“You Want Fries With That?”

Another day, another new topic. I haven’t quite reached the point of the weary “time to make the donuts” drudge from the old Dunkin Donuts commercials yet, but sometimes I wonder. Professional wisdom for blog management is that those who post something 11 times a month receive more viewer traffic (and potentially more advertisers). I’m not in this for the money, I just want a creative outlet for my tarot writing and thinking (hmm, let’s reverse the order of that, shall we?), and I usually have the time so it’s become a daily routine for me.

Today I want to riff on what I’ve come to see as the “fast food” mentality that seems to permeate the social-media-fueled divination outlets like texting, e-mail, Skype and “psychic hotlines.” As an old-school face-to-face reader who wants my “sitters” actually sitting there at the table looking at the cards, I’m more than a little skeptical of the validity of these venues since they strike me as too facile and impersonal to be legitimate. There is an old joke that goes:

The law school graduate says “Should I drive the Beemer or the Jaguar today?”
The med school graduate says “Should I vacation in  Saint-Tropez or Maui this year?”
The liberal arts graduate says “You want fries with that?”

With the proliferation of “learn to read the tarot in three days” tomes and the notion that “it’s so easy a caveman could do it,” anyone with an internet connection, a couple of “how-to” books and a PayPal account can rely on the anonymity offered by on-line communication to become a paid fortune-teller catering to clients with more money than sense. I jest that it’s possible to become a tarot professional in your pajamas, but it’s not far from the truth to see these “instant gurus” as the equivalent of the liberal-arts grad who has been prepared for little more than slinging burgers and fries. Add the conviction that intuitive reading is the pinnacle of divinatory technique and you have a “blind leading the blind” mentality that does little credit to the tradition. Maybe the clientele expects nothing more than an entertaining diversion, but those who think they’re getting sound advice for managing their lives are left clueless about the shaky foundations of that advice. Since there are no recognized benchmarks of excellence or credentials other than client testimonials of an entirely anecdotal sort, it’s virtually impossible to tell the quack from the qualified practitioner.

When all of the wine is watered nobody knows what “100-proof” tastes like, and in this faceless environment it can soon become an “anything goes” free-for-all of scattershot prognostication with little or no accountability for a single word of it. It’s normal to walk away with no feedback of any kind against which to gauge one’s progress as a “seer,” and the umbrella provided by modern psychological insights makes it possible to offer vague generalities that will fit almost any situation.  The days of pursuing an in-depth dialogue with the client seem to be gone forever, replaced by the drive-through convenience of the “instant gratification” culture.

6 thoughts on ““You Want Fries With That?”

  1. *hands up* Preach it! *slowly lowers one hand* but… I kind of wonder if this perceived superficiality of the current times is due to an innate “wholeness” within the individual, where they’re seeking clarification on something they already feel within themselves, because there is no other way to confirm an answer? I know that scenario is not representative of everyone, but a possibility.


  2. This loss of personal contact caused by technology has destroyed or mutated many aspects of daily life and commerce. Immediacy and convenience at the expense of jobs (think ATMs, publishing, cinema, for just a few) as well as healthy outdoor activities, has contributed to less human interaction and more reliance on the internet. Was this not foretold by the cards?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a hunch I already covered this before, and more than once; it’s been a drum I’ve been beating since I returned to tarot practice in 2011. The most recent mini-rant on the subject happened on June 30:


    I was once criticized by a magazine publisher for being elitist on the subject, but it’s more about my growing suspicion that the “teenage-sleep-over Ouija-board” set has matured into assuming that the more serious forms of divination partake of the same faintly silly, mildly outrageous fascination with “forbidden” topics that once fueled their fantasies. I do acknowledge that there are people who seek more depth than the social gratification of being a “fortune-teller,” but from what I’ve seen on the forums they are a distinct minority.


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