Jun 9, 2010

They're not like that

Bigfooters and paranormalists are misrepresented in the media in even the most basic ways. Like, for example, they are not oblivious. In my experience they are acutely aware they have been seen as jokes, as drooling idiots and rednecks and spaced-out freakazoids, are acutely aware of how you see them, and work really carefully to craft an impression of themselves as reasonable, rational inquirers.

Whether you ultimately think they are or not, they are for the most part engaged with some kind of philosophy of science and are also aware of your awareness of them, which is more than I can say for the people who present them as oblivious freaked-out freaks who don't care what you think (you who are apparently unaware of their awareness of your awareness of them).

They do kind of carefully model themselves and want to appear as scientists -- which gets to another obvious misrepresentation. Bigfooters and paranormalists, in my experience, do not say that they believe. "Belief" is a religious word, and they don't want what they do to be a thing of faith, by which they mean detatched from reason, but of science. They would never say something (so inane as) like "I want to believe." They want to know, and if you ask them if they believe they'll go into a little discourse about evidence and science, but that's too much for TV. Or even the Washington Post, apparently.

Related links:
Although the story wasn't as much of a joke as it could have been, the fourth graph of the Washington Post's most recent bigfoot story pretty much illustrates my point exactly, but this rant kind of started when I was watching an old episode of NUMB3RS, where Sam Llyod plays the same character he plays on Scrubs, except he's a paranormalists, which is exactly what he did when he was on West Wing, and yes, that was a dig at the X-Files movie, but you could probably listen to Coast to Coast AM for hours without hearing the word "believe" and look at how the Bigfoot Field Research Organization presents itself.