becomes a Fortean joke in itself. To add to the confusion, we will surely contact at least some of the amplified elements of what we know we have already in our own society. We will meet strands of half-lost and three-quarter-understood meanings that will combine with abruptly curtailed scandals; advertisements will have lost half their meaning and relevance; jokes will not make sense, conversations and cartoons will have lost their point, and advanced alien concepts of entertainment in particular will be incomprehensible to us as a joke to a German. They will of course have their failures and crooks and criminals if only because all mind-stuff works that way, and not in any clean Pavlovian behaviouristic fashion. 

Add alien saints and the alien mad, alien loners and psychopaths, the superficial and the not-to-bright, the lost and the despairing (and indeed the fools and the jokers and tricksters) as contact components, and we can see that if we expect from "contact" a single isolated thread of old "objective" hard-industrial "meaning" (this being a cultural advertisement in itself), then we are very likely to be disappointed. As colonials in turn, we should expect the very worst, not the best. This is why I think Adamski's experience was significant. Like many contactees, I think he drew his experience as it was, with absurd, plain silly and totally unbelievable elements (such as the return of his photograph negative thrown from a porthole of the UFO!).

 In all liklehood, the blond androgynous sylph from "Venus" was custom-designed as bait for him, and his Christian interpretation was his own subjective component, grafted on to what was probably a structured act in the first place. What we so easily call "reality" is that complex. That this whole story (and many others like it) could have been cleaned up considerably to make it a better act is evidence that what Adamski encountered was in all likelihood part of a laugh-in. Perhaps we may have to somewhat painfully accept such experiences as momentary alien signals rather than electromagnetic pulsations.

 We must expect such hardly complimentary treatment, and not some wizened ET sage come bearing a box full of the secrets of his culture. Yes, we would like the universe to be serious and scientific, a good bourgeois, but I think Adamski met what we fear most: a kind of piss-taking song and dance show rigged just for him, as it might just be rigged for us, and rigged not by one alien cultural level alone. Some very snobbish folk who really aught to know better reject the burger-selling Adamski because they think (rather like Shakespeare, unfortunately) that really significant experiences can only happen to significant folk. Others reject Adamski not because he lacked education or intelligence, but that what he saw and experienced suggests that alien culture might not pay us the compliment of seeing us in a serious light at all. We will have to consider seriously that aliens might well have evolved from strong directions recognisable to us to the whimsical nature of almost disembodied media-stuff. That survival of the fittest might need comic subversion of the major physical survival instincts as described by Darwin is an idea that he might well have been both surprised and fascinated to see.

 But our ego is such that we don't like to be the subjects of jokes. The loincloth folk we colonised we can laugh at, but not ourselves. Aliens are as likely to give us a coherent techno-industrial signal as we are likely to stop our car and give our card to a herd of cows in a field. If we get a sensible signal, then this would certainly presage our destruction. It will be as phony as a silicon tit or the Brentford Polonius. Like Orthon, it will more likely be a trick or treat, or a trap or a joke. Our present Jack meets Jill from abroad ideas will have to go, and we will have to think right out of the box.

 We must consider ideas beyond the beyond and beyond that beyond again. We might meet rehearsals not solidities, actor's improvisations rather than mechanisms, and tissues of disembodied information more than flesh and blood.

 Such a thing as the Kirtland AFB landing will not be any more real than a stage performance can be considered real. I think Adamski met Orthon and I think also that the replacement of beloved science by Orthon's Agent and his team of Creative Management will be one of the most exhilarating disappointments that both Western science and civilisation will have to face. 

Jan, it is midnight in London. I have fed my cats and I have given Mr. Oberg's oil its final touches. You can see it on varnishing day in early February, Bin Laden be willing. And so to bed, making notes on answering Mr Jan Aldrich's other questions at great length some other time. 

Yours affectionately, in triumph and disaster, and compliments of the season to all List Savants.

 Mr Aldrich replied as follows:  After reading your answer, I doubt you are capable of answering anything simply and directly! but even though I bear a Degree from the university of Oxford in English Language and Literature, I am somewhat ashamed to say that I do not know what a fiction is, quite. Pity!

 Project 1947 is a work of art. You are a modern Quixote.

 Thanks, I know who is the patron saint of of lost causes 

 Now don't just sneer at all this as verbal salad (to quote a prominent List member who should have know better it made him sound like an intellectual top of the head yob, which as a  prominent physicist he most patently is not). Whether you like it or not, Jan, you are creating (as indeed are the Moderators of this List) a new form of expression. I have given up reading novels for this glittering mysterium of the Web. Please don't sneer at my long haired words. Have pity for me. I am doomed. I have a touch of the poet. Only a touch, but it has almost ruined my life, as Project 1947 has I guess, probably nearly ruined your own. Being artists, we are both stricken with what Kierkegaard called the sickness unto death.

 No, I don't think my life is ruined. I am sorry, I am not an artist but rather a philistine.

 I imagine future crimes. Has he stolen a car? No, your honour, he has been imagining things. Twenty years in the slammer! The attempt to annihilate certain kinds of mental activity is not that they are false or unreal, but that partial forms of imagining might just come about. It is the oldest single aspect of human culture that survives still in its primordial form. The Friedman/Randle dialogue is about the casing out of impurities: the visionaries, the social failures, the liars and fantasists, the con men, all these things to be replaced by "real science" who will clean up the farm and get rid of the falsehoods and freaks in the ghetto and their "wrong answers" from their "failed culture". The kind of high-school condescension as regards what Mom told them about the Other Side of Town is found in Donna Kossey's otherwise excellent book, Kooks. For the record, like Mr. Velez, I have had a UFO experience, and know that I lost some time. But unlike Mr Velez, I have no recollection of abduction at all.

 Hey, I've lost a lot of time reading these ramblings, also, In fact, I hereby apply for a refund!

 What has this got to do with Ruppelt, you ask? What has Ruppelt got to do with Roswell? All his working life, Ruppelt was a systems man encased in a very tight system. He did not have a youth worth the name outside the fuselage of a warplane on active service. Though flesh and blood, he was therefore built of all the resonant inferences of such a specialized system.

Take a man from such a unique cultural context, and he is a wet sack underfoot. Ruppelt's connection with nukes is implicit. I don't want to reveal much out about my book, but Ruppelt through a chance death or illness might well have come within hours of being chosen to be navigator/bombardier aboard Enola Gay or Bockscar. When a man comes that close to apocalyptic forces, he doesn't need to go to Roswell to know all about Roswell if you know what I mean. Bless him, he was a Warrior amongst the stoutest of American hearts. No, I don't know what you mean which is exactly why I asked the questions.

We must expect such hardly complimentary treatment, and not some wizened ET sage come bearing a box full of the secrets of his culture. Yes, we would like the universe to be serious and scientific, a good bourgeois, but I think Adamski met what we fear most: a kind of piss-taking song and dance show rigged just for him, as it might just be rigged for us, and rigged not by one alien cultural level alone. Some very snobbish folk who really aught to know better reject the burger-selling Adamski because they think (rather like Shakespeare, unfortunately) that really significant experiences can only happen to significant folk. Others reject Adamski not because he lacked education or intelligence, but that what he saw and experienced suggests that alien culture might not pay us the compliment of seeing us in a serious light at all. We will have to consider seriously that aliens might well have evolved from strong directions recognisable to us to the whimsical nature of almost disembodied media-stuff. That survival of the fittest might need comic subversion of the major physical survival instincts as described by Darwin is an idea that he might well have been both surprised and fascinated to see My, my, I think Adamski made up a space opera setting to replay his wisdom of ancient Tibet, nothing more nothing less. Jan, it is midnight in London. I have fed my cats and I have given Mr. Oberg's oil its final touches. You can see it on varnishing day in early February, Bin Laden be willing. And so to bed, making notes on answering Mr Jan Aldrich's other questions at great length some other time.

 Please don't bother, life is far to short. I have other more important things to do, like clean the lint out of belly button.Sorry, I tripped over you and woke you from your sleep, please go back to dreams your demented dreams.

Yours affectionately, in triumph and disaster, and compliments of the season to all List Savants. Colin 

 There is something to be said about being separated from the Mother Country after all! Jan Aldrich

 To which Bruce Macabbee replied:

 I admire Colin's way with words. The use of language in my own two books is a poor comparison to the language useage, the erudite allusions to literature, etc., which flow volubly from Colin's typewriter, er, computer, uh, keyboard (there, that encompasses both!).

 Mr Bennett replies to Jan Aldrich:

 Sorry the longer thoughts and the longer sentences appear to have defeated you so easily. Keep on piling up the documents and the statistics. The ledger clerks and the archive animals need  them badly. They are as good an excuse for non-thinking as any, and make the whole amusing house of cards a little higher.

 I'll give your site a visit on those rare occasions whenever I  want a date, a time, a place, or a fact. I'm surprised at you, I am. Even the Brentford Polonius has revealed a sense of humour of late, and says my work is erotic. It obviously has not worked in your case. Don't worry, there are plenty of alternative commercial treatments in the press if you look carefully in the back pages. They will even cure your sourpuss manic-depressive lack of all humour, for which Listers will be most grateful. If this is what facts do to folk such as you, I'd rather watch old street-cleaning training films in a darkened room on a bad day in Brentford. Loosen up, for the sake of both our endangered nations, please! Keep smiling (if you ever smile at all), keep on writing the telephone numbers, and long may your web animal graze!

Colin (Bad Man) Bennett

 To which Mr John Rimmer (the Brentford Polonius, editor of Magonia Magazine)replied:

 As Mr Bennett has been so kind as to explain to the readers of UFO UpDates all about my background and ancestry, in his masterful essay "Rimmer Exposed", and thus reveal the reasons I became the dreadful sceptic and pelicanist you see before you, I hope you will grant me the indulgence of explaining some of the historical factors which have made Mr Bennett the verbose sesquipedalianist we have come to know and love.  Mr Bennett is the product of a peculiarly British (and more particularly English) social background, and American readers will need to have a little digression into the details of the English class system in order to fully understand it.

 Amongst the middle and upper classes in England there has been a distinction since before the nineteenth century between those who are "in trade" and those who are in "the professions". This harks back to the historical division between families whose wealth was hereditary and based on land, and the rising class of merchants, manufacturers and entrepreneurs which arose in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

 It has always been the case that those who had inherited their wealth have looked down on those who earned it, and to dismiss such people as being "in trade", which was (and indeed sometimes still is) considered an insult. It is worth pointing out that in this context "in trade" applies equally to the owner of a small corner shop or the owner of multinational corporation. The only professions suitable for sons of the landed classes were the Army, the Law, the civil service and colonial government, and, for the less intellectually endowed, the Church.

 According to some historians, such as Corelli Barnett, it was this aristocratic disdain for wealth-creation which has led to the gradual decline of Britain as an industrial power over two centuries. 

By the mid-twentieth century a new situation arose which further discomforted the 'landed' classes. This was the expansion of further education to a much wider spectrum of the population, most particulalry to the working class and the lower middle classes, people who were by and large the servants of the

'landed' classes. The Grammar School system, introduced after World War II, gave many working class children (and here I declare an interest as I went to a Grammar School) the first opportunity to get an education of the same standard (and in many cases better) than the offspring of the upper classes, who could afford to send their children to private schools (which, of course are known in Britain as 'Public Schools' - but then we drive on the wrong side of the road as well, don't we!)

 This caused a lot of resentment and a great deal of petty snobbery, and it is this which we see expressed so vividly in the outpourings of Mr Colin Bennett. In his world anything scientific, mechanical, progessive, indeed anything practical, comes from a lower social strata than the elevated one occupied by the products of the English private school system. You can see this in his disdain - expressed with such relish - for the perfectly innocent town of Brentford.

 Brentford is a suburb of London, largely occupied by what I think Americans refer to as "blue-collar" workers, people who are employed in the industrial and commercial enterprises of West London and around Heathrow Airport. It is a town of modest streets and modest people, lying along the bank of the River Thames.

 His, I suspect totally phoney, disdain for facts and figures is also a product of the ennervating private school education system, which traditionally regarded Latin grammar as a more fitting subject for study than science. His unpleasant little jibe against Jan Aldrich (above) is an unfortunately all-too-typical example of his class's snobbery. Notice how 'ledger clerk' is used as a term of abuse - it is of course 'ledger clerks' (or computer operators as they now tend to be called) which make much of Mr Bennett's cosy little world possible - by, for instance, arranging for the meagre royalties on his books to be paid to his bank account.

 I am afraid that you are all being subjected, unneccesarily, to the embittered outpourings of a man who sees that his world has ended, but is still trying desperately to hold on to the remnants of a class-system that are disintegrated beneath him.Unfortunately the only way he can do this is by sneering and snobbish remarks aimed at the "tradesmen", "shop-girls", and "ledger clerks" that he can still - just - manage to convince himself comprise the lower orders.

 There is another possibility which explains Mr Bennett's world view. It may be that he is not a scion of the landed classes. Perhaps he too hails from the respectable working class. Maybe his father was a lock- keeper on the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, and maybe he too is a product of the emancipating post-war Grammar Schools.

 But far from seeing this as an achievment, he burns with a smouldering resentment of his humble origins. Perhaps the Grammar School he went to was one which rather too enthusiastically copied the manners and forms of the 'Public'

Schools. Our Mr Bennett might have entered this ethos with enthusiasm, modifying his West London vowels and glottal stops to the more strangulated elocutions of Kensington and Chelsea.

As a favourite of the English teacher, he would seek to impress with essays filled with flowery rhetoric and meaningless formulations. The school amateur dramatic society might also have given opportunities for display and preening. This would impress the teachers, but he would find himself the butt of cruel ridicule in the schoolyard afterwards.

 Now free of these childhood torments he can lucubrate at length to the readers of UpDates, attempting to impress the many English majors who read it as much as he impressed his favourite teacher all those years ago. But maybe not, for I would much rather imagine him as the last shrivelled branch of a once noble family tree - as I am sure would he.

 To which Mr Jerry Clark replied: 

Colin Bennett is the most original, entertaining figure to appear on the scene in a long time, a real breath of fresh air, not to mention good humor. John Rimmer gets mad whenever I say anything nice to or about him, so I'll just wish him a happy holiday season. I look forward to a New Year full of his - and Colin's - distinctive posts.


Combat Diary Number 2 click here