Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Donna beats the drum.

As much as anything I've read lately, this blog by Donna Karan, for the well-read Huffington Post, can serve as the canary in the mine of your feelings on self-help, if you will. Or you could say it's a litmus test (hmmm, let's see how many metaphors Steve can mix-and-mangle at 5 a.m.!), in that the manner in which you react to her thoughts reveals your susceptibility/suggestibility viz self-help-based thinking in general. If this buzzword bonanza doesn't make your b.s. detector bark (hey, there's another one, and an alliterative one to boot!), then you're probably in deeper than you thought.

My favorite line: "It's not about me, it's about we." Thing is, I basically agree with that sentiment, in the abstract. But see, there's a context here and...well, read the thing. See how it hits you. It's not the kind of text where the insincerity leaps out at you. Which brings me back to the canary and such...

I should mention that in 1998 I wrote a long piece for now-defunct Worth* about Ms. Karan's machinations in taking her company public a few years earlier; they titled it "How Donna Beat the Street." This gets complicated for a succinct blog entry, and it's legally sensitive stuff as well, so there are risks in "overviewing" what happened there. Suffice it to say that corners were cut and people lost money, though Karan herself came out of it smelling like roses (or maybe one of her signature fragrances), which is usually the case in these matters. One is reminded to some degree of Tony Robbins and the whole Dreamlife thing (see SHAM for more details). Anyway, again, take a look at what Karan has to say. I also call your attention to the last full graph of the attached comment by "herrington." Love the green tea comparison! (as Simon might put it). I also wonder how litigious TR is feeling these days.

* It still exists, just in much tamer form. Worth used to be a top-notch medium for financial investigative reporting, regularly in contention for National Magazine Awards. But since it became part of the Robb Report empire, it's lost much of its soul, and today is more of a chummy, how-I-put-that-first-$50-million-to-work-for-me! vehicle for the yachting set.


Anonymous said...

Steve- This is I think the first time you've written something I didn't really get. What am I suppose to be looking for here? I feel like I'm missing something, or you left out something, or something is wrong someplace. Is it me?

Cosmic Connie said...

Carl, I didn't have any trouble getting Steve's point. DK's post was one gag-worthy SHAM cliché after another. I guess I definitely weigh in on the anti-SHAM side.

Here's one item that stuck out for me:

"But as Deepak Chopra said on the last day of the forum, (and forgive me, Deepak, for paraphrasing you) each of has to be the change we want to create."

Actually, DK, it was Mahatma Gandhi who originally said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." So maybe Deeprik...I mean Deepak... owes the late Gandhi an apology.

Anonymous said...

What is The Huffington Report anyway?

Steve Salerno said...

The Huffington Post is a hugely popular, basically left-leaning sociopolitical blog, run by Arianna Huffington, who is the former wife of failed CA politoco Michael Huffington and one of today's rock-star-level pundits, thanks in no small part to her frequent appearances on Bill Maher's shows.

Lana said...

I admit I'm down in the mine. And I'm still alive! :-) Yes, self-help has its lingo, but the language itself doesn't necessarily set off my b.s. detector.

Connie, I don't understand your concern with Chopra using Gandhi's teachings or sayings. What is there to apologize for?

Cosmic Connie said...

Lana, it's not the "be the change" saying itself to which I object. It's a pretty decent sentiment about taking responsibility, and as a matter of fact, one of our clients used it in her book (with proper attribution, of course).

But Donna Karan was apologizing to Chopra for paraphrasing *him*, when actually Chopra was paraphrasing Gandhi. So if DK owed Chopra an apology, I thought maybe Chopra owed Gandhi an apology for "stealing" his line. (Unless of course he attributed Gandhi when he said it -- but DK didn't specify.) Anyway, that part was facetious. Sorry for the confusion :-).

Lana said...

Oh, okay. I guess DK's aside is a little strange!