April 6, 2006, - 1:42 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
What’s up with pop culture’s current, weird obsession with snakes? No, we’re not talking about the inhabitants of Detroit’s U.S. Attorney’s Office or the lying leaders of America’s various Islamist groups, but actual slithering reptiles.
If you hate and/or fear snakes, you’re one of many Americans (and others) worldwide. Ophidiophobia, also known as snakephobia, is the most common fear–more than fear of flying, fear of heights, etc. Some medical experts say fear of snakes is an inherited condition, even though other phobias are mostly psychological and specific to the person. Perhaps it goes back to the original Biblical story of Adam, Eve, the apple, and the snake.
But snakes are apparently like a traffic accident. While many fear and hate them, everyone slows down to look. They elicit a huge gawker effect.
Take “Snakes on a Plane.” It is one of the most written about, blogged about movies right now–even though it will not be out until August, when studios run their dud movies. The movie, starring Samuel L. Jackson, is about a plane carrying a federal agent escorting a witness in a major criminal trial. The bad guys want him dead, so they unleash a bevy of highly-poisonous vipers on the plane, in mid-air over the ocean. The passengers must band together to save themselves from the adders.
Then, there’s “Rattled,” the much hyped fiction book by Debra Galant. It’s about a woman whose shiny new McMansion is built over an endangered rattlesnake habitat, and killing a snake gets her and her husband into hot water with environmentalists and animal rights activists.
Perhaps she was inspired by USA’s past TV movie, “Rattled,” also about a family whose shiny new McMansion (and entire neighborhood) was built over a rattlesnake nest.
All this snake stuff may give you the chills. But if you’re still reading, it’s because you, like a lot of America, has the gawker fascination with the slithering. After moviegoers see “Snakes on a Plane” in August, though, flying will never be the same again.
Tags: America, Barry Popppingsly, Debbie Schlussel What, Debra Galant, Detroit, Detroit's U.S. Attorney's Office, phobias, Rattled, Samuel L. Jackson, Snakes on a Plane, United States