Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Is it actually worth being Nick Pope?

I can kind of get what it is about Nick Pope that some people don’t care for. But he’s never really done me any harm and a sort of falling out a few months back was down more to my petulance than anything he did. But his Ufological career is not a comfortable one, he isn’t forgiven or allowed to forget past mistakes, and he has only to stick his head above the parapet for there to be a barrage of shots aimed straight at him. I do wonder at times why he bothers.

Its a few things that have stuck in people’s craw over the years but it broadly goes like this.

1. When he did his job at the UFO desk at the MoD, he was so obviously out of the real loop and his desk was just a public shop front. Yet he has constantly tried to bolster and exaggerate the significance of his role since.

2. He committed the cardinal sin of allegedly being involved in claiming to have first discovered certain files like the Rendlesham file when this was not the case and he did this at the expense of the researchers who did.

OK. The two claims are probably correct. Allegedly. But you see, Nick’s real crime is to have gone on to try to make a living or at least earn an income from Ufology while his main accusers either aren’t able to or are conflicted about it. And so we get a right bloody mess. It would be easy for me, childishly easy in fact, to pull apart piece by piece one of his main critics, namely Andy Roberts, simply because anybody with half a brain could do it. Andy makes it very easy. Dave Clark allows himself at times to get dragged into it as well and while I do acknowledge the genuine grievance they both have and the pain and outrage they have experienced over the Rendlesham affair, its now some years on and they should grow up and get over it. And in all fairness they haven’t moaned for a while now. Joe McGonagle on the other hand, who is closely associated with Clark and Roberts, continues to take every opportunity to put the boot in and to belittle Nick and it long ago got to the point where it rebounds on Joe and reflects back on him. All he is now seen as doing is attempting to humiliate Pope and it comes over as cruel and pointless.

And now Martin Shough wades in too. “Scientists” don’t do “funny” or “smart” because they’re never very good at it. Shough probably thinks it’s amusing but it comes over as the nerd taking the opportunity to gang up on another unfortunate. Martin – it makes you look pathetic and ill becomes you.

Is all this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? After all, in UFO Review I do let rip and can be quite pointed. Am I being hypocritical? I tend to hit and move on; Joe M has somewhat stuck around Pope like a maggot around a corpse. Perhaps its time to take a more subtle approach and let people work out for themselves the nuances and ironies of whatever public statements Pope makes. In essence, give the guy a break.

But whatever, Pope has the last laugh. He doesn’t need us; we need him more, at least in the UK. The media need a “go to” person and it’s him. If there is anyone else they could use, then they’re keeping themselves very well hidden. Someone that looks right, sounds right, knows how to work the media even if he ends up talking rubbish and has a bit of glamour attached. Oh, and who also doesn’t sound like some dribbling half wit when he speaks; Pope’s our man.

If he relied on “the community” for his income, he’d have gone broke a very long time ago. We’re irrelevant to him. The general public are his target and his income comes from books, the press and TV appearances. If he misses the odd speaking engagement, for which he almost certainly isn’t going to get paid anyway, then so what.

Bugger it; keep going Joe and Martin.


Blogger Paul Kimball said...


I quite like Nick, even as I don't agree with everything he says. In many ways, the carping about him reminds me of some of the carping about Stan Friedman, i.e. you shouldn't be allowed to make money off of your work in ufology, which is - as I said in my UFO Review interview (free, unabashed plug) utter nonsense, so long as you're sincere in what you say and do. And Pope strikes me as sincere.

As you say, ufology - especially British ufology - needs him a lot more than he needs them... which is probably the source of much of the criticism too. Jealousy is an ugly beast, but it's also a powerful one, especially when it gets a hold of you.


Wednesday, 27 September, 2006  
Blogger Joe McGonagle said...

Hi Stuart,

Firstly, in answer to the question posed in your title, "No." Nick might disagree with me on that though.

My issue is really not that he is making money out of his previous role (which was, by the way, paid for by you and me in the first place). I am more concerned with the distortion that is now being seeded by him in the future history.

The existing ufological history is seeded with examples of misrepresentations, disinformation, poor research, and downright lies.

The work involved in trying to unravel the history retrospectively is made much more difficult by theses factors.

In essence, I am laying a parallel trail for future historians to use, hopefully removing confusion about how certain documents were uncovered, that there was no mythical "UFO Project", and that the investment of effort on the topic of UFOs amounted to no more than 25% of one minor official's duties for most of the time.

If I always let Pope's claims to the contrary go unremarked, his comments will become the new "truth", and such distortions are extremely difficult to eradicate from the historical record years after the event.

When he stops painting a distorted picture, I will no longer need to cover it in graffiti.


Thursday, 28 September, 2006  

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