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The Straw Vulcan, Julia Galef Skepticon 4


Off-Season for the Witch


It looks like Nicolas Cage’s 2010 movie, Season of the Witch, has already caused a crap storm in the critical and skeptical blogosphere, and for good reason.

Not only is it yet another tiresome movie about exorcism, this time during the Middle Ages, but it also portrays demons in a manner uncritically promotional to and encouraging of literally medieval superstition in an already irrational and otherwise modern society.

Never mind that nobody has ever been killed by a demon, but quite a few people have been killed by botched exorcisms.

That’s the harm.

It amuses Troythulu that Mr. Cage is promoting this movie as “…unafraid to explore the paranormal and the supernatural.” (his words).

But aside from that, and aside from the quality of the film, which is at best debatable…

Apart from the obvious false dichotomy of the kinds of legitimate criticism that the article’s writer poses, the tone of the article ,(Click Me Here) seems typical of such promotions, but that’s the entertainment media for you…

It’s almost cliche to try to present a flick like this as both brave and different, despite both Hollywood and Bollywood having scads of such credulously-themed films coming out of their collective ears, movies which show a rigid fascination with woo in a very conventionalized, banal, ‘inside the box’ way…

…Anyhoo…

Nic, dude, I respect you, I really like your movies, but if you think that this latest offering is in any way unusual, do yourself a favor and take a long, hard look at the rest of the entertainment industry to notice how typical and ordinary this sort of fare really is.

Often, I hear paranormal proponents who like to congratulate themselves (with straight faces, I might add…) for their openness toward and their ‘curiosity’ of well, what they propound on, but…

…Actual curiosity is a desire, the need, to learn new things, to find out something that you don’t already know.

What I see in proponents is instead a preoccupation with the subject matter that shows itself in repeatedly expounding upon, rarely with anything new to contribute to the topic short of very small tweaks, refinements, or minor stylistic variations, in the same standard claims of supernatural phenomena and entities.

It’s trying to continually validate what one already needs to believe and reword what one already knows about. In paranormal advocates, this extends to getting others to believe as well.

Evangelism, plain n’ simple.

That’s not curiosity at all, but a thorough and profound failure of both curiosity and the human imagination.

After all, how many truly original supernatural forces, events and beings are there even in admittedly fictional treatments already chock-full of erotic vampires, reincarnated mummies, vengeful ghosts, and demons just itching for someone to possess?

It’s the same old thing. Astrology… The afterlife… Telepathy… Crystal power… Channeling…

Ho hum. I’ll say it here: In most of the fare that’s cranked out by the entertainment industry, the paranormal has become boring.

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