October 13 – X-Files Day

Posted on October 13, 2014

The show The X-Files is considered a science fiction horror drama show that originally aired on TV from 1993 to 2002. 

I never watched it, for the same reason that I never see anything (or read anything, for that matter) in the horror genre: I'm a wimp and a scaredy-cat! 

But almost everyone else did—the show was a huge success, and it spun off into another TV series and two movies (however, all the spin-offs had mixed success).

It originally aired on September 10, and it ended on May 19 – so why is today, October 13 considered X-Files Day? Today is the birthday of the creator of the show, Chris Carter. He was born on this date in 1957 in the same town as one of my daughters: Bellflower, California.

Chris Carter is a pretty interesting guy. He loved surfing, and he wrote for Surfing Magazine before becoming its editor when he was just 28 years old. He also loved to make pottery, and he made thousands of pieces of pottery as a form of relaxation, even (he says) meditation.

There are so many things to discuss about The X-Files: conspiracy theories, skepticism, paranormal phenomena, spirituality, and reversing gender stereotypes. The show went from cult favorite to pop culture icon, and it fed into the general suspicion of governments and large institutions that so many people—so many Americans, especially—seem to feel.

In the show, two FBI Special Agents investigate unsolved cases. One of the agents, a guy named Fox Mulder, always spins off crazy conspiracy, supernatural, or spiritual-based theories, most of which involve aliens; the other agent, a woman named Dana Scully, supposedly offers skeptical and science-based thinking, assuring her partner and audience that there must be a reasonable and rational explanation of the weird things they are investigating.

And, in the show, Mulder always wins.

In real life, science and skepticism win the arguments—because, of course, they are evidence-based. Another way of saying the same thing is that they are based in reality. But The X-Files is a fictional show, and according to Mulder, “the laws of physics rarely apply.”  The audience could clearly see that the fantastical theories of Mulder were true, as they watched aliens darting about and a group of men conspiring to cover up evidence of the aliens' existence. I wonder how many people felt their trust in science erode after watching a decade's worth of X-Files episodes? Or were the paranormal and alien escapades just too crazy to influence anyone's idea of reality?

The title character of "The Mentalist,"
Patrick Jane, is always pointing out the
tricks people use to convince the gullible 
 there is something supernatural or 
 going on.... Oh, and he solves crimes!
I have seen several shows in recent years in which rational, reasonable, and accepted ideas rule over paranormal or conspiracy-theory ideas. They include Psych, a comedy that is no longer on the air, and The Mentalist and Castle, both still running. Another recent-but-cancelled series, Fringe, on the other hand, was pretty far out there, you know, on the fringe!

What sort of show do you prefer? I generally prefer the rational and skeptical over the fantastical and mystical, myself.

Also on this date:

Columbus Day, aka Discovery Day (Observed)

National Day of Mourning, aka 

Dia de la Raza  (Observed)

English Language Day

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