Death by Karaoke- Be Aware.

I am currently trying to balance so many spinning plates at the moment that updating a blog is almost impossible. A number of you sent me the story about John Lennon’s rotten tooth selling for $30,000 and that would have been an easy one to post here, but I decided to ignore the usual weird memorabilia of the famous story and bring to your attention a bizzare thing I read in the Fortean Times book of Strange Deaths.

I was in Japan at a conference some years back and was introduced to karaoke. I have always been a bit of show-off but I never realized how much the karaoke beast can take over your brain. We had a blast that evening but it was in the confines of a private booth, surrounded by good friends, just having a laugh.

We recently tried to repeat the experience in the Philadelphia, US in a public bar where the whole event was controlled by the DJ – who frankly was a bit of a jerk. For the price of  a drink, he offered to bump us up the pecking order of who sang next. It was really not a lot of fun as we had to listen to terrible singing from other people and then not even get a chance to have a go. This was a totally different experience which was much more confrontational. When people got up, it got ugly.

Still, we remained relatively convivial. Not so in the Philippines. According to the Fortean Times there are regular fights and murders associated with karaoke. No more so than with the way that people sing the Sinatra classic, “My Way” which leads to many deaths each year. Normally, I would think that such behavior was unreasonable, but after we had to endure listening to others murder songs, while thwarted from taking up the microphone ourselves, I now appreciate the killer instinct that can be triggered by karaoke – the need to be appreciated! This is a theme a develop in my new book, “The Self Illusion.’

4 Comments

Filed under General Thoughts

4 responses to “Death by Karaoke- Be Aware.

  1. Rox

    Since nobody has replied to this, I am going to use the space to introduce another topic, because I don’t know how else to do so.

    G2 of the Guardian has this question filling its front page on 15th November: “Your nephew describes his new girlfriend as a student who is artistic and loves poetry. Is it more likely she is studying (a) Chinese literature or (b) Business studies ?

    Of course, almost all readers of this column will go for (b), because so many more British girlfriends (whether artistic or not) are studying business studies than Chinese literature. But the arts graduates who run the Guardian and other newspapers expect us to think the right answer is (a), and expect us to be amazed at the revelations of “the world’s foremost psychologist Daniel Kahnemann” that we are wrong and the rational answer is (b).

    Similarly, even doctors are expected to believe that a 90% survival rate is significantly better than a 10% mortality rate ….

    This is a very clear demonstration of the idea, not new, and certainly not new to the Guardian, that the people who bring us the news need crash courses in statistics and in rationality generally.

    Please, if it pleases you, re-introduce this somewhere else, as your readership will not be redirected to it here by email.

  2. brucehood

    Are you sure that is the correct wording? This looks like the familiar representative heuristic bias but it requires a crucial “is a bank teller and a feminist” otherwise it doesn’t follow.

  3. Rox

    The article includes that near the beginning, calling it “the famous Linda question”.

    My point is not, however, that the questions are original or interesting, but that the Guardian believes its readers will fall for them automatically. And the world’s foremost psychologist Daniel Kahneman (77) says “I’ve WRITTEN this book, and I don’t think differently”.

  4. Yes, that’s the one…Linda is a representative heuristic bias… Well most people fall for it. .. no doubt Kahneman is also doing the bat and ball for $1.10 one…. yawn

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