I was going to do something more serious, but it’s a flat out gorgeous day here, I’ve just come back from clambering over the rocks and staring out towards Ireland in the coastal village in which I may retire (not soon, alas, but not infinitely far off either…). I even managed to forc my obligate-free-lancer-brain-self to take an actual whole weekend off, so why not a bit of why-yes-my-gob-is-well-and-truly-smacked delight/horror at the near perfect, crossing-of-the-streams level malign stupidity to be found in this story.
I now know why I have not yet made the fortune that would hasten my translocation to the seaside. I haven’t taken advantage of the right advice to guide my investments in what really, truly, absolutely aren’t ill-conceived pump and dump scams in digital dress:
Anything with a verifiable birthday or creation date has a birth chart that can be read and, according to astrologers, gleaned for predictive information. That means there’s astrology for relationships, pets, political movements and, yes, bitcoin.
There’s a name for this new field, which is yet one more thing we have to thank the socially-mediated enstupiding of society that so chaps our collective asses right now:
“People can learn about astrology in small, digestible ways through Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter,” said fellow financial astrologer Robert Weinstein. “Social media is this amplifier for everything in general. And astrology is just one of the things I think is really benefiting from it.”
The Washington Post’s piece centers on a young practitioner of this “art” named Maren Altman, who reassures the reporter that “I’m a really serious person.” She’s now a TikTok star, offering her star-driven financial advice with a video persona that mixes flirtation and woo.
In early January, Maren read bitcoin’s chart, using its creation date, Jan. 3, 2009. “New moon in Capricorn, January 13th, looks big for bitcoin,” Maren says in the video. “Little before that … Saturn will join the bitcoin Mercury exact by degree on January 11th, which looks like some corrections with Mercury and Saturn. It could be news about something that leads to a drop momentarily. But with this new moon, sun moon Pluto, right on top of bitcoin’s Jupiter, this is like atomic-level new beginning.”
In other words, Saturn and Mercury’s position might indicate a drop in value, but Jupiter and Pluto signaled bitcoin’s price would rebound from any correction and continue to rise.
“It looks like such a bull run,” she adds.
I haz a said, though, over the way the article plays out. The reporter followed the passage above with the coy line that “sure enough” bitcoin prices dropped briefly and then doubled by April.
He did both-sides it a little, writing that “many financial planners see it as a load of hooey,” then quoting one who does sort of get at some of the problems with astrological guides to the market. But he then wrecks any possible useful impact by giving an devotee the last word:
“Astrology has always been more of an esoteric kind of initiate, secret knowledge,” Weinstein put it. “It really never was for the masses.”
Translating that statement into news you can use: If you don’t know who the mark at the table is, look in a mirror.
I’m split between mere spectator glee — I’m happy to watch the follies of my fellow anthropoids from a safe distance — and despair. This is how societies become dumber (and more vulnerable to the radical allure of the right, in our current circumstance), not just in the silliness of one young woo-merchant on the web, but the kewl-kid indulgence at the level of major media. I’d bet sawbucks to donuts that the Washington Post’s leaders aren’t trading bitcoin by the planets, but they’re happy to play such silliness for laughs in a venue and framing that conveys one message to those in on the joke, and a very different one to those who are not.
Yeah, that’s a bit grumpy, I guess. But it’s hard enough being a science writer without this kind of help. What the hell. Pointing and laughing releases stress, and can be done here with no mean impact on the target of the ridicule. She (and they) are off to the bank while we’re cavorting on this almost top ten thousand blog, so who’s the clever one anyway.
Hmmmm. That wasn’t any kinder, was it?
I should stop. Happy Solstice, everyone. Have some thread, open as it gets…
Image: Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889. The obvious choice, I know, and chosen because it is so damn obvious.