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John Keel on Fort and Forteans
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Justin_Anstey
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PostPosted: 20-12-2001 00:53    Post subject: John Keel on Fort and Forteans Reply with quote

http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/Articles/Decoding%20UFO-Alien%20Phenomena.html

"John Keel expressed vitriolic disdain for Forteans, whose efforts, he believes, have abandoned the standards set by Charles Hoy Fort.

Quote:
They hate each other with a fierce passion and are completely suspicious of everyone else. When the first Fortean Society was founded in 1932, the man after whom it was named, Charles Fort, flatly refused to join, grumbling that he would sooner join the Elks. The Society’s journal, Doubt, was published at random intervals, usually one issue every two or three years, and its editorial position was that it was against everything and everybody. ...Since each Fortean has a theory to explain the bizarre things he is investigating, and since each theory contradicts all other theories, the world of Forteana is a bedlam of battered egos and misplaced sentiments. The Forteans not only expect to be ignored, they demand it.12


Keel defended Fort’s own reputation, pointing out that his sources were mostly scientific journals, not newspapers, as often claimed by ill-informed critics.

Quote:
Intellectual cowardice is only one of the problems of the scientific community. Fort rubbed their noses in the swill generated by their gibberish and illiteracy. It was no secret then and now that academic publications are designed to protect the inept and to conceal ignorance. People with nothing to say, who even lack the ability to say nothing, can hide behind the academic method for a lifetime.13"



12. Disneyland of the Gods, op. cit, pp.10-11.

13. ibid, p.17.


Last edited by Justin_Anstey on 07-02-2002 20:26; edited 1 time in total
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tonyblair11
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PostPosted: 12-02-2002 08:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

MAYBE MR. FORT WAS A ANTISOCIAL AND PARANOID, IF HE LET ME CHANNEL HIM I COULD FILL YOU GUYS IN?
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Anonymous
PostPosted: 28-04-2005 14:40    Post subject: Keel on Forteans Reply with quote

Quote:
They hate each other with a fierce passion and are completely suspicious of everyone else. When the first Fortean Society was founded in 1932, the man after whom it was named, Charles Fort, flatly refused to join, grumbling that he would sooner join the Elks. The Society’s journal, Doubt, was published at random intervals, usually one issue every two or three years, and its editorial position was that it was against everything and everybody


Reading through this description I can't find anything that even resembles the Forteans. Granted, Fort refused to join the Fortean Society but this has to be put in context: Fort understood that the persons who would be attracted to any society pursuant of his work would be ''Spiritualists, Fundamentalists'' and those reacting against science, not because its methodology offended them as it did Fort, but because these people had their own positions to argue; and this was counter to Fort's entire project. Fort resisted the institutionalisation of his ideas from the word go; hence the difficult stylistics of BD et al and the obscurity of his thought. There was a particular reason Fort wrote so obliquely: it was to keep him from becoming ''established'' which, he thought, would only hamper the development of his ideas. Any faults with the Fortean Society or its magazine should, I think, be blamed on Thayer, who increasingly employed both to promote his various somewhat-dubious political ideas; not because of anything Fort did, since the man refused to have anything to do with it during his lifetime and most of the Society's activities (especially its Thayerite ''organisation'') took place after Fort's death.

Quote:
''Since each Fortean has a theory to explain the bizarre things he is investigating, and since each theory contradicts all other theories, the world of Forteana is a bedlam of battered egos and misplaced sentiments. The Forteans not only expect to be ignored, they demand it.''


Although various individual Forteans may have ideas about what the phenomena of their interest is (or is not) it is not necessary that those Forteans equally hold that those ideas are absolutely and fundamentally true to the exclusion of all others. I think that one of the healthiest aspects of Forteanism is its charitability and humilitary, wherein every idea and hypothesis is worth considering and none above (or below) ridicule. As Fort wrote

Quote:
theories of mine are no so god-like as to deny any right of being for all other theories


Include all, exclude nothing!

Ian
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graylien
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PostPosted: 28-04-2005 21:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a shame that John Keel (a writer whose work I much admire) seems to be turning into Alf Garnett in his old age. What a load of bad-tempered tripe! Sadly, I would suggest that it is Mr Keel himself who is "completely suspicious of everyone else".
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Steveash5Offline
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PostPosted: 28-07-2005 06:39    Post subject: Fort and Forteans Reply with quote

It seems an over strong responce certainly, though I do sympathise with it in some ways. For instance I've often noted in modern 'Fortean' articles a kind of weird pro-science attitude more akin to the sceptics society than the stance of Fort, and a tendency to debunk. A kind of cowardly attempt to be 'intellectually respectable' or something perhaps. Where as Fort's attitude was very different to this, a true sceptic of scientism and more of a creative mystifier than a boring debunker. But my Fortean history isn't up to knowing where this rot set in. Maybe as implied above its a fear of the cosmic cranks moving in? But its very odd that in a post modern age where the shakiness of science is more obvious than ever, and the philosophy of science is in something of a cul de sac, that this should have happened. Not that I see Fort as anti science per se but rather as an anomalist who pushed the envelop on the scientific paradigm rather than use it as a restraint like many seem to today.
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J_Frank_ParnellOffline
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PostPosted: 19-06-2006 22:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

graylien wrote:
It's a shame that John Keel (a writer whose work I much admire) seems to be turning into Alf Garnett in his old age. What a load of bad-tempered tripe! Sadly, I would suggest that it is Mr Keel himself who is "completely suspicious of everyone else".


i don't know. i can think of plenty of criticisms of a lot of 'forteans' [not ALL but definitely SOME]. pompous, closed-minded, doctrinaire, arrogant, self-assured.

a lot seem to have come up with a theory on a subject that they can not actually prove that they will then stick to regardless of the illogicality of that position and will spend every waking moment to destroy any counter argument or anything that doesn't fit in with their blinkered view of the universe and their aforementioned personal grand theory. they also constantly shift the goal posts so as to never be proven wrong.

or am i just reeling from it having been monday today?
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J_Frank_ParnellOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 07:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh, i forgot to add 'smug'.

a quote i just stumbled across:

Fort (1874-1923) asserts that scientists often argue according to their own beliefs rather than the rules of evidence and ignore, discredit, or suppress facts that conflict with their preferred theories.

just like many forteans, then.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 08:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

graylien wrote:
It's a shame that John Keel (a writer whose work I much admire) seems to be turning into Alf Garnett in his old age. What a load of bad-tempered tripe! Sadly, I would suggest that it is Mr Keel himself who is "completely suspicious of everyone else".

That's funny. I've got him down as a bit of an, 'unreliable witness.' Like, Charles Berlitz, or Erich von Daniken, only slightly smarter (and possibly more knowing).

Some great ideas, wrapped up in a, sometimes, possibly, unscrupulous narrative.

Just my personal opinion, of course. Wink
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tonyblair11
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 08:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

J. Frank


A "some" percentage of any group of people will be smug and the other labels you used.







Oh and sorry for yelling in that old post up top.
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graylien
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 09:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I'm beginning to think that Keel had a point. There seems to be an awful lot of chest-beating and repetitive by-the-numbers 'debate' in Fortean circles. I dare say I've been guilty of such behaviour myself, come to think of it. It's all beginning to seem a bit superficial and pointless.

As to science - individual scientists may well be biased and even dishonest, but thanks to peer review and the march of the generations, science as a whole steadily progresses. I'm not sure the same can be said for Fortean studies. Have 'Forteans' really made any contribution to the sum of human knowledge?
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 09:39    Post subject: Reply with quote

graylien wrote:
Actually, I'm beginning to think that Keel had a point. There seems to be an awful lot of chest-beating and repetitive by-the-numbers 'debate' in Fortean circles. I dare say I've been guilty of such behaviour myself, come to think of it. It's all beginning to seem a bit superficial and pointless.

As to science - individual scientists may well be biased and even dishonest, but thanks to peer review and the march of the generations, science as a whole steadily progresses. I'm not sure the same can be said for Fortean studies. Have 'Forteans' really made any contribution to the sum of human knowledge?

Perhaps, Keel has just found Forteans to be a bit less credulous than some of his other readers?

I've began to consider Forteanism to have quite good qualities as another form of tool for textual analysis, a form of free thinking, slightly humorous, 'BS' detector.

Potentially, many times more useful than Jaques Derrida's 'Deconstructionism' and much less damaging, because it doesn't take itself too seriously. Perhaps, that's just me. though?
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J_Frank_ParnellOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 20:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

tonyblair11 wrote:
J. Frank


A "some" percentage of any group of people will be smug and the other labels you used.







Oh and sorry for yelling in that old post up top.


fair point. i had my walkman on anyway.
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J_Frank_ParnellOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2006 20:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

graylien wrote:
Have 'Forteans' really made any contribution to the sum of human knowledge?


yeah, we now know that there is no possibility of aliens and everthing you though was weird was just sleep paralysis. Confused
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fortistOffline
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PostPosted: 21-06-2006 18:26    Post subject: Intellectual ombudsman Reply with quote

Quote:
graylien wrote: Have 'Forteans' really made any contribution to the sum of human knowledge?


It's not necessary to "contribute to the sum of human knowledge" in order to be of benefit; Forteans serve an important function in questioning and challenging our knowledge, and the means by which it is organised and sorted; a sort of intellectual ombudsman. The problem is, that there are very many people and organisations out there happily gathering and presenting data and theories; but not many who are actively urging us to question them; and many of those who do ask that we question do so with the ulterior motivation of having us question one thing, only to accept theirs. Forteans, which no particular product to sell, ask only that we think carefully before buying.

Ian
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graylien
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PostPosted: 22-06-2006 03:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Historically, perhaps, Fort and his followers made an important cultural contribution. But perhaps Forteanism - like Marxism - is a product of late 19th century thinking that has long since become obsolete. The science of today is very different from the mechanistic, Newtonian science against which Fort was rebelling, and it is no longer considered radical to challenge scientific methodology or to question the omnipotence of science. Similary, relativism is no longer a radical standpoint, nor is promoting 'paranormal' phenomena as being worthy of study.

Considering that 'Fortean' thinking now permeates the cultural mainsteam, is there really any purpose left for 'organised' Forteanism in the 21st Century?
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