Professional skeptic Michael Shermer’s 100th column in Scientific American is a terrific piece, partly because it contains—in addition to his usual dose of clear thinking and deft handling of Big Ideas—this passage that amounts to a prose poem.
It must be true — I saw it on television, at the movies, on the Internet. The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, That’s Incredible, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, Loose Change, Zeitgeist the Movie. Mysteries, magic, myths and monsters. The occult and the supernatural. Conspiracies and cabals. The face on Mars and aliens on Earth. Bigfoot and Loch Ness. ESP and PSI. UFOs and ETIs. JFK, RFK and MLK — alphabet conspiracies. Altered states and hypnotic regression. Remote viewing and astroprojection. Ouija boards and Tarot cards. Astrology and palm reading. Acupuncture and chiropractic. Repressed memories and false memories. Talking to the dead and listening to your inner child. Such claims are an obfuscating amalgam of theory and conjecture, reality and fantasy, nonfiction and science fiction. Cue dramatic music. Darken the backdrop. Cast a shaft of light across the host’s face. The truth is out there. I want to believe.
Of course, my offering this as a prose poem, out of its context, detached from its rationale for existence, doesn’t make it a prose poem. Does it? And if it does, what does that make me?
A Conceptual Poet? A Flarfist?