Answering your ‘riposte’ properly would really involve a full review of your original piece. Luckily, an adequate review has already been provided, and you can read it at your leisure by clicking on the link already given.
I’ll summarize my views here though for people who can’t be bothered to read it.
It is in no way legitimate in my view to say in print, for example, that someone is a pedophile, and then in an audio interview some years later to say, “sometimes I exaggerate to make a point. What I really meant to say is that he is fond of children.”
Yet the above is precisely what you did with Strieber. Your original piece called Strieber’s sanity into question a number of ways, as reflected for example in statements like:
“On the contrary, they seem to have unbalanced him to a disturbing degree. This throws into question everything Strieber has had to say until now.”
Now, the many and manifold paths you take to cast doubt on Strieber’s sanity would require too much unpacking to go into here. It is easier to show the basic problem with your piece by simply looking at the way you cite evidence.
In your original piece, you repeatedly take Strieber out of context in order to mislead the reader. Where Strieber asks a rhetorical question in ‘Shedding the Dark Side’ you present it as an affirmative opinion. Where in “The Key” Strieber asks his interlocutor if the visitors were angels or demons, you have him down as calling them demons.
Does this really have to be demonstrated? It is easy enough.
Your original piece:
“More disturbingly, in The Key, Strieber refers to the beings who visited him in 1985 as “demons.” “
Here is the actual passage from “The Key” where ‘demons’ are mentioned in connection with the ‘visitors’:
“Was I in the company of demons or aliens on that night in 1985?”
The above is the only place where the word ‘demon’ appears in connection with the visitors, and it is in the form of a question: angels or demons? Nonetheless, you state that Strieber “refers to the beings who visited him in 1985 as ‘demons’ “. When someone reads the actual passage, it cannot be more clear that you misrepresented what he wrote.
Isn’t that enough? We’re talking about basic fidelity to another person’s words here. In case it isn’t, here is the problem with the first example mentioned above, the rhetorical question from ‘Shedding the Dark Side Part Two’. Here is Strieber:
“Do you see how complex this is? Are you following the forked moral path I am treading along? How can an ‘angel’ rape and kill? Of course, they must be demons. I’ve got it all wrong!”
In your original piece, you start your section ‘Angels or Demons?’ with the above quote. You spend the section advancing the thesis that Strieber oscillates between thinking of the ‘visitors’ as angels and demons and that this is Strieber being ‘distressingly mundane’. To support your view he thinks of them as demons you misrepresent the passage from “The Key”, discussed above. But what about the accuracy of the thesis itself?
Here is Strieber in the very next paragraph of ‘Shedding’:
“First, the whole demon vs. angel analogy is, frankly, too weak and forced to fit the situation.”
I really can’t think of much more to say than this. In the section ‘Angels or Demons?’ alone, you claim Strieber calls the ‘visitors’ demons in “The Key” when he does not in order to advance a thesis on Strieber’s ‘inconsistency’ and ‘confusion’ regarding whether the ‘visitors’ are angels or demons — when Strieber himself rejects the opposition in the very next paragraph of the piece you quote.
This is, of course, also — by the way — the same piece you also use in order to prove that Strieber has an earlier, more sane period and a latter, less sane period. By quoting from different paragraphs. Of the same piece.
Whether because of sloppy scholarship or outright tricks, you present this ‘evidence’ — and there are more examples — to call Strieber’s sanity into question. You assert that he has a “preoccupation” with the dark side that “has colored his writings to a disturbing degree” combined with a “morbid fascination” with “darker undercurrents” that “border on obsession”. You use terms like “fragmentation” and “schizophrenic”. You make statements that Strieber is “unbalanced […] to a disturbing degree”.
Yet, laughably, in your comment above, you say that none of this to suggest he is “mentally ill”.
I think anyone may be forgiven for thinking your original piece is a hit piece. It willfully rips Strieber’s words out of context in a way that is obvious to any disinterested observer. It does so to support a thesis that Strieber is all of the above, not to mention a cult leader besides (but only in the broadest possible sense!). But according to you, this is not to suggest he is mentally ill — or a cult leader!
Illuminatus above hits the nail on the head. You can try to beg off being called a scholar, but basic fidelity to another’s words isn’t required only of credentialed scholars. It’s elementary. Term Paper 101, if you like.