April 15th, 2012

Derren Brown's Messiah

I caught up with Derren Brown's Messiah on 4oD. Actually he's not the Messiah, he's just a very naughty boy.  Derren turns up on the doorsteps of various people in the belief business (Christian, Spiritualist, New Age) and fools them into thinking he has paranormal powers. It's not very rigorous. In fact it's kind of muddled. But what would you expect of a mash-up of magic show (Derren's tricks are amazing) and documentary expose?  OK, believers are gullible, but showing you can take them in hardly proves them to be frauds- rather the reverse- and has little bearing (as Derren acknowledges) on the validity of their core beliefs.  A couple of proponents of alien abduction were persuaded he could diagnose a person's medical history by touch. And so? Alien abduction is a widespread phenomenon- troubling, baffling, well worth investigating- and I'm glad there are people out there who are doing something other than just laugh and point. Most of the marks seemed like sweet people- decent, open, wide-eyed, trusting; well, they know better now.