Some people see human tragedies as a time for empathy, sympathy, or charity.

Then there are those who see it as an opportunity. 

It didn’t take long after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8, 2014, for Uri Geller to take to the airwaves and claim that he was asked to help in the search for the plane.

There should be nothing surprising about this. The most dangerous place on planet earth might be trying to stand between Uri Geller and a TV camera. 

What is perhaps surprising is how many people believe his claim. 

I don’t.

Occam’s Razor – a useful tool in critical thinking, and one frequently helpful in dealing with the likes of Mr. Geller (Example: How might one cause a compass to move? Psychic powers, or a magnet?) – advises us to begin solving any mystery by first considering the simplest possible explanation.

Applying this to Mr. Geller’s claim would suggest that – quite simply – no one called on Mr. Geller at all.

“I have been asked by a substantial figure in Malaysia who I know…”

Uh… really? Who exactly? And why haven’t they owned up to doing so? 

Because you’re a useless self-promoting exploiter of human misery, Mr. Geller? 

Even some magicians and mentalists seem to have bought into Mr. Geller’s claim. P.T. Barnum never actually said, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” but some of them are apparently magicians. Who seem to see Mr. Geller as an admirable role model (they even gave him a standing ovation at an American magic convention a year or so ago. But that’s a story for a another day, and one I will eventually get to). Meanwhile: Wonders may never cease, but there’s no reason to wonder about Mr. Geller’s intentions regarding Flight 370. His entire career tells us all we need to know. Human tragedy as fuel for self-promotion. The leopard does not change its spots. 

Following the plane’s disappearance, Geller went on Twitter to crowd-source where his followers might think the plane would be. He claimed he was doing this based on his belief in remote viewing.

Seems more like a belief in cheap instant free publicity. Seems like a way to just add the noisy distraction of a self-promoting clown to a serious and tragic subject and a life-and-death investigation. I remember a Yiddish expression my grandmother used to use. “You speak, and a goose pees.”  The value being considered equivalent. 

In a radio interview, Geller says, “My gut feeling tells me that somebody either broke into the cockpit and forced the pilot to take that route – someone who had the knowledge how the instruments work, a very good knowledge, on that aircraft. But my even stronger intuitive feeling tells me that there was something to do with the pilot, and I said that almost from the beginning. And that’s … that’s all I can say. I know more information but I cannot reveal it.” 

And this an opinion that is any more useful than stopping a random passerby on the street? Well the only difference is the random passerby would leave out the part about “I know more…”  I call bullshit, Uri.

And then there’s this – the part where he has learned to pretend empathy. Like a man who smiles by reading what a smile looks like: 

“I’m optimistic but I have to be careful because it’s a sensitive issue. There are those families in distress who are hoping that their loved ones are safe and well somewhere      on the ground. So, yeah, I’m very careful what I put out now. I didn’t realize that there will also be some negative reaction to what I said. I put it on very innocently to see what the people who follow Uri Geller have to say. But I think that I did contribute something. And hopefully whoever took that information, presented it to the right sources, and they will derive accurate information from it. And my heart does go out to all those families and people who are waiting for their loved ones.”

Crawl back under a rock, Uri. When you’re out in the daylight like this, we can smell you coming a mile away.