Monday, August 06, 2007





If J.G. Ballard ever decided to pursue the UFO lecture circuit, I'm confident his prose would invite comparison with British fortean philosopher Colin Bennett, who takes on the "CARET" mythos with his usual dexterity and wit.

An exemplary excerpt:

But CHAD is not, as some have suggested, pre-publicity for a coming CD game. Its focus is limited, much more narrowly specialised, and it represents a political programme of an entirely new type, meant to appeal almost exclusively to thinking folk. As such, it is structured, and it does not align itself with those things which most thinkers pretend they despise: non-cerebral mass media, pop culture, and consumerism. Despite being almost extinct as a lost tribe, no culture, society or indeed time itself can move forward without thinkers. Without the much-abused intellectuals, we would have a two-dimensional tapestry world, a medieval wall-painting showing the entire world to be a billion Simpson characters frozen in media time.


And even more to the point:

As distinct from SERPO, CHAD is a very subtle high-level multi-media operation with better internal balance, backed up by a massive and well-financed support base. It applies just a little fantasy, not too much, something only a few moves away from the supposed real. Then it adds something of the perceived contemporary real. When looked at closely, this now-you-see-it now-you-don't flicker-technique produces raw intellectual eroticism of a superb variety.


Keep writing, Colin!

17 comments:

mister ecks said...

Not that this necessarily discredits all of his views on Fortean matters but after reading through Bennett's website the man's virulently homophobic, nationalistic, sexist and paranoid political views become apparent. He seems to be a somewhat unpleasant personality with a sizable persecution complex.

Just a warning to casual readers who might chance upon his website.

mr. intense said...

"In June of 2007 there appeared a web site http://isaaccaret.fortunecity.com/ authored apparently by one Isaac Caret."

One Isaac Caret? Check the website for what CARET actually is alleged to mean. Bennett makes an obvious error in the very first sentence of his essay.

I would also agree with Mister Ecks, above: Bennett's website is more than just weird--it's anti-Muslim, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, classist, and people should go see for themselves what else at:
http://www.combat-diaries.co.uk/

I was also not impressed with his piece. I will say why a little later--I recommend people read his essay very carefully, and the interview of Bennett on his site, among other rather strange bits.

Paul Kimball said...

Bennett is a self-important blowhard. Always has been, always will be - he's full of sound and fury, but he signifies absolutely nothing.

Paul

ryan said...

additional "clarifications and comments" from this isaac character can be found here -

http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1292&category=Environment

Mac said...

I agree with everyone about Bennett's website. It's pretty nasty -- to the point that I initially thought it was some sort of parody. But I like his fortean writings; "Politics of the Imagination" and "Looking for Orthon" are fine books.

Mac said...

One Isaac Caret? Check the website for what CARET actually is alleged to mean. Bennett makes an obvious error in the very first sentence of his essay.

Yep. Bennett makes a number of mistakes; it's evident he hasn't kept up on the evolving mythos. Fortunately, he didn't miss anything critical to his essay, IMO.

TJ said...

Wow.. Bennett really seems to upset a lot of delicate leftist sensibilities here. He's obviously pushed all the right buttons.

But rather than get sidetracked on that, the interesting issue to consider is just how pathetic and gullible can the ufology masses be? I think Bennet is reading WAY too much into this thing and the supposed deeper isues behind it.

I work in the film/game industry and I am a so-called “expert” in digital painting and design, CG modeling etc. I immediately saw the CARET stuff as obvious fakes, as did all of my friends in our industry I showed them to. In fact a few of them said essentially "Hell we could do so much better than that - lets try it, it would be fun"

Ascribing the motives and resources of those hoaxes to some grand scheme isn't needed. As someone who designs plausible but non-existent devices, creatures, and environments professionally, believe me when I tell you that something like the Caret stuff could be accomplished by just one guy skilled in digital design and CG modeling.

It’s creatively rewarding to try and invent intricate “back stories” to one’s sci-fi creations. Science fiction writers have been doing it for a hundred years. People are acting like it would take some sort of team of experts to design out some glyphs in Adobe Illustrator. I guess that just goes to show how uninformed the public is, or how deceitful some of the ufologists are.

The only hidden motive for all this is just the pleasure of seeing if you can fool people. It’s been happening for as long as people have been around, and the Internet is only the latest venue for such hoaxes to be propagated.

For many years off and on, I’ve been working my own book project of a visual retelling of “War of the Worlds” using digital Martian tripods etc. blended into fake antique photographs. I guess I better be careful not to let any major UFO “experts” get a hold of it lest they declare that “We finally have proof that ET’s attacked Victorian England!”

It’s all so much silliness.

Anonymous said...

TJ...sigh...

Among the supposed torrent of "pathetic and gullible" ufologists there is an equally loud and obnoxious group of supposed "experts" barking loudly about the drone story. It's been pretty entertaining actually hearing the carbon copy responses to the drone story, from this egomaniacal slice of CG society. It would seem everyone is an expert these days because they can plunk around in 3DSmax and Photoshop.

More to the point, I think that you'll find with a look in the right places, that your knee jerk reaction to the case is largely unjustified. Many of the things you "think" are wrong with the photos and CARET docs are likely not what they appear to be. Radiosity rendering has been discounted along with supposed rendering artifacts and other stated "concerns". In fact many "experts" have already discounted the CG angle in favor of a physical prop shot on location. A variety of subtle details are apparent in high resolution versions of the photos which make the CG aspect highly unlikely. Some of these effects include purple fringing, micro surface distortion details, accurate and variable depth of field and a host of other optical FX which are much more easily attained with a camera and model.

On the CARET side of the coin there is some incredible linguistic study happening at the website mentioned below. There is more there than meets the eye and NO PROOF whatsoever that the glyphs were created in Illustrator. Speculation doesn't count as proof.

Rather than arguing the point however what people really need to see is your 100% accurate replication of the questioned materials. I can assure you with almost total certainty that your criticisms to this story have been addressed in one form or another (in painful detail) at the following: http://lucianarchy.proboards21.com/index.cgi?board=cali1 As with any forum there are a few lose nuts floating around there but the bulk of it is truly incredible investigative research into the drone story and all of its aspects. It is there I would suggest you share your recreations to convince the flock of your opinion. If you do a good job of it you may just have some sway but words mean little without something to back it up.

And no, I don't "believe" the drone story to be true, nor do I believe it to be false. To date no one has provided solid evidence on either side. I think you'll find that 99% of the seasoned UFO enthusiasts are purely fence sitters on this one and not the "pathetic and gullible" crowd you think them to be. Most believe it to be either studio created with viral intent or a structured leak.

One thing is certain, the drone story evokes powerful emotions from both sides of the fence. That alone makes the story very interesting.

Denny

TJ said...

>>As with any forum there are a few lose nuts floating around there but the bulk of it is truly incredible investigative research into the drone story and all of its aspects.

LOL. waste of time in my opinion. There is nothing more to investigate. The images I'm referring to as obvious CG fakes are the tabletop renderings. I haven't looked at the others but I don't need to - if one portion is fake, the credibility of the whole thing is ruined. Neither the Serpo or the Caret stuff even passes the initial gut-level smell test. I don't understand why everyone can't see that.

>> It would seem everyone is an expert these days because they can plunk around in 3DSmax and Photoshop.

Well, my professional skills were good enough to work at Skywalker Ranch. I guess I must be a newbie fresh out of Art Center! And no, I'm not going to waste my own personal time recreating what some other guy did, just to prove there's nothing to it. Time away from work is spent on my own projects. Honestly, what’s the point? Other people have already done that very effectively, yet it doesn't seem to be sinking in to everyone. To a true believer, no amount of contrary evidence will ever be enough.

Jeff Ritzmann went out and took the time to build models and recreated the essence of the Meier hoaxes, yet people still insist Meier was real. Obviously the Caret stuff took time to create, I’m not saying you could whip it out in an afternoon. By spending more time on Caret, people are just giving it power and validity.

I’m betting that whoever hoaxed this Caret and Serpo(Doty?) stuff are obviously laughing their butts off. Serpo is even MORE laughable than Caret – it has reinforced to me that ufo “fanboys” will entertain ANY idea no matter how ridiculous.

And that goes back to my original point: "99% of the seasoned UFO enthusiasts" should not be sitting on the fence as you out it. There's nothing to sit on! There are legitimate cases out there that could use all this "incredible investigative research" I’m talking about multiple military pilot sightings backed up by multiple radar locks with ensuing official incident reports. – Now that’s something that holds weight to me, not diaries ripped from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

Whether it's MJ12, Serpo, Caret, The Autopsy Film, Lazar, Dr. Reed etc., people never seem to learn. I think wasting time on all that noise is a huge contributing factor to why this field has made no real progress in 50 years.

Anonymous said...

>> "And no, I'm not going to waste my own personal time recreating what some other guy did, just to prove there's nothing to it. Time away from work is spent on my own projects. Honestly, what’s the point? Other people have already done that very effectively, yet it doesn't seem to be sinking in to everyone."

Well isn't that convenient. You can't really go around making such bold, authoritative statements then can you? More to the point SHOW ME where "other people" have "very effectively" discounted the material and I'll show you where those claims were quickly debunked by cooler heads. The reason it's not "sinking in" is because those who bothered to dig deeper have actually found some points of interest in the story.

>> "The images I'm referring to as obvious CG fakes are the tabletop renderings. I haven't looked at the others but I don't need to - if one portion is fake, the credibility of the whole thing is ruined. Neither the Serpo or the Caret stuff even passes the initial gut-level smell test. I don't understand why everyone can't see that."

Again, isn't that convenient??? A common migration in this case is to back off the drone photos because they can't easily be dismissed (upon closer examination) and to then latch onto another aspect of the story (from a different source), again with no proof to back the claims. Your "gut-level smell test" is potentially the worst way to go about seriously studying the material fake or not. Making broad jumps in logic from what could be memetic bandwagon hoaxing is a great way to miss potentially valid information.

My point is that I have heard your argument before countless times but to date no one has been able to qualify that viewpoint with a convincing replication of the materials (although many "experts" have tried) or a rock solid information lead. If you don't have time to go to those lengths, then barking hoax isn't likely to sway anyone any day soon. You can't discount a large group of thoughtful enthusiasts for wanting all the facts.

I choose to sit comfortably on that "invisible" fence until somebody can actually back up what they say and offer a logical discourse to what is being presented. Or better yet; one of the many open but skeptical out here find a flaw in the story to which the whole house of cards comes crashing down. There is strong enough momentum with this story and enough brains on the case that it is fairly likely we'll have an answer either way soon enough.

Bottom line is that this is entertaining as a culture jam, hoax, viral campaign, leak or whatever it turns out to be. I would much rather "waste my time" on this than watching CNN focus on the latest tabloid headline. Don't worry, it won't damage UFOlogy, the focus still remains on those vital cases you've just mentioned.

If anything it's your reaction and similar reactions from those like you that surprise and confound me most about the Drone story. Seemingly intelligent people who somehow skip all due diligence before launching into a tirade.

Look deeper and you might be surprised at how poorly your initial perception holds up.

Denny

Mac said...

[I'm posting this comment on behalf of Colin Bennett. --Mac]

Hello All,
Thank you all for your comments on my UFO mag article Meme Wars. I would like to make the following points:
(1)Yes, there is a mistake in a date at the very beginning of Meme Wars.The date 2001 should be changed to 2007, making Codex very much alive when he spoke! This has now been corrected in nearly all the forty sites running my article.
(2) Yes, the Combat Diaries of the New Fortean Times is a politically-incorrect right-wing site. It is so unpopular we get over 50,000 hits per day from all over the world. I should add that we are not anti-semitic or racist. However, if you don't mind, we do rather take exception to those Ali-Babas who are trying to kill us all.
(3) We have been informed that one Paul Kimball is an unpublished mute Inglorious Milton who makes the kind of films seen by small groups of earnest students in darkened halls. Any relation to Michael Moore, Victorian Station Masters, or those monkish MUFON filing-clerks who have almost brought Ufology to its knees is I suppose purely coincidental.
Colin Bennett
The New Fortean Times
www.combat-diaries.co.uk

TJ said...

>>Well isn't that convenient. You can't really go around making such bold, authoritative statements then can you? More to the point SHOW ME where "other people" have "very effectively" discounted the material and I'll show you where those claims were quickly debunked by cooler heads
Yes, it’s easy to make authoritative statements when I know what the hell I’m talking about. I don’t need to recreate a life-sized Death Star to know that one doesn’t exist in real life. Evidence of it not being real is there when you look at it in pictures. The tabletop device images and the floating “drone” images are clearly fake to anyone trained in visual effects.
I’m not an expert in law or medicine or a ton of other subjects so I would not make declarative statements about those fields one way or the other. It's not like I log onto Astrophysics forums and start talking Sh*t! But I AM a working senior level professional in the visual effects industry, and I can spot those Caret/Chad photos as fakes, and so can a ton of other people. As I stated before, all the friends who I showed the images to (five ex-ILM employees from various departments such as a technical director (TD), art director, modeler and a texture artist) quickly pointed out things that were wrong as well.
But since you insist I don’t what I’m talking about, why don’t you listen to Photoshop/compositing guru David Biedny spend about an hour destroying the fakes over Theparacast.com. It’s the episode from May 13, 2007.
As for the tabletop renderings, multiple threads over on AboveTopSecret have gone into great length discussing the tabletop images and their problems with reflections, the mirrored geometry, the radiosity stuff etc. No need to rehash it here.
>> Again, isn't that convenient??? A common migration in this case is to back off the drone photos because they can't easily be dismissed (upon closer examination) and to then latch onto another aspect of the story (from a different source), again with no proof to back the claims.
I wasn’t backing off anything. People like Biedny have already resolved that particular subject to my personal satisfaction. There will always be people who will insist on refuting ANY evidence no matter how compelling (ie. Billy Meier cultists) so if your response is “well, other people disagree with him” then that’s fine. Some people insist Dinosaurs never walked the Earth. Whatever

>> If you don't have time to go to those lengths, then barking hoax isn't likely to sway anyone any day soon. You can't discount a large group of thoughtful enthusiasts for wanting all the facts.
Again, I’m not looking to convince people per se. I originally just stated my amusement at how gullible people in the ufo community are because they want to believe stuff so badly that they will either outright fall for, or even “sit on the fence” for just about any kooky story. There is nothing wrong with wanting all the facts – but there IS something wrong when people choose to ignore clear-cut evidence even when it dashes their secret hopes and dreams. This hoax has been cleared up for a while now, and anyone who is still grasping at straws for something legitimate to come out of all this is letting their desires interfere with reality. Everyone should just move on.
That advice goes for myself – Mac has lots of new posts to explore so this hereby ends my participation in this thread. I appreciate the debate though, Denny. I'm sure we will eventually meet again in another thread :)

Anonymous said...

Hey what the heck is going on on here..My post is gone..I posted last night, Thursday, before the Crow of the Cock, an absolute Tour de Force on this subject, in fact I tread on ground even the high Angels would wince at.. It was an expose Reminiscent of Shakespeares scene with Polonius curious at the feet behind the curtain. I know it wasn't Mac oh ,no not my Mac the "Ambrose Bierce of Ufology", so who did it? Fire them! Mac..Fire everybody..they are just letting public comments and discourse more in line with a literary act of self pollination than a means to the truth.
Those across the board DARPA connections are available right in the open, the one name name i reavealed was for your verification and edification..They are fornicating right in our faces for heavens sake. There was no libelous or inflammatory statement to justify the removal. Clearly I am hurt.( please pause for a moment)
It is a game most,aye, even Colin is clueless. Just when I thought I was in a safe haven..the smell of sulfur looms ever near.

Perhaps..it was a glitch..and I am too harsh and by all means I am your guest.

I shan't continue my cantankerous rant any further, and will repeat only one thing and one thing only,(well maybe several) that what we face are many heads of one beast like the Hydra, and this is not a game merely for thinking men to play but to play identify and snare the thinkers as a class.
Much the way Nazis would enter a village, separate the peasants from the educated, and shoot the bookeper, teacher, and anyone with an IQ over 60. They are making the machines smarter, faster, and selfaware and the people dumber and absolutely oblivious to their surroundings feeding them pablum like pigs at the trough.
Those of you that have seen this odd strangeness across the net, those inexplicable gut feelings of impending "something" by all means give me an Amen because Yes your feelings are telling you right..we are getting stupid.


Everyman for Himself and
God Save us All
SyS

Anonymous said...

I was remiss in mentioning that thoughout the caret inquiries by these towering experts not one put the foto thru steganalysis for detecting encoded data as simple as signatures, copyrights, and other embedded data. Not Once! they used eyeballs, geometry, scissors, linguistics on the oil pipe scrubber allegedly used by a super advanced and Telepathic ETS, even the uncreatured craft had writing. did it say Enola Gay.
The have at OMF inredible diagrams, composition statements..but no steganalysis ..The Forensic tool of choice.
even with free software available.
and yet, its claimed all the tools were used. Whats missing is the organ grinders monkey in this one trick pony show.
Use the right tools and the hoax
is over!
as for the hoaxters take the flea circus back home with you!
We are not buying.

Mac said...

Just a note: I don't delete anyone's posts on my blog (except for obvious blogspam). I'll even manually insert comments emailed to me if the commenter encounters difficulty with Blogger's commenting system.

That doesn't mean I *agree* with any given commenter, but so long as the message is at least partly articulate I'll post it.

Anonymous said...

Mac..I lalalaLove you!!
I found it one of the other articles dealing with computer degeneracy, when the rubber doll comes to life.

I publicly apologize and thank you from the cockles of my almost black heart for dispelling all concern on my part that some third tier bored clerk at DARPA obliterated the post.

My warmest thermals and thanx to You
and the Tinfoil Mad Hatters of the world as well as prayers for those Incorrigible and Innocuous nay sayers.
:)
SyS

Anonymous said...

What's "wrong" with "racism", "sexism", "homophobia" and the like? Don't forget, young liberals, all these notions are CONCEPTS, weapons in an ideological war. For example, "racism" is a meme invented by Leon Trotsky (real name Lev Bronstein) with the sole intention of using it to undermine and destroy Western civilization (ever wonder why only white people are "racist"? Now you know.) When one thinks for oneself, one can think as one likes. Independence - and maturity - of thought encourages discrimination and value judgments. Why live your only life to the hypocritical pseudo-standards of television and sociology lecturers? The "liberal" attack on the very forming of values, hierarchy and discrimination is intended to relegate you to the status of sheep, grazing meekly as you are herded to the abattoir.