No matter how long I stick around, I fail to understand some aspects of human life. I don’t understand why Gimme a Break lasted six seasons while the original Star Trek lasted three, why anyone enjoys the taste of bell peppers, and why horoscopes persist in magazines and newspapers long after science has put to rest the notion that stars millions of light-years away have any effect on our lives.
The Los Angeles Times, one of the few American newspapers I respect, still has a horoscope – every day – and I scratch my head. A horoscope just does not belong in a Pulitzer Prize-winning paper. If I were the chief editor of the LAT, I would quietly and with no fanfare remove the horoscope one Monday morning – considerately adding a brief note of explanation to readers:
We at the Los Angeles Times have concluded that a horoscope is unnecessary and is incongruous with the logical thought that this still-new century demands. In this space, we will now have quotations from great thinkers and books.
What do you think would happen? Would most readers nod their heads and think, “It’s about time”? Or would they light their virtual torches and storm the Readers’ Representative Journal, screaming for my head?
Even more disheartening, horoscopes persist in women’s magazines. (Never, ever in men’s magazines.) Why does my sex tolerate ass-trology in its publications? Is there a meme that women just aren’t that into critical thinking? If the media can convince women that it is mandatory to wear shoes that cripple and distort the feet and to spend hundreds of dollars to remove perfectly natural (and necessary) pubic hair with agonizing hot wax, perhaps getting them to believe in ass-trology is child’s play.
Here is a sampling of three different horoscopes for my “sign,” Cancer (June 22-July 22) in three different women’s magazines dated October 2011.
Marie Claire – October 2011
The Mood: Homey
The Forecast: As the weather continues to cool off, you’ll become a domestic goddess – brewing hot apple cider, cooking a fall stew, even carving a pumpkin. After the 23rd, a guy will want in on this low-key fun, so make room in the kitchen. In money matters, Mars in your house of finances has you working hard, so splurge on a crazy Halloween costume.
Power Day: 23rd
Glamour – October 2011
The new moon in your pleasure sector in October 26 tempts you to grab onto something that’s not yours. Keep yourself in check with values you learned growing up. If it (he!) doesn’t belong to you, walk away.
Cosmopolitan – October 2011
Homey Pluto suggests inviting people over to watch the World Series on the 19th. Some juicy gossip will come from it – the stars predict a hookup between two of your single pals.
Dating tip: Alluring Venus recommends you rock a pair of sky-high heels on a date near the 7th. Grab his arm if you feel wobbly – he’ll like the chance to show off his chivalrous side.
Love advice: Playful Saturn says have a Guitar Hero showdown on the 13th. For every new song, strip off a piece of clothing.
What do these horoscopes have in common, besides being narrowly focused on a superficial notion of romance?
If ass-trology was a real science, researchers would most likely come up with similar results, even if they do not meet and/or confer with each other. If ass-trology was a real science, all people born under the Cancer sign would have similar experiences during the month.
No sky-high heels for me on a date near the 7th, or a Guitar Hero showdown on the 13th (who needs the Guitar Hero game when I have a real-life Guitar Hero?). We didn’t watch the World Series on the 19th. I didn’t do anything significant in the kitchen on the 23rd (that is Two Dogs’s domain), and I didn’t have a lick of temptation to grab into something that wasn’t mine on the 26th.
If you’re not into ass-trology, you don’t have to ass-ume what your days are going to be like. That’s the mystery of life. Why not just let things be as they will be?