Cause of death: Oprah

Over the last few years, there’s been a huge sensation in the Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM), and it’s name is The Secret. It essentially co-opted the long-held Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM) tradition of combining humanity’s notorious tendency toward insecurity with our equally notorious sedentary nature by promising to lead followers to big positive changes in their lives by utilizing the path of least resistance…sitting on our asses doing nothing.

But what exactly is The Secret?

Well, it’s death. Shh. Don’t tell anyone.

Kim Tinkham is finding that out the hard way, thanks to Oprah, The Secret’s biggest (which sense of the word I’m using there I’ll leave up to the readers because I’m too classy for childish insults) and most influential supporter.

Tinkham had stage 3 breast cancer when she was dissuaded from using proper medical treatments, opting instead to change her diet and use a bogus one, The Secret, or as we used to call it, just wishing real, real hard.

Science offered her a very respectable 50% chance of a positive outcome whereas The Secret promised a 100% positive outcome even though in fact, it only provided a 0% chance of a positive outcome. And not surprisingly, Tinkham didn’t beat the odds.

So what’s Oprah’s role in all this? Surely, I’m not assigning blame to her because she happens to be another just another sucker who fell for charlatans selling magic beans? You see, Tinkham was a guest on Oprah’s show four years ago. And that show uncritically encouraged her to continue to use The Secret’s magic in lieu of legitimate medical science. But two other facts that seem to be secrets to Oprah are that magic isn’t real and that Tinkham has no horcruxes to keep her alive indefinitely [Author's apology: I just finished watching seven Harry Potter films, six of which for the first time, in eight days].

And Oprah never brought her back on the show for a follow-up so people could see for themselves what The Secret is or even invited her to sit in the audience on a day Oprah placed the elixir of life under everyone’s seat as a gift to her whole audience. And somehow I doubt she’ll mention Tinkham’s death on an upcoming show.

Orac and Skepchick have proposed a letter writing campaign to Oprah’s producers expressing our outrage over the show’s promotion of this toxic scam that has caused undeniable harm to Tinkham and others. And since the Skepchick letter writing campaign to AMC Theaters proved so effective, I’ve decided to hitch my wagon to their latest campaign.

Here’s the contact page for the show. You can write your own response or use Skepchick’s open letter to Oprah from 2007.

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