Bad sports, good sports
The more I write about The Secret, the more criticism I receive. That's the one topic on this blog that seems to have really touched a nerve. However, I have to say that I'm not getting quite as many critics as I did just a while back, and I'm sure that's at least partly because there are now so many other detractors to keep Secret fans occupied. Now that the mainstream media have finally taken notice of the Secret phenomenon and have loosed their own critics, I'm kind of second-string. (Well, I probably always was.)
There's an increasing amount of Secret-related activity in the blogosphere as well, and not all of it is Secret-friendly. Just the other day, for example, CBSNews.com’s Melissa McNamara mentioned that quite a few bloggers don’t care for The Secret. Case in point: The Stupidity Tracker. Just don't read it while you're eating tomatoes.
I also found more critics in Secret creator/producer Rhonda Byrne’s homeland, Australia: the self-described "bitches" who run The Spin Starts Here.
I’m pretty gentle by comparison.Even so, some of the comments I've been getting lately are, to put it mildly, colorful, and I've rejected more than one. I gladly print critical comments, but I do have limits, and lately I've been receiving vitriolic messages from some real Mister Dirty Mouths (as our friend Lincoln Meyer on Boston Legal might have said). I am assuming these Dirty Mouths are male, anyway. In the event that I am wrong, I apologize to the entire male gender for my sexist assumptions.
As for you D.M.s, if you're reading this, be aware that I have a policy of not printing blatantly abusive comments on my blog. Even as I write this, though, I realize that abusiveness may be relative. Some contend that I am being abusive by being so sarcastic about The Secret and referring to its more obsessive fans by a term I coined: "Secretrons." (Hey, and here's another term I just recently thought up: "LOAnoids."*)
Abusive or not, I do allow sarcasm here, even when it is directed against me, as it sometimes has been. And I allow some name-calling as well, even when people call me names. Fair is fair, after all. Among the names I've been called as a result of my Secret-baiting are "Captain Bring-down," "hate-monger," and "rat."
However, I draw the line at gratuitous epithets, particularly those having to do with parts of the female anatomy.
You D.M.s should know that you are not shocking me by sending me these childish missives, and you are most certainly not changing my mind about The Secret. (I also do not think that you are at all representative of Secret fans, so if you are in truth Secret haters who are just trying to make Secret fans look worse, it's not working.) All you are doing is guaranteeing that your words will never see the light of day on Whirled Musings. And if you keep harassing me, I will find out who you are and tell your mommies, and they might restrict your computer access.
In marked contrast to disgruntled Secret fans, a person whose company I lampooned recently on Whirled Musings wrote me a nice note yesterday, thanking me for "keeping it real." In truth I was not satirizing his product so much as I was poking fun at the extraordinarily hype-y marketing. The person who had actually sent the numerous breathless emails about the product, via my favorite New-Wage spam service, seemed like a typical young and hyper-enthusiastic MLM type. And the product itself had been endorsed by one of the most aggressive self-promoters in the history of modern self-promotion. (I'll keep that person's name a Secret for now.)
But the company president, with whom I struck up a brief but friendly correspondence, agreed that some of the marketing may have been over the top. Admittedly, this guy has ties in the New-Wage world, and in one of his emails he mentioned a particular self-help path that he said had worked for him. A couple of Google clicks revealed he has a pretty close association with the founder of that self-help system. Yet he seems like a genuinely nice person who is backing some research that may well be worth pursuing. But my opinion is that if he wants more respect from mainstream science, or even from run-of-the-mill skeptics and cynics, he would be well-advised to distance himself and his product from the miracles-and-wonders marketing milieu.
Still, it's nice to know that some folks to whom I have not been overly kind can be pretty good sports. It's a point well worth considering. No matter how weary many of us may be of the New-Wage hype and hysteria – particularly that surrounding The Secret – the issues cannot be boiled down to a simple "us vs. them." Despite the apparent joy some get from polarization (and at times I have been just as guilty of this as anyone else), we're all in this discussion together.
Except, of course, for you Dirty Mouths. Y'all are getting a time-out until you can learn to behave yourselves.
PS - All of the criticism, serious and sarcastic, isn't making a dent in the Secret franchise's bottom line. Chris Locke just forwarded a notice to me from Publishers Weekly.com that Simon and Schuster has placed the biggest reorder in its history: two million more copies of the book version of The Secret. Maybe they can air-drop a few hundred thousand copies on East Timor, Somalia, and Sierra Leone, currently rated among the poorest nations in the world.
PPS - At exactly 12:28 PM Central Standard Time, March 1, 2007, my hit counter reached 666. This is the number of new visits since a week ago today, February 22, 2007, when I set the counter up. Boy, the hits are really flooding in now! And to New Visitor Number 666: I wish I could award you a door prize, but I don't know who you are.
* LOA stands for "Law of Attraction"