If we only had a brain…
I had originally planned to post Losing my religion, Part 2 as a serious follow-up to the (only slightly) satirical Part 1 that I posted the other day. But it was not to be. That post will have to wait. These days I’m not losing my religion; instead I’m constantly losing my train of thought – thanks, as always, to Tony Michalski. A couple of days ago he sent me a link that confirmed what I had suspected when I first found out Time magazine had come out with its special issue on the 100 most influential people shaping our world today.
"I'm at a complete loss," Tony wrote. "Somewhere, there's an engineer or a doctor doing something understated but ultimately MASSIVELY beneficial to humanity, [who] won’t be mentioned. Ever. Anywhere. And then this."
I feel your pain, Tony, for it is mine too, and it is America’s as well. Or at least the thinking part of America. It’s not that Time is exactly endorsing Rhonda or The Secret. After all, they did run a critical piece about The Secret last December. Time is simply recognizing Rhonda and her franchise as a huge influence on contemporary pop culture, if not on the actual progress of the human race.
Yet the very fact that Ronda made the top 100 says a lot about the general intelligence level of our culture.
And Time did manage to recruit a Rhonda-friendly writer to pen the profile, Chicken Soup For The Soul co-perpetrator Jack Canfield, who, of course, was featured in The Secret. Waxing poetic about Rhonda’s constant state of bliss and childlike wonder (without even mentioning the possibility that her attitude might have been due to the prescription antidepressants finally kicking in*), Canfield goes on to say:
I am often asked why The Secret has been such a phenomenon—more than 2 million DVDs sold in a year and almost 4 million books in less than six months. It is primarily because Byrne’s love and joy permeate every frame and every page.
Yep, Rhonda’s advising people who want to lose weight to refuse to look at or have anything to do with fat people…or her claim that African genocide victims, Holocaust victims and the like are responsible for their woes…that’s love and joy, all right. You tell ’em, Jack! Then again, I guess it wouldn’t have been appropriate to have someone like Jeffrey Ressner write the piece.
Of course, all is not bliss and wonder for Rhonda these days. Not only was there that short-lived Tilak affair, which could have turned into a huge embarrassment, and not only is she fielding all sorts of criticism about her infomercial and book, but now she is also having to swat away all of those annoying little insects that are buzzing around her, trying to suck some profit from The Secret. Some of the wannabes are now feeling the wrath of Rhonda’s intellectual property attorneys. I guess you could say she is sending her winged monkeys out over the Internet...
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think for a moment that Rhonda shouldn’t protect her creative endeavors. And I for one am pretty annoyed by all of the major hustledorks, as well as the hundreds upon hundreds of minor ones, who are exploiting the hell out of Rhonda’s brainchild, and constantly sending me emails to let me in on their scams. At the very least, they should have a disclaimer on their sites that explicitly states they are not part of Rhonda’s organization. Many of the hucksters do have this disclaimer. But Warrior Boy doesn’t, plus he was using the Secret logo on his site without permission, so the attorneys are rattling their sabers now.
And if anyone ever thought that The Secret was all about spreading love and joy, and lifting up humanity – and that profits and greed were secondary – they only have to listen to Esther Hicks, who is using her imaginary pal(s) Abraham to vent about Rhonda and her greed. (And I thought I was passive-aggressive...) Not that Esther and Jerry weren’t within their rights to protect their intellectual property – though I have to say that in this case, the word "intellectual" is strictly a legal description and nothing more. Anyway, there’s a thread about this topic now on The Secret official discussion forum (thanks again to Mr. T. for bringing it to my attention).
Do play the video clip. And then remind yourself that the people in Esther/Abe’s audience are all adults – presumably competent, functioning adults, people with jobs and children and grandchildren, people who are allowed to roam loose in our streets.
And they really seem to believe that the phony accent Esther is spouting comes from a group of disembodied wise beings. Furthermore, they more than likely paid real money for the privilege of sitting in a room and hearing her spout.
By comparison, the Scarecrow is beginning to look brainier and brainier all the time.
* Hey, I’m just speculating. She did have sort of a breakdown not so very long before she discovered The Secret...and I'm just saying: Never underestimate the power of pharmaceuticals.