Have you come across recent sightings of the Loch Ness Monster?
Phillip Hoare hasn’t and is blaming the internet:
Each era creates their own monsters. . .
Whether these creatures were basking sharks, baleen whales, or unidentified new species, or whether they were what people wanted them to be, it is notable that they conformed to the culture and fashion of their times. Does that explain why the Loch Ness monster has been quiet of late? Have we, in our plethora of computer-generated images, become cynical about such monsters, now that we realise how easily we can create them ourselves? Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the Cottingley Fairies (and in ectoplasmic spirits) because the manipulative art of photography was still a mystery. . .
Now, thanks to YouTube – where there is a new cryptozoological sensation every day. . . we’re attuned to duplicity. Our innocence is gone, along with an era that was trusting, gullible, even. It may be far-fetched to suggest that those 1930s monster-believers were contemporaneous with fellow Europeans who placed their faith in real-life monsters – the totalitarian leaders who offered darker and more dangerous fantasies – but it is undeniable that in the internet age, it is much more difficult to fool us. Or at least, that’s what we think.
I’m not sure that it is any less difficult to fool the gullible and the ability of computers to manipulate images makes it easier to do so.
But perhaps the speed at which the internet enables information to be transmitted means we’re likely to be fooled for a shorter time because it won’t be long before someone lets us know we can’t always trust that seeing is believing.