Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Three at last, three at last, I thank Goddess I'm three at last!

Whirled Musings was born on the 27th of July, 2006, although the first "real" post appeared the following day. As you may know, I was originally inspired to begin this blog after a couple of months of following Steve Salerno's SHAMblog (which, incidentally, celebrated its fourth anniversary on the 17th of this month). (Yes, Steve, I'm still a savant when it comes to remembering those details.)

As I said on last year's blogaversary post, time flies when you're making fun. You'd think I could make up something new for this year, or at least come up with another brilliant Photoshop comp, but I am kind of busy today. Nevertheless I want to thank all of you for sticking it out with me for another year. I appreciate everyone's participation, even those who tell me I'm a rage-filled loser who can only hope to be half as brilliant and successful as those I snark about. (One fairly recent critic comes to mind...)

So...keep those comments, suggestions, and anonymous tips (oh, yes, especially those anonymous tips!) coming.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

It would be tragic if they all got lost in the Triangle...

To anyone who has ever doubted that the New-Wage movement is just a tad elitist, despite its egalitarian ideals, I give you what someone on one discussion forum referred to as the "Bilderberg Group for lightworkers," the Transformational Leadership Council, or TLC. Formed in 2004 by Jack "Chicken Soup" Canfield, this is a group consisting of the crème de la crème of New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality luminaries – the conspicuously enlightened, in other words. They hold their secret meetings twice a year, and for the past few days they've taken over beautiful Bermuda to, as Kate Winslet's character famously said in the 1997 film Titanic, "congratulate each other on being masters of the universe." (Though humbly, of course.) Steve Pavlina, perhaps best known for his Personal Development for Smart People book, blogs, and forums, was among those privileged to attend, and he blogged about it, though discreetly.

...I think there are around 200 TLC members now, but that’s just a guesstimate. TLC isn’t open to the public; you can only join by being sponsored by an existing member. I became a TLC member earlier this year, and this is my first retreat with them.

The purpose of TLC is basically for teachers/leaders in the personal growth field to hang out together, share their best ideas, have fun, and encourage the heck out of each other. You could call it a lightworker networking group.

If you’ve seen the movie The Secret, it was filmed at a previous TLC retreat in Aspen, so many of the teachers from that film are here for the Bermuda retreat as well. The Secret was an independent project though, not part of TLC itself. I think The Secret was filmed at TLC because it was a convenient way to gather all those teachers in the same place for filming.

Since this is an invite-only gathering, not a public event, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to blog about all the details. Consequently, I’m intentionally being a bit vague...

Not unexpectedly, Steve received some supportive comments on the forum thread linking to the post. One member gushed:

You mean you get to meet Paul Scheele? Sonia Choquette? Jeddah Mali? Chunyi Lin!?

The positive energy there must be palpable indeed!

If you could share some pictures with us when you get back that would be great, so I can live vicariously through them

And Steve couldn't resist sharing...

We met Paul last night, and I'm headed downstairs to do some qi gong exercise with him this morning before breakfast (along with anyone else who shows up for it). Sonia and I already knew each other because we're both Hay House authors, and I interviewed her for my blog a couple years ago. Haven't met Jeddah yet but I should today. Chunyi isn't here for this one.

Lots of positive, upbeat energy here as you might expect. Feels like a fun family reunion.

Another forum member had mixed feelings, however, confessing to intense jealousy and surprise at the intensity of that feeling.

I think it might be the combination of amazing people and the beautiful location that's leading to these feelings. I admire many of the people that belong to TLC and would love to spend just an hour with any of them. Combine this collection of brilliant souls in a setting like Bermuda and I'm feeling very blue about my current life situation.

Will have to sort this out.

To which Steve responded that he understood this feeling, explaining:

...The reason I'm able to enjoy this kind of experience is that I'm a vibrational match for it. I don't see the people I'm hanging out with this week as separate from me. They aren't idols or celebrities or gurus in my eyes. We're all equally valid and worthy expressions of spirit. We're all one. You're just as worthy too, but perhaps you've forgotten that simple truth.

Everyone here is very human. They all have their faults and foibles. But they accept themselves as worthy anyway. I think that's part of what draws so many people to follow their work...

Or to put it more honestly, they use their unique combination of New-Wage "star power" and the illusion of accessibility to make their promises of miracles seem credible to the unwashed masses ("If I can do it, you can too, if you just invest in my [fill in the blank]!"). And forgive me for observing that the commenter on Steve's forum may indeed be "just as worthy" as the TLC members, but apparently not worthy enough to actually be a TLC member. But then, neither am I, and neither are most of us. We'll just have to work on our vibrations, I suppose, although if all of us got our vibes in sync with the TLC-ers, I have a feeling that would only raise the bar, vibes-wise, and most of us still couldn't gain entry to that elite group of transformational leaders. (Further, if everyone became zillionaires, with the zillionaire egos, ambitions and material longings to match, wouldn't there be that much more competition for all of the world's toniest spots? The former riff-raff would think they actually deserved to live on Maui or convene in Bermuda. Instead of "NIMBY" ("Not In My Backyard!"), we'd be hearing more "NOMI" ("Not On My Island!").)

Interestingly enough, neither the famous Louise Hay, founder of Hay House, nor Rhonda Byrne, main brains behind The Secret, is listed as a TLC Member In Good Standing. (But then again, Steve Pavlina isn't listed as a Member In Good Standing either, but he says he is a member, so maybe they're just slow to update.)

Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale has also been in Bermuda for this gathering. He isn't currently listed as a TLC member either, but was no doubt either invited by a member, or the organization just needs to get on the ball with their updates. Anyway, he has Tweeted nonstop about it on Twitter, with virtually every Tweet including the words, "here in Bermuda." Among other things, he's been filmed for another couple of "movies," an indication that the Hustledork Cinema genre is alive and well. And he didn't miss a chance to play the altruism card:

Talking w leaders here in Bermuda about ending poverty, homelessness on planet. It can be done.

At the very least, these "leaders" can continue to gather in the world's prettiest places, and, in between playing on the beach, doing qi gong exercises, filming infomercials, encouraging the heck out of each other, and lolling around at the local spas, they can jaw about trendy problems in order to convince themselves and the rest of us that they care about something besides stroking their own egos and fattening their own wallets.* To date, I have yet to see anything substantial about Joe's own program to end homelessness, Operation Y.E.S., which was first announced in March of 2008, to great fanfare. He says he's joined up with some others who are working on similar issues (most notably, Scott Miller of www.movethemountain.org, which has a proprietary and copyrighted method to eliminate poverty), but as for Operation Y.E.S., well... the suspense is just killing us. In an April 2009 interview with Austin Fit magazine, Joe revealed, "I know how to end foreclosures and end homelessness in one day." So tell us already, Joe! Or did you actually end homelessness and foreclosure in one day – a day that has come and gone – and the negative mainstream media simply failed to report it?

Next scheduled meeting for the TLC-ers is January 20-24, 2010. (Hey, January 24 is Cosmic Connie Day, aka My Birthday. Maybe I could be an honorary TLC member for that day.) No word yet on where the meeting will be, but it's bound to be someplace ritzy.

PS added 23 October, 2009: My new friend and fellow blogger Duff McDuffee, who runs the excellent Beyond Growth blog, wrote an interesting post about Steve Pavlina in September of this year, "The Unquestioned Gurus of the Religion of the Self." At the time Duff wrote this post, Steve had recently announced his own affiliation with and promotion of a fairly pricey DVD set, Eben Pagan's "Man Transformation," which pretty much seems to be one of those pseudo-sophisticated how-to-pick-up-and-boink-as-many-wimmin-as-possible guides for the horny but enlightened male consumer. Duff writes, "Pavlina seems to have become interested in dating advice right around the time he announced that he and his wife decided to have an open marriage and explore polyamory." Here's the link to Steve's first blog post on the polyamory experiment. And here's his follow-up post. Perhaps the Pavlinas should look into ACCESS Consciousness.

PPS added 2 November, 2009: No sooner had I posted that PS above than Steve Pavlina announced that...and I know this will come as a huge, huge, shock...he and his lovely wife Erin have decided to "transition their relationship into something other than a marriage." Yes, that's pretty much the way he expressed it. "We love each other enough to see that we must allow each other the freedom to pursue our own individual dreams," explains Steverino, since he is far too much of a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) to say something like, "I'm bored and horny and there are all those hot young chicks around, and Erin, despite that lovely conversation between her ego and her higher self ** shortly after I made the decision to open up our marriage, decided she didn't like my polyamory idea so much after all." Steve is staying in their big house and Erin and the kids are moving into their smaller one, since, as he 'splains it, it will be more affordable for her. (I guess the psychic biz doesn't pay as well as the personal-development blogging biz.***) For those who want to know all of the details of the Pavlinas' separation, Steve has thoughtfully provided them on his October 25 blog post. Of note, a little over a week later he provided yet another update, explaining that he and Erin would most likely not be blogging any more about their relationship, because there were "lots of immature reactions to our announcement." It seems that some bloggers were writing "ridiculous" things about the separation (and the polyamory issues that preceded it) in order to draw attention to their own blogs, according to Steve. So apparently he and Erin decided that it would be better for them to seek support from people close to them who actually know them, instead of from hundreds of thousands of random strangers on the Internet. Really. And it took being ridiculed by some of those strangers for him to figure this out? (And he's the one who writes about "personal development for smart people?") Anyway, for those who simply must have details, here is that update (scroll down to "Relationship update").

* This is not to deny that some of these gurus and guru-ettes really are altruistic and actually do some good in the world. For the vast majority, however, most of the time it seems that doing good takes a back seat to the ego-stroking and wallet-fattening activities. But maybe that's just my low-level vibes talking again.
** After that conversation between her ego and her higher self, Erin Pavlina wrote: "I have learned to put myself in a high state of awareness and consciousness whenever I need to process something that is causing me fear. If I stayed in my fear state, I would be very panicked and unsure of myself right now. When I remind myself that Steve is not taking his love somewhere else, but simply expanding his field to include others, I feel blessed to be with a man who has the courage to explore life honestly even if it means defying social norms. It’s all part of his path to make the world a more conscious and loving place." Uh-huh.
*** Yes, Erin is a gen-yoo-ine psychic medium who currently charges upwards of $800.00 an hour for "readings," and even coaches people who want to be gen-yoo-ine professional psychics/intuitives/etc. themselves. Here's a link to a 2006 post where Steve 'splains Erin's decision to go pro. And here's a link to a skeptic's view, also from 2006, of the Pavlinas.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

I was a teenage narcissist


As if teenagers didn't already possess an exaggerated sense of entitlement and the belief that they are at the center of the Universe...behold, the world will soon be gifted with a teenage version of Rhonda Byrne's master work, The Secret, in the form of a book to be released this fall by a division of Simon & Schuster. The Secret to Teen Power will be penned by Paul Harrington, who produced the original DVD version of The Secret. An initial printing of 500,000 is planned. Leave no market un-Byrned, Rhonda; get 'em while they're young! We look eagerly forward to subsequent versions of The Secret for elementary school kids, toddlers, infants, and fetuses. I think there should also be special editions for old people, dead people, and perhaps for pets and plants as well. The New-Wage market is utterly boundless for those who have the ability to think outside the same old demographic!

As it happens, The Blunder From Down Under, David Schirmer, is also busily working on a book for teens and parents of teens, according to the 2 July entry on his blog (sorry, the individual posts don't have permalinks). David and his lovely wife Lorna have been involved in youth-empowerment activities for a while now; he thinks it's high time for teens to be privy to the astonishing wealth-creation secrets that he has been using in his multi-million-dollar scams own life and teaching to adults for years. "Why aren't they teaching this stuff in the schools?" he laments. He aims to fill that large gap in youth education. Aussie parents, you have been warned.

In related news, Saint David was recently hospitalized with what appears to have been pneumonia, but he was able to heal himself with God's help. His healing secret? Reading the Word of God and "speaking out Scriptures."

David 'splains that all disease is a result of some part of the mind being in chaos, and the only cure is to bring the mind back in order through faith. "It doesn't matter whether it is cancer or a cold, we create it in our mind and we can cure it the same way," he wrote on his post of 23 July. On his post the following day he wrote:

Over the next few days I rested and recovered. I continued to speak out healing scriptures and study the Word of God. The doctor was amazed by how fast I bounced back which I can only put down to speaking out healing scriptures and prayer.

He says the doctor even wondered how it could have possibly been pneumonia, given the miraculous healing and all that. Of course, David asserts, spiritual healing is simply outside the good doctor's paradigm.

On his entry of 24 July is a photo of David as a strapping young farmer (no word on whether or not this photo was taken before or after he and his brother stole a design for a hay baling machine from the farmer they were working for went into business together to sell a hay baling machine they had designed. Further down in the post is a more recent photo that depicts David healing himself through the Word of God. Apparently his religion dictates that praying and speaking out Scripture involves rituals with IVs and oxygen masks.

Lest anyone think that his recent brush with illness is a reflection on his faith, David assures us that just because you get sick doesn't mean you don't have faith. It's just that some things make you more vulnerable to the Devil's work, which illness surely is.

God cannot give what He doesn’t have! I don’t believe sickness or disease is from God but rather from satan. John 10:10 says that satan comes only to steal, kill and destroy - he is the father of deception and lies and disease. Jesus said "I come to give you life and give you life more abundantly." Of course many personal development guru’s deny the existence of satan however they can never fully explain sickness, natural disasters or death.

I reckon that since the fame and accolades accorded to some of his fellow Secret stars continue to elude him, he continues to play the holiness card. It's the one thing that sets him apart from all of those "guru's." What really caught my eye, though, was the implication that diseases are created by Satan, and God has nothing to do with it. In other words, those nasty bacteria and viruses responsible for untold human suffering over the eons are all the work of the Devil. Hmmm. Somebody really oughta tell Monty Python (and here are the lyrics, in case you want to sing along).

Although his general attitude towards disease and other issues is very much in keeping with the Law Of Attraction crowd, it remains to be seen whether or not the wisdom of Saint David the Heel Self-Healer makes it into the teeny version of The Secret. I'm guessing not.

PS ~ For more about disease and David Schirmer's wisdom on this topic, see my May 7 swine flu post, to which I recently added an update.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Moon Day!

I just love old magazines, especially significant issues such as this July 25, 1969 Time Magazine that I got from my mom's house. Of course, the first moon walk wasn't the only thing that happened during that eventful summer of 1969. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but below are some pictures of a few thousand words that give a glimpse of what was going on. (Clicking on any of the images will take you to an enlarged view.)

Along with the moon walk, Chappaquiddick was very much in the news. Forty years later, this story is still haunting.

The next page continues a piece on Ralph Nader that began on the previous page. Nader – who had already gained fame and lots of enemies by going after auto manufacturers, unions, and banks – was now setting his sights on the food industry. Say what you will about the ludicrousness of his presidential candidacy in more recent years, but he did play a huge role in making things better for consumers. (Did you know there used to be MSG in baby food?)

And then there's "Doctors' Dilemma," a piece that highlights an event that was a turning point of sorts for the medical profession in the U.S. Protesters disrupted the American Medical Association's semi-annual convention in Manhattan, chanting, "Hip, hip Hippocrates, up with service, down with fees!" The predominantly white, male, middle-aged membership had convened to chew over their "usual bag of proposals to block 'socialized medicine,'"
but the protesters reflected some of the criticisms – voiced from both within and without the medical profession – of the A.M.A.'s "ultra-conservative influence on national policies." (The A.M.A. had fought relentlessly against Medicare and Medicaid; had vehemently opposed group practice; and had lobbied to limit medical-school enrollment. A.MA. lobbyists also often teamed with other pressure groups, particularly the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (big surprise there, eh?)).

The conclusion of the article is particularly revealing:
Nonetheless, there was an unprecedented tone of moderation among the delegates, who wound up by endorsing the concept that medical care "is a basic right of every citizen." In the past, such care had been called "a privilege."
What a difference a few decades make...

And finally I offer you page 24, where, with perfect 20/20 hindsight, one can see shades of the political scandal that many say officially ended the 1960s, even though it didn't happen until the 1970s.

Of course there were several pages in that same issue about a topic not specific to 1969: the war in Vietnam, which by the late '60s was seriously dividing the country. Not mentioned in this issue of Time: Charles Manson or Woodstock. The gods of predestination were saving all of that for August.

Okay, enough nostalgia. Now, here's what I want you to do to celebrate Moon Day. Go out and howl at that heavenly body as soon as it becomes visible in your skies. Pay no attention if it makes your dog look at you weirdly. You will get used to it after a while. If you don't feel like howling (or even if you do), go out and buy, borrow or rent the 1999 flick A Walk On The Moon, which humorously and poignantly captures the spirit of '69 without getting too corny or cliched, and without either romanticizing or vilifying hippie culture. There's also a terrific sound track and a sexy Diane Lane, who ends up "shtupping the blouse man!" (Viggo Mortensen in his pre-Aragorn days). Oh, yeah, and there's an amusing voice role by Julie Kavner (aka Brenda Morgenstern, aka the voice of Marge Simpson). Go watch it now. Or at least watch the trailer.

Have a good one, and I'll be back to snarking soon. I've got some howling to do first, and there's a whole kennel of fox hounds next door, just waiting to join me.

PS ~ Lest you think I've strayed too far away from my original purpose, here is something else from 1969 that is marginally relevant to the usual subject matter of my Whirled. Let the sunshine in!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

The war of dogs

Being mainly about dogs, this post is a bit of a deviation from my usual subject matter. On the other hand, so was the horse-fart portion of my previous post. Moreover, since the present post concerns snarking as well as barking, it is not entirely inappropriate. Anyway, if you like dogs, this post is for you.
When I picked up yesterday’s newspaper, I happened to notice that this is the weekend that my former home town, Houston, plays host to one of the country’s largest and most elite dog shows, The Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows. In celebration, I decided to drag out this half-finished blog post that I actually began a few months ago when the First Family, after months of ruthless teasing, finally unveiled their choice for the First Dog. The lucky canine, as virtually everybody knows by now, is a Portuguese Water Dog, a breed that most Americans probably never heard of until it became a front runner in the presidential pet sweepstakes. After the word was officially out about the Obamas’ little "Bo," my first thought was that the "Portie" is surely destined to become a painfully trendy choice for the family pet, at least until all of the trendy families get tired of it. (In fact, the Obamas are their new pup’s second family; the original family couldn’t take care of him.) So…adios, Chihuahua; so long, Dalmatian; goodbye yellow lab. It’s the Portuguese Water Dog that’s going to take center stage, much to the detriment of the breed, I fear. Thank Goddess for breed rescue groups.

Cynical I may be, but the purebred-dog bidness has interested me for many years. More than ten years ago Ron and I stepped into a little pile of stink over a piece we wrote for an online city guide, hereinafter referred to as Online City Guide, about the big Houston doggy event that was then called the Astro World Series of Dog Shows. We ended up losing a fun freelance gig over the matter, and possibly the respect and friendship of a person whom I shall refer to as Our Contact. This is someone whose wit and writing I did and do still admire, but after the dog show fiasco, we never heard from her again.

It all had to do with some snarking we did about the eugenics aspect of the dog breeding industry. Of course, we were far from the first to nose around in this area, and many have done it since. Take this fairly recent bit on Slate.com about "designer dogs," in which the author asks, "What does dog breeding tell us about the culture of aesthetic eugenics?"

Some years before that, Jonah Goldberg, writing for the National Review Online, called the Westminster Dog Show "The Westminster Eugenics Show." He wrote:
Remember, dog breeds are not created through evolution as we generally understand it. The primary driver of canine breed variation isn't natural selection, but unnatural selection. Humans pick certain traits and breed to enhance them. Dogs lend themselves to genetic innovation for a number of reasons, including their large number of chromosomes — 78 (humans have 48) — and their inability to stop us from setting them up on blind dates.
Actually, humans have 46 chromosomes (chimps and other primates have 48), but the point is still valid.

Our dog story began on a pleasant spring afternoon when Ron and I had lunch at a trendy al fresco dining spot with Our Contact to discuss a major assignment: the write-up for one of Houston’s biggest annual world-culture festivals. At the time, we had been writing for Online City Guide for a little over a year. We were originally recruited for the New-Age/metaphysical beat to report on various New-Agey events and venues throughout Houston, which is a hotbed of metaphysical activity (if you follow the link, scroll down to "Why we love our hometown"). Our Contact had enjoyed my BLP (book-like product) Cosmic Relief, which is satirical but not snarky like this blog, and she thought I might be able to bring an edgy, slightly irreverent tone to the event listings. And it was obvious that I knew the territory well. Since Ron does too, and has a knack for turning a clever and irreverent phrase, it was a natural to bring him in on the deal. The crew at Online City Guide liked our stuff and after a while our beat was expanded, and we wrote about various other cultural events and venues outside of the New-Age realm.

During lunch that spring day, Our Contact asked us if we would be interested in writing up the big annual dog show that was coming in July. We replied that of course we would. We got to talking about the more disturbing aspects of dog shows and the American Kennel Club and the dog-breeding industry, and Our Contact strongly encouraged us to mention this in our write-up (satirically and humorously, of course). She said we could really rip into the AKC if we wanted to. Hence the tone of our original write-up, which began:
It's been more than 50 years* since the world first expressed outrage at the efforts to engineer a "master race" of humans. During that period, however, we have lauded the same approach to the animal world, and no other species has had its genetic material tinkered with quite as thoroughly as good old Canis familiaris. Who really benefits from all this experimentation? The Pekingese, whose flattened nose makes it nearly impossible to breathe normally? The Great Dane, whose heart and joints just aren't up to the task of handling its artificially enlarged body? Or perhaps the millions of puppies who were systematically put to death– culled [NOTE: Our Contact added the word "culled"] – simply because they didn't quite measure up to the standards of their breed? In any case, purebred dog manufacturing is a thriving business, and showing off the results is a year-round activity. The Astro World Series of Dog Shows is one of the biggest such show-off events in this country, and according to show founder Hazel Arnold, it is second in popularity only to the Livestock Show & Rodeo in these parts. Hosted by several area branches of the Aryan…oops, we mean American Kennel Club, this four-day extravaganza has a little something for everyone, much like the Olympic Games held in Munich, circa 1936. No matter what your opinion may be about the finagling we've done with our best friend, a dog is, after all, a dog– and if you love dogs, you'll surely find something to like about this huge barkfest…
And then we went on with the nuts-and-bolts facts and descriptions of the dog show.

Our Contact had also requested that we write a separate page for one of the show’s related events, the "Canine Good Citizen" test, so we began it thusly:
A well-behaved dog comes when you call it, doesn't try to eat the mail carrier, and doesn't hump the preacher's leg when he comes over for Sunday dinner. But it takes far more than that for a dog to be considered a "Good Citizen" by American Kennel Club standards. A dog worthy of Good Citizen certification is one who has mastered all of the canine social skills and then some. If you think your wet-nosed pal is a certifiable G.C., why not come on out to the Astroarena Index and prove it? Dogs will be evaluated on several factors, including clean appearance, calm acceptance of a stranger, ability to walk with a loose lead through a crowd, ability to sit on command for an examination, ability to stay in a sit or down position, proper reaction to other dogs and various distractions, and good behavior when left alone. Dogs with passing scores in each category receive the Canine Good Citizen designation. Dogs who fail will be marched, en masse, to several "dipping" facilities for "de-lousing" in an effort to improve the species as a whole. Oh, we're only kidding…
And that was pretty much the extent of the Aryan/Nazi/eugenics references. The rest of the text was devoted to faithful reporting of the dates, times, and descriptions of the various show events. We wrote it so that it would be easy to take out the few Nazi references; we didn't try to sneak any little "zingers" into the text.

When I e-mailed the dog show write-ups to Online City Guide, I forgot to put our bylines on them, even though write-ups like this were normally bylined items. Hence the page was originally published sans bylines. We didn’t say anything about it to Our Contact, because it wasn’t any big deal to us.

In any case, both Ron and I suspected that maybe we’d gone a bit "over the edge" with the Nazi stuff, but since Our Contact had told us to really let the AKC have it, that’s what we did. Besides, we knew Online City Guide would edit out anything they felt was inappropriate. They had "tamed" our stuff before on occasion, and it truly was no big deal. Thus when the text appeared on-line, virtually intact, we were quite surprised. (Just about the only thing they changed was our chosen headline for the Canine Good Citizen event, "Ve have vays of making you behave, doggie!") But the Aryan stuff was all there, and I was almost glad our bylines were not on the piece.
Then a couple of days after publication, I received this e-mail from Our Contact:
Hey kids, you're stars! I'm gonna put your byline on the dog show. The AKC is very angry. We don't care, and to double check, we called the HSPCA, did you know that 30 percent of all dogs who go into shelters are registered and have AKC papers (Which means the AKC got a fee.) Also, some of the letters carefully explain that it isn't "culling," it's just that "some dogs have to be put down."
A few days later, an article appeared on page 1 of the Metropolitan section of the Houston Chronicle. The headline read, "Article has dog breeders growling before top show." It began:
Dog breeders are worried that a critical and sarcastic article posted on an on-line entertainment publication may hurt attendance at Texas’ biggest and most elite dog show getting underway in Houston today.
Breeders from around the country were incensed after reading a promotion for the Astro World Series of Dog Shows on Online City Guide’s Web site. Last week a free-lance writer for the arts and entertainment guide implied that breeders were like the Nazis, who tinkered with genetics.
The article referred to the American Kennel Club as the "Aryan" Kennel Club.
Breeders also fear the story will spur animal rights activists to disturb the show.
The article first read: "It's been more than 50 years since the world first expressed outrage at the efforts to engineer a ‘master race’ of humans. During that period, however, we have lauded the same approach to the animal world…
"Who really benefits from all this experimentation? The Pekingese, whose flattened nose makes it nearly impossible to breathe normally? Perhaps the thousands of puppies who were systematically put to death--culled--simply because they didn’t quite measure up to the standards of their breed?"
Since the article’s posting on July 9, dozens of breeders from across the nation used the Internet to spread the word, and the complaints poured in. The article has been revised and is now more appropriate, said the executive producer of the site. He said he was on vacation when the story was posted.
"I didn’t think it was appropriate," he said. "This is something that slipped through the cracks. We certainly didn’t intend to offend dog breeders."
But the breeders say damage has been done...
The article went on to quote the delegate from the Houston Kennel Club, who feared that the Online City Guide piece would discourage people from attending the dog show. She added that she and others were offended by the Nazi references; she said dog breeds were created hundreds of years ago. (When Ron and I did some research about the fuss on the Internet, we didn't uncover much in the public discussion forums, but only a couple of people complained about the Nazi stuff, one of them saying that to compare dog breeding to Nazi atrocities was to trivialize and disrespect the millions of victims of the Holocaust.) The Houston Kennel Club rep explained that breeders do not put down litters that have no show value; they sell them as pets.

The Chronicle piece also cited a Canadian dog breeder who said that after the article was published and spread around the Net, she had received dozens of emails from angry breeders, who, she claimed, feared that the satirical piece would provoke animal rights activists. The Canadian breeder added that some of the breeders were even hiring private security to protect their dogs from activists.

Ron’s immediate response was, "I’m going to write a letter to the editor of the Chronicle."

Now, my first gut reaction was, "No, don’t, at least not before we talk to Our Contact to see how big a deal this really is." I had several reasons for having reservations about it. First, we really didn’t know how big a deal it was, and I didn’t want to write anything that could possibly be construed as speaking on behalf of Online City Guide. Also, I didn’t want to draw any more attention to us. Our names were already up on the Web page (and they had appeared, at least for a couple of days, with the original "Aryan" text). I certainly didn’t want any harassment from angry dog breeders.
I guess I am bolder these days than I was back then.

Ron said, "Wait till you see what I write before you form an opinion about whether or not we should do it." So he sat down and wrote the letter and then let me read it. The letter did not claim to be speaking for Online City Guide, but only on our behalf, as authors of the controversial article. It went on to ’splain that the Aryan references were satirical – and apparently effective satire, at that – but in no way did we intend to trivialize the Holocaust. The letter concluded:
Perhaps we may one day evolve to the point where we seek our canine companions based upon characteristics besides those we use to enhance our own egos. At that point, the satire of the online article will be moot.
I admit I got into the spirit of the thing, and gave my okay to send the letter off to the Chronicle. Before Ron actually sent it, however, we did try several times to reach Our Contact by phone. First we were told she was out of the office altogether. Then we were told she was in a meeting. We left several detailed voice-mail messages. We also tried to get hold of her trusty assistant, who had been our Second Contact all along. But Trusty Assistant’s phone was perpetually busy.

So in the end we emailed the letter to the Chronicle, and then Ron forwarded a copy to Our Contact, as a courtesy. It wasn’t 30 minutes before she called. Ron and I both picked up the phone. Our Contact said, "Have you sent that email already, or are you holding it?"

Ron said he’d sent it. She said, "Oh. I wish you’d talked to me first." We explained that we had tried several times to call, and had left messages on her voice mail, etc. She explained that Online City Guide had been having some hassles with the Chronicle but that truly, the dog show article was no big deal. We told her that judging from the tone of said article, we’d feared she had gotten in trouble over the situation. She said, "No, not at all." We also told her we were afraid maybe she’d be pressured by higher-ups into not giving us any more assignments. But she said, "We’ll continue to use you guys as long as I have anything to say about it."

I added, "Anyway, there’s no guarantee the Chronicle will even publish the letter. Besides, if they do decide to publish, they always call to verify. We’ll just tell them we changed our mind and don’t want them to publish it, because we don’t want any harassment from breeders."

Our Contact sounded rather relieved about that. As it happened, we didn’t hear from the Chronicle, and didn’t think any more about it, so we figured they weren't going to publish our letter. (And we were right.) Two days later, however, Ron received what seemed to us to be a very snooty e-mail from Our Contact, taking us to task for writing the letter in the first place, and then sending it off without talking to her first. She wrote, among other things, that it wasn’t really clear in the letter that we weren’t attempting to speak for Online City Guide. She said that by sending the email we were compromising Online City Guide’s integrity, and we would do well to remember that Online City Guide "is a publication, just like a printed newspaper or magazine, and the same professional standards apply."
To which, after thinking about the matter for some time, we replied at length, and not at all snootily.

Despite what Our Contact had told us in the phone conversation about retaining our services, she did not respond to that email, and she never responded to several follow-up emails asking whether she had any more assignments for us. (We were also still concerned about any blowback she might have had to deal with as a result of the article controversy; we were genuinely concerned about her, and offered our apologies for any difficulties she may have faced because of the incident.)

After a while, though, we figured out that the answer to whether or not there would ever be any more assignments for us was, "Not." I have no idea what went on behind the scenes there, and to this day I don't know if we lost the gig because of the original article or because Our Contact was p.o.'d at the letter that we wrote to the Chronicle but that was never published. I suppose it doesn't matter, particularly since Online City Guide eventually was sold and morphed into a city guide under another name.

Then as now, my take on the matter is that while in hindsight it might have been wiser for us to err on the side of caution and not try to add fuel to the fire, Our Contact’s reaction to our letter was not only highly condescending, but was out of proportion to the "offense" committed. At worst, in my opinion, we were guilty of a little ego display (just as I am displaying my ego even now), and, perhaps, of appearing to speak for Online City Guide, despite the fact that we stated the letter was from us. While there may have potentially been a bit of identity confusion as a result, Online City Guide had already publicly distanced itself from us, in effect giving us a separate identity, when the producer in effect said, "The freelance writer did it. It wasn’t my fault; I was on vacation."

So if we were able to have a separate identity for the purpose of his explanation, we felt we had a right to speak about this issue on our own behalf. Online City Guide’s "credibility" was in no way damaged by our e-mail to the Chronicle, particularly since the letter didn’t get published. If there was any damage, it had already been done when (a) Online City Guide chose to publish the unexpurgated version of our text, thus setting off der furor (sorry) in the first place; and/or (b) Online City Guide ’s producer said, "We wuz wrong!" and they changed the text. (And despite what Our Contact said, Online City Guide was NOT "just like any other publication." Unlike a simple retraction that you’d see in a print medium, changing a "live" on-line page is really like re-writing history, as if the original "gaffe" never existed.)

Even as we weren’t the first writers to play on the dog breeder/Nazi analogy, we weren't the first, nor were we the last, to get blowback from offended dog breeders. On the other side of the pond from Texas, the BBC had a bit of a conflict about the matter just last year, regarding its longtime coverage of the famous Crufts Dog Show.**

So I guess we’re in good company. I will, however, admit to initial disappointment about the outcome of our little dog show drama. I was a bit upset at first that we lost the gig, which was the closest I’d come at the time to participating in real "journalism." For a time I also felt foolish for not being as savvy about journo politics as I should have been, not playing "the game" right. Before long I got over all that, and then, a few years later, I discovered blogging, and after that, being a part of mainstream journalism didn’t seem like such a big deal to me any more.

At any rate, despite our past as journalistic pariahs, I did and do feel that Ron and I did the right thing, somehow, by standing up on our hind legs and speaking for the dogs. At the very least, we did exactly what our assignment editor had told us to do. We are nothing if not obedient.

PS ~ If you haven't seen it already, check out Christopher Guest's 2000 mockumentary, Best In Show, which cleverly captures the spirit of the dog show circuit and certain types of dog fanciers.

PPS ~ And on the topic of eugenics, Nazis and other related matters – and how some of these things tie into the New-Wage world – you seriously need to delve into the work of another brilliant Christopher: my pal Chris Locke's wittily written and abundantly illustrated Mystic B blog. Start with Hitler For Highbrows, and then sample Purity/Interiors/Race/Cleansing/Fascism. (Chris is writing a long-overdue book about all of this stuff, and I can't wait to read it.)


In memory of Rex, a magnificent rescue dog who also rescued us (Sometime 1998 ~ 10 April 2008)
We miss you, Boo-boo...
And to Noelle, purebred, yes, but far from a show dog (18 December 1993~4 October 2007)
Miss you too, Little Bit!

* Remember, we wrote this back in the '90s. Even then, however, it would have been more accurate to say "close to 60 years."
** None of this is to imply that purebred dog breeders are not also dog lovers. Obviously most of them do love dogs and I imagine that most are truly conscientious about the well-being of the dogs they breed. My point is that overall, purebred dog breeding has in many ways had a deleterious effect on our canine friends. Just ask any Pug.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Horse farts and related matters

"The people who are skeptical are the people who are the most unhappy, the most broke, the most struggling...the people you don't want to be with, let alone BE, because they're not radiating a passionate vibe of ecstatic life. You want to be around the happy, buoyant, vibrant people, the people who are doing things, the people like you and me."
~ Joe Vitale to Kevin Trudeau, in
an interview on the Kevin Trudeau Radio Network, 15 July 2009

First of all, Dear Ones, I apologize for my extended absence from this Whirled. I was preoccupied with being sort of...er...um...skeptical, though far from unhappy, because I am nothing if not easily amused. I can always find something that makes me smile – horses, for example, and there are plenty of 'em around here. The daughter of the ranch owner rescues and boards horses in the stables and pastures that surround our house, and she was grateful when Ron helped save a colicky bay gelding a few weeks ago. The triple-digit heat and drought around here have really contributed to equine stress. Ron saw that the horse was down and that his sides seemed to be a bit swollen, so he went into the pasture to try to get him to stand up. The bay tried several times and finally got to his feet, farting loudly in the process, but he was obviously in distress, and his sides were still a bit swollen, though observably not quite as swollen as they had been before the gas-passing. Almost immediately he lay back down, and nothing Ron could do would get him back up. After a series of phone calls we were able to get help for the horse, and now he's doing fine.

Following that, the ranch owner's daughter asked if we'd mind checking up on all of the horses every day just to make sure none of them are in distress. Certainly we don't mind! We love walking around this place and we love horses. There are ranch hands around here to see to the horses' needs, but there's a lot of work to do on this place, and the hands can't always be everywhere. So Ron and I have taken to visiting all of the horses at the end of the day, every day, and have gained some new equine buddies. Several of the sweet things whinny greetings to us as we approach their stalls, as if they're happy to see us or something. Of course, they don't get out much so maybe they're kind of like me – easily amused.

The good news is that I have apparently become a horse whisperer. To tell the truth, I don't even have to whisper. I merely have to think certain thoughts, and the horses pick up on it, judging by an experience I had the other day with a dark brown and white pinto gelding whose real name I don't know yet, but whom Ron and I now call Thundercloud, for reasons that will soon become obvious. After talking with the pinto a few minutes on a recent evening, we walked on to look at some pigs that are in a pen adjacent to the horse's enclosure. There are two young feral hogs and what looks like a potbelly pig, and though they're all just cute as can be, I fear they are destined for what one of our local goat farmers refers to as "freezer camp." I am kind of afraid to ask.

Anyway, as we made our way towards the porcine ghetto, the pinto followed us for the length of his fence, and I found myself stopping several times to gaze at him, thinking about what a handsome fellow he is. I imagined seeing him a couple of hundred years ago, being ridden by some native across the plains, and then I saw myself riding him bareback (although the truth is that I kind of suck at riding, even with a saddle), and I thought how marvelous it would be to see him galloping across an open field. I'd sure love to see him run, I thought to myself, and at the same moment the old Christopher Cross song, "Ride Like The Wind," popped into my head.

No sooner had these thoughts formed themselves than the object of my admiration snorted and broke into a run, tearing around his enclosure a couple of times. He ended with a flourish, kicking up his heels, raising a cloud of dust and letting loose with a truly thunderous fart that put the above-mentioned colicky horse's efforts to shame, loudness-wise.

"Geez, you really know how to impress a gal," I muttered. But I was indeed impressed by his obvious ability to pick up on my thoughts, as well as by his performance, notwithstanding the flatulence. (I know, I know... I shouldn't have thought about "wind.")

Anyhow, it's good to be back in the saddle, so to speak, and I appreciate your comments and support during my hiatus. Now that I am feeling a little more buoyant and vibrant, I am ready to get this blog rolling again.

Equine flatulence has nothing on this
Poking around cyberspace, I see that nothing much changed while I was gone. The hustlers are still hustling, the scammers are still scamming, and the oceans of my Whirled are swirling with snark chum.

So let's get down to business, beginning with that quotation at the beginning of the post. The first thing you should know is that a "skeptic," in the context of the discussion from which the quotation was extracted, is anyone who pooh-poohs the validity (scientific and otherwise) of the Law Of Attraction. LOA was the topic of the recent conversation between the infamous serial conner Kevin Trudeau and his new b.f.f., Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale. Back in January, I wrote at length about the first meeting between True-dough and Mr. Fire. The relationship has apparently only grown stronger; as noted, Joe was featured on a recent Trudeau radio show, and if you go to the show's web site you'll see that his name appears on Kevin's short blogroll as well. They recently had dinner together in Chicago, and Joe's sweetie, Nerissa, got a chance to meet Kevin. She apparently has some food sensitivities and other health issues, and was delighted to have an opportunity to discuss them with him. As we all know, health issues are right down Kevin's alley. (Apropos of that, on another radio show segment Kevin supposedly gives the real story of what happened between him and that pesky FTC.)

When introducing Joe, after the obligatory mention of Joe's Secret stardom, numerous bestselling books, etc., Kevin adds that Joe has "something very, very, very unique...a website that actually creates a group of people to send out vibrations for you to make the things that you want to happen, happen faster." This would be Joe's Attract Miracles online community, which, of course, was discussed at length a few months ago on this very blog. Kevin talks about it as if he's a true believer. My guess is that he really doesn't buy into all of the woo stuff, and may even secretly hold much of it in contempt, but he recognizes a good cash cow when he sees it. As I've previously speculated, perhaps he sees his alliance with Mr. Fire as a good solid foot in the door of the lucrative New-Wage/selfish-help market.

Throughout the interview Joe and Kevin use their very best radio voices, both of them enunciating very, very, very cleaaaaarly, extending their words and emphasizing every other word so their listeners can reaaaallly understand what they say. I know this will probably come as a huge surprise to you, but they begin the interview with a lengthy discussion of...hold on to your hats.... JOE'S CARS. And that's pretty much how the interview ends as well. Once again, Joe uses his immense car collection as proof that his stuff not only works for him but can work for anyone, and that his own life and thinking are in order.

At one point fairly early on, Kevin asks if Joe's $5,000.00-a-head Rolls-Royce MasterMind sessions are really effective. "Do they really make a difference in the lives of the people who go on these rides?" Kevin asks (I'm paraphrasing here but that's the gist of the question). Joe says it seems so, because people are RAVING about their experiences. He claims that in the nearly one year he has been having the RR MasterMinds, "Everybody has had a breakthrough!" He explains that these aren't billionaires; they're just ord'nary folk who are ready to take their dreams and visions to the next level.

Ord'nary folk who just happen to have five grand to throw around.

One such dreamer and visionary is Don Wilde, whose web site you absolutely owe it to yourself to read. (But remember, the address he gives on the site is not a retail location, so please do not visit without calling him first.) Don wants to change the world and make it a better place. He says he went on the Phantom ride at the urging of his "coach," a guy in New Mexico named Darshan Shanti (you have to wonder if that is his given name). Darshan describes himself as, among other things, a "professional ontologist." That's not oncologist, as in cancer doc, but ontologist. I am not sure exactly what it means to be a professional ontologist, but I suppose it's not relevant at the moment because this is about Don Wilde, not Coach Darshan. Anyhoo, Darshan apparently turned Don on to the idea of going on the Phantom Ride. (I can't help wondering why he would do this. Finder's fee? Or just because he truly had Don's best interests at heart? Heck if I know.)

So Don went on the ride, and was thrilled not only by the experience but by the fact that, incredibly, Joe invited him to a seminar to be held the following weekend by one of Joe's buddies, Pat O'Bryan. How lucky can one man get?!? Don went to that too, and apparently was on fire with excitement when it was over, but then he crashed and burned when he got home. All of his old "stuff" came right back to haunt him, gosh darn it. Now, I think most of us could have told him that the high always wears off, for some sooner than others, but he didn't ask most of us. Fortunately he didn't need to, because Joe had given Don the obligatory bag o'books and other goodies at the end of the Rolls Royce session, so Don dragged them out and somehow got his inspiration renewed. Now he's psyched and ready to expand his vision, thanks to Joe.

Here's a bit from the products page of his web site:

Do you want to be wealthy? Of course you do. We want everybody in the world to become wealthy, and we're going to make that happen with our new product!

Here's why: "Make Everybody Rich", by Frederick Turner

I have been dealing with money issues since shifting out of 'job mode'* in March, and Darshan, who I've known as a friend and coach since 2002, suggested that I do his money workshop. He gave me the gift of it, that he normally charges $1,500.00 for! I had just read the Turner paper the other day after it was pointed to by Michael Strong, Chief Vision Officer of Freedom Lights Our World, and as I came through the transformation caused by Darshan's questions I put the two together and came up with a product plan which I am now executing with Darshan's blessing.

We're going to give away the most important piece of it as a free paper and we will create a Gratitude Fund to translate it into every language on Earth. As hundreds of thousands of people start to transform their lives with it, people will start to lift themselves out of poverty and despair and the chains of abusive power.

For those who have computers and the Internet, we're creating a software desktop application containing the whole workshop -- and again, we're making the key piece work for free! Think of it as an Interactive Mindset TrainerTM , it's really powerful!

That's right. We believe you will get so much wealth and value in your life from the transformation caused by our free gift that not only will you gladly buy the rest, you'll bring so much wealth into your life that you'll gratefully shower our Gratitude Fund with money so that the rest of the world can benefit from this amazing system.

And so on. Be sure to follow that "Make Everybody Rich" link as well. Talk about brilliant satire; my hat is off to Frederick Turner.

You can see numerous other testimonials on the site promoting the Phantom rides, and some of the enthusiastic riders also list their web sites. I urge you to visit those too. My point is that there's no doubt that most of the folks who have been on the Rolls rides "rave" about the experience, and are glad to write their testimonials for Joe's site. But does all that raving translate into their actually making buckets of money, particularly over the long term, as Joe implies they will? Time will tell, but the evidence so far, judging from those web sites and blogs and such, is just not all that impressive.**

But then, what do I know? I'm the skeptical gal who attracts horse farts.

Those darned skeptics again
Kevin Trudeau has never been one to shy away from controversy, and in his interview with Joe he eventually gets down to the nitty-gritty, acknowledging that there's a bit of criticism regarding the Law Of Attraction. He asks Joe to 'splain the main criticisms of LOA.

Joe is on that one like a fly on...um...a horse's eye. "Ah, the skeptics have several objections," he says, and you can almost see him rolling his eyes at the word "skeptics." Their chief objections, he says, are that LOA, as taught in The Secret, etc., doesn't work, that it's just magical thinking, and that it offers false hope. Well, Joe is here to tell the listeners that it does work, and that other people, not just Joe, are proving every day that it does, not only by attracting cars and other material goodies, but by attracting good relationships, healing themselves of awful diseases, and the like. From there Joe and Kevin get into a brief but spirited scientifical discussion about brain vibes; Kevin points out the recent advances in brainwave-activated devices that help paralyzed people manipulate objects in their world. This is "proof" that thoughts have vibrations, and from there it's only logical to conclude that if you control those vibes you can lasso the LOA and make it do your will. Science has PROVEN this, Kevin asserts numerous times, and at one point Joe talks about how "the whole field of positive psychology has proven absolutely definitively that you get what you focus on." (Regarding Kevin's example of the brain device for quadriplegics, it should be noted that it is a physical device, and only works when it is physically attached to the person's head (or, in some experiments, when chips are physically implanted into the brain). It's not a case of someone influencing remote physical reality with mere brain waves. But Kevin doesn't mention this little detail.)

Later in the interview, Kevin and Joe both spend a bit of time lamenting the plight of those poor pitiful schmucks whom Kevin refers to as "professional seminar attendees." These are the folks who go to all the motivational gurus' workshops and buy all the products, but are still flat broke. Joe says they're either not taking the right action (and he hastens to add that he was the one person in The Secret who said you have to take action), or they're being held back by subconscious beliefs. Naturally, Joe has products and services to remedy these problems, such as his famous Miracles Coaching program that helps you clear out all that unconscious gunk. The truth, though – and I think Joe and Kevin are all too aware of it – is that those poor schmucks are a New-Wage guru's bread and butter, and if half of the stuff really did work half as well as promised, they'd probably stop buying so many products and workshops from Joe and Kevin and every other deity in the New-Wage pantheon.

So it would seem that even though one message Joe and Kevin are trying to convey is that critics and skeptics are losers, they also secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) believe that many of their very own most faithful customers are losers as well. In fact, they're banking on it.

Towards the end of the interview, in the customary nod to conspicuous altruism, Joe assures Kevin that his success is about much more than just buying expensive toys for himself; it has allowed him to help others. "I started a movement to end homelessness in this country," Joe explains, referring to his Operation Y.E.S., which, though first introduced to the world in March of 2008, still apparently consists of a single-page web site that allows one to sign up to receive information about Operation Y.E.S. when it is "launched." Well, okay, Joe has mentioned that some of the proceeds from various products and workshops and web sites will go to Operation Y.E.S., but so far there's scant information about this "movement." One can be forgiven for speculating that the main "movement" is the steady flowing of funds into Joe's coffers.

The gist of the interview is that LOA and the stuff Joe teaches are for real and really do work, but you have to change your thinking. And when you do, your life will be transformed and miracles can occur. Kevin mentions that Joe has seen people who were transformed instantly when they finally "get it." Some have been transformed just from one conversation or session. Joe agrees, adding that he wouldn't be surprised if some of Kevin's multitudes of listeners experienced an epiphany just from listening to this radio interview, either in real time or on their computers later. They may be leaning forward towards the radio to listen, and suddenly they'll just GET IT, he says (and again, I'm paraphrasing). I kept expecting him to say, "Put your hands on the radio, brothers and sisters, and you will be HEALED!" a la those old-timey radio preachers. Matter of fact, I can't help thinking that he had that in mind, especially given his fascination with the master motivators/manipulators from times past.

In due course, the two get back to ragging on "the skeptics." Kevin asks, "Isn't it true that the broke people are the skeptics?"

Joe praises Kevin for his "brilliant insight," asserting that basically skeptics are broke because they're unhappy, and they're unhappy because typically they are "closed down, reserved, second-guessing everything." He wraps it up by declaring vehemently, "Well, to hell with them. I want to move on!"

Making a list, and checking it twice...
And move on he has. He's still doing his lucrative Rolls-Royce Masterminds, is also still busy on the lecture and interview circuit, and of course, he continues to churn out books and other products, either solo or as a joint venture with one or another of his pals. One solo book currently in the works is called Attract Money Now, and in a recent blog post publicizing the book, Joe offers a cheat sheet/teaser in the form of a list,
"29 ways to attract money NOW." He explains that his book will go into much more detail about the items on the list, and will also include – and here is something devastatingly original – a seven-step formula for attracting money. Will the surprises just never stop coming?

Here are a few highlights from Joe's list (and hold on, because these tips will absolutely blow you away):

1. If you’re in the US, and in an emergency, call 211.
2. Call the Silent Unity prayer line in the US: 1-740-362-4214.
3. Give money to wherever you received inspiration or encouragement.
4. Buy something you want and can afford.

Shopaholics, are you paying attention? Break out that plastic that you promised the folks in your church's Dave Ramsey study group that you'd destroy, but that you really hid in your underwear drawer. It's time to dig the Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards out of that pile of stained tidy-whities or faded Victoria's Secret thongs, and buy your way out of moneylessness! But only if you can afford it, of course.

There's much more. F'rinstance, who knew that watching movies could attract scads of cash to your doorstep?

7. Watch the movie The Secret.
8. Watch the movie
The Compass.
9. Watch the movie
Try It On Everything.

He saves the best for almost last, though:

26. Imagine what you would do if you won the lotto for $37,000,000. Do it.
28. Get a job. While you pursue your dream, feed yourself with work.

Oh. My. God. Who would have dreamed that getting a job could help you attract money? That whole problem of massive unemployment that the talking heads are always yawping about is unfortunate and in some cases even tragic but, as it turns out, soooo unnecessary. Those unemployed people should just get jobs. Have the news media picked up on this one yet? Oh. Wait. I guess it wouldn't matter much if they did, because number 11 on Joe's list is, "Turn off the mainstream news."

I have to admit that my first thought upon reading this list, which seemed a tad simplistic even by New-Wagey standards, was, "He has GOT to be on glue." But I am pretty sure that Joe is not into inhalants or any other illegal intoxicants, so my next thought was, "He's beating me at my own game. This is brilliant parody. Or self-parody." Upon further consideration, however, I came to the conclusion that this list is intended to be serious, or at least to seem serious enough to get people interested in his book. Then the more I looked at it, the more I became convinced that not only is the list serious, but it is profound in the way that only Joe can be profound. So I have completely changed my thinking, and now I believe that this country owes a big round of thanks to Mr. Fire. "Oprah" has already thanked him***, as have numerous other respondents.

And the world's most successful huckster, Kevin Trudeau, just can't seem to get enough of him. I think we can expect great things from the happy, buoyant, vibrant True-dough/Mr. Fire team in the future. It's enough to make you want to joyfully run and kick up your heels and...well, you know.

PS ~ The radio show interview described above is not the only scintillating conversation between Mr. Fire and True-dough. If you order Joe's amazing "Hypnotic Marketing Library" you will get a free copy of Joe's interview with Kevin from Joe's "Hypnotic Gold" series. In this interview, Kevin reveals, among other things, how he made his first million by the age of thirteen; how to maintain a high level of confidence even in a prison cell...um... I mean, even in turbulent times; and "the shocking answer" to how the Law of Attraction relates to all of the "controversy" Kevin attracts. And the whole shebang is only $197.00. Oh, and Joe says that if you buy the program you will also learn how to virtually enslave all of your prospects, compelling them to "whip out the plastic" every time. Sounds pretty kinky to me. (Actually, it sounds pretty icky.)

* "Shifting out of job mode" in this context sounds suspiciously like the result of an involuntary separation from one's job – a scenario that's all too common these days. Can you blame a New-Wage entrepreneur for glomming onto a money op with desperate, vulnerable, recently unemployed folks who just happen to have a bit of cash saved up? Of course, I'm reading between the lines here, as I sometimes do, and I could very well be wrong. If I am, I trust that someone will let me know so I can retract or revise my comments.
** Okay, I know my own business web site is less than impressive and is long overdue for an update/redesign (I'm working on it!), but at least Ron and I create tangible products (books), and we offer services that, I am reasonably certain, do not make you scratch your head and say, 'WTF?'
*** Another respondent actually asked if that was really Oprah. Yup, this is the market any New-Wage guru should aim for: the easily fooled.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On my way back...

Like Sauron or Lord Voldemort, I haven't regained my full strength yet, but I am on my way back. Stay tuned...and thanks for being part of my Whirled.