I was going through the SGU’s mailbox this morning while downloading the Rift client(1). As I was reading all the great stuff people send us I came across this interesting question from listener Jason from Leeds in the UK.
… A while ago, my partner and i started watching ‘medium’. Having a daughter of our own, we like the fairly life like family life it portrays. We treat the main character ‘talking’ to the dead as pure fiction. Unfortunately i got hooked before realising it was based on a supposed real life Allison de bois! Am i betraying my skepticism watching it?
The Short Answer
The Long Answer
This is something I struggled with for a bit when I first realized I was a skeptic and found this community. I had trouble watching movies and shows and reading books about ghosts, monsters, aliens and psychics because I would think that if I let myself suspend my disbelief just for a bit, I would lose my “good little skeptic” status. It’s not that I wouldn’t watch or read these stories, but when I did all I could think of is how absolutely silly their premises were. Just trying to debunk everything that was going on. Constantly telling myself how and why these things are impossible. Being in that frame of mind made them lose a lot of entertainment value for me. Yes… even Ghostbusters.
During our weekly games of World of Warcraft, I would listen to the rogues talk about the movies and TV they’ve seen, the ones they love, and the ones they hate, and I got a lot of recommendations from them(2). And it was strange to me that a very large portion of the stuff they talked about dealt directly with ghost, aliens and monsters. Especially Zombies(3). Hell, Bob even operates a haunted house every Halloween. And that made me realize something. That whether you’ve just discovered your skepticism or you’re a very experienced skeptic and prominent in the community, that you CAN suspend your disbelief. And that’s okay.
It can be tough, I know, because some of these things are about stuff we deal with directly in the skeptical community; Alien UFOs, ghosts and in your case, mediums or psychics. And I understand that it may be harder in the case of Medium since is based on the claims of a “real life medium“. That makes it hit a little closer to home and makes it harder to derive all the entertainment value out of it that you could. But if you enjoy the show for its characters and stories, then just enjoy it. You’re not any less of a skeptic for that. And if you watch these types of shows with your daughter, you can use them as good discussion points and education opportunities.
10 of my Favorite Movies(4)
- Independence Day
- Back to the Future
- District 9
- Dawn of the Dead
- The Exorcist
- The Shining
So keep watching the things that entertain you. Suspending your disbelief purely for the sake of entertainment is fun, and it definitely doesn’t make you any less of a skeptic.
1. Joreth – Eth Cleric – Defiant Faction – Shadefallen Shard
2. Steve… 2001: A Space Odyssey is still boring as shit. Call me a philistine all you like.
3. If you like zombies, check out the Dead Island Announcement Trailer
4. Did I mention Ghostbusters?