Here at Skepticblog, I have been advocating a new proactive approach I call Guerilla Skepticism and an even more on-the-offensive Ambush Skepticism to try to get people off their asses and into the street. My degree is in art and I spent my formative college years in the seventies studying what was then called “Happenings” and what later became recognized as “Performance Art.” This was never an easy discipline. It embraced pioneers of this art form who did everything from burning the skin off their bodies for their art to spending weeks at time in an art gallery inside a locked cage with a live wolf. The Art school at Cal Arts had a hard time accepting it as art, and the Theater school next door had a hard time calling it theater. Whatever it was, it showed me that people can become devoted and passionate about what they have to say. I did things on crowded street corners and in laundry mats. I performed street magic, ate fire and juggled at the Department of Motor Vehicles. In short: I got into the public eye. I grew up in the 60’s, where people had strong ideals and when needed, took to the streets. These days ideals seem to have been replaced by social networks who would rather have meet ups and talk than protest and affect real change.
What is it going to take to get skeptics to stop thinking and actually start fighting back? Will we eventually see people like Connie Sonne in office as Attorney General or do we have to sit through another person like John Ashcroft who thought calico cats were harbingers of the devil? Ashcroft covered with blue curtains the partially nude female statue of the Spirit of Justice which stands in the Great Hall of the Justice Department. He was doing what he thought was his duty as an elected official. Today we are surrounded by lunatics that make my generation of Nixon and Haldeman look like tiddlywinks in comparison. Wake up Ladies and Gentlemen! Little by little we are losing our grip. What’s next, “Connie Sonne: The Musical?”
I realize that many will say that it’s easy for a person like myself to call for something radical than to actually go out and do it. But I’m sorry, that’s just another cop out. I have plans. I am doing things right now. Some of which I have already shared in past posts here and some operations that will remain “eyes only” for those who I know I can trust and who I know will actually put these plans into motion. We need a coordinated “Delta Force” of our own skeptical movement to go out and get some real attention.
Let’s call this hands-on group of woo fighters for right now: FORCE ONE. It’s a force whose time has come.
Make no mistake, there’s a whole new flock of “executive psychics” being trained by ESP Bootcamps and mediums like Lisa Williams coming out of the woodwork. Lisa has a petition on her website to get another season of “Life Among the Dead” on Lifetime. Did anyone ever think we would see a serious show with a title like that and not expect a “Tales from the Crypt” format? ” How about a petition to keep shows like this off any channel? If we don’t make a concerted effort we may find ourselves on the losing end of a culture that venerates seers, witches and demons above reality and who may scape-goat us skeptics as the rabble-rousing trouble-making undesirables of our society. I hate to invoke Godwin’s Law and the detestable Nazi era, but it’s the intellectuals that go first folks. Check your history books.
1) Legal implications: We have plenty of lawyers on our side who could be brought into the FORCE ONE circle. We are only standing up for what is right and legal. We are not subversive. We are concerned citizens. Our ranks are filled with teachers, professors, scientists and leaders from all walks of life. Our free speech is protected under the law. As I mentioned before in previous posts: Do you think any of the thousands of phony psychics,medical quacks or faith healers give a crap about the law? No, they don’t! So why do most skeptical minds always remain so polite and civil? Why do so many free thinkers shrink from seeing this situation for what it really is? Mediums claim to talk to DEAD PEOPLE. Isn’t selling tickets to convince an audience you are talking to dead people taking money under false pretenses? Where’s the cops? It seems so obvious to me and I’m not even a law student. Where’s the justice here? If you doubt there is harm being done every day, go to Tim Farley’s site, www.whatstheharm.net and read all about it. You already know all of this! I’m preaching to the choir.
2) Not “Activist” types: Anyone who seriously attends a skeptical meeting or hangs out with people who have a conscience, has a brain and uses it to think are activist types. It’s just a matter of how you are going to activate. You may not have to march around the auditorium with placards at Sylvia Browne’s next big gig, (BTW: She’s back on tour right now with Montel…) but you can print flyers, write letters to newspapers, buy fortune cookies to hand out or make phone calls to other people without fear of being hauled off by the police or being harassed by the woo people. What you do doesn’t have to be confrontational. Leave anything weird or wild to me or someone who isn’t afraid to get up in front of people and act up. That’s how FORCE ONE will get noticed. The environmental movement has Greenpeace. The anti-war movementt has Code Pink, The gay movemnet has Act Up. Now the skeptic movemnet has FORCE ONE. We will take it to the streets and to the limit. I’m willing to take a few arrows. Are you?
If not, …then why not? Give me a good reason to stay in the shadows.
3) Waiting for someone else to step up: Do I need to describe how lame that excuse is? If we wait too long it will all be over and we will be left wondering how it all happened. Boom: …. we are the minority. We are already dangerously close to that status right now despite the growing numbers of the skeptical movement. We need to keep momentum growing. As I stated in the beginning of this post: there are thousands of people waiting to know what to do. Let’s show them. The only way to grow is to become visible. People in other countries around the world aren’t afraid to protest, march and let their voices be heard. What’s wrong with Americans? Is it something in the water? Chem-trails? What then?
There are skeptics willing to do this. Remember: 90% of doing any job is just showing up! So show up somewhere! Check Sylvia’s or Lisa William’s tour schedule. It’s right there in front of your Googling face!
I know you are out there. Now all we need to do is organize. And organize we will. I’m working on it every day. But WE (meaning those of us with a backbone) can’t do it without YOU (that is, those of you with a backbone or who are willing to grow one.) I know, I know. How dare I write such quarrelsome attacks? Well, those of you who get what I’m saying will get it and those who don’t will just go on making excuses. That’s just the way it is. FORCE ONE will leave you behind in the dust. One day you will read about us.
To be clear, I’m not writing about tar and feathering the neighborhood tarot reader or the little old lady who reads tea leaves at your local coffee house. We can live on with all that sort of woo in our midst. Those are a fairly harmless lot of dabblers. It’s the big fish who do the real harm that I’m after. You know who they are. Turn on your television.
My dream is a dream that can be realized. One day people like Gary Spivey, Chris Moon, Lisa Williams, Chip Coffey, Connie Sonne, Sylvia Browne, James VanPraagh, John Edward, Lisa Williams and the swelling of new con artists, charlatans and monsters yet to be unleashed upon the unwary may wake up one morning in a cold sweat and (in the worst case scenario even just for a moment) wonder, what are those FORCE ONE people up to today? And in the best case scenario; media like the Fox Network will be forced to open up their eyes and reportage to the reality that FORCE ONE are out there, getting in the faces of the phonies and becoming a real force to be reckoned with.
It can happen.
May the Force Be With You…