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Over at Salon.com Peter Birkenhead takes Oprah to task for promoting Rhonda Byrne's The Secret not once but twice on her show. The intellectual (and spiritual) bankruptcy of the book, the DVD, the whole freaking, stinking concept is exposed. This is not difficult mental activity, but Birkenhead does it relatively well, though I admit my interest waned when he focused too much on South Africa, although his point was valid enough.
Perhaps Cheryl could use some positive thinking. Perhaps someone died, I have no idea, but she's f**king wailing again, as she did last night. I can imagine the red cheeks, the tears streaming like late summer rain through the gutters down Tammy Faye eyes, the bawling ... and I just wonder, what the f**k is wrong with these people?
I think another woman is downstairs comforting her. Last night I heard the crying as well and a little discussion, but I could not make out the words. I swear, somebody needs better meds.
Back to Birkenhead's article over at Salon, Oprah's Ugly Secret. Read the article for yourself; it's basically a polite polemic, name-calling and personal attacks deemed unnecessary. I instead quote from one of the letters in response to the story. In addition to a bunch of ra-ra-Birkenhead letters a number of mush-for-brains New Agey types weighed in. I deem name-calling and personal attacks necessary.
Where to begin with this utterly foolish, anti-intellectual brain fart? There is almost no need to begin I must admit; the author provides enough self-critique on his/her own, but does not notice the irony.
It's all “me me me!“ The author believes in that which has happened to him or her, which seems to be okay, for indeed it would be difficult to live if what we believed defied our personal experience. But not just to posit but apply a general rule (the author accepts the general rule provided by The Secret, “I tend to agree that we do attract what we resonate, we each create our own reality and generally get what we ask for”) and base the proof for it entirely on one's own life is self-centered (by definition, no?) at the least and more likely dangerously misguided.
“I'm sorry, but I don't have allergies, so I do not believe that they exist.” “I'm right-handed so I suppose that's how it is for everyone else, too.” “You can be left-handed if you just try! I'm left-handed after all.“
How can one not love the misguided and short-sighted hands-over-ears “La-la-la-I-can't-hear-you!“ of the line “I am not going to try to reconcile this philosophy with the Holocaust or world AIDS crisis, because neither of these things currently have any direct effect on my day to day life.” There is clearly no love of knowledge in this so-called philosophy, merely a self-centered let-me-buy-my-consumerist-stuff approach to life. There is no social justice mentioned, no concern for one's fellow (wo)man, no look to the future, or knowledge or learning from the past. Our friend vaporland continues, “If this is doublethink, so be it.”
That's right, if I'm a hypocrite, that's fine. If I'm contradictory, that's okay. If I say one thing but do another, if I have one standard for me and another for you, if I have a purpose or goal and then do that which defeats it ... if if if ... that's okay, because, you know, it works for me, even though it's not actually working for me or for anyone else.
And to conclude, that's right, just shut up! If you don't like what I'm saying, keep it to yourself. Put your head in the sand. Don't judge me, don't employ your cognitive faculties, your critical thinking skills, your imagination, and, if by some mistake you do, please do not share it. Sharing ideas, critiquing ideas, public and open debate—these things have only brought misery to the world. Misery, I say!
All I had to do was wait long enough and the neighbor stopped crying!
—March 4 2007