Clairvoyant Radio Ads

I’m used to neon-glowing psychic signs and roadside visual pollution promising 100% psychic accuracy in knowing my future, discerning my relationship’s heart-to-heart connection and forecasting my financial destiny. That’s, well, oddly normal.

However, I had never heard psychics broadcast and market their “product” on the radio. Yet, that’s just what I heard driving into downtown Houston this morning.

California Psychics had a 30-second plug on a hit radio station promoting their rigorous professional evaluation of potential clairvoyants, stringent hiring requirements and foolproof psychic accuracy.

Californians. Bless their hearts.

Undoubtedly, the Ba’hai are the best at TV, radio and internet marketing. In a close second, but also a dead last in terms of creativity, are Christians with their sheer numbers in the American marketing scene. Synagogues, temples and even masjids use radio and TV ads to market their mastery of the spiritual realm.

What I think is slightly odd about all this spiritual peddling via radio, TV and internet is the fact that such things are rarely viewed as inherently spiritual. Isn’t the radio a tool of the devil and what not? Isn’t TV something that severs us from our spiritual connection with other human beings making us slaves to the cathode ray? Isn’t the internet only a temptation?

Christians may claim that they can “redeem” such things and other religions may site how “useful” such mediums of communication are for sharing their faith, but I’m just a tad bit skeptical about the spiritual dimension of media advertising.

Market place religion is a necessary evil in the Western world, but it is still an uncomfortable engagement where the spiritual gets oddly mixed with the most temporal of all things – business. It may be the cynic in me, but every time I hear or see a religious entity market themselves like a bank or a dating service I feel as if they are more interested in the exchange of money and commodities than they are the exchange of religious ideas and ideals.

Of course, I’m the same guy who questions the product California Psychics is selling. If I’m not sure you’re accurate when you are holding my palm in your hands how much more doubtful do you think I’m going to be when you are “reading” my future over the phone after I called you hearing an ad on the radio.

Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe the psychics could see that their radio advertisements were going to bring in business. Or maybe they are just following the popular and peculiar American trend of getting more business savvy with their spirituality.

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3 Comments

Filed under New Age, Religion and the Public Sphere

3 responses to “Clairvoyant Radio Ads

  1. I think there has been some fear-mongering about broadcast media, but religious figures were also some of the earliest adopters of broadcast media. Aimee Semple McPherson got into radio on the ground floor, and set the patter for almost everyone that followed. She was Foursquare (Charismatic), but the Catholics also had Father Coughlin. Once radio proved successful television was a logical next step.

    In general, I think religion-based objections to broadcast media tend to be an extension of their attitude toward popular culture and/or mass society. As long as it’s their own content being transmitted I don’t get the sense they care too much about the medium.

    As for the psychics, I think their opportunism (conscious or not) is effectively without limits.

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