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11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
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Chapter 5:
My Speaking Proposal

April 22, 2014,
Bergamo, Italy


The story of how I came to speak at this elite high school on the remote coast of Norway is best told in the correspondence between myself and one of the students I met in Copenhagen. I call this student "Hero", because that is what he was—my hero! When I decided I wanted to give a talk at the school, there was never any question about who I should contact. Later, when things started to deteriorate, Hero kept his head while all the chickens in the administration were losing theirs. In the end, he defriended me along with all the others in the Monday Night Massacre, but everyone has their breaking point. Although I lost contact with him after Chapter 1, I remain incredibly impressed with Hero and how long he held out under impossible circumstances.

I met the students during my 44-hour visit to Copenhagen on Nov. 4-6, 2013. After I got home to the USA, I started doing some research on this school and was impressed with what I found. This prompted me to write this Facebook message to Hero on Nov. 26...

Hi [Hero] -

The more I know about your school, the more I would like to visit! I think it would be cool if I came to speak there.

I noticed this sentence on the school's wikipedia entry: "The college also raises political awareness through weekly presentations on political issues which are open to the whole college and the surrounding community."

I could supply one of those presentations! I am the author of a controversial book: "The Case Against Marriage" http://CaseAgainstMarriage.com

I have spoken on the topic at a college in the USA and really enjoyed it. Actually it was more like an inquisition, where I took the anti-marriage position and everyone else challenged me. There is an audio recording available: http://philosophy.baddalailama.com/2008/11/dissing-marriage-at-dayton-state.html

I was planning to visit more of Norway in 2014, so maybe I could combine a visit to Bergen with a stop at your school. (I would pay my own way to get there.)

It would be months from now. I just thought I would plant the seed in your head and see what you think. If you think it is a good idea, maybe you would know who on the staff to approach.

Glenn

(The photo above was included in the original message and came from my earlier talk on marriage at Daytona State College in Florida. See the photo album.)

Here is our Facebook exchange after that...

HERO:

Ok Glenn; I will ask around, we have a program at the college called World Today, I'll make sure on the way you can do it, and I'll send you later on this weekend every piece of information you need (it's a little bit of a harsh on us nowadays). I'll make sure also that you are provided with an accommodation place at the college. :)

GLENN:

Thanks! It's just an idea. You can see if there is any interest at the school.

HERO:

Yes, we most of the time invite interesting people to the college for presentation, or sessions; depends on how interesting you are to the college. :p I'll make sure I give them every information you provided me with :)

Glenn, do you remember the slogan of the hostel we've been at; something like "you might sleep with a famous person"*. Hell yeah, I think I did.

Why can't you come to our college and talk about Area 51 (if you know enough to do so). We are international students, we are the most interested in politics students one would know. If you come to our college to talk about Area 51, I promise you to make sure you have a great experience at our college.

GLENN:

Sure, I can talk about Area 51. I am multi-talented and can talk about a lot of things, depending on what people want to talk about. Maybe we can bill me as the "Area 51 Guy". For the first part of my talk, I'll focus on that, and in the second part, I'll take questions and we'll talk about whatever people talk about.

I handle student audiences well, and we have the most fun when people challenge me and I have to defend my position. I am prepared for a fight!

I could be considered an "expert" in these areas..

- Area 51 and UFOs (former Area 51 expert in the 1990s)
- Marriage (skeptical of - author of a book)
- The Meaning of Life (the book I'm currently writing)
- Photography
- Television production (inside look at how reality shows are made)
- Child Welfare (former Family Court observer)

We can promote my talk based on one of these topics, but I am prepared to talk about all of them.

Maybe we should switch are conversation to email. My address is baddalailama@gmail.com

Perhaps I could write up a proposal that you can give to your teachers.

(*Please, people, let's not take "sleep with a famous person" as something sexual. It was just the motto of the hostel. For the benefit of the troglodytes in the room, there was never anything the slightest bit sexual in my interactions with any of these students.)

We continued our conversation on email and via Skype. On December 15 (about 19 days after we made contact on my idea), I made up a written proposal and sent it to Hero so he could submit it to his school. At the time, this seemed like the proper way to handle things. I knew nothing about the internal structure of the school so wouldn't know who to submit my proposal to. Hero knew the local environment and how to handle a request like this, so I left it him.

There are some things I'd like to point out about my written proposal...

Hero submitted my proposal to the school the same day he received it from me (Dec. 15). Here is his email to them (although I don't have the distribution list). A link to my proposal was included.
Hi, hope you're enjoying your break -

In our trip to Copenhagen, we met a guy called Glenn Campbell; Glenn has been snapping pictures, so I've been hanging around with him, and we've talked about his job; Glenn used to work as an expert in the 'area51' in Nevada in the US in th 1990s. And now he writes philosophical books and travels around the world. Along November and the last days of the term in December we thought that Glenn could come to our college and talk about the 'area51' and his philosophical thoughts. Thus he wrote a proposal for the responsible staff at our college, and asked me to send it. Kindly find the proposal attached below. His proposal explains everything he is aiming for at his talk, who is he, and for a kind permission to come on Friday, March 28.

Enjoy your breaks :-)

I doubt the school receives many proposals like this: someone reasonably famous from America offering to come to the school and speak for free. I expected an acknowledgement pretty quickly, but nothing happened. A couple of weeks went by, and I was wondering what I had done wrong. To be fair, this was the end of the semester and the staff could be distracted by other things. Finally, Hero received a response, and he messaged me about it on Facebook...
Hi Glenn, I received a response from the college to my e-mail, and I forwarded it to you as well.

check it out, and tell me what do you think.

Btw, they sort of got it wrong; thinking that we are suggesting that RCN should fund your travel.

Via regular email, Hero forwarded the message he received from someone in the administration named Alistair Robertson (whose name will come up many times in this document). The message was dated Jan. 3, but it was in reply to Hero's message of Dec. 15 (18 days before)...
From: Alistair Robertson <________@staff.rcnuwc.no>
Date: Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 5:24 PM
Subject: Re: Visitor to speak at World Today; Glenn Campbell [March 28th]
To: [HERO] <________@stud.rcnuwc.no>
Cc: UWCRCN World Today <wt@stud.rcnuwc.no>, Erik Pedersen <_______@staff.rcnuwc.no>, Larry Lamont <________@staff.rcnuwc.no>

Dear [Hero],

This certainly looks interesting and intriguing, and I'll bet you had stimulating discussions with Glenn Campbell. However, my first question has to be - are you suggesting that RCN fund his travel from the US?

I have no idea what your cost estimate is for this proposal. But, I have to comment that I would find it remarkably difficult to support significant funding for a guest speaker, especially on a topic indirectly related to College operations. But, before any decision can be made, let's find out what level of funding you are proposing here.

Happy New Year!

Alistair.

This was my first introduction to Mr. Alistair, and already he is rubbing me the wrong way. He apparently didn't read my proposal (attached to the email he is responding to), because he failed to see the line that said I would be coming "at my own expense". I also find his first line annoying: "I'll bet you had stimulating discussions with Glenn Campbell." To me, this came across as condescending, an adult talking to a child not an equal.

Although this email acknowledges the existence of my proposal and that the school received it, the school had not yet responded to me directly. I received this message only because Hero forwarded it to me. Nonetheless, I felt it was reasonable to respond to this email directly. Here is my Jan. 4 email to Alistair and everyone else on the CC list of Alistair's message (source)...

Dear [Hero] & Alistair -

I would require zero funding. (That's $0 or 0 or NOK 0.) I would work it into a European trip I am already planning for April. Oslo would be my first stop, and I have always wanted to take the train to Bergen. Now that I have friends at UWC, I am inclined to come down the road anyway just to visit them. Speaking formally at the college just gives me a central mission. It's always fun to defend my ideas before skeptical students.

The only thing that might be nice is lodging at or near the college on Friday night. There are hostels in Bergen that are within my budget, but I worry about Norwegian prices once I leave the beaten path. Even lodging isn't essential, however. Just give me some leads in the village for places to stay.

These days my main focus is skepticism of marriage (based on my new book, "The Case Against Marriage"). I gave a successful talk on that topic at at Florida university. (Almost everyone was hostile to my position, but I held the audience's attention for two hours. Audio.) However, more people are interested in Area 51, the topic I am best known for and have spoken the most often about. (I got a lot of attention in the media for this, including the New York Times.) Although I am no longer active in the field, I can easily put together a talk on that. (Ultimately, I am agnostic about UFOs: neither believing or disbelieving but able to see both sides of the question.)

The best date for me at the college is now April 11, but other dates may be possible with some juggling.

My April trip to Europe is beginning to take shape, probably arriving in Oslo around April 8 and leaving from southern Europe around April 23. I am inclined to come to the college anyway, so I figured you might want to use me while I am there.

BTW: Here is my main website and my proposal for the college.

Glenn Campbell
[Note: The active links above were also active in the original email.]

I wanted to make several points in this email: (a) I am not seeking any funding, although one night's lodging "might be nice"; (b) I am not a UFO nutcase and can see both sides of the question; (c) I am (or was) reasonably famous in my home country; and (d) I made sure they had my key website addresses and references. (My website was also given in my proposal, but since Alistair never read the "at my own expense" part, he probably didn't look at my website either.) The most important thing to me was that we were making contact. They now had a direct email from me that they could respond to.

And Alistair did reply! After reviewing the emails, I have just remembered that I did receive an actual direct message from someone at the school. That means that anything I said earlier about never having received any communication was in fact wrong. Someone at the school actually did communicate with me regarding my proposal, at least acknowledging its existence. Here is that single message....

Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 10:07:09 +0100
To: Glenn Campbell <:glenn@glenn-campbell.com>
Subject: Re: Visitor to speak at World Today; Glenn Campbell [March 28th]
Cc: [HERO] <________@stud.rcnuwc.no>, UWCRCN World Today <wt@stud.rcnuwc.no>, Erik Pedersen <________@staff.rcnuwc.no>, rektor@staff.rcnuwc.no
From: RCNUWC Mail <______@staff.rcnuwc.no>

Dear Glenn,

Thankyou for your offer. I became involved purely as [Hero] requested extra-ordinary travel funds in a message to me. It's appropriate, now, that this possibility is considered by the College "World Today" group.

With best wishes,

Alistair.

This is the only message I received from anyone on the faculty or staff of the school until I was about to board my flight to Norway three months later on April 8. I remember now that this tiny email upset me. It looked to me like Alistair was trying to lay blame on Hero for his own error. (I will discuss this in detail in Chapter 15.) You can see Hero's message to the administration above. Unless he wrote another message asking for funding, Hero made no mention of any "extra-ordinary travel funds" for my visit. It was always clear between Hero and I that I would be paying my own way to Norway.

I came to the conclusion that Alistair Robertson, whoever he was, didn't read the things he was responding to. Furthermore, when he missed something due to his own inattention, he blamed someone else for his mistake.

I want to note a couple of things about the distribution list on Alistair's short email above. The Reckor (the school's headmaster) is included as a CC. Another CC'ed address is "UWCRCN World Today <wt@stud.rcnuwc.no>". Apparently this is an address for student members of the World Today Committee, responsible in some way for selecting speakers. (Notice "stud" in the address.) You can try this email yourself, but it will bounce back to you, because it was disabled by the administration immediately after I released Chapter 1 of this document.

After my email to Alistair, Hero and I had an exchange on Facebook...

GLENN:

I went ahead and replied to everyone.

Just between you and me, I'm coming anyway! If they want to have me speak, it is up to them.

I think I'll rent a car in Bergen for 3 days over the weekend (picking up on Friday morning and dropping on Monday morning). The price is not unreasonable. A rental car provides not only my transportation but also my lodging, since I have plenty of practice in sleeping in cars. (But we won't tell them that.)

HERO:

Yeah, as you have seen; they thought that you are asking for the whole travel thing (which is much worse than the lodging)

and Alistair sort of gave it a chance...

anyways, yeah. I think they will give you the whole accommodation thing.

GLENN:

I know you have a very liberal school, but there is always a lot of politics involved in anything like this. We'll see what happens.

Hero was right: Alistair "sort of" gave my proposal a chance, but he apparently wasn't interested enough to actually read it (or he would have seen the "at my own expense" part).

So that was the end of my brief exchange with the administration. My proposal was officially submitted and would now be "considered by the College 'World Today' group". All Hero and I had to do now is wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

A month later, with no word from anyone at the school, my schedule was filling up and my options were running out. I knew I needed to buy my transatlantic ticket soon for an affordable fare (and for another reason revealed in Chapter 29). Without any input from officials at the school, Hero and I decided on our own that April 11 would have to be the day for my talk. At that point, I simply had no other options.

On February 11, after almost two months of inaction from the school, my enthusiasm for speaking was waning. I wrote to Hero: "It isn't important to me whether I speak at your school. I am coming there regardless!"

And I booked my flight to Bergen.


Continue to Next Chapter (But don't miss any Notes below ↓ )

↓         Notes and Feedback         ↓

April 22, 17:00 — One of my followers on Facebook commented just now...
So, the school said it was considering your proposal and did not confirm you as a speaker and yet you went anyway - and thought you could speak? You essentially invited yourself without a confirmation from the school administration (and a student would not be an official confirmation). Would that be a correct summation?
Not quite. In the next chapter, you will see that there was confirmation of sorts two weeks before my visit. Anyway, I didn't need the school's permission to visit Norway. The could either use me as a speaker while I was in the neighborhood or not. It was up to them.



Happy 2nd
Anniversary
11 April
 Witch-Hunt in Norway  
by Glenn Campbell
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 Next Chapter Facebook Anonymous Feedback
Videos: Leadership Crisis | Finnmark | Tiny Little War | Assault Summary | College Choices | Introduction
Changes to this document are now recorded on the Facebook Page - Active in Summer 2016!
This document is a work in progress, subject to change. Its appearance on Google remains negotiable.

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