Monday, September 17, 2007

There's That Word Again. What Word? "Cult" Funny How It Keeps Coming Up,...Weird. I Know: I Was Just Reading About Our Times,...

Of course, as with most middle class cult-things these days, somehow Oprah was involved:

"It really came to a head when I was watching 'Oprah' and she said something I didn't quite understand. She said, 'The first thing about fixing your life is owning the truth about your life.' I was like, 'I don't know what that means.' But everybody on the show seemed to be really grooving on it."

*From a Salon interview with Jennifer Niesslein (linked in this post's title) author of Practically Perfect in Every Way

Yes, "everyone on the show" (and, presumably, everyone watching at home) seems to understand the incomprehensible message - which is just vague enough for them to make their own connections - and starts believing they must do what Oprah says. What can it hurt, right?

"Jennifer Niesslein would never for a moment have claimed to be unhappy with her life. She had a husband and son whom she dearly loved, a detached suburban home, two dogs and an enviable job: she knew she was luckier than most and she was grateful. And yet something niggled.

She wasn’t sad but, to use her words, she wasn’t 'super-happy' either.

Few people can have failed to notice the plethora of self-help books that have blossomed over the past two decades, all promising the same thing – to make you happier; improve your marriage, your parenting, your homemaking skills, your finances, your figure, your attitude, and help you to experience a tangible increase in joy. Niesslein’s theory was that if she spent two years following them to the letter she would get a result.

And at the end of the two years was she happier? Well, cynics prepare to be smug. Because no, she was not. In fact in some ways she believes that the self-help books damaged her.

...There was a cult-like element,,...One book which is a good example of this is
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne."

**From a Times Online article about the author

"A cult-like element". So I'm not the only one. We children of the '60s are surrounded by by this nonsense and it's only going to get worse as the hippies die. They are determined to rip our lives apart until they take their last breaths. And we've been willing to let them.

But how could we not be? They were older than us. They've been burning with it all of our lives.