Anyone that lived in Australia between 1994 and 2003, would remember most Wednesday nights at 8.30pm, the TV show, "The X Files". Scully and Mulder, our intrepid FBI agents investigating the paranormal and unusual matters that were not within the FBI mainstream. Underlying this whole series, over 9 years, was a group of people known as "The Project": a groups preparing for the eventual colonisation of the Earth by aliens. The specialist that is employed by the group was known as the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM), played by brilliant long-time Canadian actor, William B Davis.
Davis has now written a memoire of his life from the young beginnings in Canada, college and his journey into stage, screen, directing and running an actor's school. His eventual casting as the CSM has placed him in a special place for villains in the world of TV. His presence on the screen had increasable impact on the story line of the X-Files and created an opportunity for Davis is become one of the best known actors on TV. From the X Files Davis went to Stargate and other shows, but always had his heart, it appears, on the stage. But in his first book, Davis reveals his atheist/sceptic side.
But why am I reviewing an actor's memoire? It become apparent to Davis that when he started to attend the X-Files and related conventions such as ComicCon, he was being asked questions in regards to conspiracies, aliens, secret government programs, aliens, Area 51, aliens, Roswell, unmarked helicopters and aliens. As a result, he started to think that many of the fans that watched the show, actually believed in the conspiracies. When confronted with the question, Davis retorted with the statement "Where is your evidence?" This is the beginning of Davis's new gig, being a sceptic. In Davis's book, he states his sceptical/atheist beginning was in school during a lecture on Catholicism. But after his role on the X Files finished, he started to connect with sceptics and now makes presentations to our Canadian sister organisation, the CFI. A chance meeting with CSI's Barry Beyerstein resulted in his standard appearance at sceptics conferences across Canada and the United States.
So, why this book review about an actor? This book provides a background to a person that is involved in our movement: his character in the X Files is completely opposite our sceptical beliefs, but he has taken the responsibility to become an activist for the sceptical movement. A review of his presentations to the CFI (available on You-Tube) show him to be a very knowledgeable person with demonstrated informed opinions on such issues as climate change and psychology. But the sceptic side is small compared to the acting side. The book shows that all sceptics are something else too, either an actor, a teacher, a parent or in the case of Davis, all this and a champion water skier.
The book is not a bout a sceptic as such, it about a Canadian that has a career in acting which moves to stage, screen, his life in England and United States, his loves and eventually his establishment of an Actors School in Vancouver. His sceptic life has a very small part in the book, but the book shows that a well-known person can be a sceptic. If you are interested in the X Files or more importantly, Davis as a actor, this book is a essential reading. Davis also dishes some great stuff on his fellow actors, but you need to read the3 book to get that information. In recent years, many actors and celebrities have started to push wagons on anti-vaccination, homeopathy, coffee enemas and cult membership. It is refreshing that an actor of the status of Davis has come on the side of reason and is now involved in the sceptic community in Canada.
I highly recommend this book. It would make a great gift for that funny festival at the end of the year or a birthday.