Yesterday’s XKCD makes a good point except of course that belief in the supernatural and cryptozoologic can be stoked, but never be crushed by iPhones or instagram. The ability to construct and disseminate hoax, fraud and rumor follow similar but maybe steeper curves. Not that this is all a grassroots phenomenon.
The following exchange took place in my oceanography class this summer:
student: I know this is going to sound stupid, but I have to ask you this.
me: Go for it.
student: Ok so, I’m a nerd, and I watch the Discovery Channel.
me: I watch Discovery, what are you saying? [note: this is basically a lie, but I thought it would make for humorous banter]
other student: Ohmygawd I LOVE River Monsters.
other other student: I’ve watched that like ten times. It’s ALWAYS a catfish.
original student: No, no, I have to ask this. Is there like a small chance, I mean like ANY chance that mermaids are real?
me: [literally SMH]
Coincidentally (OR IS IT!?) today’s Tet Zoo deconstructs some best of Nessie photos (aka NOW that’s what I call Nessie Vol. IX). Toward the end of that post, Darren reports that props from cryptozoological television specials are now apparently being repurposed to foist new hoaxes on the loch … which no doubt will attract new television crews … who will build more props …
None of which–the sorry state of “scientific” television programming, the slimy hucksters that pose as outsider scientists, the general dumbness of people–particularly gets me down.
Except! I was getting terminal facemelt from today’s B^3 post when it hit me: there are many, many, more people who are obsessed with animals THAT DON’T EXIST, than people who even just maybe know about actual live living real life actually really real magical monsters like Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, or even Resplendent Quetzals (a bird which is, quite literally, money).
Which, I’m too old to be crotchety anymore, but just seems, well, kinda sad.
But then you see an amazing video like the one up top there where a fantastical animal that shouldn’t even be there, calmly waltzes into view and you remember that there is magic in the world that could never be touched by profit-crazed production companies or pseudoscientific fame-whores.