It’s official: The Babarrazzi – the self-styled court jesters of the American yoga scene – have called it quits. The quirky – and shadowy — intellectual collective that made it oh-so-hip and fashionable to stigmatize American yoga teachers as unprincipled fame- and-fortune seekers – coining the term “yogilebrities” in the process – last week bid a fond farewell to the several hundred contributors – and thousands of readers — that regularly gravitated to their site. The group – through its erstwhile spokesman and guru, Aghori Babarazzi – gave no official reason for ceasing publication, other than to say that they were eager to move on to a new web project, It’s Aghorable, and urging their fellow-travelers to follow them there.
As an experiment in post-modern, deconstructionist blogging, The Babarrazzi may have had few antecedents – and even fewer successors. Over the nearly two years of its celebrated existence, the site didn’t so much report on the latest developments in the bizarre and wacky world of American yoga as it did draw readers into a deeper philosophical reflection on the pernicious and insidious dimensions of what Marx called “commodity fetishism” — and its impact on contemporary yoga culture. Through thrice weekly blog postings that drew a bead on the wide-ranging techniques and linguistic gimmicks being used to advertise, market and sell yoga to middle class consumers, The Babarazzi raised important questions about what constitutes cultural and spiritual “authenticity” in the context of modern capitalism and whether the inner soul and substance of what was once a sacred mind-body practice could meaningfully survive under such an unchecked commercial onslaught. Continue reading >> counterpunch.org