Why The Civic Needs The Weird

Clare Coffey at The New Atlantis:

Why do we believe in monsters? With the giant squid and the crocodile, the answer is obvious. These things may lurk and slither in dark water, but they have also made their way into the daylight consensus: They have a place in textbooks and encyclopedias, in the world that respectable people generally agree exists.

With something like Bigfoot, the question is less straightforward. There’s sheer maximalist joy, Adamic thrill, a hope that the world might hold as many things as you can name. There’s the possibility that participation in a chain of discovery might still be open to you. There’s contrarian spite against the arrogance of the world’s Neil deGrasse Tysons.

But finding the reason may not always require going afield. In many cases, people believe in Bigfoot simply because they believe a person who claims to have seen him.

more here.