So now comes word that Drew Heriot, the director behind The Secret DVD, has filed suit against Rhonda Byrne et al, alleging that he was denied his fair share of profits from the project's otherwordly success. It's too soon to know what's really going on here—and it might be a mistake to assume automatically that Heriot's legal claims represent the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This wouldn't be the first time someone signed on to a project for a negotiated fee, saw the project take off beyond his wildest dreams, then decided he'd sold his soul too cheaply. I knew a struggling writer some years back who agreed to accept a $25,000 flat fee to ghost a book for a Certain Middling Celebrity. After the book became a New York Times bestseller, the ghostwriter filed suit claiming that he'd had a "gentleman's agreement" with the Certain Middling Celebrity that there'd be more money coming—a whole lot more—if the book took off.
Folks, I am as down on James Ray as anyone. As I recently told a Member of Major Media, Ray and his travails epitomize all that's wrong with latter-day self-help. Little or no credentials to be selling what he's selling...the promise of near-instant transformation...a distinct proclivity for "churning" his disciples...scandalous prices for a slapdash program consisting of unproven, potentially (now manifestly) dangerous material. All that said...I'm getting a wee bit uneasy about the ardor of our collective assault on Ray. I think there is danger in piling on, as some of us have —including your host . I think that we run the risk of unwittingly marginalizing ourselves : that in our zeal to find and trumpet every last incriminating detail, background circumstance or untoward facial expression —while at the same time ignoring or rationalizing aw ay any possible mitigating circumstances — we make ourselves look like, say, the liberals who once were accused of "