The UK regulator, Ofcom, has issued a clarification for purveyors of TV programmes based around psychic powers, basically reminding them that they are all frauds. Most advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, but participation television – where viewers are encouraged to call in, and pay, still falls to …
May I remind you
That Sky is at least £240 per year yet the BC has much better programming for only £145.50 per year.
It also doesn't have crappy adverts to increase that figure and radio broadcasts are included. I personally couldn't go without the radio 4 comedy broadcasts, Doctor Who, Buzzcocks, HIGNFY, Top Gear, and so many other quality programs the BBC provided and don't forget BBC news is unbiased unlike Sky 'news'.
The BBC is excellent value for money and isn't bloated, it works to a budget and its all accounted for, the Murdoch's on the other hand don't give a damn.
There is also "Harry Hill's TV Burp"
Wherein Harry Hill spends a half hour making fun of X Factor and Downton Abbey.
"I personally couldn't go without ... Top Gear, and so many other quality programs the BBC provided "
"don't forget BBC news is unbiased"
"The BBC is excellent value for money and isn't bloated"
Wow, I wish I could be that sarcastic and still keep a straight face.
The thing about the BBC is, if you refuse to pay the license fee, you get fined and potentially sent to prison. If you refuse to pay the SKY fee they... cancel your service. That's it. You have a choice with SKY and other subscriber-based services but you have no choice at all with the BBC. If you watch TV, you pay for their output whether you like it or not, whether you watch it or not. I don't watch it, but if I were to choose to watch just the toss on ITV (which apparently not many people do these days given their collapsing viewing figures) I'd still have to pay for the BBC. I object to the BBC on that principle alone: they provide output I don't want or need and use threat of force to extract the funds to pay for it. I don't care how "efficient" they are, how much "value for money" they provide, they have no right to that money because I don't *want* to watch the BBC and I don't want to pay what is actually a significant amount of money when you're on a low income for a service I don't use, just so some middle class twat can feel smug about the "quality" of the BBC's output.
As a consequence I don't pay a license fee on principle. It means I can't watch television but, to be honest, it's not much of a loss.
But think about that... if I don't want to pay for the BBC, I can't watch live television without breaking the law. How is that in any way moral, ethical or fair? If it were Microsoft in the same position with computers you'd all be screaming moral outrage but, because it's Auntie and the goggle-box, suddenly it's perfectly okay to extort money from single mothers and the working poor to pay for a bunch of never-had-a-real-job trust-fund babies to prance around on TV and pretend they're worth listening to.
"if I don't want to pay for the BBC, I can't watch live television without breaking the law."
At home, that is. You can go out, to the pub for instance.
And Microsoft did try it. They're still trying it. There were deals where Microsoft got a cut on each computer a manufacturer sold, whether you bought Microsoft software or not. And now when you buy an Android phone, with no Microsoft product in it, you're probably paying a Microsoft tax.
@Scientologyisacult: I entirely agree with your general point...
...but you weakened your argument severely when you referred to Top Gear as a quality program.
@Robert Carnegie, really you're demonstrating my point (and I know MS tried it, that's why I mentioned them in the first place). There are some differences of course: a phone with data capabilities is an essential piece of equipment, even when you're a sparky, whilst watching TV is a luxury and largely pointless but, in both cases, the injustice of one party using the power of the state to extort money from others to pay for a service those others don't desire is the same. In that sense the BBC is marginally better inasmuch as they do at least provide a service of some sort, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay so someone else can watch television.
My phone, however, is a Sony Ericsson. Unless I'm mistaken, Sony-Ericsson has no licensing deal with MS so for now I'm in the clear.
Except for the whole "it's made by Sony" thing, which is another issue...
And, for the record, there are far better things to do in a pub that watch TV. They only show football anyway.
Whatever would we have done without your incisive analysis?
Well, it's better than being called a paid shill I suppose.
What part of "I don't watch tv" don't you understand? Top be frank I wouldn't watch anything from sky, either; it's all shite too now. My point, which you spectacularly failed to understand, was that the BBC is funded by people who don't want to watch or pay for it's output but may want to watch other channels, but who don't have any choice in the matter. Its funding is gathered by a set of odficious thugs who use the power of the state as a ckub to extact money from people who can't afford it. It regularly brings prosecutions against people who watch teelvision but never watch the BBC.
explain how that is in any way just.
I'm not saying that the BBC licence isn't a tax on owning and operating a broadcast-television receiving device, which now includes a PC if you use it that way - they're taking a view that watching live broadcast TV online still counts, but only if it is broadcast material and is live.
But it's an annual charge that is still under 40 pence a day - I calculate that it's US $0.62. For that, they create all BBC TV, radio, and online services.
If you choose not to use TV services, that's fine.
Easy to say. They get most of their funding from international sales of their intellectual property, EU grants and other such funding channels. The license only counts for a very small part of the BBC's income these days. They could survive without it, they're just addicted to the free cash.
Can we short them?
If you're a psychic lets play a few gambling games where your psychic ability will allow you to beat the odds.
If you haven't beaten the odds after a statistically significant number of goes you loose everything.
That includes your church if praying doesn't work.
I suppose ofcom could insist on seeing a photocopy of the cheque from the James Randi educational foundation for $1M after they've proved any evidence of paranormal activity.
See here for more: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html
For anyone claiming this I suggest they go an collect their cash and then we can discuss it further over a bottle of something nice.
Other than my mate Mary the witch of course - she's great fun and I wouldn't have her any other way. She can see auras, read tarot, chat to spirit guides, and has a great cackle.
Ay that would do it
"Psychics" concoct one pathetic excuse after another why they can't spare a morning taking a cool million dollars from Randi. The common one is to pretend the money doesn't exist despite JREF declaring it on their tax returns. If that fails they'll concoct reasons the test cannot possibly work in conditions that prevent cheating or mere chance.
You'd think any genuine psychic would be around like a shot to pick up a cheque. I know I would. After all a million dollars would just be the beginning. Any winner would make tens, hundreds millions more hawking books, TV shows, lectures, readings on the basis of winning.
Yet mysteriously they all make their excuses. One can only surmise that genuine psychics are shy timid creatures who do not seek the fame and limelight which implies any of the numerous "psychics" who does seek the limelight is a complete fraud.
"You'd think any genuine psychic would be around like a shot to pick up a cheque. I know I would. After all a million dollars would just be the beginning. Any winner would make tens, hundreds millions more hawking books, TV shows, lectures, readings on the basis of winning."
Forget that, just go to a casino. If you even have slight psychic ability (say getting a red/black(/green) call right 53% of the time) you can make a metric fuckton of money out of any casino; although how long before the casino network throws you out is another matter. This goes for any person who claims that he has a "system" for gambling, who isn't a billionaire.
Well if there were genuine psychics then their personal forte could be astral projection, talking to dead people, picking up empathic "vibrations", telekinesis and so on. That's why Randi goes out of his way to allow the "psychic" to tailor the test in an agreed fashion to suit their claims. As long as the test was fair, precluded cheating by either side, or winning by chance and was self evident.
So if I claimed to be able to astral project the mutually agreed test might be to read 5 out of 6 numbers sitting under cups on a table in the middle of the room.
So yeah maybe there is a psychic who can see the future (though one wonders how you can see the future without altering it) in which case maybe they are cleaning up in Vegas and various lotteries. More likely is they don't exist at all.
According to their forum, at least 25 nutballs^H^H^H^H psychics have had a go. There are some incredible abilities out there. "Subluxation Identification", "Paranormal Urination" and "Breast abnormality detection" being among my favourites...
(Pardon me, madam. No, it's okay, I'm qualified to do this. Hold still, please...)
Does this mean that....
Does this mean that we're heading into a media state where only those who follow the received wisdom of current trends (that is, David Attenborough and the weird bloke who does stars and galaxies in caves and derelict buildings) can say anything on telly, or will it be good enough to say "it is my belief that the spirit of a dead squirrel is about to tell me where he buried his nuts"?
Where will the limits be in the future? Today, psychics and rogue healers, tomorrow Christians, Muslims and Jews, the day after, Global Warming sceptics, the day after that, opposition party members.
So if you sold your house cos somebody on QVC said the world would end -in 2012 you can't sue them or Ofcom.
On the other hand a statement on party manifestos saying "This document is purely for entertainment purposes" could be useful.
There is a clear line between the supernatural and the natural. Psychics, healers and religions ask you to believe without proof.
Global warming sceptics and opposition party members are essentially making fact based arguments, so it is possible to pick apart their arguments and see what are established facts, what are controversial/unknown issues, and what are irrational beliefs and biases.
When the theological arm of the house of lords tells us that the shops have to close at 4pm on a Sunday because that's what god wants, there isn't really much scope for reasoned argument.
"Oh no he doesn't"
"Oh yes he does"
"Oh no he doesn't"
The 'proof' these people provide is testimonial. Yes, people are planted to pretend they had an uncle Jack who worked in the fish market in Luton and wow, what a coincidence, that's who is speaking through the medium (why are so many mediums overweight?), but testimony is testimony.
Since our courts are based on evidence from witnesses, and much of our society is based on evidence from witnesses (we read reviews and opinions based on what people have experienced), is it safe for a ruling body to tell a section of the population that their evidence or experience doesn't count any more and, far worse, is fraudulent and that because a TV Executive can't prove it?
I'm not a psychic, I think it's bonkers and I don't understand why so many people want to talk to dead people when there's plenty of interesting people still alive, but do you think that everyone who has any kind of faith in something that hasn't been proved in a laboratory is either an evil charlatan who wants to deceive the world or is drunk on the cool-aid of a blind faith with no ground in between?
If anyone is stupid enough to sell their house because a nut on the telly tells 'em to, I have no sympathy. They should be laughed out of court.
Doesn't matter, won't care
People want to believe in the teeth of the evidence. One of my party tricks is to do cold readings from tarot or playing cards. I state beforehand that I am doing a cold reading and that I am only so-so at it, and that this is a demo to show how 'psychics' and fortune-tellers work. Then I do it. Some are amazed and amused by my accuracy, while others have told me with tears in their eyes that I have a Great Gift and that I should not deny it. Some even asked me to 'read' for them every week. I could have made a few bob, but I am an ethical person. So: even having heard me say that I am making it up, they can't accept that their own reactions, some good guesses on my part, and the human predilection for pattern and meaning have combined to create a convincing psychic event . Belief is always easier than skepticism.
years ago my line boss saw me pissing around in a lunch break with the cards and said 'do me one'..
Well I think I got the moon reversed and death somewhere.. so I said jovially 'someone near to you will probably go MAD and DIE!'
Unfortunately his sister did exactly that the next week and committed suicide.
He told me never to bring them in again..
I doubt it.
Are similar tough rules going to be put on wonga.com, we buy any car and the mirriad of cash for gold and cash for crash companies???
As they to prey on the vulnerable, desperate (and stupid)???
Crystal balls to it all
I always have to chuckle when a local spiritualist church advertises a psychic fair. If any of these folk were any good, they wouldn't need an advert. They should just know it's on. James Randi, anyone?
Ban the lot of them
I cannot think of any legitimate reason to permit "psychics" to have their own shows or spots on other shows except for the purposes of exposing them for the charlatans they are.
Begone foul Maltists
>The answers to many questions can often be found in a bottle of Talisker, IME :-)
>My favourite place to search is three glasses down a bottle of Laphroaig, but I salute you, sir.
Don't listen to these doomed heathens with their foul smelling malted brews children, true answers can only be obtained with the fruit of the Grape ! An Armagnac or Cognac are the only true paths to enlightenment !
(Available at a good supermarket or off-licence near you. Terms and conditions may apply)
The only true use of Cognac is to flambee a fruity fool...
And coming up next...
...neo-liberal economists, who reliably peddle a far more destructive blend of utter cack, but never seem to be called out on it.
If they were 'for entertainment only' the world would be a far more pleasant place.
The trouble is....
...I have difficulty telling the difference between fraudulent mediums and your average politician....
"Anyone claiming to be in touch with such a power (other than a recognised deity) must be very clear that they're doing so 'for entertainment purposes only' and not just with a banner at the bottom of the screen either, it has to be stated by the presenters."
Am I allowed to make a bet now that they figure out a way not only to defeat the intended purpose of that, but to turn it into a selling point? No? Oh, all right.
The way that the word "entertain" is used in the bible is one possible element.
CeilingTroll is not anonymous
SolomanTheTroll saith in Ecc 9:
2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good,
so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them.
3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
5 For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
It turns out that few people can live with ever-present meaninglessness. Its also hard to go against your culture, so in the western materialist-Darwinist culture, exploration of non-Darwinist origin accounts is pretty much forbidden in the public arena. That leads people to reject historical christian theology (which previously provided origins/destiny based meaning for many people) in favour of fluffy new age/eastern superstition or flashy preachers of health and wealth gospels or esotericists all of which are eminently suitable for scam artists.
However, most people just hide from reality, spending their time either in escapist media entertainment or at the bottom of a bottle.
Ah, the bravery of modern scientific culture!
She's a witch, burn her!
She turned me into a newt!!!
.........I got better.
...If only they would place the same strictures on politicians..
..climate warming scientists, economists, and Robert Peston..
Does this also apply to astrology?
The conundrum has always been
If they're psychic, why do they need to broadcast using an earth based transmitter?
The cost of psychic broadcasting is less than TV channel rental fees.
The church is still the biggest scam game in the world, and they dont have to say "services are for entertainment purposes only"
So here's the thing...
...I'm not sure if this is the right way to go. It just reeks of censorship. I don't believe in all that mumbo-jumbo, but far be it from me to tell other people they're not allowed to believe in it or tell other people it's true. If viewers are continually stupid enough to believe these claims it's their own problem. Wouldn't it be better to encourage people to think critically about what they see, rather than enforce it? And then where do we draw the line? It just looks like everyone's kicking up their secular heels without pausing to think of the ramifications. It wasn't so long ago that men of science were censored because they offended spiritual people. I'm not saying this is a totally wrong outcome, there are some obvious benefits on the table and we probably need certain standards for making claims on a public platform, but let's not become what we set out to overcome.
I believe there is...
...a law against obtaining money or goods by deception. Not sure why Offcom wants to poke its nose in.
And the fudging around recognised deities is plainly silly.
I have to go now, Beethoven wishes to speak to me.