Thursday, February 25, 2010

'To Serve Man. It's a cookbook!' *

From the blog of Joe Vitaleproud metaphysician, purveyor of secrets even beyond The Secret, and champion of ho'noponogonorrhea or whatever it's called—yesterday:

"When ABC News interviewed me for their upcoming show on the pros and cons of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction, one of their questions was, 'Why are there so many self-help books?' Apparently a published skeptic"—[NOTE: I'm thinking that would be me]—"felt that if self-help books really worked, we wouldn't need so many of them."
Vitale goes on to observe: "With all the cookbooks in the world, there will always be more published... That doesn't mean there's a problem with the books already published."

The published skeptic begs to differ in self-help's case, and SHAMblog regulars know why. I therefore attempted to post the following reply:
Joe: Your analogy ("cookbooks") doesn't wash. Self-help, at its core, promises to fix something. (And usually the first thing it does is persuade people they're broken to begin with, which is another story which we'll leave in abeyance.) The better analogy is: taking your car to a mechanic. Let's suppose something went slightly awry with the Rolls during one of your Masterminds, and you wanted the problem repaired. You see a sign; it says OUR SEVEN-POINT PROGRAM WILL PROVIDE EVERLASTING MOTORING JOY. JUST $99. You pay the $99. Your everlasting joy lasts about a day before the Rolls acts up again. You go back. This time they tell you, "Well, if you really want it to work, you have to buy the ADVANCED EVERLASTING MOTORING JOY program. That's $500." (They also tell you that if you keep expecting your car to run better, it will, just on its own.) And on and on it goes…
I'm sure the comment will appear on his blog any moment now. S

P.S., LATE MORNING. Well whaddya know (or "raise my rent," in the immortal words of Cleavon Little). It did indeed appear. I even got a thanks-for-stopping-by and
need I say it?a "blessings."

* For the young'uns: If you don't get the reference, brush up on your classic Twilight Zone.

6 comments:

RevRon's Rants said...

I won't attempt to post a comment to Joe's blog (because Joe routinely refuses to publish even respectful challenges that he is unable to dismiss). But say I was to make an attempt, sans the fawning or respectful acquiescence required to make the cut, it would read something like this:

"the pros and cons of positive thinking..."

Interesting choice of words there, Joe. I don't think Steve objects to positive thinking itself as much as to the cons being run in its name. By pro cons, if you will. Nothing wrong with striving to avoid getting depressed, so long as you don't create a fantasy world in the process.

Of course, it's much easier to divert attention from the actual challenge - questioning the eternal upselling of subsequent "ultimate cures" and their necessity - to a more sympathetic (or just pathetic) concept. IE - "You just want everyone to be a grumpy loser like yourself." Offered with "blessings," of course.

Anonymous said...

LMAO at Vitale's reply. "I agree with you that a small percentage does what you say, but let's not toss out the baby with the bathwater." Is he for real? How does he not see that everything you say in your comment applies directly to him! Or maybe he's just pretending to overlook it. Either way it's nuts.

Yekaterina said...

Too funny RevRon! Thanks for the chuckle...pulled me right out of my depression.

Martha said...

There's something about hearing the word "blessings" that really makes me want to kick the speaker in the shins. And throw up all over his shoes.

What do you suppose that's all about?

Steve Salerno said...

Martha: Perhaps it's the same phenomenon that's in play when we hear priests of an older generation say, "Body of Christ," when in reality what too many of their contemporaries actually offered was "body of priest."

Martha said...

Steve: I think you hit the nail right on the head. You covered all aspects of the hypocrisy, the spiritual superiority, and taking advantage of a supposed exulted position. All under the guise of comforting caring.

Erp.