I experienced a form of mild humiliation during last night’s LA FilmFest opening-night soiree. It was due to a light-hearted ping-pong volley that was mostly about, I’m ashamed to admit, astrology. I listened because she was somewhere between an 8.5 and a 9, but by the time it was over I got an earful, you bet.

To some extent I can understand, I think, what it was like to be a black man in the Jim Crow South, a Jew in Weimar Germany of the early 1930s, and a gay man in the pre-Stonewall era. Because I am a Scorpio — an astrological sign that has been savaged by astrology writers for decades. People of my sign have been relentlessly described as verbally vicious, emotionally vindictive, hair-trigger whiplashers with razor-sharp talons, and so I’ve been accused aforethought and regarded askance all my life.

Astrological authors really have it in big-time for Scorpios. They condemn them without mercy. No other sign get shat upon like mine. And we’re talking, remember, about each and every person born under the Scorpio sign being some kind of must-to-avoid fiend. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of us walking around with arrogant and sadistic terrorist personalities, ready to pounce on our victims and rip them to shreds and chew their ears off.

I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near a Scorpio based on their descriptions, and yet I’ve been near Scorpios all my life and gotten to know and admire and care for quite a few of them, and the overwhelming majority have been very sharp and resourceful and fascinating blah-blah, or at least interesting mixed bags.

So a long time ago I decided that the people who write these truly ugly condemnations (“unscrupulous terrorist, morbid jealousy, total arrogance, sadistic and aggressive brutality”) are not just ugly themselves but also fucking deranged, and to throw out the whole astrological analysis thing and just trust my own instincts and feelings.

I know what “Scorpio” means, and I’m not a vampire or a werewolf or a zoo animal. I have thoughts and observational powers and experience and determinations that have come from decades of living. And I know what “Taurus” and “Virgo” and “Libra” and “Gemini” and “Aquarius” mean, and it’s mostly sloppy-crap shorthand that sometimes echoes in little ways and sometimes has nothing to do with anything.

No one of any brain size or developed intelligence buys into astrology as anything more than a time-waster. Nobody who knows anything and has been around goes there.