Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Your paranormal paradigm is ready. Again.

Back in the last century, when all the world was fresh and interesting, and every book, movie, magazine, and newspaper was fodder for new and exciting discoveries, I indulged in the dark arts that only a 1970's teen was allowed.
In the only bookstore in the only mall in Fall River MA (Paperback Booksmith, whose repetitive logo's color scheme was lifted by DunkinDonuts), I often gravitated to the shelf that was labeled "Unexplained." Or maybe "Mysticism and Myth." This was before "Newage." Paperback Booksmith was long gone by the "Newage Revolution." Closed in Fall River because it couldn't get a dime out of illiterate locals who would hurry past the shop, bedeviled by the unattainable smarts hidden there. Some local oafs would fumble through the remainders bin looking for nudie picture books. But this isn't about them.
UFOs and the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot and ghosts and the search for Noah's Ark. Ancient astronauts and past lives and horoscopes. There was plenty to keep publishers and Leonard Nimoy busy. But 1980s cool reason and attention to investments led to the downfall of 1970s fondue party occultism -- just as similar concerns had swept away the 19th Century's tea parlor spiritualism.
But, like the current resurgence of Disco and hip-huggers -- for the folks who weren't alive to be embarrassed by them the first time -- a whole new generation of consumers can stare fascinatedly at blurry images and confuse their parents with questions about pseudoscience.
Back to Fall River MA. Here's
one of the worst articles I've ever encountered (unfinished headline and all). It chronicles the publicity whoring behind something called TAPS Paramagazine, which has set up shop in the mill where I once worked as a greasy-spoon cook, and stolen-sample knock-off retailer.
The SciFi Network (which I know only because it broadcast Farscape and the new Battlestar Galactica) has something to do with this
Ghost Hunters whose stars hatched this TAPS Paramagazine which is bankrolled or something by "RW Bluestroke" (yeah right) and Ric Oliveira. Oliveira has a local radio show called "Under-Reported" which allows Ric to go on about conspiracy theories and Libertarian stuff he grabs off the Internets, and he also publishes "news" weeklies (a Portuguese-AND-English language local and a Spanish-language paper about strong coffee, as far as I can tell). Ric is a smart guy who found a "niche" (actually, a hole within a vacuum) so I'm not sniping here.
So the Ghost Busters Hunters now have this editorial office in the Tower Mill, a "factory outlet" in a city that once boasted a thriving bunch of "factory outlets" that sold shirts and sweaters once made in these very buildings. So this former sweatshop rents editorial office space to the Ghost BuHUNTERS.
I saw the show on Scifi once, and had to marvel at the stars' obviously only-sporadic interest in their own work. I was, however, impressed by their ability to accidentally phlebotomize a little genuine history into the overwrought Nightvision and Shakycam production.
The We'll Try City, of course, has done everything to welcome their newest low-rent tenant, which is a specialty-interest magazine destined to go where all specialty-interest magazines eventually go. But that highschool hoops star from the Fahrrivah Office of Economic Development who says "tew" when he means "to" was there, so maybe they'll be "successful" in The Former Troy.
At least these 21st Century In Search of... stars have got another season or so before they're as big
a Fall River failure as Hess LNG. But then again, I've never seen teasers for stories about stigmata and ghosts of aborted fetuses on the Hess website.


furiousBall said...

The SNL skit with the guy from House parodying the Ghost Hunters show was hilarious. Nice blog here btw!

Dr. Momentum said...

I read every paranormal book in three libraries before I was 16. And a few in Paperback Booksmith (may it RIP).

I'm not really familiar with the bunk that the Ghost Huinters peddle in, but it's probably a slight improvement over that whackjob Jon Edward and his Crossing Over hokum.

But, oh goody - just as summer is gearing up I'm-a gonna have something new to make fun of on my blog.

Many thanks. I'll save it as a treat for some day that I'm bored and need a pick-me up.

ThirdMate said...

Thanks for visiting, furiousball. "Nice blog" yourself.

To the Doctor: We come up with the most amazing entertainments. Some are funny haha some are not so haha.

The entertainable mind (that laughs at talking animal jokes, accepts a cheerleader killing vampires one hour a week) wants at least to enjoy the hokum, but our rational mind shows us the reality.
All "speculative" arts, when presented properly and perceived critically, should entertain, inform, and inspire.

The paranormal is a velvet Elvis.

Julie said...

I believe Ghost Hunters (or some similar show on the Sci Fi channel) featured an armory in New Bedford a few years ago. Somehow I managed to miss that episode (and all the other ones).

ThirdMate said...

It was GhostHunters. And it was the National Guard armory. I watched this clip. I hate it when, even in a good magician's trick, you can see him palm the quarter. No fair shutting off the camera. Apparently one of the show's stars is a cop whose mom's parents live in NB. He seems like a nice guy.

I must have had some kind of switch installed at birth that keeps me from starting up a non-profit paranormal investigation team. That or I just couldn't run the improv 24/7.
I'd just look like a tired Dan "Ray Stantz" Aykroyd.