Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

It's about Time

Has The Secret backlash I blogged about the other day begun?

If the recent Time magazine write-up by
Jeffrey Ressner is any indication, it has, though as of now it's more of a gentle slap than a lash. Still, after Larry King's two-part infomercial on November 2 and November 16, and ABCNews.com's uncritical article later that month, Time's write-up is a good beginning.

Not surprisingly, the Secretrons are not pleased. Some are blaming the mainstream-media mentality for the negative coverage, apparently overlooking the fact that Larry King and ABCNews.com are also part of the mainstream media. Even so, they are already putting a positive spin on Time's coverage. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

They may have a point at that. As even Time acknowledges, The Secret is a huge success, and its big mean marketing machine is in full force, poised to spew sequels and additional Secret products (or Secretions, as The Rev puts it) all over the world.

And even the decidedly non-Secretrons have their doubts about the significance of the Time article. Mystic Bourgeoisie's Chris Locke wrote to me (and gave me permission to quote him): "The Time slam isn't halfway hard enough. It will simply serve to promote the damn thing further. I can't help thinking of how the rest of the world sees America – we're trashing the Middle East, and meanwhile, a big chunk of the population is living in a
fantasy world, dreaming about how to get more stuff. Pathetic."

By the way, Chris is the one who sent me the link to a recent interview with Rhonda Byrne, the creator of The Secret. The interviewer is Anna Darrah, Director of Acquisitions for Stephen Simon's Spiritual Cinema Circle, which is a movie-of-the-month club for the conspicuously enlightened crowd. To hear Rhonda gushing sweetly on the interview about "breathing air" and being enormously grateful to be alive, you'd never think she was the let-them-eat-cake ice queen whose comments ruined The Secret book for a few folks. (Don't overlook Steve Salerno's comments on the Amazon page.)

Anyway, here's the link to the Rhonda Byrne interview. But don't say I didn't warn you about the saccharine content. Imagine a New-Wage version of Molly Shannon and
Ana Gasteyer on the old "Delicious Dish on NPR" skit on Saturday Night Live ("Good times....mmmm. Good times."). Well, turn it up a few notches, sweetness-and-light-wise, change the content from the mundane to the magical (no wooden bowls, funnels, or "Schweaty Balls" here, kiddos), and...hmm...that still doesn't adequately describe this exchange.

But I'll let you judge for yourself.

Prepare to hurl.

And after you've recovered, shoot off a thank you email to Time, for at least using the term "empowerment hustlers" when describing the stars of The Secret.

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Anonymous Just Wondering said...

I just have to ask a simple question here: If this DVD is as bad as you seem to indicate, why don't you just move on and forget about it?

If you think it's THAT DUMB, how can you devote so much of your time to it? Pardon me for noticing that you just go on and on and on and on....

There are people out there whitewashing the Holocaust. Now THAT'S worth getting upset about!

The Secret is one of a million DVD's out there. Go watch Gone With the Wind and have a good time. Life is way too short for this strange obsession.

This kind of hate is poison for the soul. (And a giant waste of time.)

Friday, December 29, 2006 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your comments, JW. You have a very good point about the relative importance of "The Secret," especially in comparison to the serious things that are going on in the world. As it happens, I *am* upset about the Holocaust whitewashers. In fact, that's one of my pet issues in my "serious" life.

However, Whirled Musings is not about the Holocaust. It is about New Age/New Wage culture and related pop-culture phemonena, of which "The Secret" is one. WM is, relatively speaking, a lightweight blog. It would not be appropriate to write about the Holocaust in this forum.

And just because something is dumb, that doesn't mean that it should just be ignored. In fact, since this blog is all about dumb stuff, if I ignored "The Secret" I would be remiss in my blogging duties.

And I have a question for you: If my ragging on "The Secret" is such a waste of my time, isn't reading my ragging, and writing to me, a waste of *your* time? Shouldn't you be out there manifesting something?

Friday, December 29, 2006 5:23:00 PM  
Anonymous No Longer Wondering said...

I wondered how stupid this could get.


My work here is done.

Friday, December 29, 2006 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

And a fine job you did, too, NLW. :-) Your work may be done here, but I am only one of a growing number of bloggers who are not exactly fans of "The Secret"...

Friday, December 29, 2006 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Connie - I must admit that I am as fond of fairy tales as the next person, except in cases where people are encouraged to live the fairy tales at the expense of reality. I think Janis Joplin summed up the hustledorks' collective philosophy pretty well... "Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz..."

Nowadays, they beg for the Mercedes one Amazon gift certificate at a time!

Friday, December 29, 2006 6:51:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Ron. But of course, the Universe wants each of us to have our figurative or literal Mercedes Benz (or BMWs, or even more expensive toys), and we don't even have to beg for them, as poor Janis thought she had to do. All we have to do is think about them, and they're ours. "It's really that simple!"

Friday, December 29, 2006 6:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attacking and encouraging others to attack people with different beliefs? Making up cute, insulting names for people whose ideas differ from yours? Setting up a regular campaign against these folks, aren't we?

Now, let me see... If I said all this was about Jews, their alleged devotion to "acquiring wealth," their laughable sounding prayers, books,
keeping Kosher, etc.... Now, would THAT be WRONG?

LADY, THIS IS HOW THE HOLOCAUST STARTED, WITH CUTE LITTLE ATTACKS LIKE YOURS. Keep it up, make it funny, make it (slowly but surely) PALITABLE TO THE MASSES to attack those with ideas that you don't like.

You think you are funny -- a brilliant, sophisticated, intellectual wit. Those who disagree with you are to be laughed at, dismissed...

Sorry, lady. I can smell your kind of rat from a mile away. Your bitter, sugar-coated hate mongering
is OLD NEWS -- not trendy or sophisticated as you like to pose.

NEVER AGAIN! Get it, pal?

Friday, December 29, 2006 8:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hmmm...Sharing the love, Anon? Putting your light out into The Universe? What would Rhonda say?!?

Is *your* kind of hate-mongering the true legacy of "The Secret?"

I would hope not.

I probably shouldn't even dignify the Holocaust remark with a reply, but...
There's a big difference between attacking an ethnic or religious group, and making fun of a glorified infomercial and the self-important hustledorks who promote it.

And for the record, I am not encouraging others to "attack" anyone, nor am I encouraging violence of any kind whatsoever.

So, sorry, pal, the Holocaust analogy just doesn't fly.

PS -- Better warn Time Magazine that they have a Nazi in the making on their staff too...you know, that guy who wrote the fairly critical article about "The Secret."

Friday, December 29, 2006 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, anonymous, but pointing out the ludicrousness and cynicism of those who prey upon - and gain profit from - the false hopes of vulnerable people is hardly a precursor to a holocaust. I'm convinced of the power of positive thinking, but no amount of positive thought can overcome the inertia of inaction, as the Secretions claim.

I, for one, wish there was no need for people to shine a light on the hustledorks, but as long as they continue to abuse their followers' trust and good will, there needs to be some kind of counterpoint to their scams.

I honestly wonder whether you believe that your missive will serve to place the Secretions in a more positive light. It most certainly won't reflect well upon the abilities of your English teachers. At any rate, I wish you well.

Friday, December 29, 2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Ron. You're right about there being a need for a counterpoint. Before the Time article, virtually all of the media coverage I saw about "The Secret" -- even from the mainstream media -- was uncritical and almost gushing. And there are dozens of blogs and web sites that support "The Secret" and its take on the Law of Attraction. There aren't all that many that are critical of this stuff. So I'm just helping to keep the Universe in balance. :-)

I do not, however, think of myself as the kind of rat you can smell from a mile away, as Anon so eloquently suggested. Rather, I think of myself the way I described the "Cosmic Relief" web site: as the fly in the ointment of enlightenment.

Friday, December 29, 2006 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A shanda fur die goy.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 1:11:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Salerno said...

Connie, just FYI, shortly after I posted my Amazon review for The Secret, three separate SHAMblog comments came through for my approval. All anonymous. Anonymous A said she was 16 and basically wanted to know why--if The Secret was so lame--it was selling so many copies worldwide. Anonymous B didn't give an age, but claimed to be a Brit, and basically wanted to know why--if The Secret was so lame--it was selling so many copies worldwide. Anonymous C claimed to be a real-estate speculator, and basically wanted to know why--if The Secret was so lame--it was selling so many copies worldwide. The last commenter threw in, "And if you're so smart, why can't you write a book that generates that kind of success?" As it appeared that all three comments were indeed from the same person, or were part of an organized campaign wherein they'd been supplied with their verbiage, I allowed only the first comment through. Just FYI.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 6:52:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Translation of the latest Anon's post...

SHANDA: A shame, a scandal. The expression "a shanda fur die goy" means to do something embarrassing to Jews where non-Jews can observe it.

I’m not sure if Anon meant that I am the one doing the embarrassing thing to Jews, or if the person who accused me of being a Holocaust-grade hatemonger was (anonymously) committing the embarrassing act. I would like to think it is the latter, because to compare my comments on this silly little blog to the atrocities of the Holocaust is not only ludicrous (even shameful), but is an insult to the Jewish people, and to all people who have ever been the target of genocide.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Steve. I'm pretty sure I've been hearing from the same nameless commenter several times on this one post, and in fact I have the feeling I've heard from this person before. If this person were a true practitioner of the Law of Attraction, as hyped on "The Secret" and among the Secretrons, s/he would "just move on and forget about" this blog, as s/he has advised me to do about "The Secret."

It's interesting that your anonymous commenter asked why, if you are so smart, you couldn't write a book that generates the kind of sales "The Secret" has realized. It always comes back to that, doesn't it? The real message conveyed by those catty remarks is that you can't argue with (material) success.

As you've said many times, you probably could write a book that would sell as well as "The Secret." Heck, even I probably could. But to do that, we'd have to sell our souls. It's not a matter of being smart -- it's a matter of having principles.

On the other hand, Steve, you and I are not the ones who are vacationing on Maui, or shopping for two-million-dollar mansions.

But on still another hand...most of the Secretrons aren't doing that either, and probably won't. They're just being given the hope that they can do it. They're being told that all things are possible, that they can have, do or be anything they want. That'll be enough to keep them coming back for more "Secret" products for some time to come.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I do not normally edit comments, but I just received a comment from a person who used the name, "Just Passing By." The person used some racial/ethnic slurs I didn't want to print. Let me hasten to add that s/he was not using them against me or anyone else, but was just quoting them. However, I didn't want to print them. So here is a slightly edited version of the person's comments. I will reply in a separate message.

SS: What are readers to think: 1) There is only ONE person who actually disagrees with negative comments about a DVD you dislike? 2) There is a conspiracy run by some Secret organization that tells many people what to say in response to your personal opinion? Either way, it all sounds kind of paranoid. Repeat after me: It's just a movie... It's just a movie... It's just a movie... There, now don't you feel better? I have to agree with the person who suggested you go watch Gone With the Wind and get on with your life. FYI: I got to see this blog because of something I had on a Google alert. There is way, way too much hate here (coming from BOTH DIRECTIONS!) to make me bother again. Further, the guy who suggested that there was encouragement to "attack" people was obviously not talking about beating people with baseball bats. That's not what I read at all. Pardon my language, but I have to say that [racist terms deleted] etc. are EVERY BIT AS HATEFUL as "Secretion." Hate opens the door to more hate. You just wear down the resistance of the general public, and worse becomes permissable. Undoubtedly, your response will be to make some snide comment about my grammar, intellectual ability, ugly shoes, or ability to share "light and love." Ha.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Just Passing, I neither said nor implied that only one person disagrees with my opinions about "The Secret." Nor did I say or imply that there was any kind of "conspiracy." I merely said, in response to Steve Salerno's remark about his own experience, that I suspected I'd heard from the same person more than once on this post, though the person used different screen names. I also suspected, due to some similarities in style and substance, that this person had previously commented on my other "Secret" related posts.

That stems not from paranoia but from an ability I've developed in my day job of ghostwriting and editing, where I have to pay attention to style and substance. I could very well be wrong, of course. Style is easily imitable, as is substance. But it's just a hunch I have. It's NBD either way.

As for "The Secret" being "just a movie," it's not even that, IMO. It's a glorified infomercial. But it's not "just" that. If it were, it wouldn't be all over Larry King and ABCNews.com and now Time. It is, in other words, a marketing and pop-culture phenomenon, and therefore a worthy subject of this blog.

I am not trying to spread hate, only to encourage people to think. You obviously see it differently.

And in my opinion, "Secretron" and "Secretion" are in no way nearly as offensive or hate-ridden as the examples you offered (which I censored).

You also wrote:
"Further, the guy who suggested that there was encouragement to 'attack' people was obviously not talking about beating people with baseball bats. That's not what I read at all."

No, the guy was not suggesting I was encouraging people to go after others with baseball bats. I never said or implied that. However, he (or she) WAS comparing my actions to the architects of the Holocaust, and was implying that by continuing to say bad things about "The Secret" I was hate-mongering in a comparable way to the Nazis, and encouraging others to be hate-mongers.

I do thank you for writing to me, but it is not my place to correct your spelling or grammar, and I have not attacked other writers' spelling or grammar either.

I can only suggest that if there's too much hate here for you, there are plenty of other blogs where you can hang out with people who are filled with love and light.

Saturday, December 30, 2006 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous F.A.R.T.S. said...

Not to be left out ot this discussion, I just want to state that I morally object to GONE WITH THE WIND. Whenever I see it in Blockbuster, I just pass right on by. Therefore, I am now heading up an organization called F.A.R.T.S. (Federation For Artistic Reactionary Tsuris.) for people who encourage others to pass WIND.

The uneducated, unwashed masses must be protected from those who would line their pockets due to this mass hysteria enslaving generations to the idea that this film is brilliant, uplifting, artistically produced entertainment.

Rest easy, America! F.A.R.T.S. are here.

If you haven't heard of us before, now you'll GET WIND OF IT for sure!

Sunday, December 31, 2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, F.A.R.T.S. I see there's methane to your madness.

Actually, I'd rather watch "Joe Versus The Volcano" or "Dogma" than "Gone With The Wind" anyway.

And for the record, in case anyone was wondering, I don't *morally* object to "The Secret," at least not to the point of thinking it should be banned. I do, however, reserve my right to question the motives of the producers, as well as to make fun of and criticize "The Secret" -- even as fans of "The Secret" reserve their right to criticize and make fun of me and question my motives. As long as we keep it clean, this is an open forum for debate, criticism, motive-questioning and fun-making.

Sunday, December 31, 2006 4:21:00 PM  
Blogger Citizen Deux said...

Dear sweet nellie! And to think I slogged half way across the world to bear arms for the knuckleheads who then post anonymous comments on such a delightful blog.

I recently attended a "New Wage" service at a Unity church. In addition to pushing their annual fund - which helps no one, apparently, the energy healers were in the back after the service and a new set of the Secret DVDs had arrived.

If God existed, and I have no idea if, I can bet bottom dollar he/she doesn't care a whit about what you can get in this life.

The Secret is a scam of the highest order. It is in line with every bogus guru, shaman, woo-meister and huckster (please include the benignly deceptive with the really bad) pulling dollars and energy out of the foolish.

And by the way - the Holocaust has nothing to do with pointing out the emperors with no clothes.


Monday, January 01, 2007 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for the support, CD; it is very much appreciated. And thank you for bearing arms on behalf of all of us (yes, even the knuckleheads).

That New Wage service you attended sounds pretty typical. Don't get me wrong; there are some truly wonderful people in these churches. But they're not the ones who are out there making money selling high-dollar "secrets."

I've long felt that the Holocaust comparison is misused more often than not. I just never thought *I* would be the target of such a misuse. But I've always heard that if you're not pissing someone off, you're not doing your job.

Thanks again for your continued support. And rest assured, I will be writing more about "The Secret" and related matters in the coming year.

Monday, January 01, 2007 9:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Me said...

Someone said: Sorry, lady. I can smell your kind of rat from a mile away. Your bitter, sugar-coated hate mongering
is OLD NEWS -- not trendy or sophisticated as you like to pose.

NEVER AGAIN! Get it, pal?

These references to the holocaust are ridiculously absurd. I know many holocaust survivors and am immersed in jewish culture. Connie's criticism has nothing to do with the kind of hate mongering the nazis generated. I can't believe any one would make that comparison. She is just using critical thinking to ppoint out the inconsistencies of some of the new age culture. Recently, a friend profusely thanked me for directing him to this web site because he was tired of hearing every one around him uncritically praise that infomercial. I also, am glad that i can come here and get different points of view, as the new age dogmas that are peddled are rarely examined critically by the people who espouse them, and others who don't have the time to do their research are suckered in.

I do think, though, that the term 'secretions' is a little offensive. A different noun could be chosen that isn't as antagonistic.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you, "Me." I do appreciate the support.

Upon thinking about it some more, I agree that "Secretions" is a little offensive. Actually, the term I used myself was "Secretrons," which to me isn't any more offensive than "Bleepers," the name that some fans of "What The Bleep" use to describe themselves. It was one of my other commenters (who happens to be someone I'm very fond of) who used "Secretions," but I chose to publish it -- so I have to take responsibility.

Anyway, I will try to avoid stooping to name-calling in the future. I can't promise to stop being sarcastic and passive-aggressive on occasion, though... :-)

Thank you again for your support. And I hope you keep coming back; I intend to get some new posts up in the next day or so.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger RevRon's Rants said...

I have to confess... 'Twas I who labeled the promoters - not the new "believers" - Secretions. And perhaps it was a bit over the top. Perhaps one can forgive an off-color, off-the-cuff comment if one considers how the promoters are making a profit (and most likely, a significant one) by plying the hopes of others with an unending stream of esoteric promises, knowing full-well that they can never be pressed for any proof that their "Secret" is effective in any way. To make matters worse, they clearly imply that the responsibility for any failure to achieve even the most absurd goals lies squarely upon the shoulders of the follower, who obviously isn't evolved enough to apply such a "powerful" process. But not to worry... in no time, these folks will come up with an even bigger, more powerful secret to the Universe, attainable (of course) by purchasing one of their DVD's, books, or expensive weekend seminar, just as they have done up to this point.

So perhaps "me" was correct. perhaps applying the term Secretions to these hucksters is unfair and offensive. To secretions. But that's just my opinion.

Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, I'm glad you cleared that up, Ron. :-) And I am sure you are far from the only person who feels that way about the creators and promoters of "The Secret."

Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Sees Rite Thru Ya! said...

"Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting."
Author: Sidney J. Harris 1917-, American Journalist

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 1:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for the quotation, Sees Rite Thru Ya. But if you're talking about me, which it seems you are, it would appear you're seeing right through me and looking at someone else. The truth is, I TOLERATED this stuff that I'm now making fun of for years and years and years, till I could tolerate it no more. I've been around the block in the New Wage community, in other words.

BTW, there's plenty of "personal boasting," not to mention egotism and arrogance, among the New Wage gurus who were in "The Secret."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 11:32:00 AM  

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