Sunday, November 23, 2014

In which the spirit of things is a warm lettuce leaf ...

It's too hot for a Sunday meditation on the matter of religion, and anyway, the Jensenist division of the angry Sydney Anglicans is still in a quiet funk, or perhaps a sulk, and the Catholics are trying to travel under the child abuse radar, and the fundamentalist Islamics and Jews are just too weird, and the war on Xmas has yet to crank up properly, though there are promising signs ...

The Dutch are in an uproar over their infamous blackface routine, Zwarte Piet - it's a bit like listening to English folk defend the Black and White minstrel show - and already the first shots are being fired in the ritual holiday season loonacy in the United States ... with PetSmart in the gun, and assorted newspapers ...

The English have got their knickers in a knot about an ad featuring a penguin ... oh yes, it's going to be a good season ... but in the meantime, Sydney has been blessed by the visit of a faith healer, covered in the story Controversial Brazilian faith healer John of God visits Sydney, first bit sampled above.

But the pond already knew about this huckster.

You see Rachael Kohn had already presented a full - the pond is tempted to say 'fulsome' just to convey the simpering - interview with a huckster follower, in The Spirit of Things, proving yet again that Kohn will provide a home to any passing psychic or spiritual hustler and lend a sympathetic ear and microphone...

The challenge is for the average secularist to make it right to the end of the interview. One of the things about this sort of "Australian Story" approach, designed to tread softly and draw out the interviewee, is that any challenge is muted, any question soft-pedalled, any doubt voiced in the softest sotto voce way.

If you follow the link, you can listen yourself, but truth to tell, getting interviewed by Kohn on this sort of subject is like being pounded with a wet lettuce leaf ...

So how did Kohn try to get out of jail, having simpered and fawned her way through the interview with John of God's assistant Ann Joel?

Well she bunged on an interview with sceptic James Randi, who had made a career out of exposing the tricks of faith healers (and the likes of Uri Geller).

Yep, it's another classic case of 'print the controversy', and never mind the damage done to the stray secularist who falters after the first few minutes.

The program site even has the cheek to provide a link to John of God's propaganda machine, which at least does provide this legalistic comedy:

In light of recent media coverage that incorrectly attributes many claims to John of God we are obligated to communicate the following information to you in order to legally clarify your participation in and our offering of the John of God event in Sydney Australia between 22nd and 24th November 2014 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. John of God has always stated that he does not heal anyone. We understand healing to be an act of God. Neither John of God nor the organizers make any promises or guarantees expressed or implied with respect to any results, cures or any other claims as a result of attending the Event. Furthermore, the work of John of God is purely spiritual in nature and it is not intended to replace traditional medical treatment. Spiritual healing work is complementary to traditional medical care. John of God advises you to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or health professional if you have any health concerns. John of God also asks that you follow your doctor or health professional's advice and the protocols prescribed by your doctor or health professional. If at any point any instruction given to you by John of God or the organizers of the Event conflict with your doctor or health professional's advice, please follow your doctor or health professional's advice."

That warning should be copied by the ABC and put at the head of Rachael Kohn's show.

Hello I'm Rachael Kohn, this is The Spirit of Things on RN and online, ahead of the visit of John of God, the world's most renowned faith healer, I speak to one of his faithful guides ...

And I've armed myself with a warm lettuce leaf.

And so on.

John of God himself, communing with the almighty, couldn't have devised a better puff piece himself ... replete with evocative music of the trance kind ...


  1. Yeah, but, DP, "In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, the Minister for Foreign Affairs says" elevates Julie B to sainthood status. An enterprising believer could be snapping up her toenail trimmings to offer as relics for the healing of the masses.

    1. It's happening DD, the lemmings are in a rush to the cliff. Just remember that you, and the pond, did the sociological analysis before the lemmings managed to elevate St Jules into the ether ... now if you corner a supply of toenails, you could be cooking with gas ... (or should she be crucified and then we can make out with the splinters of wood?)

  2. I have never made it to the end of a Rachael Kohn program, in all the 20 years I have been listening to RN. The best thing about her is that she annoyed the Counterpoint boys - probably even more than she annoyed me because I use mindfulness of course to get over things - back when Michael the Duffster and his off-sider Paul Comrade-Thompson were the intellectual heroes of the right, bringing the word of Libertarianism to Radio National listeners.

    Rach is the opposite of the righty loons at Counterpoint; they are sneering snarky dismissive and cynical and she is a lefty loon, breathless, oh so polite, 'gullible'? and 'sheltered'? perhaps.

    And speaking of LIbertarians, which is a religion so it is appropriate to talk about them in this Sunday meditation special blog, here are some pictures of happening group of student Libertarians that I came across on the internet having drinks with tim andrews.

    1. What a hoot. Sweet memories of the Duffster and memories of Timothy Andrews to boot. Libertarians unite, all you have to lose are your taxes (and never mind about the state of the roads). Love it, wear your special pond badge with pride (well if Phillip Adams can do elephant stamps ...)

  3. "Dressed in white - which was better for absorbing spiritual energy, claimed organisers - they arrived at Sydney's Showground to be healed physically or spiritually."

    In the white room with black curtains near the station.
    Blackroof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.
    Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes.
    Dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment.

    Ill wait in this place where the sun never shines;
    Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves.

    Alas, Jack Bruce is no longer with us...

    1. Onya for remembering Cream. I recall Ginger Baker having a drum shootout with Bobby Graham. It was declared a draw.


  4. DP - now I warned you about John of God last week. You won't listen will you?

    And speaking of Bishops, don't forget Dolores.

    And remind yourselves that Bolt thinks Turnbull is of the far left.


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