Newtown Festival 2011 - The DM Report

So. My checklist from yesterday's Newtown Festival

  • Disgusted at Newtown Community Chiropractic's utter quackery - check
  • Tell "psychic" to fuck off because you don't give a fuck about his sincerely held but deeply stupid beliefs - check
  • Have argument with creationist; have creationist prematurely declare "victory" halfway through a sentence; call creationist an "arseclown" - check
  • Sing song containing the word "cunt" on the ukulele - check
  •    aaaaaaaaaand.... check
  • Attempt to avoid festival altogether by hitting the pub instead - partial success
  • Catch ukulele band covering "Chocolate Jesus", watch crowd not getting it - check
  • Maintain faith in human race - mostly fail

So, overall? I pretty much wanted to punch the whole park in the face.

There was a constant queue for the "psychics", mostly consisting of hippychicks, who occasionally scowled towards the Sydney Atheists/Western Sydney Freethinkers/Secular Party stand. Counter to stereotype, the "psychics" were mostly men wearing sunglasses. Call me a cynic, but I think they were mostly in it to look down girls' tops while holding their hands and mumbling nonsense. We all love doing it, but most of us don't invent magical powers to do so.

One "psychic" decided it'd be a good idea to come over and offer the girl in the wheelchair a "healing reading - for your MS". Yeah, nice psychic powers there, dickhead. That girl happened to be @tinydalek, who neither has MS nor requires the help of a "psychic". You'd think the Sydney Atheists t-shirt might have been a hint. Or me sitting nearby with a Skepticamp t-shirt. Or Alan and Rachel nearby with Science FTW shirts. Conclusion: psychics are deeply stupid and need to be told explicitly to fuck off. Twice.

The creationist(s) were doing the usual bullshit routine, but this time it was laminated. In positive news, there seemed to be a fairly steady stream of skeptics taking on the fail, which of course meant that the creationist would declare victory at seemingly random intervals, to which the onlookers would double-take. Clearly it was more important for his ego to be validated than to have any kind of grip on reality. The scientologists at least seemed to be absent, but maybe I just didn't spot them.

The "green left" (both People's Front of Judea and Judean People's Front factions) were prominent, all claiming to be the 99%, as was just about everybody else, except apparently me. Mathematically, I don't think they quite have a grip. If they want to be in the 99%, then that logically means that their opposing factions (SPLITTERS) must be in there with them. And that would never happen. If anything, they were about the 10-15%. And I'm being generous there. 

Soymilk* supplies nationwide were put under some serious stress as a black hole of credulous weekend hippieness formed in Camperdown park.

At least twelve youths were taken to the first-aid tent with serious chai latte overdoses.

No-one self-immolated with juggling sticks. Which was a shame.

Newtown Community Chiropractic, the quack's quacks, had a prominent stand promoting infant chiropractic, which is frankly insane. Apparently they lost the Nimrod Weiner about halfway through. I tried to stay away lest the relatively tame interactions I had with the psychics and creationists turned ugly. Oh, and there seemed to be something called a "tantra wagon". If the van's a rockin', come knockin' in about 72 hours. Or something.

The credulity makes me depressed, it really does. And the Hahn Super Dry was $7.50, so I guess I'm also an idiot, at least in part. The only upside was the relatively steady stream of visitors to the atheist stand. And my ukulele playing, obviously.

Next year, I vow, instead, to stay in the pub for the entire day and talk scientific toot. Such as this little gem:

Dan: I really like incense
Me: Yeah, I like them too. They're probably my favourite invertebrates in the phylum arthropoda**. Hexapods for the win!
Dan: Facepalm


* Spanish for "I am Milk"
** not true. I like spiders better. But it was worth it for the joke


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