Surely one of the oddest things to turn up on a talk show in recent memory was Stephen Colbert's segment last night on author Raj Patel, whose January appearance on "The Colbert Report" managed to get him the ultimate "Colbert Bump" -- a New Age religious sect declared Patel the messiah.
As Colbert explained it, the sect, Share International, had a very specific set of requirements for its new messiah, who is known as Maitreya: born in 1972, traveled from India to London in 1977, dark-skinned, speaks with a stutter. When Patel appeared on "TCR" to plug his book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, "it was the final sign," according to a New York Times report on Patel's "godliness." The author "removed the contact information from his Web site, but dozens of pages, discussion groups and videos have emerged online proclaiming his holiness."
As Patel told Stephen last night, he emphatically denies being the messiah. Of course, according to a Share spokesperson, "Maitreya will neither confirm, or will fail to confirm, he is Maitreya." So Patel is living the life of Brian, as in the Monty Python movie: "Only the true Messiah denies His divinity."
Patel, incidentally, now lives in San Francisco. As a Bay Area resident myself, I can attest to the fact that those of us who live here are convinced we're in the center of the universe, so it makes perfect sense that the Messiah would choose to reside here. (Just kidding, Raj!)
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|I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha - Raj Patel|