Friday, February 09, 2007

Have We Finally Entered the Twilight Zone?

Normally I don't do a lot of posts about current events since they're not usually sci-fi related. But you gotta admit this has been a mighty strange week in the news. First we had Lisa Nowak, who has to be a brilliant woman to have been an astronaut, completely go off the deep end. And now Anna Nicole Smith. Okay, her death wasn't a surprise at all. But I just turned on the news and this is getting even more surreal-- if that's even possible. You want to know what the latest "news" on this whole deal is? Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband is now claiming that he is the father of Anna Nicole's infant daughter. Say what? Prince Frederick von Anhalt, Gabor's husband, at 59 is quite a bit younger than Gabor who is 90. That's right, 90. But really, where the heck did this come from? He claims that he and Anna Nicole have had an off-and-on affair for years and that he may be the father of the baby. Good Lord. Do you think Anna Nicole was even aware of this? Okay, that might have been a cheap shot. But really, this is so bizarre. I keep expecting Rod Serling to enter the room and say....... For your consideration.... The story of a talentless woman who nonetheless became quite famous for her incoherent babbling. She inexplicably rose to fame and wealth through strange marriages and a reality show no one ever admitted to watching. Through a haze of drugs and big hair she conceived a child by a man she could not later identify. And now she is abruptly dead, though her legacy lives on in a child who may inherit vast wealth. And now, in the Twilight Zone, we watch as men we never knew existed step forward to lay claim to the dubious honor of having fathered a child with a woman who had the brain of an eggplant.


Alex said...

Gawd! Imagine if she turns out to be the Archduke Franz Ferdinand reborn, and her assassination, cleverly disguised as a botox overdose, sparks a third world war! It could all be over this time.

jedimerc said...

Funny I was thinking we've been in a Twilight Zone since 1914, then I fully read the first comment... hmmm... coincidence, I think not :)

Peter P said...

Well, truth is stranger than fiction.

We need more SciTru.

SQT said...

SciTru could be a new genre. Kind of like Ann Rule's books about people like Ted Bundy. Only SciTru will focus on the weirdness that seems like it can't possibly be true--but is.

Alex said...

Like how people still think Uma Thurman is hot. It seems like science fiction, when it's really science fact!

Anyway, at the university level, they call this stuff Religious Studies. A bunch of people believing in invisible friends because -- and get this -- their invisible friends say so! It's too much for the rational mind to comprehend, really. Faith over fact, magic over natural causes, little invisible demons over causality, and an easy, convenient place to send all your excess money. Tax free.


Peter P said...

How is Science not a religion?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

We are definately in the Twilight Zone.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well at least they're not talking about hillary for a day or two. i'll take anything i can get there.

smiles, bee

Stewart Sternberg said...

I think every generation has looked at their world with that feeling. Allow me to refer you to the early 1970's..the war is in full effect in Vietnam, with the president of the United States admitting he has been conducting a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia. Meanwhile there are Republicans breaking into psychiatrist office to steal files on a man who has shown the world the US went to war based on a lie (sounds familiar that one). Students are being shot by National Guardsmen, the Attorney General all but condones it, the Vice President has to step down during a bribery investigation, a UFO scare is in full effect following the 1969 moonlanding, and Michael Jackson is still black.

Everyone lives in weird times. I would hate to live in times of normalcy.

The Curmudgeon said...

This is just my perception, clearly labeled as such, but do you agree with me that Anna Nicole Smith has received a more sympathetic treatment in the press... and even in the Blogosphere... than Lisa Nowak?

Is it just our cultural aversion to speaking ill of the dead that's involved?

Or is it something else?

Lee said...

I'm just gonna come right out and say it. It's possible that I'm the Real Mom of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. See, I had a baby and then one day I was abducted by aliens and when I was returned, my baby was gone and Anna Nicole Smith had her.

SQT said...


If Anna Nicole has gotten better treatment, I would think it's because she was viewed as stupid. Lisa Nowak is clearly extremely intelligent, so her behavior seems inexplicable. I think we kind of expected ANS to behave like an idiot, but we certainly don't expect our "best and brightest" to lose it so spectacularly.

SQT said...


My goodness, you better sue for a maternity test right now!

Alex said...

"How is Science not a religion?"

Because science embraces knowledge while religion attempts to sidestep it. The idea of faith is that, no matter if there is no evidence of something, or worse yet, no matter how much evidence contradicts something, you are still supposed to believe 'because ____ said so.'

Insert your god or holy writing above.

See, it amazes me how people can not even understand the difference between belief and knowledge in this day and age. It's as if the Enlightenment never happened, and we're reverting into a third dark age in the west. I can feel another wave of inquisitions coming - it's already damaging enough to one's career to admit you don't believe in barbarian superstitions like the other 90% of the world's delusional human occupants.

Peter P said...

Because science embraces knowledge while religion attempts to sidestep it.

That sounds like propaganda.

What is knowledge? Science is just one of many ways to explore knowledge. Scientific method is still a belief system.

SQT said...

I tend to agree with Peter. Aren't there scientific "facts" that have to be taken on faith much the same way as religion? Isn't that why we're still looking for the missing link? Also, is the big bang a theory or proven fact?

I'm not saying science is wrong. But I do think a lot of science is based on hypothesis and a faith of sorts that everything can be explained through science. Religion may seem murkier but to some it's just as provable as science in so far as they see the bible as proof.

Alex said...

Erm... science admits it doesn't prove anything true. It can only prove things not untrue. For instance, lung cancer cannot be proven to be related to smoking; however, it has been proved not unrelated.

And therein lies the difference. Religion claims to hold the universal truth. The only problem is that most of the time, when the religious establishment is actually willing to reveal their truth, it is proven wrong within a century.

Do all of you xians believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old? That the sun revolves around it? That humans before the common era lived in excess of 500 years old (check the bible before you lash out at me on this one)? That Noah's family, Jews, were the only humans to survive the flood, yet his granddaughter married a black man? That demons, and angels, and magical purple unicorns float around unseen all day?

Ok, so I added the purple unicorn thing, but there's not much difference.

What amuses me is that most otherwise rational people can have faith in something that has been proven wrong over and again. People use the excuse that organized religion isn't the only kind, but these people still attend church every easter and xmas.

And the inconsistencies I mention from the bible are not even the tip of the iceberg! Moreover, it's the same thing in every religion. You would think literate people could examine the textual evidence and come to an intelligent conclusion.

I think people are just to stubborn to think for themselves, though. They have a pleasant fiction that makes them feel all safe and snuggly, like they've curled up on top of the fresh-out-of-the-dryer metaphysical laundry, and rather than really inquire into the reasons for things, they cling to the last shreds of the safety blankets they've had since their parents inculcated the magic rituals and didactic fables into them at the youngest age possible, in hopes of meeting the least resistance from a mind only partially developed.

It's really quite repulsive, when you think about it.

SQT said...

Ah, Alex, you mistake my comments as meaning that I am religious. I am not.

However, as many religious fallacies there are, haven't there been as many scientific one's over time? Science is constantly changing what is held to be true. Granted, science is willing to change and accept that old beliefs no longer can be proven as fact. Religion does not tend to do this.

I wouldn't claim religion as superior to science. I don't believe in many things the bible says. But for some people faith makes them happy. As I believe a "faith" in science makes others happy.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Yes but science never says that is is always fluid and changing as technology changes and people learn new things.

And scientific theory is based on key facts.

What is religion based on?

What is the difference between religion and fairy stories?

Just the will or need to believe.

And how did we get on this subject.

SQT said...


Someone said (not me) that science was it's own religion.

You and Alex are right in that science science tries to remain based on provable fact whereas religion is pretty much entirely faith based. I only agreed with the original statement because I think there is a certain amount of "faith" in the belief that science will explain everything.

I do wonder about the posibility of an afterlife. If it exists I doubt it will be anything like any religion expects it to be. I'm weird though, I believe in ghosts and I think there are one or two real psychics out there (though most are frauds). So I tend to think there are things that science will not be able to explain.

Lee said...

Wow this post about ANS got really deep didn't it?

Crunchy Carpets said...

Sqt...I am with you in that things are far more complicated than even science today can even begin to imagine...but it is getting there.

Have you heard about the Quantum Computer a local company says that they have!?

That means that the existence of parallel universes is now real.

That boggles my mind.

SQT said...

Lee- Who'da thunk it?

Crunchy-- That is amazing. If they can prove that I will never doubt the ability of science to prove anything ever again.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Just think, in another universe, Dick Cheney would be President..Ann Coulter would be a woman. Hmmm....

And as for the religion issue..I just gotta do a posting on religion and science fiction. I love good debate, and I think the debate that's been going on here has been exceptional. I've been lurking for the most part (Bee almost got me to come out), but it's been wonderful.

This sort of debate is when this blog shines. I remember the debate that went on about Muslims. I thoroughly enjoyed that. Most responses were articulate and polite.


SQT said...

Thanks Stewart!

I may not be objective. But I think my little blog attracts a rather intelligent group. A lot of the comments blow me away in their cleverness and intellect.

Personally I think it's because there has to be a certain intelligence to appreciate and understand most sci-fi. Other genre's are easier to understand IMO. But sci-fi draws so heavily on advanced technology that it requires a certain willingness to think it through. Not for the lazy reader/viewer.

Alex said...

I'm going to keep the conversation drift going by agreeing with SQuirT here: I think scifi and fantasy have been the origins of most of the truly thoughtful social commentary and explorations of the human condition for the last 50 years. In so many other genres, especially what they call mainstream fiction (and what I call literature for the semi-literate), fiction has become a stagnant spawning pool for the laughably formulaic. Only very rarely does a great author struggle his way out of the slime.

But scifi/fantasy has always been more work. I mean, pick up a copy of any contemporary piece, and you are immediately inundated with the esoteric language of a professional or socio-cultural other, which you have to have faith that the author will explain (or, more appropriately, reveal through action) as the work goes on.

I mean, if someone wasn't used to science fiction, and didn't know the author would eventually clue you in on what the hell this alien jargon meant, think how confused they would be after reading only the first page or three of any modern work.

Also, I think you can get away with a lot more when things are allegorical, set in a different culture, or in a world with different rules. It's easier to not sound preachy, controversial, or political when you're talking about Gilgothean Stomach Squirrels, as opposed to the NAACP.