question of the day: What is the unlikeliest pop-culture influence from childhood on your mindset today?


It suddenly occurred to me recently that one of the goofiest artifacts of my childhood, and one that has become something of a running joke for my entire generation, actually had a significant impact on me as a kid, beyond its then and ongoing entertainment value as cheese. I speak of the cartoon Scooby-Doo. On my way to becoming a skeptic — of the paranormal, of religion, as part of a general scientific mindset — I went through a phase between the ages of about 8 and 11 when I was obsessed with all sorts of weird, spooky things: UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, Stonehenge, ancient astronauts, all that stuff. And I don’t know what prompted it, but I have newly realized that Scooby-Doo — which always unmasked its spooks and specters as something having a rational, grounded explanation — probably contributed to how I learned to debunk the junk. Because Scooby-Doo taught me, at least in small measure and combined with all the other lessons I was getting from other directions, that things that at first appear mysterious and inexplicable likely have a perfectly ordinary reason behind them.

So I have a new respect for the goofiness of Scooby-Doo now.

Your turn: What is the unlikeliest pop-culture influence from your childhood on your mindset today?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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