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Loved this Atlantic Monthly profile of George Noory, the host of the overnight syndicated radio show “Coast to Coast.” I had no idea that Art Bell had left the show years ago, and handed it off to Noory. Why is the show, which focuses heavily on the paranormal and conspiracies, such a huge success? From the article:
“It has definitely tapped into something in the American psyche,” Corbeth said of Coast to Coast. “I think people are looking for answers. And they’re looking for them anywhere they can find them. They see a world which is very, very troubled, and getting scarier by the day, and I think they’re looking for some escape.”
In a 1958 essay, Carl Jung tried to come to terms with what he called the “dark problem” of UFO sightings, which at the time were reaching a peak. “The psychic situation of mankind and the UFO phenomenon as a physical reality bear no recognizable causal relationship to one another,” he wrote, “but they seem to coincide in a meaningful manner.”
In the occult generally and in UFOs in particular, Jung saw a strong connection to the decline of the Christian worldview. The concept of Christ as a savior, he wrote,
reflects a profound psychic need which does not simply disappear when the expression of it ceases to be valid. What happens to the energy that once kept the idea alive and dominant over the psyche? A political, social, philosophical, and religious conflict of unprecedented proportions has split the consciousness of our age. When such tremendous opposites split asunder, we may expect with certainty that the need for a savior will make itself felt.
Coast to Coast offers a running nightly commentary on the modern quest for that savior. In the process, it confirms that what the historian Richard Hofstadter famously called “the paranoid style” has reached one of its periodic peaks. This style, which Hofstadter understood to include a “sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy,” today finds its clearest expression on talk radio–and not just at night. In fact, if you were to remove the explicitly political statements from the monologues of, say, Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity on a given day, what you’d have is a worldview that, in its understanding of the workings of power and its sense that some elusive but monstrous Truth is being withheld, very closely resembles George Noory’s.
A lot of that makes sense. And it could be as well that people … notice things that our secular materialist paradigm denies could possibly exist, and when somebody like Noory comes along and says, “You know, you might not be crazy,” they glom onto him.
What do you think? Any Coast to Coast listeners among the readership? What’s great about the show?