Carving Up The Shysters
My profession has evidently been debunked. Again.
This time it’s John Oliver, who I happen to adore and respect so much. He has a show on HBO, “Last Week Tonight” that I’ve been a loyal fan of for years. He’s brilliant and funny and his work is fantastic. A friend texted me asking me if I’d seen a long segment he’d done taking down psychics and mediums, mostly on TV programs. I had not.
And I still haven’t watched it. On the one hand, I’m not naive. I understand the commonly held opinions about the work I do. Bluntly put, we are considered scam artists, who prey on the weak and grief-stricken. Master manipulators who are able to read body language and collect information surreptitiously from people who have no idea what we’re doing to fool them into giving us their money.
This is easy to believe if you have never had reason to question our cultural context about intuition (mainly that it is unreliable, rare, and dangerous). It would follow then, that those who claim to be doing good work using their intuitive gifts would also be unreliable, rare, and dangerous. If not at the very least mentally ill in some capacity.
If there was a respectability spectrum upon which every profession could be ranked, I expect we’d fall somewhere next to sex workers. Or maybe ambulance-chasing lawyers.
For the record, I’d like it known that I’d be proud to stand next to any talented sex worker or attorney if it meant that they too could escape the judgments and misinformation we put on good people simply doing the work they do in marginalized constructs.
On the other hand, there are bad actors in every single profession.
And every once in a while during the 30+ years I’ve been doing this work, I’ve found myself longing to get a glimpse of what it would be like to make my living out from under the yoke of the massive prejudice, ignorance, and misinformation about what I do. When I began my career, I understood very quickly that agreeing to do this work meant that I was also agreeing to educate others about it. And it’s a good thing I love that part of what I do because I am called upon to point out our biases toward intuition with every single public appearance I make, every class I teach, and to answer for others’ skepticism in almost every single question and answer session therein. Every single client that has been in my office has had to walk in through the filter of at least one other loved one’s skepticism, even if they personally have no doubt that what I do makes a difference in the world.
Along with my actual work, I must give my clients permission to take advantage of it. And I feel personally accountable to make sure they understand the power of their own intuition and exactly how to use it.
So I don’t know if I’m going to watch Jon Oliver’s segment. I don’t know if he’s merely carving up the actual shysters in my ranks, or whether he’s extrapolating to declare the entire profession corrupted because of a few bad apples. Maybe he’s just making fun of us. I don’t feel obligated to take him on or to use the piece to make the points I need to make, yet again, about how we as a culture have marginalized intuition to the point where we’ve made it seem like circus performing instead of what it really is, our most natural resource.
Perhaps I need to find an attorney who has also been a sex worker and a trapeze artist who could release a statement on my behalf.
In the meantime, let me know what you think I should do. Watch it? Skip it? I’ll defer to your counsel and answer any questions you might have about it.Back to all posts