Ever eager to help publicize my favorite Hollywood medium, Marcel Cairo, I invite you to peruse his Celebrity News Alert that got emailed to me recently.
Marcel is engaged in some bloggish back and forth with Julia Sweeney, Saturday Night Live alum, who has morphed into an articulate unbeliever, as I wrote about in “Letting go of God. And Uncle Fred.”
In this post on Sweeney’s blog she exhibits some skepticism toward mediums like Marcel. Well, a bit more than “some.”
You say you believe in the afterlife BECAUSE you are a spiritual medium. What does that mean, exactly? This is what a spiritual medium is to me - a person who takes other people's money by playing on their weaknesses.
Marcel’s response, buried fairly deep in the comments, includes:
What does get under my skin is the aggressive desire by some atheist to dictate their doctrine of truth upon others by trying to eradicate spiritual beliefs and faith in others. It's a bit Draconian.
Well, I don’t think this is what Sweeney and other unbelievers are trying to do. They’re trying to shine some light on blind faith and see if anything is really there. What’s the problem with that?
If the emperor has no clothes, it isn’t possible to eradicate them. They’re already missing. What’s being taken away is the erroneous belief that Emperor Religion is finely dressed. Errors should be corrected. That isn’t Draconian. It’s a gift.
Thanks for exposing my horrible spelling and diction to the world, Brian! :-)
Just remember that English was my third language, right there behind my Austrian grandparent's German and my womanizing father's, Argentine Spanish. The German is all gone now except for some occasional phlegm.
Anyway, I've discovered that there are times when one should bow down to the God of Spell Check, atheist or not (spelled right this time, I think).
Again, Brian, I commend you for being a champion of the small, medium and large in this ongoing debate of faith and folly that is la vie en rose.
BTW, when are you going to officially "Let go of God" yourself? I want to be there for your coming out party. :-)
[Blog editor's note: three typos have been corrected in this comment, to avoid further embarrassing Mr. Cairo, who, though a medium, pretty clearly isn't able to channel any departed soul who is competent at English spelling. If the Firefox browser (v. 2.0) is available to you--but aren't you a Mac user?--grab it. It has a nice built-in spell checker now.]
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | December 05, 2006 at 12:30 AM
Oh Wow!!! You actually corrected my misspelling of "atheist" in the download document. Thank you. The original typo could have been enough to put me into deep analysis. Whew!!
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | December 05, 2006 at 12:36 AM
On the lighter side of afterlife, watch this hilarious send up of the show medium from Mad TV - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQhYy7wCJqo
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | December 05, 2006 at 01:27 AM
Wow. What is wrong with Sweeny's approach? Why would someone think she was trying to eradicate spiritual belief in others? Where to begin, Brian...
Well, let's start with this gem: "This is what a spiritual medium is to me - a person who takes other people's money by playing on their weaknesses."
Sweeny implies here that IF you have an open mind about mediumship you are "weak" - I guess that is snide for stupid or naive or vulnerable. Whatever her statement implies about these open minded people is not good that is for sure.
Worse, she finds fault with the exchange of money!! Well journalists are people who TAKE OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY BY PLAYING ON THEIR NEED FOR INFORMATION. Hmmm, seems a bit, well, judgemental doesn't it?
Sweeney says earlier in the quote "You say you believe in the afterlife BECAUSE you are a spiritual medium. What does that mean, exactly?"
Hmm. The use of "you say" and then "what does that mean EXACTLY" are antagonistic. From what I've observed of Mr Cairo he is a perfectly impeccable gentleman who has a gift that he makes available to other people. If I am not mistaken, he refunds the money paid to him by those who feel they were not served by his services. Most spiritual counselors and readers and mediums who have integrity practice this incredible standard of service. Try doing that at the local hair salon or at the muffler shop: Oh, bother, I do not think there is anything to what you did. Give me back my money, I don't feel like my hair looks better or my car runs better. Right.
What is so sad is that so many people prayed for Julia Sweeney when she made her movie and was public about her challenges. Now she seems to think she managed in a vacuum, and the thoughts and good wishes of so many were irrelevant (despite mountains of research that prove otherwise).
Ignorance is refusing a helping hand; arrogance is taking the hand and then spitting on it.
Posted by: benandante | December 05, 2006 at 01:28 PM
For the record, my comment...
"What does get under my skin is the aggressive desire by some atheist to dictate their doctrine of truth upon others by trying to eradicate spiritual beliefs and faith in others. It's a bit Draconian."
...was not directed at Ms. Sweeney, but more at some of the frequent guests on her blog who I believe have on their own decided to be Ms. Sweeney's foot soldiers.
The comment was also directed at Mr. Dawkins, who speaking to the American Humanist Association, said,
"I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."
Please note that the word here is "faith," not just "God."
Mr. Dawkins also said...
"Well, yes. I think there's something very evil about faith, where faith means believing in something in the absence of evidence, and actually taking pride in believing in something in the absence of evidence. And the reason that's dangerous is that it justifies essentially anything."
By "anything," Mr. Dawkins is saying that if you can believe in something wihtout the actual scientific evidence to back it up, you are just a couple of steps away from being a radical Islamic terrorist or a right-winged Christian crusader.
A Dawkins quote I totally agree with is...
"Consciousness is the biggest puzzle facing biology, neurobiology, computational studies and evolutionary biology. It is a very, very big problem. I don't know the answer. Nobody knows the answer. I think one day they probably will know the answer. But even if science doesn't know the answer, I return to the question, what on earth makes you think that religion will? Just because science so far has failed to explain something, such as consciousness, to say it follows that the facile, pathetic explanations which religion has produced somehow by default must win the argument is really quite ridiculous. Nobody has an explanation for consciousness. That should be a spur to work harder and try to understand it. Not to give up and just say, "Oh well, it must be a soul." That doesn't mean anything. It doesn't explain anything. You've said absolutely nothing when you've said that."
So let's explore "consciousness" seriously. Let's hold of demeaning attacks on scientist like Dr. Gary Schwartz, who through his Veritas research program are approaching this subject by testing mediums. Unfortunately, Richard Dawkins, James Randi and others won't stand for it. Instead, they criticize, defame and discredit with Karl Rove preceision anyone in the scientific community who even for a minute gives "faith" a serious consideration. See --> http://www.dailygrail.com/node/1311
BTW, Dawkins also lumps alternative medicine and holistic medicine into his dirty cestpool of "faith"...
"[Alternative medicine is defined as] that set of practices that cannot be tested, refuse to be tested or consistently fail tests."
-- Richard Dawkins, quoted from Carl E Bartecchi, "Be Wary of Alternative Medicine" (Denver Business Journal: January 10, 2003).
Now, see blogger Michael Prescott's essay on accupunture --> http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/12/quackery.html#comments
Essentially, this is my beef with the position of the Atheist Elite. They demand that science be the vehicle for belief, but when science does try to seriously tackle the issues, they denounce it with discrediting words such as "pseudo-science" or "fantasy."
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | December 05, 2006 at 02:52 PM
Yes Brian, I think that all of Marcel’s points are well taken and I agree whole heartedly with him! I would like to add that I am also appalled at Dawkins condemnation of alternative medicine.
IMO it clearly indicates his prejudice and ignorance in this area and thus brings into question much of his paradygm. For example Dr. Johanna Budwig practiced alternative medicine for about 50 years and had a 90% cure rate in curing cancer and other diseases which are consider incurable by the orthodox doctors, and she was a seven-times Nobel prize nominee. see -->
Also, some alternative medicine professionals do offer a money back guarantee. Try asking any allopathic doctor for a money back guarantee for his surgery, radiation and other poisons that he offers as a so called cure for disease.
Posted by: ET | December 06, 2006 at 07:03 AM
Since apparently the use of Dr. Budwig's techniques for the cure of cancer results in the conclusion that "CANCER IS EASILY CURABLE," can you indicate why so many "orthodox" doctors do not endorse them? Why are they so ignorant and/or perverted?
Robert Paul Howard
Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | December 06, 2006 at 11:28 AM
This is off topic for Brian's blog. However, I ask Brian to excuse me to give you a brief answer.
You have made an excellent point Robert. I would have not believed this myself had I not been diagnosed with an incurable disease, and told by orthodox doctors that I only had 6 months to live, “Sorry ET, get your affairs in order and go home and die.”
So I promptly fired my doctors, took responsibility for my own health and did some research, that was 1.6 years ago and I am more healthy today than I have been in years by following Dr. Budwig's Protocol.
In a nutshell curing cancer is not a miracle, it is simply hard work and dedication. You have to learn how to eat properly by eating flaxseed oil and cottage cheese mixed together on a daily basis and how to make sauerkraut, Kefir, your own bread and how to sprout your own seeds how to do juicing, to eat correct foods and not eat non foods, dead foods, junk foods, refined sugar, salt, and white flour. And also to get daily sunshine, and to do body brushing and rebounding or some other exercise to activate the lymphatic system every day.
You can see from this why most orthodox doctors would not be interested in this protocol, very simple no money. Also, orthodox doctors are legally required to offer only surgery, radiation and chemo for these diseases They can lose their license to practice medicine otherwise.
If you are truly interested in this you can easily follow the link I gave in my last post and also Google Dr. Budwig. With a little research you can answer your own question in great detail.
Posted by: ET | December 06, 2006 at 12:35 PM
Thank you for your response - and I'm glad to learn that your "hard work and dedication" have put you in the 90% who have found cure with Dr. Budwig's mode of treatment. Yet the answer to my question appears to be: that most doctors aren't truly interested in "curing" their patients of cancer but, rather, in simply using them as sources of income.
That is a rather disappointing analysis regarding them. I regret hearing so.
Robert Paul Howard
Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | December 07, 2006 at 12:39 PM
I read some of the Sweeney blog. I also listened to the Good Spirit radio show audio file.
Marcel Cairo's Sweeney blog comments and talk-radio talk was pretentious and hollow. All he ever comes up with is abstractions and nonsense conclusions based upon his own self-assured but shallow claims of supposed experiences (subjective) and other typical phony psychic/mediumistic bullshit.
He is nothing more than a narcissistic role player who is seeking attention and fame, and is definitely not a real serious truth-seeker.
So Brian, why are you promoting such an obvious belief toting goofball like Cairo? He doesn't have a clue about reality. He belongs down on the Sunset Strip. He is out of his league here.
Posted by: tao | December 07, 2006 at 03:52 PM
tao... spend less time worrying about me and more time worrying about the one in the mirror. You might one day find some solace for that anger.
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | December 07, 2006 at 04:33 PM
I couldn't care less about someone like you, much less be angry... especially given how full of bullshit you are. the funny thing is, you actually think that the readers of this blog don't see right through your ridiculous facade. you are just another wanna be, that won't ever be. heh heh
Posted by: tao | December 07, 2006 at 07:39 PM
tao, I like Marcel. I enjoy talking with him and Lenny on their show. I appreciate how Marcel seeks out skeptics for guests. Learning more about how mediums' minds work is interesting to me.
Marcel does sometimes say things in a definite way. I just listened to the interview again with my wife. It struck me how sure Marcel was that when we die, the merits (or demerits) of our deeds accompany us.
But almost everyone is sure about something(s) for which no objective proof can be provided. We're all free to believe Marcel, or not.
I find Marcel and other mediums much less objectionable than religious fundamentalists. He isn't trying to control or convert anyone, so far as I can tell. When I was in Hollywood he spent over two hours with me, my wife, and my daughter. Gratis.
My wife believes in mediums and channeling. I respect her beliefs, though I don't share them. I know that she is sincere in those beliefs and has her reasons for holding them.
Hope this helps explain why Marcel pops up on this blog, and in my life, from time to time.
Posted by: Brian | December 07, 2006 at 09:16 PM
Your personal interest in, and fascination with Mr Cairo and is not my concern. However, if he was truly open to skeptics as you say that he is, then he would not have reacted to my own skepticism of his claim to be a medium, and of his unsubstantiated assertions of the existence of God, spirits, and the afterlife etc., by fooishly and falsely labeling me as "ignorant" and "angry".
I simply offered some objective comments based on Mr Cairo's statements and comment which he has made on this blog, on the Sweeney blog, as well as on his internet talk radio show. His several responses to me have been more or less sarcastic, and has falsely labeled me as "angry".
I really don't care what he believes or how "sure" he is about an "afterlife". And yes, millions of people have these beliefs. However, just because I don't believe as does Marcel, does not make me "ignorant" and "angry". In fact, it is really more an indication that Mr. Cairo himself is angry that I do not accept his views, and his desire and fantasy of being a spiritual "medium". In my opinion, he is just another psychic con-artist looking for some naive suckers and some fame. Mr Cairo is all talk and no walk.
You wrote: "He isn't trying to control or convert anyone". I quite disagree with you. He is attempting to control and convet in a subtle sense. He is trying to sell himself as a real medium (as opposed to all the other fakers), and he uses absurd unproven claims of communicating with spirits and knowledge of God, to get people to believe in him and buy into his schtick. And just because you went to see him in LA and he did not charge money you as he normally does, does not impress me one bit. And as it turns out, you are paying him in another way by promoting and supporting him here.
Furthermore, just because your wife is a "sincere" believer and a sucker for mediums and so-called channelers, does not validate any of it. Millions of people believe this type of ridiculous nonsense. They find a need to believe in such mind trips because they are gullible and they do not know any better, and because they have not awakened into true knowledge (atma-jnana). No offense, but your wife's beliefs have nothing to do with this as far as I am concerned.
As for why Mr Cairo "pops up" here in your blog, I was already well aware of your connection to him...and I don't have any problem with that. However, I just don't buy Cairo's insistence on being any kind of experienced spiritual authority, and his attitude that he has absolute knowledge of an afterlife and supposed communication with the spirits therein. Cairo reacts with sarcasm and ridicule to anyone such as myself who does not submit and buy into to his bogus "medium" con-game. You may not see it, but his facade is quite transparent to me.
There are some fairly and enlightened commenters on this blog... but Mr Cairo is obviously not one of them. It would be wise of him to just drop all his phony pretentions and open up, and then he might actually begin to gain some true insight and deeper understanding about real spirituality, instead of just preying upon the naivete of poor people who miss their dead departed loved ones. In my opinion, Cairo is nothing but a peddler of false hopes, cheap illusions, and deceptive lies. People such as Cairo who use fraud to prey on the hopes of the ignorant, and to extract money from them in exchange for phony bullshit lies, are the worst kind of con-artists in my opinion. I hope you will wake-up and see that someday.
Posted by: tao | December 08, 2006 at 11:28 AM
I would rather have coffee with a pleasant atheist (and just did) than a moody blue blind follower of any faith. To question the existence of God is a worthy life long project and keeps the eye on a possible surprise."I see my life go shining from the West down to the East" is proof enough for me. On the grand scale, Earth is just a ball. We all know there's no crying in baseball.(I only quote the best). Suffering? Yes my back is killing me but I'm still gazing at the moon and stars.
Posted by: let thine eye be single | December 13, 2006 at 05:54 AM
Did anyone catch Ms Sweeny on the Late Late Show this past week? It was awesome!! Craig Ferguson called her on the fact that she assumes the atheist pose just to make a splash and to sell concert tickets and get press and sell CDs, etc. She stated that calling herself an atheist was better for business in the interview, and that she's called herself agnostic (which accurately reflects her position) but chose the more-attention-getting (and inaccurate) term of "atheist" since more people pay attention to her because of the new "atheist" label she's adopted.
LOL wow what's worse -- someone who believes they are channelling and just-maybe-possibly is deluding themselves and others? or a blatant, crass commercial ploy to sell your otherwise unsellable crap by posing as a spiritual unbeliever?
Posted by: benandante | December 17, 2006 at 08:55 AM