Friday, October 31, 2014


Spencer Dryden
Once again I was stuck on first sight. Disbelief. It's not a word I use regularly. I had to play around with it for a while before remembering suspension of disbelief. Oh yeah, that's a really important thing. They (that great mass of experts) say that suspension of disbelief is essential in writing science fiction. I think it is present in all fiction to some degree, and essential for daily living.
They (there they are again), they say that we are defined by our beliefs. Fanatics of all stripes like to recite beliefs boldly, loudly. Pledging allegiance is a good thing, most of the time, but I didn't know what 'pledge' or 'allegiance' was when I first learned to recite the bit.
For any of you who are old enough to remember, back in the fifties, when nuclear war seem inevitable, there was a movement to put permanent ID bracelets on all children. I can still see the bracelet.  The front had identifying information. The Pledge of Allegiance was on the back. I'm doing this from memory and not research, but as I recall, the Catholic Church had a fit, claiming it was the the feared mark of the beast from the Revelations (13:16). (No doubt there were other groups with similar reservations.) Secondly, a Roman Catholic in good standing could not embrace any organization that claimed affiliation with the almighty. We could not, for instance, belong to the YMCA or the Masons, because both secular organizations had ties to the deity. They (once again, that disembodied group) capitulated and made a special bracelet for Catholic kids that omitted the Pledge of Allegiance. The bracelets were also made removable, which defeated the whole purpose. Can you believe it? A little disbelief would have been in order.
Disbeliefs put order in our lives just like beliefs. I don't believe in zombies or vampires. I do believe in UFO's, alien encounters, and time travel.(As well as the Oxford comma, which I just demonstrated in the last sentence.) I don't believe in reincarnation, but I do believe there is a spiritual realm beyond, or just out of reach of this one. I do believe I have a muse. I try earnestly to disbelieve in critics-even when they are right. I embrace conspiracy theories for the sheer thrill of it. Unfortunately I don't believe the Masons rule the world, even though I want to. They let my brother in. He's a shrine clown who rides around on a go-cart, invading children's peaceful dreams. Maybe in that one sense Masons do rule the world, the world of our childhood fears. Who really likes clowns anyway-besides other clowns? (Sorry if offended any of you clowns, but stop scaring people will ya.)
I believe in the power of marketing. I only wish I was better at it. Talk about suspension of disbelief; the idea that long legged, narrow hipped, large busted women will love me for the beer I drink is a billion dollar delusion fostered by the NFL. Roger Goodell (NFL Comissioner) does rule the world, attended by a host of clowns. It's really frightening. I wish that enjoying football could be detached from the tawdry elements of the game behind the game. But they (damn, will "they" ever go away?) they say that by writing pornography we are feeding the chain of sexual enslavement. Our disbeliefs help us make sense of our paradoxical choices. Here in Minnesota we gave a billion dollars of public funds to a couple of clowns who own our football team so they could build a new stadium where we can pay ten dollars for a beer. The pitch was economic development. Mercy. I'm only asking for a buck for one of my books. I wish I could get that kind of suspension of disbelief going for my stuff.
It was big trouble for the Church on the day it was announced that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. I'm quite certain it didn't happen in a day. I think at the 700 Club they still believe it. They are looking for Noah's Ark and trying to explain away dinosaurs. They are also one of the voices that condemns our craft.
It's going to be a big day of rethinking when we finally admit that we have been visited by aliens and worse, that the seeds of life didn't spontaneously arise here, they blew in with cosmic dust. Carl Sagan used to say we were made from 'star stuff' but that means organic as well as inorganic. I can't recall which Kurt Vonnegut story gave the perfect explanation, that an alien craft dumped their holding tanks here and life arose from that primordial compost. They don't want us to believe it. Roger Goodell will have the NFL rights in an instant, if he doesn't already. Send in the clowns. Suppose the aliens are really here for the beer and big breasted, long legged women? They could do worse.
When auditioning for a spot on an inventors TV show I signed a contract that gave the producers rights to the universe, for eternity, to languages and media not yet in existence. Maybe they'll want my grill on the planet Mongo. Or worse yet, some alien group is going to sue me for patent violation. Maybe my grill is a meme like the Clovis point ,racing though the space time continuum and it just landed in my head.   If it ever gets written, my third installment of the Gueschtunkina Ray Gun series uses this concept to explain how the weapon gets across space and time. I'm still working on the suspension of disbelief for that notion. But why not? Really, when you keep breaking it down, everything is just vibrations. Why couldn't vibrations migrate across all kinds of barriers we only think exist but in fact don't. Check out the Multiverse Theory sometime.
Well, I see its time for Thursday Night Football. Nice visiting with you all, but there are some large breasted women and cold bottles of Coors that need my attention.


  1. Rats! I guess YouTube is going bonkers again. This was a funny little Claymation cartoon from a series called Prometheus and Bob about an alien trying to teach a cave man various aspects of civilized behavior. It came through fine in the draft. Well, suspend your disbelief.

  2. A delightful essay, Spencer-

    The planets around the sun deal was a biggie for them to admit. On a round earth, the idea of heaven-up, hell-down lost some credence. Poor Galileo. "They" hadn't caught up yet.

  3. Great post, Spencer. I'm with you on the alien craft dump. When I read Stephen Jay Gould's book about the Burgess Shale in British Columbia, and all the fossilized organisms that were unlike anything else yet discovered and didn't seem to have gone on to evolve into anything now known, I thought right away of alien bilge water, or worse. Life as we know it may well have evolved from other ships' leavings instead. Maybe if the Burgess Shale critters had become our ancestors, marketers would be pitching an image-of-choice very different from long-legged, narrow hipped, big breasted women. The mind boggles!

  4. "I embrace conspiracy theories for the sheer thrill of it."

    Spencer, you excel at being funny, while scattering nuggets of wisdom among the laughs. Great post!

  5. Thank you Lisabet. You must have found someplace to plug in.

  6. This was a delightful post, Spencer. Definitely made me smile.

  7. Wow! And you thought you had nothing to say on the matter, Spencer. Well, I disbelieve that! ;) Your connection between the massive cultural exercise (daily, hourly) of suspension of disbelief in order for most mainstream advertising to somehow just keep rolling on is very astute. How do we stop it, that's the question ...
    You were an inventor? I think out of all the genres of writers,we erotica writers seem to have the most eclectic and unexpected background careers.
    Engaging post!

    1. Thank you. I agree with your observation about erotica writers. Put it down to the Freudian thing of transference.


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