Friday, February 16, 2007

Randi in Korea Part 2

As promised, I wanted to do a follow up post when Randi returned to Korea and did a number of shows on SBS a few years back in which he had a field day with various Korean psychics and fortune tellers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find much information on it on Randi's web site. This link gives some information (scroll down near the end), but not much.

I happened to see one of the shows purely by chance. As I recall, the program had rounded up about 12 or so of Korea's 'top fortunetellers' and they were tested on their ability to wildly guess predict a certain location in Seoul where something had been hidden (they had to guess the district only, not the exact location). By chance alone at least one of the psychics should have been right, but they all failed. The camera showed these fortunetellers with embarrassed sheepish smiles as the results were presented. Randi then said to the fortune tellers, 'write down your predictions of what I will do in one minute', and then 60 seconds later dropped his pants and mooned them all, while shouting 'kiss my big white bright ass you fucking frauds!'  You could tell by the shocked expressions of the fortune tellers that they had all failed to see that coming.

Note, it was a few years since I saw that show, so  my memory of certain details of that show might be a little off, but you get the gist.

I was not surprised that EBS allowed Randi to expose frauds from other Asian countries on the show, but it was jaw-dropping to see them allow Randi to show up Korean fortunetellers. The experience for Randi was the opposite of what he had to go through with the KBS clowns some 7-8 years earlier.

A few Randi fan club Internet communities popped up afterwards, but that was about the extent of his impact here.  I haven't heard of any such shows like that since.

On that same link above Randi talks about some Korean magicians. I've seen
the guy on the left on TV, but not the happy sprite on the right whom Randi describes as 'winsome'. (the proper authorities have been notified).

By the way, here's another good clip of Randi doing an old experiment on horoscopes/astrology with a university class. If you have the stomach for it, scroll down the comments to those arguing for astrology.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of idiotic beliefs, if you believe the 'Blood type-personality theory' (the idea that your ABO blood type dictates your personality traits), you should know that it's been scientifically proven that you are at best border-line retarded. We forgive you just so long as you promise not to breed (especially if you happen to be blood type B, you selfish pricks!).

I hope this comes as no surprise to anyone that psychics and
fortunetellers have a long track record of dismal failure. Top American
psychic, Sylvia Browne (her last name has an extra 'e' on it, how
mysterious!) annually makes a host of predictions each year that not
only fail miserably, but often even defy the odds of her being right occasionally just by
chance alone. Here's an article on
her most recent failures. On Montell Williams back in 2000 she predicted Gore would win the presidency, by the way. But don't lose hope fellow democrats, she later said that her 'vision' was just off time-wise, and that Gore would later become our President. Bank on it!


And yet her many public failures don't seem to matter at all. The money
keeps rolling in from idiots who are 'open-minded' enough to believe
her despite all the evidence screaming to the contrary.

Now I already know what some of you will say; 'Sure Pooper, there are dishonest people like Syvia Brownee (notice that the additional 'e' added to 'Browne' no longer has a positive impact on the perception of the name. Linguists, take note). But that doesn't mean ALL fortune tellers are wrong. Once I went to a fortune teller and she correctly predicted blah blah blah and even blah blah blah...'

To which I say the following: the next time you feel compelled to go to a fortune teller, get a reading for both you and a friend who is similar to you in general categories such as gender, marital status, etc.. Take along a tape recorder and transcribe everything he/she says for both of your readings. Put the transcriptions in a safe place and then take a look at them 6 or so months later and see just how accurate they really are. Most likely you'll be surprised by the discrepency of what your reading actually says (and doesn't say) and what you remembered (such are the limitations of human memory).

Next, count up the number of 'predictions' that seem close to being accurate and the number of those which seem inaccurate. Now look over the predictions for your friend and see how well they apply to YOU. Odds are, you'll find BOTH sets of predictions either more or less equally accurate for you, even though one wasn't supposed to be about you at all.

Finally, after going through all these steps, make an effort not to be a moron by going to a fortune teller ever again.  Otherwise, you're no different than the Slyvia Browne followers.

Comments on the original blog entry

Great post. I had to wonder why the hell Drudge saw fit to throw up a link to this article on fortune-telling. THIS counts as news?

URL to the article in question:

By the way, not far behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is a book called "We Are Their Heaven," which sits in the Top 5 on At the moment I'm writing this, the book occupies the #3 and #4 spots. Check out the link and see what "We Are Their Heaven" is about. This'll put your finger on the pulse of American public consciousness.

URL to Amazon:


PS: Is there a reason why HTML is not enabled in comments? Have there been spam issues? I see that hyperlinks appear automatically when I write a full URL, but I was unable to code an anchored link. I was also unable to italicize certain words in this comment. When I hit "preview," I saw that all italics had disappeared. Most disconcerting.

Posted by: Kevin Kim | February 16, 2007 at 09:21 AM

If you want to see something really depressing, go to the link below, fill out the 5 question poll, and check out the results.

50k plus responses from housewives across America, and the tally would make James Randi cry in his beer. My own Cass-uh has already been watered down with sorrow.

I haven't seen the Oprah episode in question (and I hope that phrase doesn't put me on the Pooper's Gaywatch), but the fact that she gave notorious douchebag John Edward a platform to promote his grief-whoring racket is a goddamn fucking shame.

Posted by: iheartblueballs | February 17, 2007 at 02:26 AM

Here's something for your wall:

Posted by: ders | February 17, 2007 at 10:47 PM

I suspect that if not for Randi's support of them, you'd note and mock the gayness of the Korean magicians. At least, I'm suspending any judgment given Randi's words on the matter.

Posted by: Shawn | February 24, 2007 at 07:27 AM

Party Pooper needs an update soon or else we will all migrate to Occidentalism to get our daily amusement from Korean-bashing, revisionist, Japanese-worshiping bloggers and their followers

Posted by: MarkMilton | February 27, 2007 at 10:06 PM