Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If It Makes You Happy...

So I've been an avid Cost to Coast AM listener for many years. Coast is a late-night talk show started by the enigmatic Art Bell over 30 years ago. It primarily concerns itself with the doing of things that go bump in the night, and the "experts" who study these things. Topics range from JFK Assassination theories, UFO abductions, round-table discussions of Atlantis, and listeners calling in to open lines with ghost stories. The experts and callers range from the plausible and slightly off-kilter to the raving lunatic without skipping a beat. The only requirement the hosts (usually the amazing George Noory) insist their callers abide by is that they have to be entertaining and at least be deft enough to string together coherent sentences. Beyond that, anything and everything goes.

I have been attracted to the show due to the shear volume of ideas that are presented. 99% of the guests have no evidence to back up anything they say, and what evidence they do have goes against their argument or is simply factually incorrect. I consider myself a skeptic at heart, prefering to believe things that have some evidence to support them, rahter than things I'd just wish were true. I don't decry people for their beliefs as long they allow me to hold mine, because, after all, no one really takes this stuff seriously... do they?

Predictions, With George Noory Click on the "Click Here to Watch Promo" in the first text box to see the trailer.

This is a pay-per-view television show featuring the host George Noory interviewing a panel of, "Psychics and tarot card readers to astrologers, remote viewers and numerologists." These experts will give their predictions about what will happen in the upcoming year. They will answer the hot-button question, "When will the next disaster strike?" Coz, like, everyone knows there'll be some huge distaster! Duh!

See, this is where I gets me a funny feeling in my belly. I listen to the show out of a love for the crazy stories and the animated guests that are interviewed, but I take it all in good fun. When the show begins to profit off of the fear rampant in the United States, I start to wonder. With all of the pseudoscientific nonsense being sought by the masses (the argument about Creationism being taught in school, for example), it makes me wonder if Coast is benefiting or hindering the greater good of world. This isn't an idle statement. The show has over 40 million listeners nightly, and is the most listened to late-night talk show in the world. With this kind of exposure, the show is certain to have some kind of impact on its listeners. I realize that while it may be fun to believe that the earth is hollow or that Atlantis is a thriving city contained within a crystal bubble at the bottom of the Atlantic, no one is really taking any of it seriously... but people do!

Profiting off fear isn't a new concept, and I don't really blame Coast for making an extra buck off of their admittedly gullible audience by playing into their fears, but it doesn't mean that my unease is neccessarily unfounded either. I don't know what it means, if anything, but I when I think of my beloved UFO conspiracy-nuts contributing to the rise of fear and acceptance of pseudoscientific bullshit in the world, it takes some of the fun out of it.

1 comment:

Chad Kremer said...

What the hell?

I mean are these predictions the “real” ones that they won’t say on Coast to Coast? And what is the point to have video with it? I’m sure these astrologers and whack-jobs all are pretty screwed up looking-wise. George Noorey, what the hell. Your perfection is tainted. He seriously is the one of the best radio-personalities. This is so incredibly lame.