Oldest Trick In The Book Bites Dog

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Memo to Jodi Livon: NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE>

Ever since the 2016 election brought "fake news" to light, the term's been badly misused because this is 2017 and words don't mean anything anymore. But if they did, "fake news" would be completely made up stories on completely made up websites designed as either clickbait, propaganda, or both. This is different from biased journalism, which gets shit wrong to promote an agenda; bad journalism, which gets shit wrong because of the current sad state of modern journalism, and bullshit journalism, which are stories about bullshit that don't treat bullshit as bullshit.

Which brings us to the Star Tribune's fluff profile of local "psychic" Jody Livon, which contains the following sentence that anyone with a passing interest in skepticism will cringe at. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I maintained my journalistic skepticism. But then, she started answering questions before I could finish asking them." - author Aimee Blanchette.

Of course she did. That's how mentalists work. That's the trick. Now, if she were answering your questions BEFORE you asked them, or even better, e-mailed you the answers to your questions before you even met her, we'd be having at least a slightly different conversation. But buying into a psychic's snake oil because she wasn answering questions you were already in the middle of asking? Clearly, the word "gullible" isn't in the Star-Tribune style guide.

I'm not going to delve too deep into the specifics of Livon's con. She calls herself "The Happy Medium", which will not in any way be mitigating evidence should she ever be brought to trial for anything. Her schtick is what would, in a bygone era, been called "hippie dippie New Age bullshit" but could be more currently described as "post-fact Goop bullshit". Take, for example, how she deflects the obvious talk of using her powers to get rich on the stock market.

“I am so alive to my own insights that I can feel things about every single thing in front of me. But I don’t predict the future. Predicting the future limits people in a nasty way.”

Notice the "don't", not the "can't"? Wouldn't want people to believe your power is limited in a nasty way, after all. As with all mentalists, the excuses for why it didn't work quite right "this time" need to be flexible and variable to meet the spur-of-the-moment need when their guess about what question you're in the middle of asking is slightly off.

She also says everyone is psychic to one degree or another, and when she's not spending her time exploiting grief John Edwards-style or allegedly consulting with corporations on hiring decisions (in case you were still under the impression we lived in a meritocracy), she teaches other people how to unlock their psychic potential, or their "intuitive coaching" potential.

See, according to Blanchette, Livon prefers the term "intuitive coach" to "psychic" because of psychics who have given the profession a bad name, presumably by all being fake-ass motherfuckers. Wouldn't want Livon associated with fake-ass motheruckery, no sir. That's not journalism's job. Journalism's job is to report uncritically that the psychic "can communicate with the dead", which somehow made it past a fucking editor. COME ON. Quis custodiet ipsos dumbasses?