At the Skeptics Conference in Christchurch in 1989, Denis Dutton mentioned that women’s magazines offered horoscopes but men’s magazines did not. There were two significant exceptions: the feminist magazine Broadsheet did not, but the gay (and nominally lesbian) Pink Triangle did — a particularly bland and space-wasting one:
“Appeal to the highest motive.” “Stay calm at work.” “The deeper issues of life affect you.”
Pink Triangle folded early last year, and when the fortnightly newsheet Man to Man (which this week attracted the attention of the Rugby Union over its TV advertising) went tabloid in June, I decided to forestall the “real” astrologers by offering them an alternative — a Homoscope.
These undermine conventional horoscopes in three ways:
- by being preposterously specific:
There will be a power cut on Tuesday and you will spend so long resetting all the clocks you will miss “The Simpsons”.
You will absent-mindedly leave a condom among some papers you send to your handsome but deeply-closeted Chief Executive Officer on August 18. August 19 will be an interesting day.
- by being absurdly general:
With so many planets in trinary aspect, it would be very unpropitious to lie down in the middle of the motorway on September 15. Your lucky number: 3.1415926535898.
Lucky Leo! Your lucky numbers: 10 20 30 40 39 29 19 9 2 12 22 32 38 28 18 8 3 13 23 33 37 27 17 7 4 14 24 34 36 26 16 6 5 15 25 35 31 21 11 and 1. Six of these could make you very, very lucky.
- by attributing ridiculous exactness to the stars:
September 17 will be a good day for experimenting with new foods. However, because Sirius will be in the fourth house, avoid chocolate prawns.
Since the moon will be in Saturn on October 27, and it would be inauspicious to use your hairdryer in the bath on that day.
The editor tells me that readers still eagerly check their own signs first. Ah well.
Maybe you too can quietly spread skepticism and undermine gullibility by offering some parody of “the real thing” in your area.