So Much For The Free Market

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Memo to Marsha West: THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.

It's tough to be on top. Whether you're Microsoft, Standard Oil, or Don Corleone, there's always someone trying to grab a piece of your action. And you are forced, no, OBLIGATED, to slap those punks down and teach them a lesson. It's the same way with Christianity.

Why do you think your hardline, conservative Christians get so up in arms about the occult? It's not about offense. It's not about people getting damned to hell. It's about market share. One truth, one way, one light is a monopoly. Permit multiple truths, multiple ways, and a whole stadium full of lights, and the salvation pie gets divvied up amongst the hoi polloi, the Toms, Dicks, and L.Rons. And like a corporation lashing out against the slightest trademark infringement, this doctrine does sometimes lead to people making asses of themselves.

Such as Marsha West's lengthy, and by lengthy I mean more column-inches than a porn star, diatribe against the Home Shopping Network. What is the Home Shopping Network's crime? Carrying a line of books and items by John Edward, has-been cable charlatan.

You see, Christians believe that when you die, those of you who've followed a set of largely arbitrary rules, you get to spend the rest of eternity in a pleasant community of like-minded glowing souls. And if you fucked up on any of the rules, then you spend that eternity being tortured. On the other hand, John Edward believes that after you die, you get to talk to him on basic cable or in a Holiday Inn conference room. So on the one hand, everyone gets the torture, but on the other hand, it only lasts fifteen minutes.

And thus, Martha West is outraged, and if Martha West is outraged, Renew America stands ready to spread that outrage to its dozens of readers. This abomination cannot stand! After detailing the items available on HSN, including books, a 7-strand chakra bracelet, and a prayer book complete with rosary - West does something that can't have come easy for her. She recounts the opinions of skeptics who rightly believe that John Edward is just another mentalist with a wagon full of snake oil. An uncomfortable proposition, striking as it does so closely to the well-established snake-oil warehousing and shipping organization she herself has been a member of for decades. So she goes for the dumb. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Perhaps John Edward is a fraud and a brilliant con man. Then again, it's entirely possible that he does, in fact, receive information from the spirit world. My question for those who believe he's for real, and that he actually communicates with spirits of the dead, is this: What if the info that's piped into the medium's mind comes from another sort of spirit, a spirit not from a deceased loved one, but from a demonic spirit?"

Then the demonic spirits, in their infinite wisdom and evil, backed a flash-in-the-pan cable star who got bumped off Sci-Fi two years ago and now resides on WE. A fact I had to look up, because with the possible exception of John Edward and Martha West, nobody gives a ghostly spectral fuck about John Edward anymore. And you know how else I know that's true? He's selling seven-strand chakra bracelets on HSN - a channel that, I remind you, is the low-rent version of QVC.

It's one of the hard and fast rules of the universe that nobody appearing on HSN in any capacity is a threat to either society at large, or any one person's immortal soul (should such a thing exist). If there is a battle being waged on Earth between Jesus and Satan, it's not happening above Channel 100. I don't care how many paragraphs you spend quoting Bible verses in your convoluted attempt to "prove" that John Edward practices necromancy*. You're not witnessing against the advances of the demonic realm. You're just pissing into the ocean and claiming credit for high tide.

So what anti-necromancy strategy does Martha West suggest?

"I would like to suggest that HSN shoppers contact the execs and ask them why they've climbed in bed with occultist John Edward. Inquiring minds want to know!"

All irony inherent in West quoting the advertising slogan of the National Enquirer in her attempt to stand against the occult aside, I can tell you right now why HSN execs have climbed into bed, as it were, with Edwards. Because when they put the chakra bracelets in gas stations, nobody bought them. So don't bother calling in, legions of loyal HSN patrons. You'll need that phone free when that ugly-ass chain necklace comes up next hour. And again next week for the cream to treat the skin condition the necklace gave you.

*But if you're curious, SEVENFUCKINGTEEN OF THEM.