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Monday, January 25, 2016


Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
We've started watching Jessica Jones, a TV series on Netflix. It comes to us from the Marvel comic book universe, so some characters have some supernatural abilities. It's an entertaining story about a young woman working as a private investigator in Manhattan, who just happens to be as strong as ten men, never mind that she has the physique and pallor of a genuine New York junkie. The story has some interesting characters, but the key one right now is a guy who can control people's minds. He does this by planting ideas in their heads. Sometimes they are fairly innocuous suggestions which will appear to be the most natural thing in the world. Other times they are compulsions that will cause them to commit horrific crimes even while they are aware that they are doing things against their will.

    The magic practiced in the novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is often of a similar bent. It involves people seeing absolutely bizarre apparitions and accepting them as completely normal. Occasionally it involves people seeing things that aren't really there, and as we often say, seeing is believing.

    I have some friends who sometimes send me articles from the fringe: tales of UFO's, alien encounters, government conspiracies, chemtrails, stuff that I am apt to dismiss out of hand (except for the government conspiracies, those are all absolutely true). Now you might think that my friends are ignorant, uneducated yokels who might be a couple of bottles short of six pack, but they aren't. The people who are sending me this stuff are all intelligent, educated people who are living normal lives. How can this be?
    For a long time I just dismissed their beliefs. I couldn't understand how they could be reading this trash, much less believing it. But now I think I have a clue.

    Recently I came across a story by a guy who was wondering the same thing about people who weren't toeing the mark on issues like Global Warming and Genetically Modified Organisms. It's almost impossible to get to the truth of the matter on subjects like this without spending years of your life researching it, so we listen to what the experts have to say and make our decisions based on what they tell us.
    They could be telling us the truth, or it could all be bullshit, and how would we know? So basically we are basing out opinion on whether we believe them or not. If you are old enough, you know that big organizations, government or otherwise, have no compunction about lying and if you've been bitten by their bullshit once you are going to be very leery of believing anything they say now, which might make you inclined to listen to people who don't have a track record of lying to you, or at least they haven't been lying to you about important stuff.

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