Sunday, November 18, 2007

On the Non-Existence of Bigfoot, Part II

Previously, on Exurbitude.

So we stayed at the hotel about 100 yards from the fairground where the conference was taking place. This was in a cinderblock building with a corrugated roof and an eight-foot plywood sasquatch cutout standing out front. Inside was a stew of hokum, bunkum, nonsense, and, most disturbingly, a cadre of true believers. I went in armed only with a modicum of critical thinking and came out convinced that Bigfoot is just a story. Don't get me wrong: stories are very important. And also don't get me wrong, the world is still magical. But Bigfoot? Nope.

As the first day of the conference wore on, it became very easy to tell those who believed in Bigfoot from those who did not. Those who believed in Bigfoot never claimed to have seen one. Those who did not believe in Bigfoot told carefully crafted and polished stories of their encounters. These latter seemed to pay a lot of attention to their own physical appearance. There is a lot of politics in Bigfoot, too.

So I had a long interview with John Bindernagle, a true believer whose book on the topic approaches it quite logically. But I didn't chat with a guy whose story included tears and ended with a political discussion about how his sighting had not been deemed credible by the Western Bigfoot Society (which is, paradoxically, the parent organization to the International Bigfoot Society), so he started the Southern Oregon Bigfoot Society or something like it. When someone else delivered an impassioned speech about how Bigfooot is an early human prototype invented by the aliens who eventually created the Sumerians, it was time to go sample some of Portland's night life.

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