SOAPBOX ALERT – READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK
*Ahem* I was going to be cleaning the kitchen later today anyway, so I figured I’d just step onto this soapbox that’s already here so that you can see me better. You in the back? Can you see me? Can you hear me now???
Fellow paranormal citizens:
I stand before you today, crushing this tiny soapbox to smithereens because I feel moved to take action. But since I can’t do that, I’m going to blather about it instead, sharing with you any thought that flits through my wee brain while you are gathered before me. I am certain that you have all been eagerly awaiting my opinion because, let’s face it, I AM that vain and I AM that much of an attention whore. If I wasn’t, why would I be risking life and limb to stand on a soapbox – oh hell, okay – we can all see that it is actually a small Windex spray bottle that I have completely flattened so that it is leaking out all over my floor. Perhaps I should have taken my flip flops off and put on boots before standing on it. My feet are wet.
On with my speech.
Recent events have occurred that have, once again, polarized the paranormal “community.” The pile on has begun, as people argue the relative aspects of who is right, who is wrong, who is a jerk. Scandal and controversy is, once again, rocking the paranormal world.
These are TV people, folks. Sure, they get on television and do quasi-paranormal stuff on a weekly basis, but they represent only a teeny tiny faction of the paranormal community, which is made up of ghosts, Sasquatch, Yeti, millions of aliens, demons, Nessi, and yes – I’ll say it – serious-minded paranormal investigators. Why do we continue to waste our time on scandals among the paranormal “glitterati” when we have so many more important things to do? Love our children. End hate. Stand up for the marginalized. Build stronger communities. Oh – and figure out just what the heck is going on out there in haunted locations around the world. So why are we wasting time screaming about the few, when there are so many of us who can actually be taking action – whether it is within the paranormal community, in our own communities, in our families, or in the world at large.
The Internet is both an amazing and hideous place. So much to learn – such ready access to high quality information. And such absolute shit. Love the high-quality information. Getting pretty tired of the shit – and I think you know what I’m talking about. Armchair quarterbacks with virtually no information on a subject hysterically hurling insults at one another and paying no attention to anything other than their own opinions. Trolls. Mean people. It’s why I log on to laugh at fuzzy kittens with questionable grammar, update my Facebook status (it’s the attention whore in me), do research for my articles, and log off most of the time.
There are real issues in this world. Important ones. Hate speech is one of those important issues, certainly. As are the recent spate of bullying-related suicides, the fact that we have barely come along in terms of prejudice, and the fact that we’re raising disconnected and unplugged children. These are just a few of the things wrong with the world, and there’s no text box big enough for me to type them all. There are also real issues in the paranormal. Like, for instance, we have no measurable way of truly knowing what it is that we are encountering. Or that the public at large sees one aspect of the paranormal – the TV people – and they have very little clue of what it is that we really do.
I’ve been watching a discussion with a few people who are bothered and embarrassed to be paranormal investigators because when they tell someone what they do, people treat them like they are nuts. It’s not surprising really, because look at who we are allowing to be our ambassadors. I know – we have very little control of what happens on television, and we can’t control who represents us to the public, right? Wrong! We certainly can’t control the TV people or those hysterically flopping around in the muck of their scandal, but there are things that we can do.
First – be an ambassador. Get out in the community and show people that not all paranormal people are obscenity-spewing nutbags. Make an effort to find ways to share with the community at large because I’ll let you in on a little secret. They want to know what it is we’re up to. The TV people have done one terrific thing – they’ve gotten people curious. Last month, Jim and I attended a wonderful little paranormal conference put on by the group P.A.S.T. is Present in Yakima, Washington. The conference’s organizer, Ellen, did a wonderful job of reaching out to the public, and many people turned out who were just curious. I was able to talk to a lot of people who were struggling with paranormal issues and to show some who were curious another side of the paranormal that they don’t see on television.
Next – step away from the scandal. That’s right. Put it down and step away. Not getting involved doesn’t mean that you condone or denounce what someone else does. It means that you don’t add fuel to the fire. If the scandal brings up an issue about which you care passionately, then by all means, share your passion for the issue – but do it in a constructive and non-hysterical manner – without name calling and hissy fits. Get involved in organizations that promote your beliefs. Instead of screaming about it – get off the couch and do something. It is through meaningful action that we can change the world – so be the change that you would like to see. And – if you must jump into the fray, make sure you have your facts straight and that you understand the issue before getting your panties all in a wad. And then – attack the issue. Not the person. Please?
Finally – do what it is that you do. Do it with honesty, integrity, and maturity. Keep an open mind. Be willing to look at all alternative explanations. If someone says your orb is a bug, be open to that. Be as critical of your own evidence as you are of everyone else’s. If someone disagrees with your conclusions, listen. Don’t attack. that’s the maturity part.
What I’m saying is this. Be the best darn paranormal investor you can be. Be above the fray. Represent yourself, your group and the community at large in the best possible way that you can.
That is all. Now if I can just get out of this pool of Windex without slipp….THUD.