Dear Ufology: I’m Out

Dear Ufology:

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but just never got around to it. Then I got an email from someone claiming to be a legitimate UFO documents researcher telling me what a great writer I am and requesting that I write more blog posts poking fun at one of my favorite sham people in this, because he and his colleagues think it’s hysterical. From the totality of his email I gathered that he was one who believed in the stale extraterrestrial hypothesis and hadn’t read anything else on my blog. To him, I am just a a satirist–a noble profession, but for me it comes from a deeper place than parody for parody’s sake, or taking it to con men as a comedic power trip.

At least it should. But does it anymore?

Ufology, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed. I don’t care about pedophile puppet makers and pretend-poor podcasters. Doctors who aren’t doctors and lobbyists who don’t lobby. I’ve done my part in helping expose hypnosis as the wrong tool for memory retrieval and the pseudo therapists taking advantage of people. Done my part in illuminating alternative theories to the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Done my part in helping to foster a legitimate scientific survey of experiencers. Done my part in holding conferences. Done my part in exposing my life of high strangeness for your scrutiny. Done my part in trying to lighten up a dreary field full of self-serious noisemakers, opportunists, and whatever wannabe-famous people from five steps below wishing to be a youtube sensation are.

Whatever positive impact all of that has had on anyone’s life was worth it. But I’m not really angry anymore about the stuff I despise. It’s all vastly, wildly uninteresting. And so maybe I am becoming a parody for parody’s sake kinda guy. The next inevitable step is becoming an unaware parody of myself. Meh. Who wants to be that guy?

I have one more ufological book in me, as promised. A sequel of sorts to, I Know Why The Aliens Don’t Land!. And I’ll keep doing The Experience for as long as experiencers are willing to talk. The occasional Paratopia Oculus? Sure. But really, that’s it, for I have already moved on.

Of all the books I’ve written, perhaps the most useful for readers has been Urgency. And over the years many readers have told me they wished I’d take that part of my life more seriously. I never didn’t take it seriously, personally, but publicly, I tend to be serious in spurts. Mainly, I’ve been a clown show of contradiction. (Is it any wonder that I find Trickster Theory so appealing?)

Well, no more. I’m hunkering down. I’m doing the work. I’m moving on into the serious phase. Not Marky Mark into Mark Wahlberg serious. I mean, I am bringing my sense of humor with me as I go, but it’s not coming from a place of anger, because where I’m going, only those truly, deeply concerned with life the universe and everything will follow. It is the place at the heart of all this Mystery that we claim to care about. It is a place not of debate, self-agrandizement, and fruitless commotion. It is a place of undoing. Our undoing. And I hope to see whomever is ready for the grad school version of Urgency. there.

Our Undoing Logo with Tagline

 

The Trickster Has A New Home

If you care at all about ufology or any of the other paranormal categories we entertain, you need to check out Jeff Ritzmann’s new blog The Numinous Den. In it, he breaks down and dissects George Hansen’s Trickster Theory in every situation where it rears its head. It’s superb. It’s easy to grasp. And he’s only a handful of posts in so it’s easy to start at the beginning and catch up.

In honor of Jeff’s latest accomplishment, I offer my two cents on the Trickster element at work in the psyche….

trickster_-_print_by_bill_lewis

‘Trickster’, by Bill Lewis

You could easily mock people who report experiences that fall outside the range of normal awareness if they occurred only a handful of times or in a few cultures. That they happen with frequency throughout all time and in every culture means normal awareness is being mocked at every turn, and so to mock high strangeness experiences is to ignore that fact with high prejudice.

The whole feedback loop is one big knowing smirk, but those limited to normal awareness aren’t conscious of the joke. The debunkers don’t know what they’re laughing at but they know they’re being laughed at, so they guffaw as bullies and demean experiencers and anyone who takes experiencers seriously. Their arrogance is from ignorance. Not miseducation or lack of education, but ignoring. On that deeper ignored level, they understand the joke is on them. In this sense they deserve pity for they’ve not had an experience which forces them to question reality in any sustainable way past being born.*

We’re all living in a facade in which and with which we self-identify. Some of the unhealthy impulses beneath the surface are sadistic because they are psychotically detached. Some of the healthy impulses may feel sadistic because they are compassionately detached and we are not consciously equipped to tell the difference.

Perhaps there is an intelligence trying like Hell to help us tell the difference. Perhaps there is a unifying principle that shocks its way through all cultures in all times like a jagged lightning strike through clouds.

Perhaps that raw, unfiltered consciousness messing with us is also us.

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*There is a reason all children question reality and it’s not because they don’t know anything. By the time they’re able to articulate questions, they’ve been filled with knowledge. But knowledge doesn’t answer the unknowable and they haven’t yet given up on the questions, repressed, or handed them over to personal and cultural authority figures with fake answers. Really, what bigger paranormal experience have we normalized than popping into existence from out of nothing? And if the appearance of form from formlessness isn’t a fractal version of the ultimate forms-within-formlessness transcendental bubble, I don’t know what is.

Is Gene Steinberg A Fraud?

Gene-Steinberg-hs

Gene Steinberg

Fraud. That’s a strong word. Defined in the Google.com search engine as “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain,” one wonders if this applies to The Paracast host Gene Steinberg, a man who has been begging his audience, his guests, his co-hosts, and his email list to pay all of his bills and rent for the past 10 years as a form of charity for an evolving set of excuses that tend to evoke pity. His begging is well-chronicled. The letters he sends to his email list are often cut and pasted haphazardly, as if even that is too much work. And there’s this underlying expectation that this is how things should be, like in this letter from 08/08/2016 titled, A Brief Stay, But Time Is Short, where Gene writes, “If you can assist me in getting through this crisis, I’d really appreciate it more than I can say. If you’ve already done your share, just tell me and I won’t annoy you again.” In fact, these two sentences encapsulate what is wrong with the last ten years of begging letters. Let’s unpack them.

“If you can assist me in getting through this crisis….”

Everyone with a heart wants to assist in a crisis. Heck, Jeff Ritzmann and I helped raise donations for Gene years and years ago on Paratopia, before we realized there was no crisis that couldn’t be solved by Gene getting a job. But he’s made it clear that he will not. First excuse was the bad economy, which worked for a while because there was actually a bad economy. But as Gene tells it, the economic recovery brought not one job for which he is qualified to his home state of Arizona. He has told us he’s moved to different towns within Arizona in the last 10 years. None of them have work. All of the potential employers on down to the convenience stores and fast food chains are discriminating against him based on his age. For 10 years. Now that the economy is bouncing back, he talks about how hard it is to get a job in the summer. What about the winter? Spring? For 10 years?

What, then, is he doing to make money? Podcasting. It seems he’s put all of his eggs in that basket. It’s difficult to make money through podcasting let alone make a living. But here he is telling us he’s working hard, always on the cusp of success but never quite there, if we can just continue to subsidize his life for a little bit longer… little bit longer. He’s the leech drummer boyfriend with a band and a dream and we’re the enabler girlfriend with high hopes and low self-esteem funding his weed-fueled X-Box sessions.

What about social services? Apparently, there are none of those either. Not for him. Not for his wife. The State of Arizona is also ageist, not just the private sector. There is no welfare for Gene Steinberg, no food stamp program, no Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefit that keeps him away from GoFundMe.

What about his son? Can’t his family help? No, no–it’s on you. And that would be fine–would not sound suspiciously like fraud–if he just asked for money because he felt he deserved to get paid from his podcast audience. Nothing wrong with that. But that doesn’t bring in the big bucks. The thousand-dollar donors rarely come out for anything but a crisis. If I remember correctly, Gene’s “crisis” used to be that he gave all of his life savings to a family member to pay attorney fees for a lawsuit. His family won and so he was due to recoup his money and pay the donors back. It wasn’t charity, it was a loan. But that payday never came for him or for those kindhearted people who loaned him money.

What happened to those loans? His wife gave their bank account info to a Nigerian scammer and they all got wiped away. So the next crisis was needing all of that money all over again. (UPDATE: 7/3/2017: Here we are a year later. 59 begging letters in the first half of this year alone. And what’s Gene concerned with? That I’m getting in the way. In a private email, after some confusion about what I could possibly be referring to, Gene corrected this bit about the Nigerian scam. Again… A YEAR LATER. Gene’s wife never gave their info to a Nigerian scammer, although their funds were stolen via fraud. It was a lapse in security on the part of the bank–not her fault. It was investigated and resolved. So, if you gave to Gene as a result of them having lost everything back in 2009 or so, I hope he returned it to you after the crisis was resolved.)

Then came the mounting electric bills.

Then his wife’s knee surgery.

Medication.

Dental surgery.

Then came rent.

Then it kept on coming.

And it wasn’t a loan, it was for keeps. This is where we are now. Gene and his wife are perpetually on the verge of being evicted from their home. They just need a little more… a little more… because they have this demanding “slumlord” who, I take it, is such because he’s demanding they pay their rent the way Gene demands you pay his. But isn’t this slumlord a different person than the landlord from the last home they had to vacate in 2012? This eviction thing isn’t new, is it? It gets confusing after a while and you’ll be forgiven if you forgot that it has happened before.

“If you’ve already done your share….”

He’s written (or pasted) this a number of times in his crisis emails through the later years. Done your share? Your share of funding his life? Is there a Steinberg Tax hiding somewhere in the code? It’s this type of arrogance–this expectation that you will give him money–that it’s your turn–that really makes me wonder if this is a long con.

“…just tell me and I won’t annoy you again.”

I am not on Gene’s email list, but I get his missives forwarded to me by others who have

Gold Standard Gym

Also Gene Steinberg (courtesy of John Randall)

tried to get off it and can’t. This has been a chronic complaint for years: you try to unsubscribe from Gene Steinberg’s entitlement poverty crisis acting, but the letters keep coming.

I don’t know if these crisis events are real or not, but after 10 years of refusing to get a job, and with no significant podcasting revenue in sight, it is fair to say that begging is Gene’s career. There are homeless people in India who will lob off appendages for greater sympathetic coin. Gene may be their American counterpart, living in such a way that the crises are real but they are of his own making, one after another after another so that there is no choice but to fund him to keep him and his wife from going homeless. (Although that is the whole of the analogy, as the poverty in India is real.)

In an email letter dated 08/10/2016 titled Closer To Success, Gene begs for money for just about every moving expense imaginable, including a cleaning fee. In the middle, he makes a hopeful promise: “Once everything is paid up, though, I expect to be able to keep the rent payments up to date each month.”

Really? How? Did he find work? Did his wife? Has some rich benefactor come to his aid? Whatever his newly found steady stream of income, I was kind of glad to read this. Maybe this is all real, I thought. Maybe there’s an end in sight. If not for Gene’s follow-up email two days later titled So Close and Yet So Far, I would never have written this blog post. In it, after much of the same begging, he retracts his promise: “I won’t say I’ll be completely past this financial nightmare once we’re settled in our new home. I may still need a little help from time to time. But I’m working real hard to boost cash flow to keep this from ever happening again.”

Oh. I see. The begging goes on. The crisis morphs again. Another ten years goes by. A sucker is born every minute. But you don’t have to be one of them. In fact, thanks to the work of Tyler Kokjohn, we now have a list of agencies in Gene’s area that may be able to help Gene with all of his misfortunes, provided they are not ageist. Instead of sending Gene your money to help boost his cash flow, consider sending him these links.

ENERGY BILL RELIEF

The link below takes you to the Maricopa County emergency assistance program web page.  This links to resources for homeless persons, or those at risk of becoming homeless, but if you notice the county also helps with energy bills and other issues.

http://www.hsd.maricopa.gov/Individuals-Families/Emergency-Assistance/Homelessness-Assistance.aspx

FREE DENTAL CARE

http://www.freedentalcare.us/st/arizona

FREE & INCOME-BASED MEDICAL CARE

http://www.freeclinics.com/co/az-maricopa

In the past, to speak these facts out loud was to invoke Gene’s ire in private emails and in the comments section of any blog or forum where he found his poverty questioned. He’s got plenty of time to defend himself even while being evicted. Ultimately, what he says is, “Shut up. It’s none of your business.” Here’s where I disagree. Gene is a person who calls out ufologist frauds on his show. He wants to run the UFO Watchdog Hall of Shame, where he judges the fraudulent from the decent. But who is watching the watchdog? And how can he afford to juggle another unpaid, time-consuming hobby in such dire crisis?

None of it adds up. Be weary of adding to it… which should be the closer for this but as I was about to click the publish button, I heard that friendly phone jingle telling me I’ve got email. And in that email is the latest from Gene, just published, titled, Waiting for a Monday Miracle!

I’m not reading it. I’ve read it before. We all have. You shouldn’t either. Time to let this bird fly on his own.

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