Saturday, February 17, 2007

Open Letter to Maureen Dowd: How Oprah has become a tool of the Right Wing Republicans

re: A Giant Doom Magnet
by Maureen Dowd
February 17, New York Times

Dear MD:

Loved your smart (and smart-ass) column! (see below for link):

Is it just me or has Oprah gone beyond inspiring to downright sanctimonious? And tedious.

Worse that that, Oprah has 'unconsciously' become a tool for rightwing ideology and republican 'non-compassionate' conservative capitalism above all else. Of course, it greatly benefits her (and all rich powerful people) for her 'consumers' to swallow this stuff hook line and sinker. Sure there's some value, of course -- we could all benefit from our own deeper spiritual and personal awareness -- but 'unconscious acceptance of an ideology' i.e., 'there is one-answer-for everyone' is the purview of fundamentalism, anti-intellectualism, and a message of ultimate powerlessness. (Did you ever read Susan Griffin's essay "The Way of All Ideology"?)

What was one of those things Oprah said yesterday that basically reinforced the 'blame the media' mantra of the right? I don't remember exactly (I'm sure you can get the transcript thru Lexus-Nexus) -- but the moment she said it, and attributed it to 'the media' -- what she actually stated was standard dogma and propaganda created and repeated by the rightwing/whitehouse/republican about whatever it was she said and attributed to the media. (damn my short-term and long-term memory!)

Anyway, okay, sure I'm into spiritual awareness, development of consiousness and accepting the bounty of the universe -- really I am! (I pretty much believe that saying that old twelve-step saying: 'religion is for people afraid of hell, spirituality is for people who've already been there')... But part of what disturbed me most and what I kept hearing was this:
separate the personal from the political, the spiritual from the material -- as if they aren't connected or related!
And 'don't worry about changing things out there, only worry about what's in here' -- as if they're not connected, as if they don't affect each other, each realm or sphere.

It also sounded very much like an (unconscious?) attempt to absolve lots people (regular everyday people, voting-age citizens -- not to mention Oprah herself and all those folks of power, privilege and means) -- of any responsibility for what the hell has been going on in this country for the past six years -- (more like 27+)!

As if Oprah the High Priestess is absolving us all of the leaders we-the-people have put in power and tolerated in their unceasing violence, greed, wars, lies, abuse of power, ultra-rich getting more obscenely rich ad-infinitum ..... while working people, families, children, poor, elderly, sick continue being told increasingly that 'you're on your own' and 'we got ours, to hell with you', 'if you're not smart/rich/fast/slick enough to be on top, it's your own damn fault' and other myths of rugged american individualism which excuse and foster blaming the victim -- indeed they require it to continue the myths. I'm sure there are other critical times in our history when people were casting about for 'religious' and spritual and magical answers to human-created catastrophies and eras of great turning points -- the inquisition, the crusades, the reformation, witch-burnings, the birth of fascism (and the world's collective denial about the Holocaust) come quickly to mind. It's not that spiritual lessons can't be learned, it's that some things require real action not simply passivity and navel gazing.

All this 'Oprah-ordained' stuff basically reinforces learned helplessness, forced individualism & social conformity and totally discourages collective political and economic action -- it promotes the unchecked power of the powerful and the continued psychological dependence of the masses on 'elite know-it-all gurus' (who know the secret nyah nyah nyah nyah) while discouraging people -- as groups and as individuals -- to engage together in actively challenging those in power and actively working for EXTERNAL changes while simultaneously developing personal spiritual power.

Oprah is also reinforcing and advocating black and white/all or nothing thinking -- again, benefiting those who have the most while disempowering and victimizing (i.e. blaming) those who don't and who are obviously are 'too stupid' (not spiritual enough) to get it the way Oprah does. Meanwhile people are suffering here, in Iraq, everywhere, but those who have the Secret surely don't have to worry about getting the stench of the stupid anywhere near their own sweet smell of success.

You rock.
love & hugs and the wisdom of the universe!


You can read some of MoDo's smart (and smart-ass) column below or HERE compliments of that rocking blogger: Donkey OD

A Giant Doom Magnet
February 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

So I was sitting around watching “Oprah” yesterday afternoon when I realized how I could stop W. and Crazy Dick from blowing up any more stuff.

All I needed to do was Unleash my Unfathomable Magnetic Power into the Universe!

Energy flows where intention goes. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

Anyhow, Oprah taught me how to stop abusing myself and learn The Secret. I finally get it: because the Law of Attraction dictates that like attracts like, my negativity toward the president and vice president is attracting their negativity and multiplying the negative vibrations in the cosmos, creating some sort of giant doom magnet.

I need to examine my unforgiving stance toward them and use my power of visualization to let them know that in my consciousness and awareness, they cannot determine my destiny. I am severing those emotional and vibratory tonalities that keep me tied to their toxic energy, causing me to repeat the same old pattern of bemoaning in the newspaper their same old pattern of blundering in the Middle East.

Oprah did her second show in eight days on “The Secret,” the self-help book (and DVD) by Rhonda Byrne, an Australian reality-TV producer. The book hit No. 1 on the USA Today best-seller list this week.

At first glance, “The Secret” might seem like inane piffle, a psychobabble cross between Dr. Phil and “The Da Vinci Code,” a new-age spin on Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 classic, “The Power of Positive Thinking” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” But that’s a negative way of thinking.

James Arthur Ray, a teacher of The Secret method, who talked to Oprah, says it’s “very, very scientific.”

“If you think you’re this meat suit running around, you know, you have to think again,” he said. “You’re a field of energy in a larger field of energy.”

Oprah enthused that The Secret “really is touching a nerve around the world” because “so many people are hungry for guidance and meaning.” Ms. Byrne claims it improved her eyesight; others say it works on everything from weight loss to panic attacks to getting rich to snagging the mate of your dreams or a good parking space.

“We create our own circumstances by the choices that we make, and the choices that we make are fueled by our thoughts,” Oprah explained in her first show. “So our thoughts are the most powerful thing that we have here on earth. And based upon what we think — and [what] we think determines who we are — we attract who we are into our lives.”

Or as the book so eloquently puts it, “You must feel good about You.”

If it works on eyesight, can’t it work on foresight? Can’t we use The Secret on the secretive Bush White House to prevent a calamity in Iran?

According to the Sacred Principles set out by the Law of Attraction Specialists, the universe responds to your thoughts. So if I want certified chuckleheads to stop mucking up American foreign policy, all I have to do is let the universe know. I forgive the president for being a goose and the vice president for being a snake, and I start thinking about the sort of amazing, or even mildly competent, leaders I deserve to have in my life.

Maybe W. should read the book. He likes things biblical, and “The Secret” says it takes its Creative Process from the New Testament.

He would learn, as Mr. Ray said, that “trying is failing with honor,” adding: “Take the word ‘try’ out of your vocabulary. You either do it or you don’t.”

W. could have applied that to Iraq, where he has always done only enough to fail, including with the Surge.

A main tenet of The Secret is learning to avoid the chain reaction of churlishness, which begins with a single thought: “The one bad thought attracted more bad thoughts, the frequency locked in, and eventually something went wrong. Then as you reacted to that one thing going wrong, you attracted more things going wrong.”

It’s an apt description of Iraq policy. A bad thought that led to more bad thoughts, and the negative frequency is now locked in on Iran, which is responding with its own negative frequency.

With The Secret, W. will realize that all he needs to do to change his current reality is admit that it’s fake. (Similar to the wisdom of Dorothy clicking her shoes three times.)

Once he stops his chain reaction of negative thought, I can stop my chain reaction of negative thought. And then there will be peace on earth and parking spaces for everyone.
Maureen Dowd spirituality The Secret Oprah NYTimes Secret

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