Skepchick Quickies, 10.21


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. That article on 2012 is quite depressing. People are actually thinking about committing suicide because they’re scared about the world ‘ending’ in 2012?!

    I wonder if there’s any way to persuade Sony pictures to put a *prominent* disclaimer that not only is the movie fiction, but that the world is not going to end in 2012.

    Sony’s spokesman said “We believe consumers understand that the advertising is promoting a fictional film.”

    I’m sure Orson Welles thought exactly the same thing.


  2. “If these trends continue for 10 generations, Stearns calculates…”

    Right, because selection pressures, especially sexual selection, are so stable over multiple generations.

  3. @Jen: Indeed!

    In fact, there was a break for station ID between the two acts, not to mention that the show featured a standard introduction (“Mercury Theater on the Air presents…”), then opens by quoting directly the opening of the book. The only way you could mistake the broadcast for real is if you were, say, tuning away from the Chase and Sanborn Hour and came across the Mercury Theater broadcast right at the bit where Carl Phillips gets disintegrated… which is apparently what most of the people who believed the broadcast to be genuine news did.

    And then, of course, this:

  4. I certainly hope that no one kills themselves over a movie. I wonder if that would be an indication of a deeper problem that needs treatment. Certainly no healthy person would consider that course of action.

    Also, I’m getting deja-vu. The quantums in my head are leaping to future conclusions.

  5. I nearly jumped out of bed and cheered when I heard that Gardasil had been approved for males. Also male contraceptives are about to hit the market. It’s about time we got some gender equality in these areas. Forget “sponge-worthy”. The new high bar will be “needle-worthy”.

  6. @granular_serene: Well, in that instance, the perpetrators were indeed intentionally trying to deceive people. They didn’t use a disclaimer and cast the station’s regular news crew in the show… Still didn’t deserve to be burnt alive by an angry mob, though.

  7. Hysteria? Really? I’m guessing unconfirmed internet urban ledged stuff at this point. And for what its worth this is the same crap Christianity and most other religions with any apocalyptic theology have been using to keep their followers servile and scared shitless for millennia.

    Hmmm, burned by an angry mob…, hell yes! And balloon boys’ dad should be tossed in the fire to because he apparently said he thought the world was coming to an end in 2012.

  8. @Steve: Morbid thought: I wonder if there’s a list of movies ranked by viewer body count. I know “Natural Born Killers” and “Jackass” have both been blamed for deaths.

    I think the Superman serials have caused more than a few. Two of my friends broke their legs (years apart) by putting on a cape and jumping off their roof. Stupid people can find inspiration everywhere.

  9. @Joshua: Yeah, they even broadcast fake reports of objects detected in space heading for earth for days before the broadcast. now that’s what i call commitment to your hoax! i’d love to see that story made into a film…

  10. I remember several times that the world was suppost to end, how is 2012 any different? I really think that if some people drank less, the long term memory might come back. lol Every year there is a new disease that’s going to kill us all, “Chronic Wasting Disease, Bird Flu, Mad Cow….) and every few years the world is going to end. I remember 1999, 2000, and 2001 the world was suppost to end in all of them, 2004 mainly becuase the election. Let’s not forget that polls show that 25% people think Jesus will return and bring about the end of days by the end of this year. 25% believed it last year, and the year before.

    And DaveW, You’ve had friends jump off of roofs thinking they could fly? I consider myself a loyal person, however I think that would make me reconsider or redefine our friendship

  11. @granular_serene: The Ecuadoran ‘re-play’ of the hoax in 1949 did indeed cause deaths – when the people found out it was a hoax…I love this story.


    The riot resulted in six (or more) deaths, including those of Paez’s girlfriend and nephew. Paez moved to Venezuela after the incident.
    –(From the Wikipedia link you provided)

    Me too, g_s. There’s nothing like innocent children being murdered by rampaging mobs to warm my heart. That’ll teach that bastard to copy Orson Welles!

  12. @sethmanapio:

    Actually, their calendar doesn’t even “end” in 2012; it just rolls over to the next place. It’s sort of like 1999 going into 2000, or maybe it’s more accurate to think of it as 999 going into 1000.

  13. I’ve already read about the “women of the future” article on a different blog. It’s actually a pretty good study, but I think it’s a little premature to extrapolate the results from one town to the whole world, or even to an entire country.

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