Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The truth hurts

Time for a book review. Beneath their psychobabble and fluffy sounding spiritual language, authors of self-help books are on the take. That's the subtext of Jim Gerard's darkly humourous parody of the self-help multimedia phenomenon The Secret, and its obscene blending of spirituality and Western consumer culture. Gerard litters the book with quotes from various historic figures who used the Law of Attraction. Apparently it never works for altruistic purposes. If you're coveting a HD plasma screen and Blu-Ray DVD player, it works, but if you wanted a peaceful resolution to the Iran crisis, freedom for Aung San Suu Kyi, or an end to the Australian drought, dream on. The reader, who is assumed to be gullible and desperate for spiritual fulfillment, is frequently exhorted to order various spin off products in order to obtain further supposedly life transforming information. My review copy was read in store in an hour on a Saturday night at Borders in Carlton, and I was tired and had some time to fill in before a social engagement. It seemed to me to be a missed opportunity. The self help movement is ripe for satirization. While amusing, it stopped short of being laugh out loud funny.


James Garth said...

I once tried to use the Secret to conjure up a bag of non-sequential 100 dollar bills, which would appear under my regular train seat. In my mind I had pledged to give it to World Vision, so it seemed like a win-win for the universe and me.

It didn't work.

Ross said...

It reminds me of the magic monkey paw that Lisa Simpson used to wish for world peace in Treehouse of Horror II, prompting Homer to say, "Lisa, that was very selfish of you."

betterthangod said...

If you really want laugh-out-loud funny you simply must read the first review for The Secret on Amazon. I can honestly say I actually LOLed.
Trust me on this.

Ross said...

You're right, BTG. In a dark, twisted sort of way, that Amazon review was funny.