Are We Still Weird?

Hardly a week goes by that Feng Shui doesn’t appear in the news. Sometimes it’s a mere mention of some celebrity incorporating its principles in a remodel or a new house. Sometimes it’s advertised as a selling point for a model home built by some upper-end builder. It might be mentioned in connection to a clinic that used a Feng Shui consultant to help bring about a harmonious environment. For those of us who have been in the Feng Shui world long enough, it’s gratifying to see it go mainstream. Not too many people are raising their eyebrows anymore.

Recently there was an article in our local Minneapolis paper about young Iranians who are expressing an interest in self-help books and motivational speakers. In fact, the book “The Secret” is in its tenth printing in Farsi. There’s a big interest in yoga and meditation and “advertising abounds on the virtues of feng shui and financial management.”

You’d think I’d consider this good news. I should be happy that the benefits of wind and water have reached global proportions. No longer does a writer have to explain what Feng Shui is, but instead treats it as a matter of fact, presuming any reader will have enough recognition of the term to know the reference. I can present no argument to the contrary.

The issue for me is that this little snippet occurred in a weekly column called “News of the Weird.” This column is typically one of my favorites. I look for it every Thursday to see what weird things people are doing. Most of the time, the stories are truly absurd—-a thief who left his phone number behind during a robbery because he lost his glasses, or someone who collects and sorts rubber bands to the extent that he opened a rubber band museum, or the recurrence of the middle name “Wayne” in notorious prisoners. This is mind-boggling date describing the absurdity of people’s behavior or their bizarre situations. Those are the kinds of stories I expect to read about.

I challenge the appropriateness of the article about the Iranians for this column. Is this really weird news? Isn’t it more interesting news? Or uplifting news? Or hopeful news? My husband thinks I’m too sensitive and should just be happy Feng Shui and financial management were mentioned in the same phrase within the same sentence. Perhaps that’s true. But sometimes when many of us are working so hard to get us out of weirdness and into normalcy, even a small mention in the opposite direction ruffles my feathers.