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« Cool New Octopus Camouflage & Locomotion Observed The RantsNRA: "Let's Arm School Teachers!" »

Extraordinary Fiction & Bullshit Claims
2005.03.25 (Fri) 18:47

It seems that some people took our commentary on Allison DuBois to mean that we don't like the show Medium. Just to set the record straight, that is not at all what we were saying. In fact, we don't watch much network television, so we've never seen the show, and we wouldn't comment on it without first knowing something about it. For all we know, Medium could be the best television program on the air today, but that's not what we were writing about. In fact, across all five posts, we never once put down the show itself, or the actors, or the writing, or the premise. We only take exception to the fact that they are peddling it as "real" instead of just calling it fiction.

Let's set Medium aside for a moment, and talk in general about extraordinary claims in movies, television, and other media. To be clear, we have no problem at all with fiction that revolves around fantastic events. Some of our favorite entertainment falls into this category; Ghostbusters comes to mind as a prime example. In case you've been living under a rock since 1984, Ghostbusters recounts the tale of a group of paranormal investigators as they find definitive proof of the supernatural. We love that movie, and we have no problem suspending disbelief for 105 minutes in order to enjoy it, and the same goes for countless other movies, shows, and books that demand the same temporary credulity. Our problem is with fiction that tries to masquerade as reality by tagging on the old bullshit moniker of "based on a true story." We have no desire to bring the bullshit with us when we leave.

So, does the fact that an otherwise good piece of fiction claims to be true negate its strong points? In general, the answer is no — by all means, feel free to enjoy the show, with our best wishes. For us, however, the answer is probably yes, since the annoyance derived from the bogus claims would likely override any enjoyment that the show could provide us with. But that's just our opinion. If someone tells us that they like the show Medium, that's just fine — we won't start an argument or bring up DuBois' claims, unless the "based on a true story" line is tossed at us first. In point of fact, that is exactly how our friend Steve reacted, per Part I of Allison DuBois Week.

That said, we will say that, as a matter of personal preference, we also enjoy entertainment that puts bullshit in its place. For example, we recently caught a rerun of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in which Martin Short guest stars as a psychic. Over the course of the show, the detectives clearly explained how he was faking his psychic abilities by explaining cold reading, hot reading, analysis of facial expressions, and various other known tactics. They also clearly showed how the psychic was taking advantage of the victim's family, and stated that psychics had never helped the police while referring to the numerous failed psychic claims on some well known cases. Boy did we enjoy that! Then we changed the channel and watched an episode of the Twilight Zone in which a possessed slot machine stalks a man, and that was fun, too.

In closing, there's a big difference between fiction and reality, and for our part, we'd like to keep that gap in place. We stated our feelings about this pretty directly in Based On a True Story? White Noise and EVP:

Don't get us wrong — entertainment that embraces impossible and fantastic concepts and events in order to move their story forward are great, and personally we love movies, television, books, and other forms of entertainment that fall into this category. The problem comes when people start to pitch this crap as "real" and not just a story. To us, it's the same thing as needing to believe that in 1997, the machines will take over and start building Terminators...or that we're all really plugged in to the Matrix...in order to enjoy those movies; it's just plain stupid. You don't need fiction to be real in order to appreciate it; that's the wonderful thing about human imagination.

Human imagination is a wonderful thing. It can temporarily turn otherwise skeptical people into "true believers" for the duration of the show. In the context of the fictional world, we can root for the psychics, cheer for the ghost hunters, and easily swallow any fantastic claim in wide-eyed acceptance. So feel free to enjoy these shows — we do. But when the curtains go down, and the lights come up, take our advice — leave the bullshit in the theatre. You don't need it.

Allison DuBois: Debunked! (2%Co)

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[  Filed under: % Allison DuBois Week  % Bullshit  % Media & Censorship  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/96

Comments (2)

k, 2011.06.09 (Thu) 07:57 [Link] »

did i read it right - third sentence in, you say you have never watched the show? then how come you know so much about it? cos your previous rants describe in detail the shows first episode? are you telling porkies and in secret are a HUGE fan??

The Two Percent Company, 2011.06.09 (Thu) 10:42 [Link] »

You know, we know there are a lot of abysmally stupid idiots out there, but for fuck's sake, k — is it that hard for you to understand when people with more than a modicum of native intelligence are able to both be aware of and have generally fair knowledge of something through indirect means?

Yeah, that's probably a bit beyond you, huh?

When we'd written this (over six fucking years ago): no, we'd never seen a single episode of Medium, nor did we care to. Our Allison DuBois series focuses specifically on the real bullshit artist herself, not the fantasy version that Kelsey Grammer helped her unleash upon the world. In the interests of full disclosure, we did watch a large portion of one episode eight months after this post, in order to showcase the incredible hypocrisy that is inherent in everything Allison does or says. That single episode (or most of it anyway, but Jeff has a cast-iron stomach when it comes to watching crap on TV) is all we've ever seen of the show proper.

Of course, how the hell do you manage to live through 2005 without seeing forty-eight thousand advertisements for the show, continually hearing the claims that it is based on "the real life Allison's true psychic adventures," and just generally knowing far more about the damn thing than you'd ever really want to? Do you not get that? You couldn't throw a brick back then without hitting a Medium billboard, or a television blaring one of their corny commercials, or some insipid fan burbling about the amazing powers of the real life medium, Allison DuBois (which was, in fact, one of the initial reasons we started our first series on her!). The overload itself was precisely what caught our attention, especially with all the claims to being based on reality, which was something we'd written about just a short time earlier.

Jumping Jesus on a waxed and mounted dildo, we're actually surprisingly knowledgeable about the entire process leading from the death of one pope to the appointment of the next — not through any actual interest on our part, but because the fucking media wouldn't shut the fuck up about it while it was happening, and the information just wormed its way into our brains.

We can understand that the perceptual powers of the average Allison DuBois fan are likely not up to par, so they might have difficulty gleaning exact and extensive information from peripheral sources, but don't lump us in with that crew. We can (unfortunately) often name the latest American Idol or Oscar winners and list a few names from the new Battlestar Galactica or even shit like High School Musical, but don't think we've ever actually watched (or cared) about any of those shows. The current "popular" media just isn't that popular around here.

In short — no. You're wrong, and you sound like an idiot attempting your "gotcha." It's not hard to read through the site and see exactly what (and when) we've watched of Medium, which is to say the one episode we specifically addressed eight months after this post.

Notice, of course, that this means when we did comment directly on the show, we watched a goddamn episode. Because when we write...

...we wouldn't comment on it without first knowing something about it.

...we're telling the truth. Guess with the lack of honest journalism in the mainstream media these days, that's hard for you to parse.

If you've got nothing of substance to say, please do get lost.

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