Quick Note: The New Age of New Age Music

The post-rockist critical world of popular music has seen the rehabilitation of several previously out-of-favor genres. Disco, metal, goth, even (perhaps especially) teen-pop. Young musicians, looking for fresh sounds and new ideas are casting further and further afield from the (classic and indie) rock canon. The Los Angeles Times looks at the latest previously derided genre to get a shot a redemption, one that I thought my readers would appreciate, New Age music. New Age music preached spirituality, environmentalism, self-evolution and the like, yet when musicians and the major record labels saw the successes that an auteur like [Steven] Halpern had with his cottage industry, big money … [Read more...]

A Summer of Psychics

CNN got a bit of flak for doing a puff piece this past Thursday on psychic prognosticators making predictions about the American (and global) economy. Roger Ebert helpfully clarified that, "no, this is not an Onion news report" (a point reiterated by Sheril Kirshenbaum at Wired). Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars calls the report "more insidious than stupid," while Josh Feldman at Mediaite called the segment "the most mind-bogglingly idiotic thing I have ever seen on cable news." httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-MO0TTGkxc I'm not sure why this particular piece of filler should be the breaking point that makes critics groan and shake their heads ruefully. CNN has long dabbled in what I a … [Read more...]

Reactions to Ray Verdict from Native Voices, Victim’s Families, and Pagan Community

"What right does Ray have to mimic, mangle, and manipulate Native ceremonies that have been carefully handed down among indigenous cultures over millennia? Ray does not own any rights to Native spirituality, because they are owned collectively by indigenous peoples and cannot be sold." - Valerie Taliman, Navajo, president of Three Sisters Media When three people died at the end 0f 2009 in a sweat lodge ceremony led by New Age guru, “Secret” booster, and two-time Oprah guest James Arthur Ray, few, including Ray himself, could have anticipated the "accident" (as he described it) would lead to three convictions of negligent homicide. That it would bring mainstream media attention to the long-fo … [Read more...]

Breaking: James Arthur Ray Found Guilty of Negligent Homicide

Local and national media are reporting that the jury in the James Arthur Ray trial has convicted the self-help guru of negligent homicide in the deaths of three participants in a sweat lodge ceremony held in 2009 at a Sedona resort. Ray was not found guilty of the more serious charge of manslaughter. He faces a possible prison sentence of up to 11 years. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXIIhWpAKWE Video footage of closing remarks."Jurors deliberated a bit less than eight hours over two days. They began deliberating Tuesday, 16 weeks to the day after the trial began March 1 in Yavapai County Superior Court. [...]  Juror questions to the two Arizona medical examiners testifying for the p … [Read more...]