Friday, September 24, 2010

Invisible Writers

For the past seven weeks I've been reviewing online horoscopes twice a week and posting reviews -- 20 of them now -- that have been read over 2,000 times. I'm an astrology student from way back, and one day started doing this both to write and to perform a public service. I exposed two fake astrologers and dug up the truth for two others, honest and sincere people who had no idea how their work was being exploited. Laugh, but it's no joke: Astrology is big business, and specifically it's a writing business. There are astrology sweatshops where young writers -- the job description solicits recent college grads -- churn out horoscopes according to style sheets. It sounds like the porn factory a schoolmate spent a summer working in, where he was required to write a certain number of sexual acts per page.

Doing this work I'm amazed all over again by how much we depend on the written word for our opinions and personal guidance as well as our education and entertainment. The Internet has made us more dependent on the written word, not less. What we hear on TV, or from politicians, or read on the side of a cereal box, is all scripted. ("Talking heads" go on camera having studied written lists of "talking points"; their ideal is to get us to believe there are no writers behind them at all.) Somebody selected and wrote every word you see. Who says writers are a tiny, powerless minority? How were we ever made to believe that? The sum total of our power just bowls me over.

1 comment:

  1. You took this in a completely unexpected direction. I love that about you! ;-)