Respectful Insolence

By this stage of the game, I’m guessing that you’re probably as tired of the 2008 Presidential race as I am. Too bad there are still nearly three months of this nonsense to go, and, although John McCain has gone deep into the stupid with ads featuring comparisons of his opponent with Paris Hilton, even Barack Obama doesn’t seem entirely immune from attacks of pandering himself, proposing as he has, to eliminate income taxes on seniors. Of course, this being August, and all, the slowest news month of the year, coupled with the–heh–traditional wisdom that no one really pays attention to the Presidential race in earnest until after Labor Day, there’s plenty of time for some serious silliness. For example, it’s being suggested that both McCain and Obama could benefit from some feng shui applied to their offices:

WASHINGTON – With a few simple changes in their Senate offices, both presidential candidates could improve their health, relationships and maybe even get a few more votes, says Taylor Vance, a Feng Shui consultant.

John McCain’s Senate office is eclectic and cluttered.

Barack Obama’s is clean and modern.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that examines how a person’s environment affects his life.

I asked myself: How on earth did this very silly article manage to be published by the Associated Press, and then I remembered: It’s August. Worse, it’s August, and the Summer Olympics are in China, making any sort of Chinese-themed silliness even more attractive. So what is this “expert’s” advice? For John McCain:

The first thing Vance would do to make McCain’s office more Feng Shui-friendly is get rid of the clutter.

“He’s barricaded in there with so many things,” she said. “I got a feeling that he wasn’t really as available as he could be.”

Uh-oh. Given the level of clutter in my office, I shudder to think what Vance would think. Well, actually I don’t. I don’t really care. Still, let’s see the rest of his advice for McCain:

Step two would be unblocking a set of large double doors. Doors are where energy enters and opportunities flow in, Vance said. But these doors are unused, and blocked by a plant and a chair.

“He may not be getting the advantage of all the opportunities that he might if he unbarricaded them,” she said.

McCain made a smart Feng Shui decision by putting his desk at the back of his office, giving him a long, expansive view that Vance said will help him expand his thoughts.

Or maybe McCain just likes the impression from sitting behind his that his office is really large. But what about Obama:

What is in the office is well-placed. To the left of the door, an area that represents knowledge, Obama has a photograph of former South African president Nelson Mandela and a portrait of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

“That tells me he’s drawing on their wisdom,” Vance said.

But Obama could enhance his office leadership by moving his desk so it doesn’t have a door behind it.

Yeah, that’ll work. Of course, maybe Obama’s just waiting a few months to occupy a different, more prestigious office, you know, one without all the pointy corners and such. (I wonder what the feng shui of an oval shape is.)

Be that as it may, this recommendation to both candidates is what really cracked me up:

There’s one suggestion Vance thinks both candidates would benefit from _ adding a small fountain in the back left corner of their offices, the area that relates to money and opportunities.

“That would help bring in more campaign contributions,” Vance said.

I wonder if putting a small fountain in the back left corner of my office would help bring in more NIH grant money. Off to Home Depot forthwith!

Comments

  1. #1 Siamang
    August 12, 2008

    I wonder what corner you have to put wind-chimes in to reduce gullibility.

  2. #2 IBY
    August 12, 2008

    Hey, maybe we should have a contest of who can make a better feng shui for the oval office! ^_^
    The oval… That represents… I can’t do this. I don’t have my wits with me at this moment.

  3. #3 mathyoo
    August 12, 2008

    I wonder what corner you have to put wind-chimes in to reduce gullibility.

    I’m glad I wasn’t drinking soda when I read that. As it was, I nearly spit my gum out laughing…

  4. #4 Ely David Zaslow
    August 12, 2008

    I suspect Orac knows little of Feng Shui, and doesn’t care to, probably because from where he sits it sounds preposterous, or because there is “no scientific evidence”. I find it odd that many people with this type approach manage to “believe in God”. Can someone explain?

  5. #5 Laser Potato
    August 12, 2008

    “I suspect Orac knows little of Feng Shui, and doesn’t care to, probably because from where he sits it sounds preposterous, or because there is “no scientific evidence”. I find it odd that many people with this type approach manage to “believe in God”. Can someone explain?”
    OBVIOUS CONCERN TROLL IS OBVIOUS.

  6. #6 Sunwarm
    August 12, 2008

    “I wonder what corner you have to put wind-chimes in to increase gullibility.”
    Fixed.

  7. #7 David C. Brayton
    August 12, 2008

    Ely David Zaslow–Are you trying to say that there is a study, based on the scientific method, that demonstrates placing a fountain in “the back left corner” of an office makes the office dweller wealthier? Vance certainly seems to be saying this.

    What happens if the fountain is placed in the right corner or near the front?

    I noticed the McCain travels a lot. Does he need to be in the office for certain amount of time? Is the amount of time he spends in the office linearly related to his wealth? Or is there a a type of exponential relationship?

    How long do I need to wait after placing the fountain for new opportunities to start rolling in?

    I really need to know because I need a new car really bad. Please help Ely David.

  8. #8 StuV
    August 12, 2008

    Siamang wins the Internets for today.

  9. #9 natural cynic
    August 12, 2008

    Why is Vance bothering to look at the senator’s offices? They haven’t been using them much recently. McCain has hardly been on the Senate floor in the last 18 months while Obama has missed some votes while off campaigning. Vance should be more interested in the Straight Talk Express.

  10. #10 Skeptico
    August 12, 2008

    Putting a small fountain in the back left corner of your office would help bring in more money to feng shui practitioners selling small fountains to go in the back left corner of offices.

  11. #11 c-serpent
    August 12, 2008

    Feng shui — the ancient Chinese art of separating a fool from his money.

  12. #12 Laser Potato
    August 12, 2008

    The ancient Chinese art of BLOW’M UP REAL GOOD!

  13. #13 LionDancer
    August 12, 2008

    You put the windchimes in the south-up corner,

  14. #14 LionDancer
    August 12, 2008

    You put the windchimes in the south-up corner.

  15. #15 Paul Murray
    August 12, 2008

    All I know about Fung Shi is that if your house is at the end of a long cul-de-sac positioned such that a truck can come hurtling down the street and through your living-room window, that’s bad Feng Shui. Too much “energetic Chi”. You can fix it by putting some wind chimes between your house and the street, or a sturdy stand of oak.

  16. #16 Alan Kellogg
    August 13, 2008

    A small fountain can be helpful. Humidify the air, provide a pleasing noise and a pleasing sight. Placement? Wherever looks good.

    From what I’ve heard there are two types of feng shui. Chinese feng shui has common sense advice such as; don’t build on a flood plain. California feng shui is the one with all the crap about interior decoration, which 99.99 percent of the time is just interior decoration couched in malarky.

  17. #17 Sophist FCD
    August 13, 2008

    Uh, no. Chinese feng shui is just as silly as the Calfornia version. The difference is that over there it’s practiced by the rural poor, as opposed to whatever the Chinese analog to a yuppie is.

  18. #18 Andrew
    August 13, 2008

    “McCain made a smart Feng Shui decision by putting his desk at the back of his office, giving him a long, expansive view that Vance said will help him expand his thoughts.”

    I thought desk-at-the-back-of-office (and away from the door) was good because it made it a lot harder for assassins to sneak up behind you and stab you in the back?
    That version at least manages to make some sense, although I fear it might be from Dune. :)

  19. #19 pipsqueak
    August 13, 2008

    Both my supervisor and I have what she calls feng shui mirrors on our desks. I call it my “stopping people sneaking up behind me” mirror.

    Personally, I’m more worried about supervisors coming to check on my progress than any would-be assassins.

  20. #20 dusonfnp
    August 13, 2008

    Feng shui mumbo-jumbo is pretty much just that. But less clutter is never a bad idea. Clutter = dust = allergies. And water fountains are nice too. Water feature = more indoor humidity and better sleep (unless it makes you wake up to pee).

    CHI running is another new-ish thing I’ve read about recently. The running balance part is all very good (I can run longer and faster without patellofemoral pain), but when I got to the chapters about chi-full environments and food choices (you’re just not going to separate most runners from their pizza), I just had to pass.
    However, chi-running the Vancouver half-marathon through all those trees was pretty chi-full – the uphill climb was surprisingly easy. But I’m not going to write a philosophical statement or try to put it out as some sort of spiritual movement.

  21. #21 DLC
    August 13, 2008

    The other thing about having a fountain in your office is, it may be helpful in controlling the temperature of the complete burning stupid that is feng shui.

  22. #22 Laser Potato
    August 13, 2008

    Koi pools are good for keeping carp that can grow to be the size where they can swallow woo-pushers whole.

  23. #23 themadlolscientist, FCD
    August 19, 2008

    I have it on good authority – directly from a Master – that wind chimes anywhere indoors are bad feng shui. Oh, and however bad your feng shui is when you live in a straight line with the end of a cul-de-sac, I guarantee it will be a whole lot worse after that truck lands in your living room. :-)

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