Judging by the illustrious bio given to MC Yogi on TEDxMission, a subsidiary of TEDTalks, you’d think he was bloody well running for frickin’ congressman of the United [Commercial Yoga] Nations (I know there’s no congressmen of the UN). Apparently, he’s “pioneered a new sound” (huh?), he’s a “household name in the global yoga community” (I guess I’m not in the community), he made “history when he released his video Vote for Hope in support of Barack Obama” (I hope the “endorse Obama” yoga campaign endorsed that), he was “commissioned by Starbucks to co-create an anthem and video for their service initiative ‘Are You In?'” (you mean that virus-like coffee shop down the block?), and last year “he became an ambassador for Michelle Obama’s Lets Move initiative and later was invited to teach yoga on the White House lawn.” Damn! The only thing he’s not done is save a bus-load of disabled political prisoner nuns stuck in a tree with tiny kittens in their pockets.
Son’s been busy!
So, let’s see what yoga’s very own Sting has got to say when given the opportunity:
How far d’ya get?
Now, I can’t speak for the man himself, but to me he looks nervous as hell. I’m not saying he was nervous, but damn does he look it. Certainly more nervous than the last time we caught up with him, though there he looked just as confused as we were.
Truth be told, I have a soft spot for nervous people. I don’t like to see humans uncomfortable or visibly frightened. It’s not like I turn away or anything, but I really feel for people in that condition. So, I’m gonna go easy on ol’ MC Yogi here and just point out some highlights from the video:
- He does seems like a cute likable guy.
- He continues to call a mixed-gender audience “guys,” which, I get. But, come on. You’re speaking in public here. Pull it together.
- He, like many other yoga guys who, for some strange reason, are also into music, talks like he’s got a lil’ Indian accent. It’s subtle, but once you pick up on it, you can’t miss it. (What’s up with that? Stop it, please).
- He refers to the act of “synchronizing our minds,” which is a nice enough idea, but you really don’t want to base political activism on it.
- He also uses this phrase, “…what the yogis call a unified field.” Now, I’ve met a few yogis in my day, and never once did I hear any of them refer to a “unified field.” In fact, mostly I’ve had a difficult time getting two yogis to agree on anything! I find this to be fortunate, by the way.
- He refers to himself as “a yogi,” which, and I know a lot of you do this, but, damn! That’s reeeeeeeally hard to swallow. Someday we’ll get into this a little more, but, geez. [Shivers]. Just take it easy on that stuff. That’s like your mom telling her friends that her son is a “punk rocker” or “punker.” It’s way cheesy, and typically untrue.
- Most of MC Yogi’s talk is based around the idea of understanding one another, as if to say that people would get along more if they understood each other. Well, guess what. People in troubled conditions (Palestine/Israel) often understand each other very well. It’s that they have very different understandings of how things should go. Understanding usually isn’t the problem. Injustice usually is.
- He knocks the idea of “tolerance,” which is my thing too, so we’re good on that.
- On the whole this talk is just that, a lot of talk. When you really listen and try to unpack it, there seems to be very little substance. It’s basically, “Hey guys. Go inward. Take a breath. Listen to each other. Now, listen to my video.”
- I can’t tell if he lip syncs over his own song, or if the video overdubbed the sound of the song into the video. Either way, it’s weird.
- Then there’s the video itself! Phew…. I don’t have it in me….
But, here’s the real clincher for me.
I don’t wanna knock a man for finding inspiration in another human being’s life. Hell, I find soooo many people—too many people—inspiring. Someday I’ll have to put up a sick “Thinspiration Board” of all the people who I have found cool enough to want to in some way emulate. But, Gandhi?! Seems a little obvious, no? That’s like a sixteen-year-old saying Dali is his favorite painter.
My only hope is that MC Yogi goes a little deeper with the Gandhi connection. Gandhi is a sweet role model, but he’s ways deeper than what we normally see. Deeper than the salt march. Deeper than the sew-your-own-clothes thing. Deeper than the hunger strikes. I mean, Gandhi the movie was dope as hell, but let’s go deeper than that. He’s complicated. He’s not-all-good. That’s what makes him so great.
“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”
Oh, Gandhi. Always so serious.
Thanks to Be Scofield for the pass-along.