Monday, 16 November 2009

More on the psychic network...


“Do you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, capable of communicating with the world of the living? Aye, right. That was Jack Parlabane’s stance on the matter anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but dead with an exclusive still to file."

I seem to be having a week of fake psychics. Having posted last week about my Psych mini-marathon, this week I find myself reading Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, the latest – and last? – of Christopher Brookmyre’s Jack Parlabane books, which is all about journalist Parlabane’s attempts to debunk a fake psychic. For those not familiar with Brookmyre, he is probably best described as a gloriously Scottish version of Carl Hiaasen: seriously angry, brutally funny, slightly absurd, and ruthless in his skewering of hypocritical and corrupt politicians, businessmen and religious figures – anyone, basically, intent on telling the little people how to live their lives while they feed their own greed. His books can roughly be divided into the Parlabane novels, which tend towards the political satire, and the rest which, while still serving their politics on a plate of ground glass, tend to feature more larger than life characters such as art thieving masterminds (with a heart of gold), evil global terrorists and seemingly invincible mercenaries. True, he’s had the odd misfire – A Snowball in Hell used such broad strokes it could have been a Ben Elton book – but generally you know with a Brookmyre you are in for a good read. He’s also a bit of a geek, so you’re guaranteed at least one character who affectionately reflects this – in this book, it’s a student who wears a long brown coat and uses the alias Malcolm Reynolds...

But what prompted me to post about this is more the content than anything, because as a culture we currently seem slightly obsessed with the debunking of myths and liars. Shows like the Mentalist and Lie to Me are flourishing because, in a post-Bush/Blair/WMD world, we’re drawn to people who see through the lies we fall for, to people who won’t be fooled, perhaps because collectively we’re still living with the cost of buying into bullsh*t on a global scale. What is says about me that two of my favourite shows are about fake psychics, while two are about real ones, I have no idea...

Quote of the Day
Harmony's a vampire? She must be dying without a reflection.
Meow, Miss Buffy