Tuesday, July 25, 2006

God Save the Queen (of the Psychics!)

I've decided I'm moving to Britain. Partially because it's my ancestral homeland and the birthplace of my religion, but mainly because British reality TV kicks American reality TV's sorry, saggy ass.

To wit: Britain's Psychic Challenge 2006.

For six weeks, a group of psychics compete in a series of challenges to see who has the greatest extrasensory perception. At the end of each episode, the psychic who demonstrates the least amount of paranormal ability to a panel of skeptics gets voted off. This season's winner, Diane Lazarus of Wales, acheived so much attention and new business after her victory that she opened up her very own private investigation service, complete with two ex-police officers as trusty sidekicks. Maybe it's because I was raised on cheesy detective novels and a healty respect for the supernatural, but that's, like, my freaking dream job. I've fantasized about it for years. I've even got the strip mall where I want to open up shop all picked out.

But here's the kicker: the competitors on Psychic Challenge have to be genuine psychics. Otherwise, according to a nifty twist in British Law, the show would be illegal.

In 1951, the Fraudulent Mediums Act went into effect, which repealed the Anti-Witchcraft Law of 1735 (at this point in British history, they were having way more problems with shifty fortune tellers than they were with Witches). The new Act expressed "provision for the punishment of persons who fraudulently proport to act as spiritualistic mediums or to exercise powers of telepathy, clairvoyance or similar powers." Additionally, "A person shall not be convicted of an offence under the forgoing subsection unless it is proved that he acted for reward."

So back to the show. Diane Lazarus wins Psychic Challenge, which had to involve some sort of monetary prize, right? She was rewarded for having legitimate and/or believable "telepathy, clairvoyance or similar powers," and as such, she's officially, legally psychic.

Next to that, Wife Swap doesn't seem so revolutionary, does it?


Sarah L. Crowder said...

If you get a visa for the UK, can I get one too?

I promise I'll go live in one of those crummy, dying villages in the midlands where they're always trying stunts to get the population numbers back up -- and not stay in London, where I clearly belong.

I mean, regular tourists don't get shoved into the wall by hoodlums in the Finsbury Park tube station. Normally, they save that good stuff for the locals. But if they think you're local and, as a result, they shove you into a wall, and you start cursing at them, because they're little punk bastards...they apologize when they hear your American accent.

And they don't mug you.

I love stories with happy endings.

Evn said...

If the hoodlums instinctually shove you into tube walls, "Mind THIS gap..." then you obviously belong across the pond. Have a visa, on me.