Lesley's new Grey Matters is up at Binnall of America, and this week she writes about the fascination with the decidedly non-fascinating, while ignoring the real fascinating stuff around us. In Susan Boyle is killing Ufology! Lesley writes:
When I see things like Susan Boyle capture so much attention -- I can only agree with the government (assuming they know a lot about ufos) that we are not ready for disclosure.
We watch it all the time -- the weird crap that captures the nation and/or the western world's attention. Anna Nicole Smith, OJ, Brad/Jen/Angelina and so on. Meanwhile, there is truly amazing stuff going on and most people don't seem to even care. (Italics mine)
I share with Lesley a pleasure in getting some gossipy goods -- shallow, fine, but the point is, as Lesley puts it, is that some of us know it's gossip, and get our gossip "news" from gossip type sources. It in itself isn't news news, not of any great import, but sadly, even places like CNN treat gossip and entertainment buzz with equal seriousness:
I expect to get my celeb gossip from the same place I have always got it, The National Enquirer, not the nightly news or 24 hour news channels. Even on those, I don't mind a short mention of the gossip, but I don't want it to be treated like news because it isn't. Celebrity gossip is treated like being REAL news, far more so than things that are really amazing and could really change the world as we know it -- like ufos.
Seriously, Britney's head shaving incident is treated like a national tragedy that should concern us all. Dozens of people seeing a strange object in the sky over Stephenville (or anywhere else) is comic relief.
Yes, culture has it ass backwards all right. I remember many years ago, when Miami Vice was popular, one of the network news programs breaking in during regular programming with a "news alert" to let us know that actor Don Johnson was gettting a divorce. I remember thinking if I hadn't just slipped into some silly topsy turvy alternate dimension, where news isn't, up is down, that kind of thing.
Lesley asks why it is that mainstream culture is so fascinated with the likes of gossip and other frivolous distractions, while ignoring the truly fantastic (and unexplained?)
Lesley begins her article by talking about American Idol's Susan Boyle who is "unattractive." I saw the clip where she comes out, and the expressions on the faces of both audience and judges. Some of those expressions included outright disgust.
As to the perennial question of why mainstream society and the infrastructure continues to ignore, ridicule and marginalize paranormal and Fortean type occurrences, while it's extremely frustrating, it might be some comfort to realize this is as much a part of the phenomena itself in many cultures, including ours. Call it the Trickster or what you like, but the phenomena enjoys this constant dance of "catch me if you can," of being elusive. Anomalous events, from Bigfoot to ghosts to UFOs and all of the other stuff in between are subversive, anti-structure, in your face occurrences that thumb their noses at science, religions, and society's comfort zones. Like gossip and entertainment. Everyone, including the skeptoids and pathological debunkers, know damn well these things exist, they simply cannot acknowledge the fact. Willful ignorance of the data, marginalizing and trivializing both the phenomena and individuals who experience, believe or research weird stuff, and insults are the rule, as well as the weird inverse of phenomena that Lesley points out. Gossip and fascination with the shallow bewitches; while the real mysteries are shoved aside.