My younger brother and I argue about things. Many things, in fact. Often meaningless things, that no one could possibly care about. Last night, my brother paraded a historical theory around our living room as if it were fact. I assaulted his theory as being a fringe theory, and he cited the History Channel as proof positive of its mainstreaminess. I pointed out the following History Channel presentation as proof that sometimes the ol' HC will present lunatic fringe theories to drum up viewers:
" A controversial scientific theory states that gigantic eruptions of methane gas from deep in the ocean have occurred regularly throughout history. Although a global-scale methane eruption today is highly unlikely, there may be stagnant, oxygen-poor basins in the ocean where methane might accumulate. Even a small explosion could cause a catastrophe. Imagine what would happen if such an event occurred in the mid-Pacific. Tsunamis would be generated in continuous waves, striking Hawaii and the entire West Coast. Coastal areas would be flooded for miles inland. Methane/water clouds would auto-ignite and the massive fires could cause widespread destruction. Consequences could be global. Whatever humanity survives would be thrown into a Dark Age."
Holy crap! Ruuun! Methane? Noooo!
But the fact is, anyone with an IQ higher than a dung beetle's
(I always end up regretting these sort of comments, because inevitably someone with a dung beetle IQ always turns up).
can realize that an Earth Fart is a highly unlikely exctinction level event. I think its self evident that the History Channel, like any network has realized the sort of things that bring in viewers. In fact the following Words in any combination seems to make up the entire lineup fr the History Channel:
Bible, Nostradamus, Hitler, Mega, Ultra, Secrets, Da Vinci, Code, Satan, UFO, Disaster
Hitler and Nostardamus!
Bible Secrets of Hitler!
Ultra UFO Disasters!
Da Vinci and The Mega Bible!
There was an actual show, not even remotely embarassed to be called Da Vinci: The Code he lived by
I suppose its an in depth view at Rennaisance drunkeness and Buggery. But we take these silly programming gimmicks with a grain of salt. Most of us can understand that when BATTLES OF THE BIBLE comes on and they are the only ones to have ever represented Exodus as a Military Diversionary tactic, that perhaps its simply highlighting one of the many theories about the historical facts of יציאת מצרים and that the reality must lie somewhere within all of these and maybe not within any. The problem with exodus from a historical sense is that we are trying to support a story as we find facts, and those facts don't always support the story. But i won't get into the facts and fairy tales of the bible. Maybe my brother had his Moseses Mixed up.
"You can pry these commandments from my cold, dead hands"
What's truly disturbing is the weird list of words that has influenced programming on the History Channel. All of those words seem to havean air of the supernatural. I think i've made it abundantly clear how i feel about the "supernatural", but the wide interest in the "unexplained" has become something of an alarm for those of us who consider ourselves fans of rational thought, skepticism, and the scientific method. I can see all my exes rolling their eyes in unison. The fact however, cannot be denied.
Business is booming for charlatans who offer easy answers to difficult questions, and i knew it was only a matter of time before this litigous fuckwad dared reappear.
How? What? I thought this guy had been tossed out as a fraud years ago. Now, Criss Angel (Or however you magickally spell his name) is involving himself with this fraud, by hosting a contest called PHENOMENON . Why would a talented Magician/ Illusionist like Criss Angell pair himself up with someone who claims to have psychic powers and preys on the weak and emotionally needy? What's worse! Someone who has been exposed as a fraud over and over!
Well, for starters Criss Angel is a whore.
A man doesn't wear faux fur and Mr. T cum argent, unless he has a douchey persona he needs to maintain. Its incredible that anyone outdouched David Blaine,
but there it is.
So Criss Angel has specifically chosen to align himself with a revealed fraud and choose the next "Mentalist"
Now, what the fuck is a "mentalist"?
"The term mentalist refers to entertainers whose performance appears to be based on "psychic" abilities, featuring the ability to read minds, project the mind to alter the state of matter, foretell the future, and see distant and hidden objects. This branch of magic is referred to as "mentalism."
There are analogues in the field of parapsychology, where a mentalist is defined as someone who is believed to read thoughts and place suggestions in people's minds.
While a psychic may claim to observe a hidden spiritual reality and report on it, in a process known as "psychic reading," a mentalist might claim the ability to manipulate and change that reality.
The stage mentalist ostensibly mimics these supernatural behaviours by natural means."
Which means that with this show, Criss Angel has purposely chosen to blur the line between magic and pseudo science. Claiming psychic abilities within his parlour tricks Ever-whore Angel smells money. He knows how much is to be made from psychic claims, and as he descends down this very slippery slope, who knows what people he may take with him?
Magicians like Houdini, Penn and Teller, and most significantly James"The Amazing" Randi have fought for many years to expose fraud in the claims of Psychic abilities. In fact, it has been something of a Magician's code of honor to expose these buffoons for what they are. Unfortunately, NBC has joined the History Channel in this disconcerting trend of feeding on people's worst tendencies.
The intellectual laziness, and seditary lifestyle of the US poses the biggest threat to our way of life to date. Its not some imagined terrorist threat, or the collapse of family values, but rather the need for quick answers and simple solutions that threatens us, and when you watch ANY (cough) of these "Psychic' or "Mentalist" shows, or watch Discovery or the History Channel and fail to use healthy skepticism, you may find yourself parading hack theories to your friends, or worse being unable to differentiate between Psychic Frauds and Magicians.
If it can happen to my brother who is somewhat well rounded and a realtively healthy skeptic, it can happen to any intellectually lazy younger sibling.
For your viewing pleasure:
James Randi and Johnny Carson (Who was a magician early in his career) Expose Uri Geller as a fraud on live TV.