Category Archives: SKEPTICISM

“New Craze/Pastime” Is a Rare and Ancient Ritual

CNN article on the body-mod ritual of suspension.

Well, I just lost a lot of respect for CNN. Granted, they can’t be “up” and “hip to” every counter and sub-culture out there, but they can tone down the blatant and unfounded sensationalism somewhat.

Basically, a group of people wre found on a beach practicing “suspension.” A ritual in which one suspends themselves on hooks through their flesh. Usually through the back over the shoulders, sometimes from the chest, or from many points along the front or back.

It’s a very personal, spritual, powerful way some people reach a mental “place” outside their body. No, not astral projection, just an altered awarness and mental state. And it’s not a new pastime–very few people practice this extreme form of body modification. I mean, sure, thousands of college kids have gotten their navels and tongues pierced over the last ten years, but it takes a very dedicated, very intensely concious person to agree to and then practice the act/art of suspending themselves from very large hooks. Do you really think this is going to be some craze that sweeps the nation?

Native Americans performed this ritual both as a rite of passage and as a part of vision quests, for centuries. There’s evidence of other primitive cultures around the world performing similar rituals for either developing oneself as a warrior, or for a spiritual ritual.

“New craze.” Sheesh. What bad journalism.

A suspender’s web site (may be disturbing to some)
An About.com explanation of suspension (have your pop-up ad killer on)
Art, an member of Sci-Fi’s “Mad Mad House” performing suspension

Fiction on the Sci-Fi(ction) Channel? No way!

CNN article explaining SciFi special a hoax

Background (in case you don’t want to read the article nor watch Sci-Fi channel commercials,) in conjunction with M. Night Shaymalan’s new movie “The Villiage”, Sci-Fi Channel produced a documentary that was supposed to be an expose’ on M. Night that gets “too personal” and M. Night refuses to be a part of any more. It’s supposed to be very revealing and a little mysterious.

Here’s the deal, it’s a documentary produced by the SCI-FI Channel, to be aired right before the release of a new spooky movie, made by a director known for spooky “what’s real, what’s not” themes. Is there anyone with an IQ over 90 who actually thought the documentary was totally real?

But, because reasonable people like us understand this, we can still be excited about the air of mystery around it and enjoy the feeling of spookiness about it and participate in the fictional drama.

So it really, really surprises me that CNN would make some big deal about the fact that this fictional documentary was…fictional. Who didn’t “get it”? And why ruin that dramatic feeling by making a big deal about it being a hoax? It’s entertainment for goodness sake, not some “48 Hours” or “Nightline” special.

Here’s something I don’t get: the article mentions a couple of times that people felt they “went over the line.” But they don’t explain HOW. What the heck is “over the line”? Was it over the line for the surprise ending of “The Sixth Sense”? Was Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” over the line? Was the Web marketing of “Blair Witch”, which claimed the movie was real, over the line? Every “got” that. The whole premise was fun to consciously “buy into.” Why make a big deal it was faked as if you were personally hurt or damaged by it?

I just don’t get it.