I have been enjoying Sleepy Hollow, a new program on TV, yet it bothers me on a level that has less to do with Sleepy than it has to do with what has become a fictional mantra, a favored meme’, for the TV/movie industry. That meme’ is “everything is true except what’s scientifically obvious.
All we think we know is wrong? Really? OK, trash your cars, blow up all the planes, jump off cliffs and redesign the wheel as a triangle. Oh, and ghosts who pass through walls and have little substance standing on floors, walking down stairs, makes “perfect sense.”
I also believe it has a lot to do with the way we do social discourse these days too. But since it’s so much more fun, back to fiction for a moment, well what is supposed to be “fiction” but far too many people take all too seriously.
There are no vampires.
There are no zombies.
There are historical characters that led to the first: Bloody Mary and Vlad the Impaler. Ah, Vlad: there’s a man who had a stick up his… put one up their… oh, never mind.
But they were real. One may have bathed in blood, the other took great joy in spilling it… well, they both did: but they weren’t nocturnal, they didn’t turn into bats and they certainly had little to do with the characters in Twilight.
Zombies don’t even have any of that to defend their mythological nature. The closest thing we have to zombies is teens hooked to texting, and the only brains they eat are inside their own heads.
In part I blame all this fascination on X Files. I mean, really, every myth is true? No wonder so few understand there’s a vast difference between “just a theory” and scientific theory. The first is a guess; the second is more substantial than religious belief. Why? No knock on religious belief intended, it’s just that a scientific theory can always be challenged, tested and disproved. It’s part of the process. Try as we might to prove that when we die we aren’t given a planet, there is a heaven or even there is God… it all comes down to faith.
I have no problem with that. Faith, at its best, is an act of the imagination. At its worst faith is an act of emptying one’s head and just accepting without question. So if your idea of faith tells me if I jump off a cliff I’ll fly if I just believe, science says gravity with make me fall, sorry: I’m going with science as to whether I actually jump off that cliff. Yes, the more demanding any faith is that I must agree, the more I’m going to assume the Kool Aid you insist I must drink has been poisoned.
Much of what we call social discourse is not all that different. Those who insist government is always the problem are only out to poison the debate so they can have the kind of government they prefer, just like those who insist government is always the solution change their preferred poison when it comes to the draft, or pot, or domestic surveillance, or… The free market will no more regulate itself than baseball players without rules of the game will behave themselves, or be punished for misbehavior. Indeed when we pass laws that make revealing problems with products illegal we put legal roadblocks in our own way, just like we would be if we protected those who outright lie about products, or do industrial espionage. So government can help, or hinder. No rules, no laws, no regulations is as stupid as stupid laws and regulations: often worse.
These are the philosophical poisons we sell, but some rhetorical poisons are rather specific… and intended to damage reputations, win votes, get people killed…
Saddam never let the inspectors in? Barack Obama is some white hating Kenyan socialist? JFK was murdered by the mafia, the CIA, LBJ, commies, anal probing aliens using huge toothbrushes with Crest as a lubricant? 9/11 was the work of Terminators at the behest of Skynet?
Good grief. But we live in a time when the operative meme’ is “everything is true.”
I remember during X Files I got annoyed and stopped watching when every myth was found to be true. It was like Obama is not only a Kenyan socialist who hates white people, but also a traitor to his own race, friend to the capitalists and a Republican in progressive drag.
Our talk show hosts feed off the gullibility training we get via the tube.
One meme’ sheeple buy into makes me chuckle. After, a few years ago, some guy dressed up like a pimp and edited video so it looked like he went into ACORN offices that way, every once in a while now I hear how support from ACORN is to blame for something.
Support from a non-existent organization?
Maybe ACORN zombies?
To be fair, then we have the edited footage of O’Reilly calling Mandela after he died a “socialist:” missing all the more complimentary context.
That kind of selective editing sucks almost as much as, well, vampires. And almost as much as the selective rage one side has when they get edited that way, but don’t have when used in their favor.
But this has become the society we live in. Opinion: no matter how whacked, supposedly becomes fact simply by stating it.
And too damn many Americans act like obedient sheeple. I swear these are probably the same folks who think SyFy’s Dinoshark is a documentary, or some damn huge gator actually migrated up to a lake in Maine.
There’s a Lake Placid 4? Seriously? Did we really need a 4th edition on a horrid premise?
Why it’s almost as absurd as some Glen Beck, or Alex Jones rants. Showmen become supposed truth tellers. Carnival barkers become investigative “journalists.” And “journalism” has become competition for the rags sold at the check out counter. “Rags” featuring yet another poorly pasted picture of an alien shaking hands with whomever is president now.
And how many out there think Glen Beck cries real tears for his show? Really? How did you get this far into this column? Ah, if only your common sense was anywhere near as good as your reading skills.
Get the point? When something extraordinaire happens on a TV show or in a movie, like we find out a day is repeating, or someone was really dead all this time, it makes great fiction. Rod Serling made his living providing interesting twists, the point being “interesting.” They’re that occasional touch of spice that provides, “Wow!”
You expect that in fiction, and in a rare occasion in life.
Everything being true, or even all that probable, not only is highly unlikely, but it isn’t all that “interesting.” And, at best, it misses the mark when it comes to providing entertainment for thinking folks. Plus: it’s very annoying.
On a more social, or political, scale, feeding the sheeple with myths as “fact” is not only dangerous: but destructive to a society already too far down the path towards Idiocracy. I must admit that there are days I chuckle when I realize some in the future might think Idiocracy was a documentary created by someone who had some magic mirror that revealed the future. And I fear they may be right.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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