20190926_04084802.pdf - psychological transformation —...

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psychological transformation — after highlighting his deviance. One story returned to Mack’s own power terms in conclusion with a quote from him in which he invoked spirit, soul, and the sacred (Willwerth, 1994). Journalists employed a set of power terms clustering around “war” to establish Mack’s research as a transgression of boundaries, a flouting of the power of scientific authority to maintain those boundaries; and also to establish Mack as a heroic warrior. Mack was situated in “alien territory” (Tery, 1992, p. 20), where wars are waged and boundaries breached. He was placed “on the front lines” (Tery, 1992, p. 20; also see Rae, 1994) of abduction research (Scribner’s said the same on the cover of Abduction (Mack, 1994a)). One reporter (Neimark, 1994) placed Mack in “the white hot center of a [raging] controversy...[a] battle about the...nature of the human mind...a war over the nature of memory and access routes to it” (para. 10). Another reporter (Rae, 1994) described the abduction phenomenon as an assault. It was reported that Mack was ripped, attacked, the subject of shots, “heavy groundfire” and a “publicity blitzkrieg” (Kahn, 1994, p. 61). Related to this war cluster was a cluster of terms of transgression employed by journalists to establish that Mack was violating official boundaries: stories made repeated and prominent references, typically in headlines and in leads, to alien sex, rape, probes and implants, and theft to establish that Mack’s research was a violation of scientific 233 conventions. By emphasizing violation, reporters conveyed the idea of a breach, dissent, disturbance, malpractice, or offense. Some journalists established Mack’s work as a violation by characterizing him as a salesman rather than a scientist, with “a hard-eyed huckster’s zeal” (Rucker, 1994, p. X2), “marketing the abduction myth” and milking “a cash cow” (Gleick, 1994, paras. 6, 19), perpetrating “a calculated scam” (Gleick, 1994, para. 42). Some focused on Mack’s use of hypnosis — his own method of overpowering abductees, as it were, allowing him to probe for repressed “information” (Tery, 1992).
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  • Fall '19
  • Science, journalist, Alien abduction, mack

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