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.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whirled Musings is four today!*

Four years ago today, inspired largely by having participated in Steve Salerno's SHAMblog, I decided to create a Whirled of my own in the blogosphere. And so it was that I sat down and typed out a tentative blog post. And on the second day, I created a less tentative post. And then I was off and snarking.

It has been a fun four years, and I'm shooting for a few more.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, the Universe has blessed the oceans of my Whirled with more snark chum than all of us together could possibly consume in one sitting, so I'll just share a couple of tasty bits with you here before I go off to celebrate my Fourth Blogaversary (actually, to concentrate on my real work for a while...but I can celebrate for a few moments, anyway!).

To begin with, Mr. Fire published a blog post today about the five biggest Law of Attraction mistakes. He wrote:

Truth is, there are many mistakes when it comes to using the Law of Attraction. It’s usually because most people don’t have a complete understanding of it. They saw the movie The Secret and thought they got it, when all they got was an introduction to it.

Oh, dear. Mr. Fire has apparently forgotten that when The Secret first came out, it was widely promoted, on the official site and elsewhere, as containing the ultimate answer and having all of the information you need to get whatever you want. Of course we couldn't realistically have expected that claim to last, not when there were so many derivative products and frauducts to be sold.

So what's the biggest Law of Attraction mistake a body can make? As might be expected, Mr. Fire did not say, "Believing in that whole Secret scam in the first place." According to Joe, Mistake Number 1 is believing that all you have to do is imagine what you want, and you'll get it. Not so, says Mr. Fire. Here's the truth:

Imagining what you want is a great way to program your unconscious but it’s only a first step. You still have work to do. That’s where the Law of Right Action comes into play. Do something to assist the attraction of what you want. Rhonda Byrne created the movie The Secret with more than the Law of Attraction;** she didn’t just sit and dream about it. She took action.*** (She’s taken more action recently, as her next book, The Power, will be out in August.****)

This from the man who, in The Secret, famously likened the Universe to a mail order catalog:

“This is really fun. It’s like having the Universe as your catalog. You flip through it and say, ‘I’d like to have this experience and I’d like to have that product and I’d like to have a person like that. It’s your placing your order with the Universe. It’s really that easy.”

And he even put that snippet on his own video blog, so he must have been seriously promoting that point of view.

LOA Mistake Number 2, according to Joe, is using the Law of Attraction to try to attract a specific person. Don't do it, warns Mr. Fire, explaining, "Trying to attract a specific person is a violation of free will." This is from the guy who also sells products that claim to teach you how to put all of your prospects into a "buying trance" so they will do your bidding (he even wrote a book about it). I guess it's okay to violate someone's free will when you have a frauduct to sell.

I found Mr. Fire's choice for Mistake Number 3 – focusing solely on the material – interesting as well:

Focusing on the material, in attracting new cars [and here he provides a link to his ubiquitous Attract A New Car gimmick] and more cash, is fine, as long as you know it’s a temp high and a mask for the real juice of life: the Divine. Don’t focus on the car, but on the feeling behind the car. That is Divine.

Lesson assimilated, Mr. Fire. Maybe you'll learn it one day yourself. Meanwhile, it's hard not to notice how desperately many of the New-Wage hustledorks seem to need those new cars and more cash and so on in order to capture that "juice of life." And it's hard to overlook the whole vision-board thing that has been so popular with LOA true believers. Seems that little exercise is all about the material, not to mention being really kind of juvenile. Or, as Salty Droid put it recently on his blog:

...because poster boards with magazine cut-outs aren’t just for 6th grade science projects and serial killers anymore {yes they are!! f--k sake …}.

So enough about that. The really, really BIG piece of snark chum is that NBC has chosen Whirled Musings' birthday to debut yet another "reality" show. This one is from the world's all-time most successful hustledork, Tony Robbins. Even TV Guide is rolling its eyes:

Cheers & Jeers: Tony Robbins? Gimme a Break!

Jeers to NBC for turning over an hour of primetime to a glorified infomercial.

The Peacock has flirted with the equivalent of self-help ads (The Biggest Loser, Losing It With Jillian), but the net has truly crossed the line with Breakthrough with Tony Robbins, an hourlong series debuting July 27 at 8/7c. That's right, "author, strategist and coach" Robbins—who was mocked as a charlatan nearly 20 years ago on The Ben Stiller Show ("I hypnotize you with my teeth, and you pay me money!")—is now a network-TV star.

In the series' premiere, Robbins helps Ron and Marie Stegner back from the brink of bankruptcy and divorce by presenting them with "challenges" like flying a Russian MIG fighter ("I don't know any other housewife doing a flip in a jet," says Marie) and living on L.A.'s skid row for a week. Of course, viewers can't perform these kinds of stunts, but they might buy Robbins' books, DVDs or CDs to gobble up more of his banalities ("Own Your Breakthrough!"). As Marie puts it when she's sleeping on the street (with a camera crew in tow, natch), "This is reality." No, this is reality TV—there's a big difference.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

That's it for now. I promise you I'm continuing to sort through the swirling chum and will serve up some more very soon. Meanwhile I want to thank every one of you – even those of you who don't like me so much – for your part in making this blog what it is. Here's to at least four more fun-filled years.

* I know it's my Blogaversary and all, but really, you don't have to get me a gift. But if you insist... the "Donate" button is conveniently located up there at the top of the page.
** That's right, Mr. Fire! Rhonda didn't just use LOA to create The Secret.
She used the partially unpaid labor of creative and talented people as well.
*** Rhonda took action, all right: legal action, mostly, against the people who had actually done the real creative and marketing work and just wanted their fair share of what she'd promised them.
**** Well, after all, she does have those legal bills to pay.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

I know it's not Sunday, but here's a hymn anyway

It already has a tune. *


Come, Thou long expected sequel
So the world may once more Byrne
With the scam that knows no equal.
(Will the sheeple never learn?)
Rhonda's trials and Death Ray's charges,
Billy's
lame-assed threat campaign,
Schirmer's shame and Fireboy's follies
Failed to wreck The Secret train.

Now slinks Rhonda from the shadows
With the latest seekrit key
L.O.A.? That's soooo outmoded
Now
The Power will set you free.
"Just one thing" is all it takes to
Change your life (for realz this time!)
All you need to do is soak in
Imitative New-Wage slime.

Come, Thou long awaited encore
Milk the cash cows till they're dry
Lure the narcissistic masses
With your glossy little lie.

Aaaaa-men.

* Purists might note that the rhyming pattern is not strictly faithful to the original, and that there's a bonus verse to boot. But what the heck: my blog, my rules.

* * * * *

PS ~ The official release date for The Power is 17 August, 2010. Judging from the fact that the title was #449 in Books on Amazon when I checked a while ago (and #3 in Religion & Spirituality > Occult; #12 in Health, Mind & Body > Self-help > Personal Transformation; and #2 in Religion & Spirituality > New Age > New Thought), the sheeple have NOT learned. And the publisher, anticipating this, is doing an initial press run of two MILLION copies. (Here's a link to the book trailer.)

PPS ~ Speaking of Death Ray: As many of you may know, the long-awaited trial, originally scheduled to begin on August 31, will be even more long-awaited. It has been postponed till some time in 2011. James' defense team is working for a change of venue as well. As Terry Hall at Bizsayer wrote, it wouldn't be great timing to have the trial possibly still going on during the one-year anniversary of the deaths in Sedona (October 8).

PPPS added 19 August 2010 ~ As expected, The Power is selling briskly, though the Amazon reviews from regular readers (not the h-dorks who benefited so handsomely from The Secret) are lackluster.

And here's a big surprise: Mr. Fire thinks Rhonda's new book is GREAT, even though she doesn't quote him and the other living "masters" as she did in her previous opus.

Instead, she quotes from the legends — Jesus, Buddha, Einstein — all dead authorities. None can argue with her. And they all seem to say you can have what you want if you practice love. Well, I agree.

I noticed, however, that Joe felt compelled to repeatedly give himself credit for being the fan of the late New Thought writer Neville Goddard. He seemed to be strongly implying that Rhonda acquired her obvious Neville fixation (he says she quotes Goddard repeatedly in The Power) because of him. And maybe she did. But if so, she should have at least acknowledged Joe for his wisdom. Shame on you, Rhonda. You seem to have a habit of not giving proper credit where it's due.

This was the part that caught my eye about Joe's "review," though:

But I still take issue with Rhonda’s stance that you don’t really have to take any action to attract what you want.

I was the guy in the movie The Secret stating you needed to act on your ideas.

Uh-huh, but he was also the guy who said the Universe is like a mail-order catalog that you can just leaf through and pick out what you want, and "It really IS that easy." That's the bit that people really glommed on to, and that's the part Joe put on his own sites. Granted, this may have been the only Vitale segment that Rhonda's company released for promotional use, but he sure didn't hesitate to use it, and use it, and use it again. (And, assuming that his original statement was not heavily edited for the film, why would he even utter anything like the "It's that easy" bit in the first place if he didn't want to use it to attract wishful thinkers to The Secret and, most importantly, to himself?)

Joe continues:

But Rhonda still believes what you want will just come to you if you feel it real. I’m sure for the person who created a movie sweeping the globe, who made over $300,000,000 in sales, and who has been pursued since 2006 for her next projects, that for her it seems like it’s all coming her way without effort...

He goes on to say that he feels Rhonda took action anyway (e.g., an email blast just before the release of The Power), and that her actions were also wise marketing.

Now, I'm thinking that, provided Rhonda is not fibbing about it all seeming "effortless" to her, maybe it seems so either because she is seriously reality-impaired – a distinct possibility – or because the really hard work has always been done by others. For instance, at the beginning much of the creative and marketing stuff was done by people such as Drew Heriot and Dan Hollings. The "teachers" in The Secret did a lot of the marketing too, of course. And additional real (and dirty) work was perhaps done by Rhonda's scoundrel American bidness partner Bob Rainone (whom Rhonda described on the Acknowledgments page in The Secret as "delivered to us from heaven"), not to mention the legal team that worked so hard to keep people such as Drew and Dan from getting what Rhonda had promised them. Rhonda hardly had to lift a finger. But Mr. Fire didn't mention these factors.

Also amusing in Joe's "review" of The Power was his digression into bragging about his car(s) and about appearing again in a magazine devoted to egomaniacs and their fancy cars. I had thought the post was supposed to be about Rhonda's new book, but, silly me, it's really all about him. Even the picture of Rhonda's book cover leads to the site for his Attract Money book (which in turn is a not-so-subtle lure for the apparently ill-named Miracles Coaching), rather than to a page for The Power. Overall, however, his post is a blatant kiss-up to Rhonda. I expect we'll see more of that from other "teachers" in The Secret. That cash cow isn't dry yet by any means.

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