Remember Miss Cleo's web of lies?

Originally published at: Remember Miss Cleo's web of lies? | Boing Boing


miss cleo 90s GIF


She (the actress that played “Miss Cleo”) died at 53… bet she didn’t see that coming.


Wait, all that advice she gave me over the phone wasn’t based on anything real?


It was based on your checks clearing. That was real.


I think our gullibility has remained pretty much the same. The firehose of the internet turned everything up to maximum information-wise, but we’re no better at discerning good from bad. If anything, I’d argue we’re in more trouble because the ratio of good to bad information has worsened with the internet. You used to have to only debunk one Miss Cleo. Now you have to debunk millions of Miss Cleos daily and people won’t listen to you unless you’re in their preferred echo chamber. In principle things should be better because correct information is always one click away, but in practice it turns out we never had an information gap problem. We had a critical thinking problem, and still do. I’m not seeing signs of that getting better.


She does have a Tarot deck! I bought one at a flea market.


I Remember sexy talk lines in the early 80s. Didn’t last long once my dad figured out why the phone bill kept going up.

900 and 976 numbers were the get rich, really rich, quick scheme of the 80s and 90s until the pesky government got involved.

Rember Larry The Lobster?

SNL was spoofing 900 numbers back in 1982.



More importantly though, there was also a lack of non-credible sources. Mis/disinformation spread mostly via word-of-mouth (urban legends and such) or cheap-looking tabloids & paperback books, and authoritative information sources, which were visibly higher quality were (mostly) accurate. On the internet, all sources look pretty much the same and the non-credible sources are able to displace credible sources via sheer volume.


That apparently was inspiration for the poll on whether or not DC Comics would kill off Jason Todd in the Batman storyline “A Death in the Family”.


Some time between 1999 and 2003, Miss Cleo was doing robocalls. I was a radio deejay, and had a call in contest looking for caller #9. I answered each call “Y96, you’re caller #3, try again” or whatever number, and once I heard a loud voice respond “Hello! This is Miss Cleo!” We got a laugh out of that, because if she were really psychic, she would have been caller #9.


The term “fake psychic” implies the existence of real psychics. I’ll be diplomatic and simply say that if any exist, they oddly seem to have absolutely zero interest in proving the existence of their powers or even using them in any tangible, verifiable way.


It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand.


Boy, did they see you coming. :smirk:


I was trying to explain to a friend that horoscopes weren’t real. He was a super believer (probably still is).

“So you’re telling me, the positions of planets and stars, some of which are millions of light years away, exert a gravitational effect on my body on the day of my birth that can predict who I will be as a person, that’s more important than all the stuff that’s happened to me in my life, like being bullied as a child, or being sent off to war? And to top it off, someone could be born at the exact same moment as me, but on the other side of the international date line, so they are Gemini, but I am a Taurus, so we have different personalities? In fact we could be born only 100 miles apart on Tonga or Samoa, and the stars would impact us differently?”

(dumb stare)


I knew someone who was a true believer in astrology as well, and speaking to them was bizarre and maddening. Like talking to a flat earther. Beliefs completely divorced from a reality that every five year old understands are really strange and impossible to engage with. When really pinned down they play the “you’re no fun” or “you have no imagination” card. :roll_eyes:


Gus, don’t be exactly half of an 11-pound Black Forest ham.

So, if I’m hearing the video correctly…PFN made over a billion dollars and only had to pay back a little over half of it?

Nick Torres Mcgee GIF by CBS


Exactly. Was talking with someone about this the other day as he was discussing his pain in the ass family in the midwest. From a distance, HE had to take care to make sure his mom got vaccinated for Covid. The first one and all the boosters because they all thought it was fake, of course.
So that brought up “when I was a kid” there were no weirdos making noise about their kids getting the MMR or whatever. Of course, all of us were children of parents that had a memory of polio wards being a thing.


I bought it in the early 00’s. But, you know what I never had to buy? A sense of ironic humor.

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