Wednesday, February 09, 2011

TM-Free News Brief, 9 February 2011

Where Maharishi Failed, David Lynch... Succeeded? Back in the days of the Beatles, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi clearly knew that associating himself and his meditation technique with the pop stars of the day would pay off. There was nothing he could do, though, when the Beatles walked out and returned home, disassociating themselves from their alleged guru. But what if Mahesh had set up a record label and enticed the Beatles onto it? Then they'd be tied together with a contract... and marketing... and who knows what else?

That rather farfetched scenario seems to now be coming to pass, courtesy of the fact that the music recording industry is on its deathbed, and recording artists today are down to every last gimmick available to stay afloat. The David Lynch Foundation is in the process of announcing something called DLF Music. From its website:

DLF Music is the David Lynch Foundation’s newest venture—a digital music company that brings together exclusive artistic talent and support for the good works of the David Lynch Foundation’s educational programs.

All Profits Will Support the David Lynch Foundation’s Mission To Teach One Million At-risk Youth to Meditate, dramatically reducing the traumatic stress in their lives and transforming violent, stress-filled schools into places of peace, coherence, and creativity.

Meanwhile, an e-mail reposted to the Fairfield Life Yahoo group offers a partial list of the bands and people who will be associated with the label:

Alice in Chains,
Andy Summers featuring Geeta Novotny,
Arrested Development,
Au Revoir Simone,
Ben Folds,
Ben Lee,
Ben Harper,
Blind Boys of Alabama,
Dave Stewart,
Eddie Vedder,
Heather Nova,
Iggy Pop,
John Mellencamp,
Julio Inglesias[sic] Jr.,
Lou Reed,
Leonard Cohen,
Michael Franti,
Mary Hopkin,
Maroon 5,
Nancy Sinatra,
Neon Trees,
Pato Banton,
Peter Gabriel,
Salman Ahmad featuring Valerie Geffner,
Sinéad O'Connor,
Slightly Stoopid,
Sheryl Crow,
Smokey Robinson, Tommy Lee, Tom Waits

No word yet on whether any of these people are familiar with "His Majesty Maharaja Adhiraj Raja Raam" (pictured above), their "deity in human form" monarch-in-charge, or any of the other internal strangenesses of the "Global Country of World Peace" (GCWP), the organization that teaches Transcendental Meditation; the David Lynch Foundation today is primarily a marketing arm of the GCWP. Part of the proceeds from the sales of these artists' music will be used to promote the Transcendental Meditation program, and to encourage the adoption of TM as part of a questionable strategy focused on vulnerable populations that's lately included the homeless and child prostitutes.

But the other half of what's going on here really wouldn't be possible without the ongoing decline and fall of the record industry. For the sake of having another outlet for their music, these artists evidently will be paying a portion of whatever sales are made through DLF to promote TM, and David Lynch gets to drop their names in association with TM. The artists get... I dunno, association with David Lynch, for whatever that's worth, and another online storefront with its own marketing, that's run with volunteer labor? This thing isn't even creating real jobs with living wages, it's just cheap marketing for largely past-their-prime artists (without the expense of paid labor) that's raising money to support TM's marketing arm, and in so doing, supporting a bunch of guys in robes and gold crowns who think they're bringing about "Heaven on Earth."

UK Maharishi School to transfer to state control:  The Maharishi School in Ormskirk, Lancashire, will be the first British state-funded school to incorporate TM as part of its program. It is one of the first batch of private schools to be transferred to state control under the "free schools" program, similar to U.S. charter schools. The 80 pupil school, for four to sixteen year olds, has three 10-minute meditation sessions every day.

Russell Simmons continues his series of lifestyle-guru books with "Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All," and this time, Simmons himself appears on the cover with a guru's halo. Bloomberg BusinessWeek editor Ian McGugan panned some of the "noble truths" scattered between all the product mentions in Simmons' work, like "Work for free, seek enlightenment, bling it up:"
Simmons insists the first priority in life is to move toward enlightenment. Why? "Because the road to enlightenment is paved with gold!" According to Super Rich, if you attain a holy state, oodles of money will soon follow. Somewhat mystifyingly, Simmons also argues that people should work without expecting payback. He extols yoga, preaches veganism, and gushes over Transcendental Meditation even though he earned his money the old-fashioned way: by working 16-hour days and by promoting groups like South Central Cartel, fonts of deeply spiritual insights such as, "When I let these bullets fly, from this heat, you goin' die."

Briefly: Howard Stern spent two minutes on the David Letterman show plugging Transcendental Meditation, which he's done for almost forty years, like almost everyone who does TM... Another decaying downtown hotel, vacant for 15 years, has finally been sold by the Maharishi Global Development Fund... MUM graduate and former participant in the Invincible America program (that is, he got paid to meditate and bounce on foam rubber 8 hours a day) is now an artist in Sacramento... More fresh red meat for the "TM will send you to hell" set, this time, it's Rick Warren teaming up with Muslim, meditating, Swedenborgian Dr. Oz.

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TM-Free News Brief, 9 February 2011. Published irregularly here on Wednesdays by Mike Doughney, who's solely responsible for its content unless otherwise noted.

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