Sunday, February 12, 2012
We want to believe their head exploded...
Today, the kids got into a bit of a heated debate. I advised that they look it up. Yeah, as a parent, this kind of is the catch-all answer to debates but it got me thinking...
When the kids were debating whether a woman could actually walk around all day and not know she was stabbed or if a man could be beheaded on an amusement park ride and no one says anything...
Why do we want to believe wonky shit like this?
It isn't just kids, either. I have heard rational, intelligent, well-read adults spout some amazingly stupid shit and look at me and say, "Well, I saw it somewhere."
Or, "Jim said it happened to his cousin. So, well, you know it is true."
We have all heard of urban myths--lies that are commonly held as true because enough people have repeated them. Or old wives tales. Call them what you will, I still get enough people sending me pictures of children who are suffering from cancer who honestly believe that facebook will give the kid money needed for surgery if we just share the picture.
Which, by the way, is a hoax. And cruel. If you a. Believe that this family benefits from you sharing a picture of their child suffering b. That sharing it on facebook is giving them money or c. you are doing something good, you've been had.
But why do we as human beings WANT to believe the wonkier shit?
I think it boils down to the same reason that I can write a heartwarming story about a vampire or a zombie and have the reader emotionally involved in the plot even when they realize that this person does not exist.
(Although for some reason, if I write a menage, you all think I have been having an exciting weekend. Because, well, y'know I can't have made that up.)
We love a good story. We love to feel like we are part of the story. A piece of humanity is the love of being storytellers.
Does this mean I am not annoyed that the kids believed that a person had their head chopped off on a ride and that it only rolled off his shoulders once the ride stopped?
Does this mean that I am happy to share that picture of the kid that you share on my facebook wall?
No, dammit. Stop doing that shit.
But it does mean that I get why you are doing it.
And it is a really good thing.
Because it also means that when I write a story about an alien who loves nothing more than to come to earth to fuck a woman, just one woman, who coincidentally was the one woman in the whole universe meant for him...
You are going to believe.
Thanks for keeping me in business.