“Enlightened” HBO? ~ Julia Sinn

Via elephant journal
on Oct 15, 2011
get elephant's newsletter
Photo: Alice Popkorn

A very neat and sweet interview on NPR’s Fresh Air; here, have a listen. (For free. Isn’t public radio great?)

Terry Gross talked to Mike White and Laura Dern about the new HBO series they’ve created called “Enlightened”: a well-meaning drama about emotional breakdowns leading to meditation and retreats, inner/outer peace, etc. At first I was excited about this and had only warm fuzzies during the first 20 minutes of the interview. Then Mike talked about problems and fears about producing the show and I began to feel unsure — is this going to be something new and progressive and important about teaching people that change is possible, or is it just going to fall into the rut of consumerism and entertainment? It seemed hopeful. It seemed heart-felt and sincere.

Photo: Julio Enriquez

It called to mind the teeth-gnashing that often happens between myself and way more “left” people about whether change from within is actually possible — when a system is so broke that it has to be trashed in order to be fixed. I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, I’m not too hopeful about it being revolutionary in its mainstream form. Like HBO: that’s pretty mainstream, right? And our society is broken due to many of the false values disseminated by cable television and mainstream media — and I can assert this because I was a film studies major and I own The Foucault Reader and a lot of Noam Chomsky, right? So, a change from within with “Enlightened”, a little nudge toward a culture that values peace, self-study, quiet, patience, pacifism (as opposed to consumption, material satisfaction, ego, physical appearances, and violence). Maybe. Is it possible?

This commentary originally appeared as a post on Julia Sinn’s personal blog.


Julia Sinn is a Power Vinyasa teacher now based in Santa Cruz, California.  She recently transplanted to California from Pennsylvania, where she did her Teacher Training with Amazing Yoga Pittsburgh. Read her blog, a reflection on learning through teaching, writing for writing’s sake, and getting dirty at the farm.




About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]


3 Responses to ““Enlightened” HBO? ~ Julia Sinn”

  1. Lauren says:

    I kind of had similar thoughts when I heard the interview on "Fresh Air" – a show that preaches (will it be preachy?) self-reflection and peace – because it's a little ironic, right, if the show is sending a message. Personally, I would watch TV to escape reality/myself, not to self-reflect. I'd still love to see it…if there was HBO in Italy 🙁

  2. LAFinfinger says:

    Great piece Julia! I'm looking forward to catching this show and reading more of your writing!

  3. ijuliarose says:

    Thanks, LA! Check out my blog 🙂 And say helllloo to all of Pittsburgh for me!