Live Debate on the Dori Monson Show
Interview by Dori Monson. Originally broadcast on NewsTalk KIRO 97.3 on 7/17/2009 after the article "Just when you thought King County couldn't get any sleazier..." by Dori Monson. Download an MP3. A transcript follows:
Correction: The summer teen library event at Newport Way Library August 8th is sponsored by the Newport Way Library Association.
Dori Monson: If you saw my blog post last night, I said "my goodness, we're fifty million dollars in debt in King County." They tell us all the time "we gotta' raise taxes." So a listener Chris, he sent me a link to a web-site about an event coming up at the King County library in a couple of weeks. "Free Readings For Teens!" And it says a psychic, a tarot card reader a palm reader is going to be at the King County library and it's going to be paid for by the King County Library System! And my listener, Chris, said "wait a second, I thought we were fifty million dollars in the hole? We're really paying for this?" And he also said, "plus, isn't this religion? I mean isn't this like a false religion, a pseudo religion? The tarot reading the palm reading?" So we said, "we'll try to get an answer for you!" Check out all the links! They're all up at MyNorthwest.com, the Dory Monson show page. But the woman who's going to be the fortune teller at this King County Library event, Alexandra Chauran joins us here on Newstalk ninety seven point three KIRO FM. Hey Alexandra, thanks for coming on with me this afternoon!
Alexandra Chauran: Hi Dori.
Dori Monson: So, King County's paying you to read palms and read tarot cards?
Alexandra Chauran: Well, I can't confirm the funding source, because all I know is that I've been requested by a teen librarian at the Newport Way Library? So, I'm not quite sure that King County is necessarily paying for it. It could be privately given by the teen librarian or it could be given by the... I believe it is sponsored by the Newport Way Library Association, but I can't be quite sure about that? All I know is that the kids won't have to pay.
Dori Monson: Yeah, okay, but you're getting paid.
Alexandra Chauran: Right.
Dori Monson: Because, yeah, on your web-site said, "at this summer library event, palm and tarot readings for local teenagers are paid for by the King County Library System."
Alexandra Chauran: Well, that would be my mistake and I apologize for that. Jennifer Wooten, the teen librarian did email me shortly before the show, and she asked me to change that to "sponsored by the Newport Way Library Association."
Dori Monson: Ah, okay.
Alexandra Chauran: So, I can't be sure exactly where the funds are coming from, I just wanted to emphasize that the kids wouldn't have to pay.
Dori Monson: Okay, got'cha. The listener who contacted me and brought this to my attention, he said, "look, this is just religion isn't it? As he put it, "why is the King County Library System, your government, paying for religious Voodoo? Psychic palm tarot readings aimed at potentially vulnerable teens." What would you say to that criticism, Alexandra?
Alexandra Chauran: Well, I would say to that criticism that I'm a business, I pay my taxes just like everyone else. The library system provides access to all kinds of religious material. And, even though I won't be preaching any sort of religion at the event, I think that the library should be the source for information from all kinds of spiritual sources, and I'm happy to be a resource for that.
Dori Monson: Yeah, but it is a religion, right?
Alexandra Chauran: No, tarot reading and palmistry is not a religion of any kind, in fact, people of all religions utilize my services and even people who are atheist.
Dori Monson: Okay, are you serious? Are you just an entertainer or are you serious about the palm and tarot readings?
Alexandra Chauran: Well, myself personally, I do use it as a spiritual practice. But I also use it on others as a non-spiritual practice. It's actually the oldest and most enduring forms of performance art.
Dori Monson: Okay, but do you look on it as performance art or do you think it actually, there's some way that it could have predictive value in somebody's life?
Alexandra Chauran: I think that weather prediction has predictive value! I think that this is another sort of way way that people can use it to predict in their lives, or they can use it for entertainment purposes. I don't instruct the person to whom I'm conversing with about what I believe when I'm doing it unless they necessarily ask, and I don't necessarily decide that they should believe what I'm telling them.
Dori Monson: Okay, and here's what I'm afraid of, Alexandra, because I was looking at your web-site and it also says that you do, you are an email and telephone psychic as well?
Alexandra Chauran: I do fortune telling by email and telephone as well, correct.
Dori Monson: And you know if you're just doing this as a lark and for entertainment and people fall for it, you know okay that's one thing. I think most people who do that are scam artists, and if there's any public money involved, that'd be very worrisome to me, whether it's a, you know, if it's a library foundation, they privately raise that, if it's King County, that's public funds. I really don't understand why they would engage in something that is traditionally a scam to get kids into the library this summer.
Alexandra Chauran: Well, of course, I am biased, but of course I don't believe that I'm a scam! I'm a member of the Renton Chamber of Commerce, and I've been in business for ten years, and I've helped many people with services that they would like to have from me. But, if you would like to know their reasons for it, I do suggest that you contact the Newport Way Library Association because I certainly can't speak for their behalf.
Dori Monson: Yeah and we did contact the library and they declined our request to come on for an interview here. In fact, I'll pull up exactly what they said because since I'm down on Qwest Field, Phil sent it to me. According to their spokesperson "the tarot card palm psychic reader is merely using a meeting room, I still have calls in but the person who is our teen librarian does not get in until noon," so we don't have an answer for them yet is the bottom line. Okay, can you tell me anything about my future since you can do psychic stuff over the phone?
Alexandra Chauran: Well, I could certainly perform a tarot reading for you right now so that you can see what it's like!
Dori Monson: Nah, nah.
Alexandra Chauran: Would you like that?
Dori Monson: Yeah okay, tell you what, let me take a quick break and then I'll see the sort of thing the kids are getting at the library, okay, so hold on, I'll find out, I guess, now that I think about it. Okay, Alexandra Chauran, she's going to be at King County library on August 8th doing palm and tarot readings for teenagers. Listener, Chris, brought this to my attention, he was very upset, he said this is pseudo religion, there's no way there should be any tax money involved, there's no way that it should be in the libraries. We wanted to get to the bottom of it. What would you think too, based on what you just heard? Is this appropriate for your King County Libraries? Triple eight ninety seven three kiro, triple eight ninety seven five four seven six and I guess I'll get my future foretold in just a second here on the Dory Monson show. [...] Twelve-sixteen NewsTalk ninety seven point three KIRO FM. Dory Monson show. Listener, Chris, sent me an email with all these links, "why is the King County Library System, your government paying for religious Voodoo! Psychic tarot palm readings aimed at potentially vulnerable teens and not adults! Whatever happened to the government not endorsing religious activities or pseudo-religion, so much for the constitution! I object! This has no place in government! Government has no business doing this to kids. According to listener, Chris. So, the subject of this is Alexandra, she's a fortune teller, she's going to be at the King County library on August 8th, the Newport Way Library, she's been explaining it from her perspective. Okay, so let's see what you've got, Alexandra, let's see if you're any good! Tell me something about me, here!
Alexandra Chauran: I'm using a tarot deck, which is a deck of seventy eight cards originally invented in the middle ages as a political commentary, and it originally had images of kings and political figures at the time. And so when I use them today on you, what I'm doing is I'm drawing on a Jungian archetype. And so, when they're laid in specific spreads, they tell your story, just as Jungian archetypes are part of every story. Then, what I drew for you was the two of cups inverted which represents that one part in your life when you're starting to make relationships, not only with other people, but bringing people together of all kinds, which of course is what you do in your job.
Dori Monson: Ah, I distance myself from people as much as possible, but that's okay.
Alexandra Chauran: This one is about the conflict that you have between bringing people head to head and bringing people heart to heart. Because a lot of the people that you might interact with are very intellectual and they're coming from a point of view that is very guarded, and you have a difficult time bringing them together heart to heart. But I think that instead of sort of bringing them together just head to head or just heart to heart, you're going to need to find different combinations of the two. And that's what this card just advises for you. So as you can see, this is just a basic, generalized Jungian archetype that you might find along the hero's journey if you've read any of Joseph Campbell's literature.
Dori Monson: Well, which I have not. Maybe I wasn't specific enough! I wanted to know who's going to win the fifth at Emerald Downs tomorrow!
Alexandra Chauran: [Laughing] Oh, man, my goodness! Who's going to win the fifth at Emerald Downs, I don't even know sports! So I definitely won't have a good time with that one!
Dori Monson: Okay, I think you're... You sound like a nice person and if adults choose this for their entertainment that's one thing. I agree with my listener, Alexandra, I don't think kids should be exposed to this by a government agency of any kind. I do think it's Voodoo, I think that... You know I just think that this is something that government should not be doing.
Alexandra Chauran: Well then I encourage you to choose to keep your children away from the event.
Dori Monson: Okay, fair enough. All right, Alexandra, I appreciate you coming on and talking with me about it and I'll go ahead and see what my listeners think. But thanks for taking the time, I appreciate that.
Alexandra Chauran: Thanks very much, have a nice day and I encourage any listeners to contact me with any criticism.
Dori Monson: [Laughing] All right, thanks Alexandra!
Alexandra Chauran: [Laughing] All right!