Monday, July 16, 2007

You might say they're both extra-cheesy.

Read an interesting article this morning in, of all places, the Turkish Daily News* that contains the following description of such fare as The Secret: "Enis Batur described those books as the junk food you eat when you get hungry instead of a nutritious meal, because the answers for existential questions such as life beyond the unknown could not be hidden only in one book." As you can probably see from that line, the writing is a bit stilted; it sounds like the translation from Turkish that it probably is. But self-help-as-psycho-spiritual-junk-food, despite being an obvious and irresistible metaphor, also is one I hadn't really thought of or seen elsewhere**. In fact, I think it's stunningly apt in ways far beyond what Batur and the author of this piece, a gentleman named Bengu Aydin, suggest. SHAM tastes good, can become habit-forming—and in most cases is bad for you. SHAM contributes to intellectual torpor and sloppiness in the same way that junk food contributes to physical obesity and sloth. Both contain tasty-but-empty ingredients that were intentionally put there to keep us coming back for more. In addition, many self-help regimens are every bit as greasy—as slimy, if you will—as any griddle-fried, syrup-laden fast-food breakfast. Finally, the entrepreneurs behind SHAM, like the corporate types behind fast food, get very rich on the strength of our national (and international) appetite for this junk.

Nice work, Turks. Now I think I'll go grab a McGriddle....

* The link says "subscription" but it opened for me.
** Though I'm sure it's been used here and there. And by all means, if you're a blogger/writer and you've used that particular metaphor, set me straight.

1 comment:

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve, I seem to recall that in various discussion forums, including the "comments" post on my own blog, I've seen references to self-help/new-wage stuff as being junk food or fast food for the mind or soul. (Ironically, Dr. Hew Len in Joe Vitale's book, "Zero Limits," says that Ho'oponopono is not "fast-food spirituality.")

When Googling "junk food for the soul" I came up with an article that was a dire warning about pornography:

http://www.afajournal.org/
archives/24060000438.asp

BTW, Joe Vitale's latest marketing gimmick is something that supposedly is going to take place on July 17. What a way to celebrate the two-year anniversary of SHAMblog! :-)