Saturday 9 May 2015

Oxford Communists and Aliens

I know that sounds like the title of an Ealing comedy, but it is in fact relates to a very unusual meeting I recently attended. I was checking through the Twitter list for #RoswellSlides and came across a Tweet advertising an event in Oxford on Thursday evening. This was literally the only one in the local area dealing with the Slides so I wrote and told them I wanted to come along, see: The Oxford Communist Corresponding Society is an analytical Marxist organization. When I hear the word "Marxist" I get an image in my head of badly-dressed and unwashed activists with loud voices and a tendency for antisocial behaviour, but the people at this meeting were nothing like that. They were well-spoken and academic sounding men; there was one woman there with short blonde hair who looked like a student. Woolfie Smith was nowhere to be seen. One of the men mentioned that he was a scientist and the chairman worked in psychiatric care. They were all very friendly and accommodating to me and I had to go to a small room in the town hall where the meeting was held. We sat around a table where we all had a photocopy of the first Slide in front of us.

The speaker was a rather Bohemian-looking man called Ed who is an expert on "studies of belief systems". He gave us a potted history of the Roswell Incident, the modern UFO era from the 1940's and the emergence of the Slides. He pointed out the similarity between the Alien Autopsy film and the Slides, including that the 5th of May 2015 is the 20th anniversary of the Autopsy's premiere at the London Museum on the 5th of May 1995. This is an issue I cover here, see: He said that Roswell had "totemic" status in UFOlogy, a word he didn't like to use. He saw the UFO community as being divided in the same way the media is between mass-market pulp entertainment and "bourgeois" refined art. The equivalent in the world of ghosts would be Most Haunted versus serious parapsychology. He thought Jaime Maussan made the Roswell Slides definitely a part of the former. There followed a discussion in which I spoke in detail about my own views and they asked me a lot of questions. They said they were analyzing the UFO, alien and Roswell Slides from a Marxist perspective. I found it strange that communists would ever even consider a subject like this; the ones I used to know when I was involved in trade unionism would laugh at the very prospect; indeed I would in those days when I myself was briefly and half-heartedly sympathetic to Marxism. However this group seems to specialize in the more arcane areas of society. Their position was distinctly Skeptic, and I'm interested in the connection between the Skeptic movement and political left, see: They appeared familiar with all the textbook Skeptic arguments to explain away UFO's. Confirmation bias, the Mirage Men idea, Chinese lanterns, the connection with religion etc. I responded as I would to a Skeptic. They asked me some questions about my psychology, but did it in such a way that I didn't feel offended. It's a valid question; regardless of whether I'm right or wrong about the existence of UFO's etc. Why do I have such an interest in them when most other people do not? I don't know. One man asked naively: "What do you think would happen if the government came clean and admitted there were UFO's?" I chuckled ironically and welcomed him to the rabbit hole of the Disclosure debate. Ed summed up at the end and thanked me for attending and that he found me very "interesting". He thinks there should be more studies into beliefs like mine; obviously I don't think they're beliefs. I assured them that I made an effort to be as rational as possible and always look at both sides of the story. This is fair I think, after all the day before I did travel all the way to London to listen to a man who thinks I'm a nutter, see: They invited me to join them at the pub afterwards, but I had to go home. It was polling day and one of the members at the meeting was standing in the election, this man I think: It was an interesting evening even though I was with people with very different views to myself... maybe that was what made it interesting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would loved to have been there Ben. Sounded like an interesting night. Need to start getting to some events when I get back on financial straights (if ever). Cheers