Signs of the Fauxdiac

Horoscopes: the mass dissemination of the bumbling beliefs of a few people gifted with the “Eye”, or those who are very good at acting. The predictions (even such a statement seems imbued with some nod toward prescience) which are mainly found within the tabloid newspapers, and sit there with such smugness it’s unbearable. Just seeing Russell Grant or Jonathan Cainer’s gurning face in the banner of a newspaper makes me want to tear it out with my teeth, chewing and swallowing it with the bile it deserves; though I think my attuned body is sensitive to shit. Yet it appears to suggest that they are the selling point of the section, as in people trust these hucksters more than other, more amateur astrologers. “Oh hello. Is that snake oil you’re offering me? No, but thank you. Waaaait a minute, are you Jonathan Cainer? I’ll take 20!”

These celebrities of the guessing world are occasionally paraded on shows, perhaps notably for the New Year’s coverage where they offer generalisations for the year ahead, and for some reason they are treated like people who are worth listening to. This is at the expense of actual purveyors of knowledge; for instance scientists are excluded in favour of people who like guessing, but why? Rather than the pursuit of knowledge, it is easier to grab and maintain people’s attention with something about them. In the modern mass media it would be easier to predict people’s lives based on carpet lint than expand people’s minds. As much as I’d like to, the declining intellectual standards of the modern age cannot be wholly traced back to horoscopes.

Distractions aside, this leads me into thinking that with the breakdown of all roughly 6 billion people on the planet into the 12 signs of the Zodiac (roughly 500 million people within each category), does that really mean there are only a dozen types of people? Couple that with the daily predictions within the newspapers, eg “something good will happen after an unspecified period of hardship” – which is pretty much the standard template for every horoscope – it suggests that the same fate awaits all 500 million people living under the particular sign. So if all Sagittarians have “a new opportunity”, or Geminis are able to “find new love”, it results in something resembling a totalitarian regime.

So everyday when you see the horoscopes, they are in fact dictating to you what to expect in your day. The reader’s minds are being brainwashed by the predictions of a few astrologers, Imagine Russell Grant standing in front of a large crowd passionately demanding that “you should not live like this. You can live in this new way; the way I am showing you”. This traditional problem-solution strategy, is a standard feature in rhetoric and whilst is not obvious in horoscopes, just think about it. It’s the base assumption that they start from; it’s sitting there in their blatant mug satisfaction. Jonathan Cainer is Stalin. Come on. It’s not that big a leap.

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