The Cure for Skeptical Depression
Being a skeptical person can sometimes be rather depressing. Some days, all it takes is yet another news story about an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease or a psychic conning a missing child’s parents to make me want to curl up in a ball in my basement, away from the world—just me, my jumbo bag of cheese puffs, and a marathon of Doctor Who.
That’s one of the reasons finding a community of skeptics can be a lifesaver, people who don’t regale me with miracle stories or “proof” that evolution is wrong, people who won’t suggest a homeopathic remedy for my cold (although to be fair, drinking lots of water does help). But I don’t live in a bubble of like-minded people, and I don’t want to. I kind of idealistically believe that skepticism and critical thinking can change the world, and the only way to do that is to get out there among people who think and believe differently than I do so that we can learn from each other.
But this time of year especially, when from Thanksgiving to New Year’s I spend way too much time pretending I have social skills at various parties and family gatherings, when I spend most of my time avoiding confrontation because it’s really not the time or the place, the skeptical blues come on a little heavier than usual. As a person raised on The Simpsons, I find that the only thing that gets me through this time of year is humor, especially satire. So I thought I’d share a list of some of my favorite satirical sites. Kind of a sample pack of skeptical antidepressants.
- The Onion (I’d be shocked if you didn’t already know of The Onion. The best part about moving back to Minneapolis? FREE copies of The Onion in coffee shops. Free actual paper copies that are free!)
- The Chicago Dope (Another fake news site with headlines like “House Republicans Repeal Law of Gravity” and “Guinness’ Curse? Record Holders for ‘World’s Oldest Person’ Keep Dying”)
- Mystic Mayan Power Cloak (NSFW, S, or H. If you actually go through the process of trying to buy one of these, it’s even funnier.)
- Eternal Earthbound Pets, USA (A service run by atheists to care for pets after their owners are raptured)
- News Thump (A UK spoof news site brought to my attention by our own Mindy and now in my favorites list)
- Improbable Research (The source of the Ig Nobel Awards, they actually write about real scientific research that is hilarious, but with a sprinkling of satirical ones just to keep you guessing)
- The Daily Mash (Another UK spoof site, complete with Psychic Bob’s astrological predictions and a dating service)
- The Daily Rash (And yet another fake news site, not quite The Onion, but with some good bits on occasion, such as ‘Occupy Antarctica’ Protester Carries On Despite -50 Degree Temperatures)
- Two religious-themed satirical sites that have been mistaken for genuine: Christwire and Landover Baptist
- Borowitz Report (A new find–Thanks, Cathy! Comedian Andy Borowitz’s political satire)
This is obviously not an exhaustive list. What are your favorites?