October 15, 2011

“Enlightened” HBO? ~ Julia Sinn

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.



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