Author Topic: SGU 5x5 #10  (Read 2317 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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SGU 5x5 #10
« on: March 13, 2008, 10:24:19 PM »
Steven Spielberg to create new paranormal online community.
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline Luke

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2008, 10:45:25 PM »
Interesting 5x5 episode. I never realized Spielberg's affinity for the paranormal, but looking back it's not surprising at all.

I was a little surprised you guys didn't mention his latest film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. From what I've seen of it so far it seems to center around Roswell and what looks like an alien skull that probably incorporates the claims surrounding other crystal skulls.


Offline Jacques

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2008, 10:58:39 PM »
Oddly, I have less problem with Indy going after the Holy Grail and Ark of the Covenant than I do with alien skulls and Area 51.

Offline Apeiron

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2008, 05:09:25 AM »
(Off topic: I have actually seen all those famous crystal skulls in real life.)

Anyway, I'm downloading the episode now. Yesterday I downloaded the file as well, but it didn't work. Seems fine now though :) (See the discussion in 5x5 #9 about the glitch).

Offline Vlot

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2008, 10:59:27 AM »
Oh come on guys. It was pretty clear to me when I watched it that Taken is meant as fiction.

I enjoy lots of fiction with paranormal elements.

Offline Evan

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2008, 12:45:08 PM »
Here's a good treatment by our friend Chris Mooney from back in 2002 when Taken was coming out.  

http://www.slate.com/?id=2074656

Spielberg is a true believer, and he does the consumer no favors by helping blur the lines between reality and fiction, which is exactly the net effect of a product like 'Taken'.
"The masses are asses." - Perry DeAngelis

Offline Vlot

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2008, 01:02:55 PM »
I don't doubt that Spielberg is a true believer but this just feels like fundamentalists warning us about Harry Potter or Catholics criticizing the Da Vinci Code.

I can't see how Taken by itself can be understood as anything other than fiction. Not living in the United States, I wasn't aware of how the Sci Fi Channel packaged it, but that does sound bad.

Offline Nigel

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2008, 01:50:06 PM »
I'll try and find a link, but I am pretty sure it was in a recent issue of GQ (or was it the New Yorker, damn my memory) that the idea for fourth Indy movie came from George Lucas, and the others in the project were dubious with the plot line.  

"Close Encounters" scared the crap out of me when I was a kid.  I was petrified of dark  rooms in the house I grew up in that those gray alien buggers were going to snatch me up.  

I hated the movie "E.T." as a kid when it came out, and as an adult.  Stupid movie.  

"Jaws" like sharks actually exist.  Sure, right.  (just kidding)

Whether Spielberg is a big whoo believer or not, he is a very talented film maker.

Offline GHcool

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2008, 07:52:31 PM »
Spielberg is probably not a true believer in the paranormal or aliens.  I never heard about the story where he left a hotel because of ghosts.  It sounds like an urban legend and the skeptics on the show should be ashamed of propagating it on their podcasts.  The fact that Spielberg made movies about aliens in the past and will continue to in the future does not mean that he believes in aliens nor does his relationship with Tom Cruise mean that he believes in Scientology.  As for Steve's recommendation that we "separate the art from the artist," I think we can all agree that the good stuff Spielberg has done through the Shoah Foundation and other charitable and philanthropic works far outweighs whatever harm he's done by making a few bucks entertaining the world with woo-woo ghost and alien stories.

Offline mosat

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SGU 5x5 #10
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2008, 03:38:57 PM »
I'm a big fan of the podcasts but this one fell flat on me. I had taped Taken when it aired a few years ago but had not got round to watching it until a few months ago. It is not presented in a documentary style at all, it used the standard narative methods seen in ET and Schindler's List. I didn't see anything in it which was trying to give the impression that the series was based on fact. It did tie into the whole area 51/Roswell crash mythos but so do many other movies and TV shows.

Spielberg may or may not be a true believer but I wouldn't expect him to come out as a skeptic, many of his projects tap into the modern myths of ghosts and aliens so he has an incentive to fan those flames.

I haven't read anything about Spielberg to make me think he's any crazier than your average Hollywood big shot and it would not suprise me if he is but the news of the web site does not strike me as anything other than another way of tapping into his fan-base and makes business sense for that industry.