Earlier this week, Anne Sauer from Mad Art Lab wrote about the “cure-all” science and history demo she did in the Skepchick Sideshow party room at CONvergence. As promised, below is a video of one of the many performances of the weekend, followed by a transcript.
A reminder: We are auctioning off the etched decanters she’s using, which were specially designed by MAL’s Donna Mugavero and laser-etched by Reclamation Etchworks. All auctions end Sunday night, July 21, starting at 9:00 pm Eastern. Check them out here!
I also want to take a moment to thank Anne for everything she did to make SkepchickCon a huge success. The Mad Art Lab artists as a whole (even some who weren’t there!) stepped up not only on panels and in the Geek Art workshop but in their contributions to the website and the party room: Scientist paper dolls by multiple artists and the origami hats with the SkepchickCon schedule printed on them from the Sandbox workshop (thanks to Beth and Katie for bringing these to the party room! Brilliant!), Ryan’s exquisite dragon and fairy bones and fossils on display, the Sideshow theme posters and fliers designed by Donna and featuring photos by Gigi, and Anne’s ongoing demos and creative input, plus her willingness to jump in and help with whatever we needed.
The beauty of SkepchickCon has always been that it doesn’t just preach to the choir. It reaches out to sci-fi and fantasy fans, kids and adults alike, who tend to be open and interested in learning more about science and skepticism (plus CONvergence is just a blast to attend). This year, MAL helped us raise the bar by bringing art to the outreach and science education in many more ways than ever before while also adding to the fun everyone had. It was like creative con intersectionality in a way, expanding our view of science and skepticism and the modes we use to educate and learn to include more overlapping talents, interests, and skills, and therefore giving more people a way in to science and skepticism, all while having a great time.
I raise a test tube to you all!
Featured photo by Jamie Bernstein.
The Amazing Skepchick Cure-All Video
Featuring Mixologist Anne Sauer.
Recorded by David McConnell, with titles and effects by Jason Thibeault.
Transcribed by Chris Pederson.
The Amazing Skepchick Cure-All Transcript
Anne Sauer: Hello everyone. Step on up. Step on up. Let’s see, do we have any, any sick folks in the crowd tonight?
Audience member: Me!
AS: Ma’am, do you experience heart palpitations whenever you see three [inaudible] of Corban Dallas walking down the hallway of CON? Well? You do, you do. Well, we have something that will fix you right up, keep you safe to wander the halls. You, sir: Is your stomach feeling a little upset from maybe one too many sandwiches in the CONsuite or one too many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters? A little dyspepsia going on? We’ve got something for that too. And I saw someone in a very adorable Pikachu costume earlier but I thought that maybe it was just jaundice.[Laughter]
AS: Well, whatever it is we’ve got something to fix it right up. What would you say, folks, if I told you, if I told you that all of these things could be cured with one single tonic?[Crowd yelling]
AS: One daily dose of the Amazing Skepchick Cure-All every day will fix up whatever ails you. What would you say to that?[Crowd yelling]
AS: What you should be saying is “bullshit.”
AS: All right, so let’s back up for a second.
Audience member: I win!
AS: So, one of the ingredients that we feature prominently in our Amazing Skepchick Cure-All is something called bitters. Does this bottle look familiar to anyone here?[Crowd yelling]
AS: Very good. Angostura Bitters. You may have seen this on the back shelf covered in dust at a bar somewhere. If it’s one of those fancy cocktail bars maybe further up front. So bitters were, are a mixture of different herbs and spices that are used in cocktails. And some old-fashioned ingredients so old-fashioned it was actually invented as a medicine, originally. And what made them consider it to be a medicine was the fact that there was something much older called the bitter principle, where people thought that evil would drive out evil. So essentially if you have nasty things going on inside of you, tasting something that tasted nasty would get that right out. That’s some sound medical, some sound medical science right there.
Audience member: Science!
AS: So, now most people these days know that this is not really a medicine. It is a delicious way to add some balance and spice to a cocktail. But it’s not really going to fix you up. When they were marketing this in the nineteenth century, they would say that it could fix everything from, like, we have here, jaundice, dyspepsia, palpitations, so headaches, stomach aches, incontinence, impotence, blemishes on the face, really anything that was wrong with you, some of this would solve it. And of course we know that it is not true anymore. But there are other things that are marketed in the same way that we should be equally skeptical about. Um, one in particular, another featured ingredient in this drink, green tea, you can find people who will say that it can cure everything from gingivitis to cancer. And so just because it is something that is a little more familiar doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be skeptical about it as well. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. All right, so all those other cure-alls out there, don’t trust those hucksters. But you can trust the Skepchick Cure-All: it is scientifically proven to cure you of sobriety.[Crowd cheers]
AS: If you’ve gotten a stamp from our nice volunteers in the corner, I would love to serve you up a dose of our Cure-All. My name is Anne Sauer, I’m a writer for MadArt Lab, which is one of the Skepchick sister sites. We write about science and art and all things geeky. So come check us out at Madartlab.com. Step on up and have a tonic. Thank you, folks.