I love the smell of grilled moron in the morning

A superb flaming of astrology in today’s Guardian. A snippet:

“What star sign are you?”

“I’m whatever sign whose prediction this week read, ‘On Sunday, a friend who has masqueraded as a rational human being for the 15 years of your acquaintance will stand revealed before you as just another cack-brained, gibbering fool swirling in a festering cesspit of stupidity’.”

Astrology has always mystified me. Why do people who usually claim to being rational and level-headed happily let some snake oil man in a newspaper predict and dictate their actions? Why especially do newspapers like the Mail, which preach “common sense” shriekingly from the rooftops, happily peddle idiotic “personalised horoscopes” on the following page?

A counter-argument is that “Well, it’s only a little bit of harmless fun” – well, no. It’s fraud, simple as that. A few people are happily getting rich (admittedly, with admirable chutzpah) by conning others into saying they predict the future and the stars are guiding you (hang on, why aren’t I doing this? I could write a pseudorandom generator for the horoscopes and let the cash roll in).

And while Joe Public living by their horoscope is relatively “harmless” in the great scheme of things, it gets a little less serious when you find out an American President happily relied on them. Dunno about you, but I feel a little worried by a man with his hand on the nuclear button being manipulated by some shady soothsayer.

Egotism, I think, is probably the driving force. That and lack of time or commitment. Unlike other systems of belief, such as most major religions, which rely much on communal activity, sacrifice and humility (a generalisation I know, but a reasonably accurate one), the astrologist just wants your money. In return, what you get is purely individualised – the more money you fling, the more individualisation. At the very heart of it lies a spectacular arrogance, in the belief that the planets and stars are actually moving on your behalf – if the world doesn’t revolve around you, then at least all the other celestial bodies are doing so.

6 thoughts on “I love the smell of grilled moron in the morning

  1. like the tone of the article. It’s written in a shallow, aggressive, frothing way by someone who’s good at selling rants – and not arguments – to some smirking berk of an editor. It’s abusive, makes sweeping generalisations and has this tired Islington Ponce smugness about it, looking down its nose at the Untermenschen who live outside Boho London and in the provinces. It’s also in the worst traditions of Fleet Street smear jobs. You usually get this crap in tabloids, but the trendy old Grauniad thinks it’s perfectly OK to smear it on an easy target. It’s one thing to believe a load of rubbish about one’s ascendant, but does one really have to be such a rude, vain and nasty twat (i.e. Guardian hack) in pointing this out? That’s egotism if I ever saw it.

  2. Where is the snobbery in that article? If anything, it’s the reverse, attacking the vacuous practices of those who have more money than sense.

    Being rude is not very nice. But I’d rather people were rude to others based on what they do, rather than their race, sex, class, etc. Rational argument is important but there are other forms of rhetoric one can shoot down idiocy with.

  3. but does one really have to be such a rude, vain and nasty twat (i.e. Guardian hack) in pointing this out?

    Yes. Being nice hasn’t bloody worked. It’s SLAPPING TIME! In areas like this – areas of simple, plain, unadulterated moronic belief – a little bit of condescension, arrogance and downright rudeness is exactly what’s called for. The idea that in the 21st century – the twenty-first bloody century! We’re supposed to be driving flying cars by now! – it’s still considered OK to believe in shite like this, that it’s not mocked and belittled and gigglingly pissed upon at every turn is a disgusting insult to the Enlightenment, rationalists everywhere, and the venerated decomposing corspe of Carl Sagan.

    Seriously. They had an end-of-year show on Radio 5 several days ago. It included an astrologer making predictions about the coming year. Ignoring even the fact that his predictions were shite (“we won’t see much of Jude Law in the coming year” – well, you could knock me down with an IMDb!), I was infuriated that nobody even thought to challenge him on his failure to draw up even one horoscope in the previous year that said, for example, “you will be drowned in a vast tsunami on the coast of the Indian Ocean”. For somebody come on and try to influence people and to make money out of deceitfully “predicting” the future, mere days after such an horrific demonstration of the future’s terrifying unpredictability, was not merely asinine, it was actually offensive.

    So yes. This was good. Both for the reasons stated above, and also because someone seems to have taken Charlie Brooker on in an all-Grauniad swearing competito0n, and that’s a fucking good thing too…

  4. Yes, I’ve never quite figured out why The Observer claim to be a serious newspaper, and yet still employ that quack.

    As to people taking offense, well. If no-one was quite so utterly stupid as to believe in this claptrap, we wouldn’t need to point out that they are so completely fucking stupid it’s a wonder they can remember to breathe.

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