Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Oprium


Wow, I really have been busy lately. I completely missed one of those Moments in History. This was one of those events with Serious Social Significance. Not only did it herald an important milestone in the birth of a scam, it was also the Moment that Oprah took another self-confident and deliberate step down the ladder of depraved megalomania.

On reflection, I might not have missed it completely. I remember Oprah’s voice coming out of a TV one day recently, saying something like, “If you don’t tune in to my next show, you’ll miss what just may be the most important hour of television ever.” I kid you not. Normally, that would be enough to get my attention because I’d want to know what that old Maven of Manipulation was up to. As it was, I must have had too much on my mind. I tuned her out with no more than a muttered “Get over yourself!”

And so it was that I almost missed her latest slide down the scale of shameless huckstering. One moment, she was endorsing such hacks as Dr. Phil, and such mediocre talents as Tyler Perry, the next, she’s aligning herself with the likes of “Dr.” Wayne Dyer, and the whole asylum of bullshit-shoveling ilk at Hay House. I’m talking of course about the day she bestowed her Seal of Approval on “The Secret”.

Oh boy! A new tent show is in town! Can we go ma?

So what’s “The Secret”? Well, apparently for whatever bite these hucksters are charging, you can find the secret way to delude yourself into feeling happy, when all around you, there are real reasons to be discontent, angry, stressed out, or dissatisfied.

I might never have known about this latest New Age style emporium of pie in the sky, had it not been for some brilliant prose here at Theriomorph, and some very witty near-poetry here at Skeptico. I have been left very little to add to such rapier-like penning (typing?), except to say that it warms my heart. What can I say? Finding reasons to believe that there might still be hope for the Human Race is what makes me happy.

The first person to say something like, “If The Secret doesn’t work for you, you’re just not doing it right” and mean it, gets a bonk on the noggin with the big Clown Hammer. I swear, I’ll find you!

28 Comments:

At 3:34 AM, Blogger vjack said...

The Secret sounds an awful lot like religion, doesn't it? Great post.

 
At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already know the secret. It's Bailey's Irish Cream on the rocks. Works for me!

ILD

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

This was also discussed over at philaletheia.

Selling “The Secret”
http://philaletheia.thetruthtree.com/2007/03/19/selling-the-secret/

Can't say that I added anything of particular relevance to the discussion, but soulster wrote a very interesting piece about it, and others made some pertinent comments.

Don't worry about my comments there which went off in a complete tangent, but have a read of soulster's take on it.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

The REAL secret is that the Secret secretes the same old sh*t as every other idiotic notion in the New Age/Old Hat section at your local Ooh-Aah Book and Fromage Emporium.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
H. L. Mencken

"There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em."
P. T. Barnum

Puh-leeze make it stop!!!

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

The secret is:- If you get your book mentioned on Oprah, you will sell a lot of books.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

vjack:

Yup, same jell-o, different wall.

Anon: My secret is single-malt, and not overindulging in my secret.

beepbeepitsme:

Damn! I took a quick look at work but now all I see is "Woops!" NetIdentity shit. I hate those guys! I hope the site comes back soon.

homo escapeons:

The real secret is to wrap the same old ra-ra shit in a brand new designer sack.

"Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life here." - Unknown Trekie

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Theriomorph said...

Oprium!

LOVE it.

Thanks for the link, too -

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

beepbeepitsme:

I should hit the refresh button more often. I missed your second comment. Yes, you will sell a lot of books, but I wonder, at what price? Does she just take a cut, or do you have to do something demeaning like rub her feet?

homo escapeons:

I almost forgot. "Fromage?" Either you have more upscale bookstores than I do, or your cheese shops have more that smells of Limburger than Limburger.

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

theriomorph:

You're most welcome. Your "selling like crack" comment inspired the title. I was playing around with, "Oprah is the religion of the masses" and it just popped in.

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

breaker

RE: "Yes, you will sell a lot of books, but I wonder, at what price?"

This is the price we pay for living in a society which believes that everything is a product and that every product has a potential buyer.

Unfortunately, people will associate "the cult of personality" with credibility. Same thing happens here. TV and media is littered with the opinion of talking heads, who have a lot of influence on their readership, but they are not by necessity, an authority on any subject except the art of selling an idea or marketing a product.

That comment makes me sound like I am appealing to authority, and in a way I suppose I am. But when every tom, dick and harry is considered an authority, then no one is.

It also means that the voice of someone who actually may know something about the subject, is considered to be of no more value than the next person's.

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

So if I'm real good and I wish really really hard, Oprium of the Masses will just shut up? ;-)

Remember when that author refused Operah's endorsement of his book? Yes, okay, every serious author gets made fun of by his/her peers when s/he gets the Ophooey seal of approval, but man, that was a mistake. Unfortunately, the twit has influence, even tho the twit knows shit about lit.

 
At 8:42 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

beepbeepitsme:

Just as there’s no accounting for taste, there seems to be no accounting for credibility. Ed Mc Mahon was hawking all manner of schlock, including overpriced burial insurance, long after his endorsement should have been meaningless. For my money, that should have been around age twelve.

I think there is more to blame than the “cult of personality”, although that figures into the equation. There is also the “cult of the common man”, used for centuries as a tool to foster ignorance and protect those that use superstition as a tool to gain wealth. Basically, it is a false construct that ostensibly stands against elitism and privilege. It actually protects those levers of influence used by the power elite by sowing uncertainty with its appeals to “common sense” and what “everybody knows”. You probably already knew that.

Kristine:

Perhaps there is some Newtonian-like “Law of Repulsion”, and if we all wish hard enough, Oprah will begin acting out, like Zsa Zsa Gabor. Hey, Tinkerbell pulled through when we clapped our hands, so it’s worth a shot! :-)

What happened to that “refusenick” author can be explained using a combination of models. Oprah is the “front man” for a very large money machine. The machine obtains wealth pretty much the same way that a casino does. The “atmosphere” of a casino and of the Oprah machine is very carefully staged. The staged production is closer in nature to a stage magician’s or stage hypnotist’s act than it is to any other performing art. In all cases, a carefully built illusion must be maintained throughout in order to secure the final “payoff”. Any threat to that illusion must be countered. Nothing that is perceived as potentially breaking the illusion of control and authority can be left unchallenged. It is the machine defending itself, like stand-up comics defending themselves against hecklers. It’s all theatre after all, no matter how dishonest or lucrative.

 
At 7:41 PM, Blogger L>T said...

Interesting post, thanks for the links. What this secret hype makes me think of is; today I went to Wal-mart with my daughter & was blown away & bedazzled by the aisles & aisles of products... beauty products , health products, every product imaginable for sale ready to turn us into movie stars & model human beings. Then I looked around at all the people wandering the aisles & thought, "Obviously this shit don't work."
But we keep buying it!
We believe in the power of advertising because we still believe in magic. We believe in a secret power out there somewhere, because we can't seem to believe in ourselves.

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

beauty products , health products, every product imaginable... Then I looked around at all the people wandering the aisles & thought, "Obviously this shit don't work."

Oh, oh hahahahahahahahahaha!! You are spot on!! Fantastic!! I laughed so hard when I read this I nearly wet my pants!! Thank you for calling a spade a spade! I think I can keep going, now!!

ILB

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

l>t:

I second what Anon. said, right up to the bladder control part. I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything though.

There's an awful lot of bullshit going on in the HBA aisle that ties in to this post. Consider the self-esteem busting message: "You need this caulk, wax, bleach, and polish to be considered marginally attractive." Then throw this shovelfull on top: "If you're not happy, there must be something wrong with you.

 
At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all bullshit anyway, this whole made-up, artificial, got-to-get-ahead, contrived, idiotic, commercialized, self-congratulatory, money hungry, self-loathing, insecure fucking mess we call a world. Cynicism has become the norm, discontent and disillusionment the way of life. Even we all are infected with the disease; no one can just live and let live. We criticize, tear apart, identity-bludgeon and vilify everyone who isn't on our wagon.

So what if Oprah found the secret before everyone else? So what if she is a fucking bazillionaire?

Why do we care? If others (read WE) aren't smart enough to figure out how to make themselves obscenely rich just like her, well, more fucking power to her then. She has marketed herself brilliantly and I for one wish I had had the self-esteem to believe in myself enough to do just that sort of thing.

Of course, all the while retaining my sweet, humble personality....

Kalanchoe542
- who somehow hasn't made enough entries lately to be allowed back in. I just LOVE this shit....

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upon further evaluation, I think I was just a tad harsh. I apologize for my cranky, middle aged, menopausal rant. Yes, I wish I were independently wealthy, and yes, I think Oprah didn't find the goose that lays the golden egg, she CREATED it. Marketing is amazing, isn't it?

Now somebody be a good little trooper and get me lots of Ghirardelli and maybe, just maybe my head will stop spinning around like cute little Linda B. and her freak show of green puke.

Kalanchoe542- who still hasn't had time to figure out how to get back to her profile. Help me anyone?

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger L>T said...

anonymous There is hope out there. Just don't look up in the sky for it. :)

I'm pleased you all appreciated my humor.

Life can be cynically funny but at the same time very sad, too. You know when you go into places like that(& I go as little as possible) You have to arm yourself with a good philosophy, a sense of humor & a genuine love for humanity. Otherwise you leave feeling very ugly, inside & out.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Did someone say "cynical"?

Possible Future

In the year 2525.... Ok, we all know how the song goes, but how about this? If things don't change for the better sometime soon, I can envision a future where a big gray armored bus drives down your street once a week. The armed guard eyes you with a mixture of suspicion and disdain as you climb meekly aboard. The armor on the sides of the bus are as much for your protection as they are to contain any blast that might occur inside. You are driven to a large warehouse a-la Sam's Club, where you are permitted to shop under armed surveillance. You check out, and your purchases immediately go into a container with your ID tag. If more than one container is required, you pay extra. The containers are then immediately loaded into the bus's roof and belly compartments, or tagged for delivery if the bus reaches capacity. You are driven home. You are charged a flat weekly rate for the bus service, whether you use it or not. Not shopping is considered un-American because you need to support the Service Economy.

How's that for cynicism? (we hope)

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger L>T said...

that's a interesting idea, but...where are we going to put all this stuff we have to buy? Consider a situation where the product would be a simple voucher, a pieces of paper. Workers would acually have to produce nothing. They could dig holes & fill them back up again. Machines would spit out vouchers according to a persons labor. Ecomomists would calculate all this stuff out. We would have to "consume" these vouchers in that we'd be compelled go to the wal-mart style store & go down the rows & rows of aisles stacked with peices of paper, with our carts & listen to the muzak, look at the flashy advertisments for the vouchers, etc. etc...Except we wouldn't need any armed gaurds. We'd all be high on mandatory prescription drugs.

 
At 5:27 AM, Blogger BEAST said...

Well.These quacks may not make you happy, but I have the perfect remedy.

Have sex. Plenty of hot monkey sex. It works all the time.

 
At 8:04 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

l>t said:

"Workers would acually have to produce nothing. They could dig holes & fill them back up again."

A long-time friend of mine works for the Port Authority in NY/NJ. One of his former jobs was to clean up wreckage and oil spills from accidents in the Lincoln Tunnel (or maybe it was the Holland). Anyway, he tells the story of one time when the crew he was working on was waiting for sweeping compound afer a big accident. When the foreman showed up, he went ballistic. Seems there was a News Crew filming the accident, and they were incidentally filming all these workers standing around doing nothing. So, for the better part of an hour, this crew was ordered to pretend to spread invisible sweeping compound and sweep it back up again.

Beast:

Works for me and for anyone else with working parts, I guess. I prefer human partners though. I'm not being judgmental, just personally fussy that way. :-)

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger BEAST said...

Oh well. Hot monkey sex is just an euphorism.

Anyway, I am back at www.atheisthaven.blogspot.com. Chronicles is a mess, hence my decision to prop up a new blog.

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitor said...

Did someone mention hot monkey sex?

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger BEAST said...

He he. That would be me.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Delta said...

Oprium? Damn, that's perfect! I know I'm going to end up saying that again. Congrats on coming up with it.

 
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