A recent article exploring the place of something called Vedic astrology in the local wellness scene has produced a firestorm of criticism [“Written in the Stars: Local Vedic Astrologers Decipher Map for Healing Inner Cosmos,” March 2, Xpress]. See [http://avl.mx/2ei].
First, we heard from a conservative who insisted on the superiority of viewing cosmological influences through the lens of traditional Western values [“Western Astrology Helps With Planetary Energies, Too,” March 16, Xpress]. See [http://avl.mx/2ej]. Didn’t see that one coming.
Next came a rationalist who contended that uncritical coverage of Vedic astrology gives these oddball practices a false legitimacy. This critic even went so far as to imply that all forms of astrology — no matter how familiar, profitable and likely to buy ads — should be subjected to scientific skepticism [“Astrology Article Needed Journalistic Skepticism,” March 16, Xpress]. See [http://avl.mx/2ek].
Finally, an editorial note at the end of the letter reiterated the Xpress’ policy of neutrality with respect to facts.
I agree with the Xpress.
To single out Vedic astrology — or astrology in general — for dismissal as mere entertainment would unfairly privilege all the other unscientific, unproven and unsound approaches to health and well-being about which the paper periodically apprises its readers.
You start down that road, and where does it end? Do you really want to live in a town where people struggle through life unaware of the assistance available from healing rocks, homeopathic tinctures, flower essences and friendly nature spirits?
People clearly need to be informed about such evidence-free pathways to healthy living, and if reassurance that one’s planets are lined up right gives some seekers an unrealistically optimistic outlook, I’m not sure that everybody else’s annoyance outweighs the gain.
But the real question here remains: Why aren’t Asheville Tourist games equally part of the coverage of the wellness scene?
A properly inclusive editorial policy should give equal attention to all therapeutic modalities, no matter how unconventional.
And who could deny that baseball is therapeutic?
A nine-inning session with the national pastime makes people happier (when we win) and better equipped to face life’s disappointments (when we lose or get rained out or a pickpocket steals your wallet).
Providers of diamond-centered therapy even have actual standards — albeit evolving and ever-improving ones — by which we can determine when they have made an error.
Almost like science.
The blackout on Tourist games seems to reflect a discriminating and fact-centric bias whose baleful influence threatens the entire pluralistic ethos of alternative publications such as this one.
Isn’t it time to start playing ball with this potential advertiser as well?
— Peter Robbins