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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

gee, and Hollywood is usually so respectful of the spiritual

“Is ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Selling Out?” PopEater wants to know. It answers this question by looking at the film’s “merchandising plan.” I think it’s safe to say that any book-turned-movie that has a “merchandising plan” can be said to have sold out. Especially a nonfiction book about a well-off white lady who leaves her comfortable suburban existence to travel to exotic places and hijack the local flavor for her own spiritual enlightenment. Am I right?

WWD — that’s Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion industry newspaper — says:

BAUBLES AND BLOCKBUSTERS: The Los Angeles jewelry brand Dogeared is making moves with movies. It has signed a licensing deal with Sony to produce a collection of jewelry, books and travel-related items associated with “Eat, Pray, Love,” the Julia Roberts-fronted film version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. Fred Segal and ABC Home have already decided to pick up the collection, which is priced from $20 to more than $100. “This is a totally natural fit for Dogeared,” said the brand’s founder Marcia Maizel-Clarke of the involvement with “Eat, Pray, Love.” “We relate to the theme of a woman’s journey for self-fulfillment and happiness.”

Because self-fulfillment and happiness, at least for ladies, comes from buying crap that Julia Roberts touches in a movie. It’s a surefire cure for ladyblues!

PopEater quotes Stylite.com columnist Nadine Jolie:

It’s so freaking Hollywood. I’m not at all surprised that a movie about inner peace is being capitalized upon. Nor am I surprised that the writer quietly found zen and sublimated her ego… only to go on Oprah and trumpet loudly from every corner about how enlightened she is. That will be $13.95, please. Everything is fair game, nothing is sacred — especially not spirituality. Prayer beads, diamond crosses, first-class retreats in Bhutan, what have you.

Amen. So to speak. Though I am looking forward to the relaxing bubble bath that smells like a postcoital Javier Bardem. That’ll be nice.

Hey! Buy Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat Pray Love at Amazon U.S., Amazon Canada, or Amazon U.K.. No, it’s not ironic. I advocate buying things that are good for your soul and/or your mind, and books definitely qualify. Even crappy books. They train you to better recognize the good books when they come along.

This has been your WTF Thought for the Day.



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  • Hank Graham

    A nonfiction book about a well-off white lady who leaves her comfortable suburban existence to travel to exotic places and hijack the local flavor for her own spiritual enlightenment STARTS OUT already compromised and sold out.

    It’s like the moral innocence of Rush Limbaugh, which I doubt required initial violation.

    Next thing you know, we’ll have films about well-off white ladies adopting homeless black boys and turning them into football stars.

  • bitchen frizzy

    That’s a bit harsh, Hank.

    Not sure if you intended it, but you’ve just defined any book or movie about anyone who does something worthwhile, as “sold out.”

  • It’s the age of enlightenment lite. Once upon a time, you gave up money to gain enlightenment. Now you might just spend less, and if you hock it right, make more.

  • Once upon a time, you gave up money to gain enlightenment. Now you might just spend less, and if you hock it right, make more.

    Actually nowadays people seem to gain “enlightenment” from telling other people to give up money–preferably while spending even more money buying the right accessories for their own lifestyle.

    And at times it’s amusing–and depressing–to watch how the mores change. It used to be unfashionable to poke fun at people who didn’t own the latest hi-fi and color TV because it was generally understood by most of the enlightened that not every decent person had the spare cash to afford the latest cutting-edge technology. Nowadays, it seems like anyone who is not spending money on new technology the same way Alice ran with the Red Queen is a loser and that the true crime is not buying a piece of electronic equipment you can’t really afford but rather buying it at a store that’s unfashionable.

    Then again, if The Razor’s Edge was to be remade today, the producers would probably insist on doing product placement for Gillette…

  • I advocate buying things that are good for your soul and/or your mind, and books definitely qualify. Even crappy books. They train you to better recognize the good books when they come along.

    It’s official. MaryAnn finally endorses Twilight. ;-)

  • “It’s official. MaryAnn finally endorses Twilight. ;-)”

    Ha!

  • “Once upon a time, you gave up money to gain enlightenment.”

    i believe that is a mistaken notion; rather like the misquote “money is the root of all evil.” it is the lust for money is the root of all evil. enlightenment requires that you free yourself of the desire and entrapment of pointless pursuits. nothing forbids you from seeking enlightenment while keep body and soul together.

  • But the really hard core strivers for enlightenment did give up all their worldly possessions and became monks or hermits. Christians and Buddhists in particular, but Taoists also became gardeners and fishermen. A Jewish sect has men give up work for reading the holy text and commentary so women do all the work (they are having so many children that they are enroute to being a majority in Isreal by 2050ish, which should be very interesting since they don’t pay taxes or serve in the military).

    There are two justifications for this. One is supernatural, that focusing on money distracts you from God or spiritual concerns. The other is moral; if you don’t make money, you don’t have to think up excuses for the negative side effects of economic actions and stain your soul, closing your eyes to sin for your own material benefit.

    An interesting self test: If in 1950 you invested $5000 in the stock market, you could have retired comfortably cashing out in 2000. But if you invested only in “morally responsible” companies (as defined by liberals), you would have made 10% less. But if you invested only in cigarette companies, you’d be a multi-millionaire. Sorry my numbers are vague, which do you choose?

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