“People around the world have been talking about a movie so powerful that it can change the course of your life. ” –oprah.com
“If you’re talking about DIE HARD I agree.” –outlawvern.com
I am so happy and grateful now that I saw THE SECRET, because I can warn you not watch this shit.
Not too long ago I used to run into this drunk Native American gentlemen at bus stops who would tell me to go see WHAT THE COCKSUCKER DO WE KNOW, a movie that would change my life. Actually he called it WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW, but the title on the poster had a %$#^! type gibberish curse on it so I figured it was up to interpretation. Anyway, all the new agers and people you never knew were new agers were raving about it, and it played for months on end at one of the smaller Seattle theaters, making it the new NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. But I wasn’t sure if that was due to genuine demand or if the theater was rented out by the Ramtha cult. The movie features this crazy gal from Washington who makes lots of money pretending to channel the ancient wisdom of some Hagar the Horrible type warrior named Ramtha. That sounds like a funny movie, obviously, but I never gave it a shot.
Well, now another cult/new age/self help/horse shit phenomenon is sweeping the nation, and this one is even more mainstream. It used to be you had to set up your own tent to sell snake oil. Instead of that, these people went on Larry King, Ellen Degeneres and two episodes of Oprah. So now it’s #1 on Amazon. You don’t need a drunk dude hyping your movie at bus stops if Oprah keeps talking about it on TV.
The movie’s called THE SECRET, it never played theaters but it’s on DVD ($34.95). The back of the box tells you how there’s this amazing, amazing secret that’s been passed down for hundreds of years, all the great minds from Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to Bruce Springsteen or somebody (maybe not Bruce, I can’t remember) have used this secret and it has made them great and rich and have huge dicks forever and get laid constantly and invent electricity and now thank the fucking Lord or the magic viking crystals that finally somebody put The Secret on DVD so that you can pay money to have the secret that has always been secreted away from you. UNTIL NOW. Because of THE SECRET.
I’m assuming you already sent in your $34.95 to the archaeological society that dug this shit up so, while it’s in the mail, HERE IS THE SECRET EVERYBODY:
Think positive thoughts. Don’t think negative thoughts. Think about a pile of money and and it will MANIFEST itself using THE SECRET. Hooray! The end.
Or as Oprah.com puts it:
“The Secret is defined as the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. The concept says that the energy you put into the world — both good and bad — is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day.”
They may call it the Law of Attraction, but I call it the Law of Bobby McFerrin – don’t worry be happy. I will pause while you go find your mind, because I’m sure it just got BLOWN the fuck away.
Yep, that’s some powerful shit right there. And obviously, The Secret/Don’t Worry Be Happy is NOT something that can fall into the wrong hands. You can’t let the British or the Pharaoh or some asshole like that get ahold of this type of get rich quick magic. So the opening shows some dramatic scenes of people throughout history frantically hiding or burying a scroll (they didn’t have DVDs back then so it was only available on scroll). They say that the secret has been “suppressed” for hundreds of years.
Luckily some blond Australian lady found out about it. According to the dramatization, her little daughter left her an ancient manuscript with a post-it note on it. It’s not clear how her daughter dug it up from the sands of Egypt or wherever. Maybe they will elaborate in part 2. ($39.95.)
Anyway, THE SECRET worked for this Australian lady. All she did is sit and imagine that she would make millions of dollars by getting Oprah to help her sell worthless garbage to her army of gullible, unfulfilled viewers. If she had polluted the mindscape with negativity like “Nah, Oprah has morals, she would never take advantage of vulnerable people like that” then it wouldn’t have worked. But she stayed positive and now we gave her our money.
It takes about 3-4 minutes to figure out the entire contents of this movie, and then the rest is a full 92 minutes of repeating it in different words. To make it somewhat watchable they throw in alot of funny dramatizations featuring an army of guys with torches, a shirtless genie, and a dude in a bathrobe who really wants a sports car. Maybe the craziest part is about a standup comedian with low self esteem. His co-workers at his day job make fun of him for being gay by putting a banana on his chair. He sits on it and squashes the banana and they all point and laugh. It’s like a scene out of some terrible children’s movie from Pakistan or somewhere that doesn’t quite translate. A banana? I don’t get it. Well, using The Secret this guy got better at telling jokes and everybody at work was afraid of him so they stopped playing crazy fruit tricks on him and I guess he probaly invented a banana-proof chair.
But most of the movie is interviews with various “philosophers” and “doctors” and “visionaries” – every damn one of them sounding suspiciously like salesmen and infomercial hosts, but I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything, forget about that – greenscreened in front of cheesy animated parchment with fake Leonardo Da Vinci sketches and spinning skeleton keys and shit. They say lots of funny things like “You are the masterpiece of your life,” and “the universe will correspond to the nature of your song.” One lady refers to her female heroes as “sheroes.” They talk to the asshole who wrote the MEN ARE FROM MARS books, the asshole who wrote the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOULS books, and a feng shui expert. (If you ever seen the PENN AND TELLER’S BULLSHIT episode about that one you know what to make of that.)
Everybody knows about thinking positive. I’m sure Mr. T taught us that one at some point. But the new twist of ancient wisdom that these wise millionaires put on it is that they literally say that thoughts are magic that create things for you – preferably money, cars, or mansions. They even have a special effect showing magic white thought waves firing out of people’s heads. They do not say there is literally a genie, the genie is a metaphor for how we, as users of The Secret, ask the Universe for a car and the Universe says “Your wish is my command.” I suppose if we visualized that there was a genie then the universe would have to make us a genie, and then we could stop visualizing cars and just straight up ask the genie for a car. That would be cool. We should try that.
When I say that you are supposed to ask for a car I am not being cynical, they literally spend a long portion of the DVD/scroll asking you to visualize that you are driving in a nice car, and if you do it good enough the car will appear on your lawn or something. Or you will realize that it is worth going into debt to buy it. Mine was Blade’s car, I hope he doesn’t mind if I manifest his car.
Don’t worry though, kids can learn The Secret too if they pay the $34.95. There is a nice little skit about a poor kid wishing for a bike until his grandpa buys him one. Magic! They also show an adult with a bike. I don’t think it’s the same kid grown up because he lacks the ancient Ben Franklin wisdom. They say he manifests negative magic energy into the universe by worrying about his bike getting stolen and locking it up. So when he comes back, the bike has been stolen.
This is a good point: locking up your bike does cause an ancient curse that causes it to get stolen. It happened in the Pee wee movie and it will happen to you. Anybody who lives in the city is familiar with the sight of one bike wheel locked to a pole. If there are any cyclists out there I’m sure you could attest that bikes get stolen all the time even if they’re locked. But have you ever tried just leaving your bike unlocked somewhere, and thinking about honesty and cuddly bears, in order to manifest a society of trust and honor? Probaly not. That is why your bike was stolen, idiot.
And it’s true, the movie really does blame you for your bike being stolen. If you have sat around wishing for a giant pile of cocaine and it has not appeared, this is why: negativity. For a minute there you must’ve been thinking, “This is ridiculous, how could cocaine magically appear here? Oprah lied to me.” That’s what fucked it up, that thought there. Start over.
Every once in a while they show an out of context quote from Alexander Graham Bell or somebody, written in a fancy calligraphy font and read in a creepy whisper. There is no evidence offered that any of these people agreed with the moronic horse shit – I mean, ideas – presented in this scroll, since most of the quotes are clearly talking about something else. But there are other documented cases that are not mentioned in the movie.
First of all, the Little Engine That Could. That motherfucker knew that What You Visualize You Materialize. They shoulda interviewed him for this movie.
Also there is little Charlie Bucket from Willy Wonka. He was poor as dirt. He wanted to win that contest even though he could only afford one candy bar. But then he thought positive thoughts and he found money in the street I believe, so he bought one more candy bar and won the contest and then also Willy Wonka gave him the factory for free. Because of The Secret. If you pause it on just the right frame during the fizzy lifting drinks scene you can see the white thought waves coming out of his head.
Then of course there is Jesus. He kept thinking negative thoughts so they nailed him to a cross. You asked for it Jesus. Shoulda used The Secret.
Okay, all of that is very convincing, but I know of at least three documented cases that would seem to contradict the information given in this educational product ($34.95). Number one case is John McClane. He overcame incredible odds to save Bonnie, kill the terrorists and reclaim Nakatomi Plaza. You could say he did it by thinking positive, but that’s just not true. The guy keeps swearing and talking negative all throughout the movie. He thinks he’s fucked. He is definitely putting out negative energy beams. But he still makes it.
Case number two is Gollum. I thought of him during the montage of the dude staring at the expensive car, and the kid staring at the bike. I thought they should show Gollum yearning for his Precious. He made a wish from the universe and what did it get him? He fell in lava, that’s what it got him. He did get to bite a hobbit’s finger, which was awesome, but he didn’t get his Precious.
The third case happened only yesterday, when I was watching the movie and was wishing it was almost over, but there was fucking forty minutes left.
It’s almost an hour in when they start talking about using The Secret to get something other than money, cars and mansions. Like, I don’t know… happiness or fulfillment or some stupid bullshit like that. They explain how if you’re sick, you shouldn’t talk about being sick because that makes you sick. A guy who the screen tells us is an actual M.D. (and a bunch of other letters, and a “visionary”) claims that all diseases come from stress. I always thought some of them came from viruses too, but that might be some old dark ages superstitious shit. There is a lady who explains that she had breast cancer but she watched “funny movies” and was completely cured without treatment in 3 months. They offer no documentation, details, or even a doctor, friend or actor wearing a doctor costume to back up her claim. Just some lady claiming she had cancer once and then cured it without doing anything. Sold!
That kind of shit I think makes it personal because I think most of us have at sometime known somebody who died of cancer. And the implication is that if only they would’ve laughed and stopped being so grouchy all the time they could’ve easily cured themselves.
Let me tell you a story. This takes place when I was a young man and I was after a girl. When a young man is after a girl he will do things he wouldn’t otherwise do, and convince himself that it’s a good idea. I’m not talking about chasing pussy necessarily, I’m talking about you foolishly decide you love some girl and try to convince yourself that yes, you like looking at the pretty sunset and listening to Peter Cetera or whatever horrible thing she likes to do. You haven’t figured out yet that there’s girls out there who do some of the same things you do, you don’t have to paint yourself into a corner like that.
And plus you gotta do respectable shit to impress the girl’s parents. That way when dad catches you on top of his little princess one night he has more complicated emotions, lowering his marskmanship and allowing you a window escape.
So picture me in a moment of weakness, I decide that yes it’s a good idea to go with this girl to church every Sunday. Only it’s not in a church, it’s in a cabana room in some apartments and it’s less than ten people, desperate people like ex-drug addicts and alcoholics who need to constantly binge on Jesus or their life will turn into a shambles again. They were Holy Rollers, they spoke in tongues and I’d never seen anything like that before. At first I figured they must be speaking Latin.
One week they had a guest preacher, not the normal guy, I don’t know where he came from. This was a slick motherfucker with a fake orange tan, pomade in his hair, a seersucker suit and shiny watch and rings like P Diddy would wear. Now days you would figure this guy was from the Jesus Channel, and he was pretty obvious about being a con artist. As part of his sermon he bragged that people around the country bought him cars because Jesus told them to.
The climax of his routine was the audience participation. He pulled out a little vial of magic Jesus oil that he would rub on your forehead or the back of your hand as he shut his eyes tight and looked up to God and prayed for you like he was giving you an exorcism. He’d ask each person what ailed them, they would say I have a bum knee or I don’t know, I don’t hear that good in my left ear or whatever. And he laughs and says that’s easy, the Lord can take care of that and then he does his little show.
Eventually he comes to this girl of mine’s mother. And I was dreading this because I knew what ailed her. I don’t remember how he worded it, but he asked her what God could help her with. What health problems did she have.
“Well, I have cancer,” she said.
You might think he would swallow hard and his voice would crack, but I guess he was used to this sort of thing coming up. He didn’t miss a beat. “No problem! We cure that all the time.” And he rubs the oil on her and does a big dramatic prayer and people are crying and clutching each other and speaking in tongues, and it kind of made me sick that he would try to get her hopes up like that, but even I was probaly pitching in. If it might cure cancer give it a shot.
Well, I don’t know if that woman bought what this guy was saying, or liked getting her head oily. I do know that she loved Jesus. Religion seemed to be her main activity. And she didn’t seem desperate like some of the other ones. I don’t think she found religion to try to cure cancer, she already had religion, and she kept it despite what life threw at her. But I heard a couple years later that the cancer got her.
So why didn’t the prayer work? Well, like The Secret it had an escape clause. If this lady wasn’t praying hard enough, if she didn’t love Jesus enough, then she wasn’t gonna be able to cure the cancer. She blew it.
And that’s the same thing THE SECRET is telling you. Your negative thoughts are what attract bad things to your life. Why can’t you be like this lady who cured her own cancer?
In the dramatization they show her watching what looks like a Charlie Chaplin movie, and I don’t know about you but I don’t buy it. KINGPIN maybe could cure cancer in 3 months, but that has sound. A silent film I would think would take at least 6.
But I’m no doctor, and the doctor/visionary they have explains that “I’ve seen kidneys regenerated, I’ve seen cancer dissolved, I’ve seen eyesight improve and come back.”
You know, if this guy was my doctor I think I would look into finding a new one. I got a rule: no doctors who believe you can grow kidneys with your mind. This is where it gets dangerous, they are actually telling people to deal with their health problems by ignoring them. Isn’t that how Jim Henson died? I wonder if there’s Kermit blood on those cars that Oprah gives out.
Just ignoring it is also their answer for how to make the world a better place. They tell you to deliberately be ignorant. Negative thoughts clouds the magic thoughmatrix or whatever, so it’s best not to know about it. They show a guy waking up to his clock radio, a news report talking about police corruption. This is bad, nobody should know there is police corruption. It will cause police corruption.
One guy talks about how the anti-war movement actually causes wars. Why? Because they are thinking about what they don’t want (war) instead of what they do want (not war). He asks why people can’t stop being anti-war and start being pro-peace.
This is awkward, but somebody should tell the guy that there is such a thing as the peace movement, and peace activists. There is even a peace symbol you can draw on your signs or your flags, and a peace sign you can flash with your fingers. The song is “Give Peace a Chance,” not “Don’t Give War a Chance.” Even all the chants they do at these marches are Secret-compatible: “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!”, “This is what democracy looks like!”, etc. The one I like best, “Move, Bush, git out the way” is visualizing that Bush will git out the way. Maybe if you would listen to your clock radio every once in a while you would know these things, but you don’t. You are visualizing a world where the peace movement causes more wars, and you are going to manifest that.
They even take a swipe at people who are trying to conserve the world’s resources, saying that some other source of fuel always shows up so don’t worry about it.
So they’re asking you to ignore the problems of the world and the lump in your nuts, that’s the dangerous part. But the part I’m most uncomfortable with, as someone who lives by a Vow of Excellence, is the idea that you don’t even have to fucking do anything to become rich. That PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS movie seems to be implying that any homeless person can become a millionaire with hard work, but at least they require hard work. This movie actually tries to tell you that you are silly for thinking hard work is involved. One lady laughs about how “I grew up truly believing that life was difficult, that it was hard, you had to struggle.”
Now, I am obviously not somebody who knows jack shit about having money, but I do know about Excellence, and that requires Striving. That is the Law of Excellence: Blood + sweat + tears/elbow grease mixture = EXCELLENCE. Don’t sit around trying to pretend there aren’t problems in the world, that’s what THE MAN wants you to do. The Secret is exactly how Bush and Rumsfeld and those other psychos fucked up Iraq so bad. Ignore the problems and think positive and, hey, that’s weird, we’re still in a quagmire. Why didn’t those soldiers manifest some body armor? Oh well, negativity attracts negativity. I blame the troops.
On the extras there is a “summary” of the secret, which is really just one of the guys blabbering for ten minutes and trying to get you to buy “teaching aids” from their web sight. He actually starts talking about the Holocaust for some reason. I’m not sure exactly what his point was because I got distracted wondering how The Secret fits in with the Holocaust. Did the victims of Auschwitz “create the circumstances of their life with the choices they made”? Should they have been able to escape the concentration camps by thinking happy thoughts? And what about Holocaust deniers? Aren’t they doing the right thing, according to THE SECRET? You have to stop talking about these bad things, it only creates more bad things.
You know what, if you want to see the REAL The Secret, it has been on DVD for a long time and it won best picture in 1976 and it’s called ROCKY. Nobody believed Rocky could last even a round with Apollo Creed, they thought he was crazy. But he set out to achieve, and he trained like hell. He punched the meat, he ran all over the place, the guy threw an orange to him, and he fucking did it. He didn’t win but he never got knocked out.
According to the philosophy of THE SECRET, Rocky is a loser. Instead of working hard, he should’ve sat and pictured himself winning. He should’ve drawn a picture of himself with the belt and hung it on his ceiling. He could’ve sat around eating the meat instead of punching it, as long as he thought positively. “I am so happy and grateful now that I knocked out Creed in the first round.” Then he would’ve won instead of being some loser who struggles and has a difficult life and then doesn’t even win.
I say fuck THE SECRET. Go with ROCKY. All copies of THE SECRET should have their discs taken out and replaced with ROCKY. I’m gonna visualize that and see if it materializes.
p.s. Salon had a good article criticizing Oprah for promoting this crap
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.