Russians catch up in Journalism
by Jim Wright for the Dallas Morning News
of October 15, 1989
That old-time secular religion, Marxism, seems to be going out of
style everywhere except faculty lounges of American colleges. A major
result of this rightist deviationism is that the Russians are at last
getting to enjoy some of the blessings of a free press. Such as, for
instance, the recent news stories about aliens and monsters from outer
space landing in Voronezh.
It is without any doubt a refreshing change for those folks, who have
more than enough trouble during this century from monsters grown
Presumably, it is Halloween season in Russia, too, and there could
hardly be a more appropriate way to celebrate it in the age of
Glasnost than with an intergalactic trick-or-treat right there in
person (or whatever) on Soviet soil.
What's more, there is always a chance that tourism will benefit from
the new Soviet policy of letting it all hang out, so far as creature
sightings are concerned. There are large numbers of people in every
land who badly waant to believe in this sort of thing, as the American
echoes of the latest space-beachhead landing indicate. People who
enjoy thinking about little green beings who fly around in glowing
disks probably could be talked into spending their vacations in
Voronezh. And Mother Russia can use the hard currency.
That being so, it hardly matters that the eyewitnesses turn out to be
children. No doubt the Russians have noticed that Scotland, another
country that can use hard currency (or soft or in-between), has done
very well with the Loch Ness monster. And Nessie usually is sighted
from the window of one of the nearby public houses. Those who want to
believe will believe.
Personally, as one of the global journalism fraternity, I am proud to
see that my brothers and sisters at Tass, the Soviet news service,
have taken a throroughly professional attitude toward all the hoots
and jeers at their dispateches about the latest historic event. Not
only are they standing by the story, but they have found a policeman,
Lt. Sergei A. Matveyev, to corroborate the kids' story.
This is in keeping with standard operating procedures used in the free
press everywhere. The lieutenant said he was a little bit wary of the
story himself when he first got word of the landing. And no, he
didn't get there in time to see the actual aliens themselves, but, by
Trotsky, he did see their vehicle and "it was certainly a body flying
in the sky."
Police officers do have a reputation for being skeptical about
citizens who tell stories that depend upon extraterrestrial
intervention to explain their - the citizens' - behavior. That may be
why the lawmen are so popular as corroborating witnesses for UFO
journalism. Cops have excellent credibility, spacewise.
I'll bet Lt. Matveyev is really sorry he missed seeing the actual
space critters themselves; I know I am.
According to the kids, the UFO was a glowing ball "of deep red."
Naturally, it disgorged a nine-foot, metallic-looking "humanoid," who
checked out the scene, then went back to get a friend and their robot.
Whereupon all three promenaded in the park, did some high-tech tricks,
reboarded and left.
I think, though, before I book seats on the next Voronezh UFO Site
All-in-One-Tour, I will have to have some additional information.
Such as, for instance, how late the three kids were for supper at the
moment they spotted the red space ship arriving and were unavoidably
detained by the nine-foot humanoid.
Chamber of Commerce mad at me. But until I get more evidence, I
intend to be guided by the logic of a salty Pfc. I once knew. Our
outfit, rummaging through the Mojave desert in a truck convoy, passed
a luxurious compound, built around a strange, truncated pyramid of
sand. On being told that this was s settlement of wealthy UFO
worshipers and that the pyramid was designed as the landing pad for
the creatures' ship, the Pfc. just snorted.
"Anything smart enough to build a spaceship," he observed, "is too
smart to pitch a liberty in this dump."
In spite of the Soviets' amazingly rapid progress in gee-whiz
communications, I feel that America's lead in this area is safe, at
least for now. Only yesterday, as I waited to check out at the
supermarket, the headline story in one of our state-of-the-art
publications informed me that:
"MAN EXPLODES AFTER EATING FIVE PIZZAS!"
I'd like to see those Russkies top that, if they can.