Quickies: Critiquing skepticism, the start of the Satanic panic, and the Nebula awards

  • Dear “skeptics,” bash homeopathy and Big Foot less, mammography and war more – “When people like this get together, they become tribal. They pat each other on the back and tell each other how smart they are compared to those outside the tribe. But belonging to a tribe often makes you dumber.”
  • Honey locusts, ever ready – Their motto is “Be prepared.”
  • The disappearance that started Satanic panic – “There were rumors the boy ran off into the university’s steam tunnels, thinking that Dungeons & Dragons was real.”
  • Women swept the 2015 Nebula Awards – “The science fiction world has had its share of drama with the Hugo Awards as various slates have worked aggressively to push against the growing numbers of women and people of color appearing on award ballots. The Nebula Awards have demonstrated, for two years in a row, that science fiction and fantasy literature remains a strong, inclusive body of literature.”
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Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. May 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm —

    Oh please. The ‘Satanic Panic’ was NOT just about D&D. While that’s certainly a worthwhile focus for study, decades of bogus multiple personality stories, persistent witchcraft notions in fringe Christian sects, the creeping awareness of the prevalence of child-abuse coupled with unwillingness to question religious or parental Authority…

    • May 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm —

      I think they mean the very specific panic regarding D&D, which is a thing and it’s silly as hell.

      There’s other Satanic Panics over other silly things.

    • May 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm —

      Yep! It went at least as far back as the Michelle Remembers hoax, probably back to the moral panic about comics. Certainly it existed in the late 70s with people playing records backward. (And even before that, Manson said that was why he murdered Sharon Tate.) And even in the 90s, there were Satanism rumors about Magic and Pokemon, not to mention alternative music as a whole.

      • May 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm —

        And Harry Potter, and rap music, and the list goes on and on.

        My favorite version of this was a preacher who was railing against a Queen song that, when played backwards, sounded like it said “it’s fun to smoke marijuana”.

        What song was it in which Freddy Mercury extolled the wacky weed in back-masking? Another One Bites the Dust, a song that when played forward is literally about gunning down your rivals on the street.

        Gotta love those priorities.

        • May 20, 2016 at 11:58 am —

          Yeah, I remembered Harry Potter about fifteen minutes later on the bus. Which I should’ve thought of, really.

        • May 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm —

          I’m actually doing a filk of “Another One Bites the Dust” because of recent events on the Great Orange Satan.

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