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Shirley MacLaine and the New Age

July 26, 1987

The Times sent the wrong reporter to Shirley MacLaine's seminar. Not because Dick Roraback did a poor job (it was a lively piece), but because it is difficult to communicate clearly (even MacLaine had trouble, apparently) something as lofty as metaphysics unless the writer has had similar spiritual experiences which, from the style and tone of the article, did not seem to be the case. Roraback and the editorial on July 20 reflected a bemused indulgence for a celebrity's quirkiness rather than an attempt at real understanding.

Granted, if accurately quoted, MacLaine had a tendency to use jargon, thus rendering more confusion to an already mystifying subject. Whether understood by everyone or not, however, MacLaine succeeded in her purpose: to be a teacher expounding on the value of discovering the True Self. Expanding metaphysical, philosophical and religious divisions in book stores and a growing number of seminars on higher consciousness and related subjects are strong evidence that people are interested in cleaning up their "karmic debris."

JANET E. GRAEBNER

Santa Ana

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