Covering Issues The Way The Media Should
by Sean "I Got Yer Crystal Balls!" Helton
Raise your hand if you’ve ever called a psychic. On second thought, don’t. Especially if you’re in one of those wildly popular, ever-growing Impact reading groups. You may be seen by someone else reading this same article and every ounce of credibility, every smidge of clout you ever had, will be gone quicker than a cookie at a fat kid convention.
I don’t have any faith in the so-called fortune tellers, psychic readers, card readers... whatever the flavor of the month is. Now don’t go putting a hex on me just yet voodoo children, hear me out. These opportunists are merely taking advantage of you. Well, more specifically, they’re taking advantage of the idiots among you. I’m sorry, did I say “idiots?” I guess that was a bit too harsh. I think I was looking for something more along the lines of...um...well...damn, I guess “idiots” is the best word.
So what if somebody correctly predicts a plane crash next week? Do you realize how many plane crashes, aborted take-offs, or unplanned landings there are every day? Those things or things of that nature happen all of the time. Read a paper other than your own. Get in a chat room on the Internet and ask someone what happened in Spokane, Washington today. Ask them if a plane crashed in Cortez, Colorado or some other lesser known city. The public only hears about the major incidents. Obviously we all knew when TWA flight 800 fell out of the sky; that’s a major story. But no one outside of 100 miles heard about the four passenger plane than emergency landed in Orlando a month ago, did they?
I listened for about half an hour to a supposed “amazing predictor” on the radio one morning. He had me almost convinced until a guy called asking about his future. The caller gave a brief description of himself, his job, his life, etc... He said he worked for a corporation and flew around the U.S. on business frequently. Because of his being gone often, he was having trouble in his marriage. While the caller was trying to ask about his relationship, the man with a connection to the netherworld interrupted and told him his life was going to be at a “high state of risk in the near future.” (silent pause here) Really? Hmm, let’s think about this. This bold prediction was made not more than a minute after the guy told the psychic he travels by plane a lot. You do the math: 30,000 feet + a big flying machine + the possibility of terrorism, mechanical failures... yeah, I think you’re on to something, Nostradamus! Dumb ass.
What about all of the times they’re wrong? The only time psychics are mentioned is when they’ve made some astounding prediction that baffles people everywhere. Anybody anywhere can make a prediction, wait for something remotely similar to happen, then bend and shape it to fit. Listen, if you were to compare the times these predictors are right to the times they’re wrong, it would be more than evident how purely fake this is. Read a scientific, factual, empirical study on psychic activity. In test after test, the correct to incorrect ratio of predictions is incredibly one-sided, and not in the favor of the Kreskin-ites. It’s obvious that psychics are little more than lucky. In fact, prediction itself is based almost entirely on luck, with a little bit of knowledge.
Take horoscopes--another example of our naiveté. You all know how those work, right? You read your horoscope and then you make it happen. Horoscopes usually have something to do with things both tangible and intangible. For example, a horoscope might read, “You will have a great week at your job. Your finances will grow and you will feel an amazing sense of accomplishment.” Now, more than likely your finances won’t do jack, but you will make yourself feel a sense of accomplishment. You’ll probably pat yourself on the back for making the best pot of coffee this side of IHOP. Or maybe you’ll take pride in sharpening your pencil to a precise point. Who knows? Never does it say “You will get a raise of $2 an hour and you’ll meet a guy named Thad who will sweep you off your feet and give you a ride home in his BMW.” Why not? Because it can’t be done! Psychic prediction is IMPOSSIBLE! If you want hit-or-miss predictions, knock yourself out. But I know if I’m paying through the nose for some fat, smelly, G.E.D. flunky to tell me my future, I want to know which flight I should stay off of and what number horse to bet.
I’ve always been pretty open-minded about the whole psychic thing. Well, actually, I’ve never believed it for a minute, but I was never one to speak out against it. OK, that’s obviously a lie. I’m sorry, but it’s getting out of hand. The other day I saw a commercial that began by asking, “Are you tired of all those phony psychics out there?” (Isn't that redundant?) It went on to encourage viewers to call “the only certified psychic line.” Now hold it right there. How can anyone possibly be certified to be a psychic? Is there an actual test you take to gain accreditation? Do they have some formula that figures your accuracy? I figure the formula is something like--wrong’s divided by rights, inverted by the square root of how many times you’ve been on TV or in a tabloid magazine. How can you have an organization for something so unfounded and moronic?
I’m not trying to put these people out of business. Rather, I’m here to help (being the humanitarian I am). They need to change the whole system around. It’s obvious the whole thing is a farce. I figure they’re going to run out of gullible people sooner or later, so why not really capitalize on it until it dies? I mean let’s really soak the stupid bastards. Here’s my idea: bring all the psychics together and form a union akin to the Boy Scouts. We can base every psychic’s standing solely on how many times they’ve been lucky, excuse me, “correct,” and we can award them patches accordingly. For example, they can receive a plane crash patch, an earthquake patch, a dead celebrity patch, oooh, and the final patch would be an end of the world patch but unfortunately, none of us would be around to sew it on. What a pisser.
Here’s the criteria for becoming a member of the Society of Psychics And Mindreaders (S.P.A.M.): Every month we’ll do a pay-per-view special and initiate 20 new members. Certainly a few thousand sheep will pay $29.95 to watch. That will be enough to buy a truckload of dry ice and some cool lights. The inductees will sit in front of a panel of already inducted psychics (investors), and they’ll be asked to make predictions. However, the predictions must occur within the next week. The following week we would do another special and show how many of the predictions came true. Sure we’ll stage it so it comes true; I don’t plan to lose money on this! We’ll have to do it within a week or else some wise-ass would get up there and predict World War III to happen in 2010, and then we couldn’t do anything about it. We’d have to give them a temporary license. Then the rest of the under achievers would beat down the door trying to get their temporary permit, and we just can’t have that kind of fraudulent behavior now can we? Still, they’d get theirs at the big psychic convention. They certainly wouldn’t be as big a big shot with that temporary license clipped to their shirt. They’d be pretty embarrassed if they were to get into a conversation with a “real” psychic: “So, how long have you been certified?”
“Well, mine’s only temporary. I’ve gotta have a certified psychic or a soap opera actor/actress with me when I predict stuff. But I’m gonna get my real one in 2010, just you wait and see. Whoops! I forgot, you don’t have to wait. You can see right now, can’t you? Sorry, it’s my first convention.”
Bottom line: try and use some judgment the next time you’re up at 3 a.m. and the ads for psychics start running. Save your $4.95 the first minute and $2.95 each additional minute and go buy a magic 8-ball from the corner drug store. If you believe Dionne, certainly you’ll believe a little black ball that directs you to “Ask again,” or answers four of your questions in a row with “Yes, most definitely.”.