Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

Miss Chleo Can’t Help Me

with 6 comments

When I think of media, my mind connects to medium and then to Miss Chleo. Yes, I realize my neural pathways are a bit strange, but let me explain:

I was ten years old and was staying at my cousin Molly’s for a week. She was one year older and wiser because her family had a TV with cable. I was naive because we only had three channels, not always in color. It was summer and instead of playing outside we spent all day parked in front of the television, our Barbies and My Little Ponies thrown in a reject pile. Molly was responsible for introducing me to the magical world of daytime television. We watched Family Feud, All My Children and Maury Povich and it was indeed magical. I didn’t want to go back to my drab world of reading books and playing outside. I wanted to watch TV forever!

And then Miss Chleo entered my life. We were waiting for The Price is Right to start when this commercial came on:

Miss Chleo was not just a medium, she was a social medium. For .99 cents a minute I could speak to her on the telephone and she would provide me information and guidance from another realm. It was communication on a level I could never imagine. She knew me, understood me, could predict my future without ever seeing me in person. Maybe we would talk often, about the life of a psychic and my cat who just had kittens. Once Miss Chleo got to know me, she could even be my friend!

Molly and I devised a plan. We would call Miss Chleo before her parents came home from work, but we had to act fast. I would go first and talked for 5 minutes, than Molly. We figured her parents wouldn’t notice $10 on their phone bill.

I dialed with shaking hand and waited for the sassy Jamaican accent on the other line. After the recorded greeting I heard a voice, but it was clearly not Miss Chleo. The voice asked questions, but even at ten years old I could tell they were scripted, recycled for every caller. I don’t even remember what the not-Chleo voice told me, I just remember setting down the receiver and telling Molly it was a scam. I would like to think that after our disappointment we went out back to jump on the trampoline, but I’m pretty sure we watched more TV or played Pong on Molly’s computer.


Written by HiuHiMedia

September 29, 2010 at 5:13 am

Posted in Entertainment

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

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  1. Hi Meagan….

    Interesting post. I remember Miss Chleo. I never thought of her as being a social medium…of course that was several years back. As EMAC students, it’s interesting how differently we view the world as we revisit the past. Miss Chleo is clearly a remediation of the many face-to-face psychics, however, I find it somewhat interesting, if not humorous, that her TV commercial rendered as an immediate experience for you, only to have all of your childhood excitement spoiled by a mediator; a pre-recorded, impersonal mediator at that.

    Carol Welker

    September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  2. Great story, Meagan. How can you connect this story to the idea of remediation in either Bolter/Grusin or in Guillory? Or maybe even to Benjamin and aura?


    September 30, 2010 at 9:28 pm

  3. Can I just say I can’t wait to read your memoir! I was hooked with this story and I demand more Meagan! You communicating on a level I relate too. I have fond memories of the summer spend with my brother fighting over what we would watch as it was either too hot to go outside or too boring. I was visualing your face as you watched tv maybe not for the first time but with new vision. Cable was new to you and as you said this was magic. Much like the last Harry Potter movie, you took that story out of your head and placed inside mine. This is part of that fear of communication Guillory was tallking about. You have the power to put something in my head, share an experience or thought with me. But this isn’t something that I fear, maybe because I don’t feel tricked or scammed. I feel like there is a little part of you that you shared that I have experienced as well.

    I’ll have to tell you my cable story sometime.


    October 1, 2010 at 3:44 am

  4. Yes, I really enjoyed reading your post and laughed all the way through… mostly because I remember how certain people reacted hilariously to the news of Miss Cleo’s demise was when it finally came out that she was just some struggling actress from the Northeast (Baltimore, I think). Believe or not, it was kind of a big deal in some social circles, people felt betrayed.


    October 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

  5. Great post. You have some great stories, and I loved that your 10 year old self figured out it was all a ploy to get your money. So young and already jaded… 🙂 It’s an interesting point, having someone know you and be your friend even though they’ve never met you in person? I think that’s what dating websites and even Facebook become for many people. Personally, I don’t friend people unless I’ve at least met them in person once. But I know others who are very free with that “friend” button, if you know what I mean.


    October 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  6. Thanks ya’ll. This post was not meant to be a commentary on Remediation per say. It was more about how media is supposed to predict our needs, wants and actions. It’s designed to do just that, be the medium for the processes of our daily lives and the fear that comes with it. My reading topic was on the convergence of media and I kept thinking about Miss Chleo and what would it be like to have a direct medium to guide me through my day. My personal story regarding mediums is that they are not always what or who the seem to be. I don’t want a Miss Chleo, I’d rather believe I’m in control of my own unknown.

    And yes, I was already jaded at 10 😉


    October 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm

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