Friday, November 16, 2007

A good casual-Friday post?

An outtake from Braveheart, which is on in the background as I work:

Two Scottish rebels, smeared with blood, are sitting at the base of a large tree.
First Scot: "I feel like we should be plundering or something."
Second Scot: "We just plundered yesterday. Get with the program."
First Scot: "That was yesterday? Christ, time flies when you're dismembering people."
Second Scot: "Tell me about it."
First Scot: "Well then...maybe we could pillage?"
Second Scot: "See, to me, that's an awful lot like plundering."
First Scot [considering that]: "I suppose you're right.... Well then, we could always indiscriminately rape and torture..."
Second Scot [visibly perking]: "Now you're talking!"
Or the same scene, maybe as David Mamet would write it:
First Scot: "I'm thinkin' we should pillage."
Second Scot: "You wanna [expletive] pillage?"
First Scot [sarcastically]: "Wait, where'd I hear that? Oh I know: I think I just [expletive] said it!"
Second Scot: "You [expletive] said pillage, yeah. I heard you [expletive] say it."
First Scot [sarcastically]: "So wait a [expletive] second, what are you sayin'?"
Second Scot: "I'm [expletive] sayin' I [expletive] heard you say pillage. What else is there to [expletive] say...?"
First Scot: "See, 'cause if you're sayin' what I think you're sayin', maybe you shouldn't-a [expletive] said it..."
Second Scot [after a long pause]: "[Expletive] you and the high [expletive] horse you rode in on..."
Ah well. It was funny to me. Have a good weekend, folks.


Cosmic Connie said...

Very inspiring, Steve. Makes me want to paint my face blue and yell, "FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!"

Oh, wait, I just looked at my pic. I'm already blue.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of cries for glory ... congratulations, Steve, on passing the 100k mark in blog hits. I just noticed your page visit counter!

The Winner said...

Steve Said: "My problem with the SHAMscape isn't that I 'hate optimism and good feelings.' It's that--by and large--the self-help movement is not well-intentioned, in my view. It looks at ... mass of endemic depression and says, 'Hmmm, I can make a buck off that by peddling snake oil. I can put a fancy car in my driveway."

Ever heard the expression find a thirsty crowd, sell them a drink, and then sell them another.

It's not evil, Steve, it's capatilism. Give the poeple what they want.

If desperate people are thirsty, why not be the guy selling the drinks. If they don’t get it from me, they’ll just get it from someone else ... making them rich instead of me. It's not illegal. If it was, it would not be on Oprah. What you don't like is that other people don't have the same hangups that You do. And your bitter about it even as you pretend not be a bitter old man, flaunting your optimism and you spew negative questioning piece after negative questioning piece. Yes, it's somewhat entertaining watching you try to Vice Cop the industry that is growing by leaps and bounds as the critical movement languishing and continues to lose ground.

I've read your arguments about Self-Hlep doing more harm than good and I just don't buy it for most cases. The "entertainment" provided is often the very things that enables desperate people to get through the hard times ... or at least distracts them enough from their pain that they end up finding their own solutions.

At least that's the hope that keeps the sales churning. It is called "self-help" for a reason. People love to believe they can fix things themselves.

One thing I am sick of is people trying to convince me I need a better life. I find it insulting as I like my life just fine thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out why you thought my post yesterday was so "Sad". The entire world judges you on how good you are, on what you can do for them, what you can achieve. Is it a surprise that eventually it sinks in and you start to measure your own worth this way. Their rating does have an impact on very personal things.

RevRon's Rants said...

"If desperate people are thirsty, why not be the guy selling the drinks. If they don’t get it from me, they’ll just get it from someone else ... making them rich instead of me. It's not illegal."

Not any more - nor any different - than selling those desperately thirsty people a glass of salt water, which might feel good going down, but only serves to deepen their thirst. I, for one, choose not to engage in such practices, and have no problem challenging those that do.

RevRon's Rants said...

"One thing I am sick of is people trying to convince me I need a better life."

Which is exactly what so many of the hustledorks try to do with their marks.

"If you were only to follow my new/ancient, secret program, you may one day be as evolved as I..."

Now THAT's insulting... not to mention laughable. :-)

Cosmic Connie said...

Hey, this blog has been hijacked! I thought this was supposed to be "Casual Friday!" Now I'm really feeling blue...

But I had to comment on "the winner's" closing statement:
"One thing I am sick of is people trying to convince me I need a better life. I find it insulting as I like my life just fine thank you."

Matter of fact, the snake-oil selling hustledorks of the SHAM/selfish-help/New-Wage movements -- those movements that Steve criticizes -- are very much engaged in the quest to convince ALL people that their lives suck and they need better ones. The hustledorks' very livelihood depends upon convincing as many people as possible that those "better lives" are just a book or a DVD series or a thousand-dollar weekend workshop away.

I realize how moralistic Steve's comments must sound to some, particularly people of the "millennial" generation and GenX. But I don't see Steve as a Vice Cop, though I might have when I was sixteen or so. What I see now is a man who has witnessed firsthand the hurt and pain that are all too often the byproduct of an overly self-indulgent lifestyle. And since I've seen a bit of that stuff firsthand myself, I think I understand why Steve feels the way he does about these things.

Steve Salerno said...

Yes, Connie. Like I said the other day, it isn't really about ethics (though I'm as entitled as the next person to have my private, perfectly hypocritical feelings about the misdeeds of others). It's about pragmatics. A reckless, overly hedonistic lifestyle, when you're young, can create havoc that follows you for the rest of your life, especially when one is also crossing legal boundaries. That's all I'm saying. And most of us don't have the resources of a Paris Hilton to pull ourselves out of the tailspin and create an instant Life, Version B (or C, or D, or....)

The Winner said...

“It's about pragmatics.”

Dear wise boomers on this blog.

I'm sure you can imagine how difficult it is for us in the younger generations to listen to you warn us about the dangers of an overly hedonistic lifestyle and speak about role models. You can thank your peers for that. Even Slick Willy was a great role model during my formative years. He taught me all about what you can get away with and people will still respect you.

I’ll tell you why this blog is entertaining. It’s like watching an apple dunking contest. Most people get soaked in the process and win something very little, all the while entertaining the rest of us. So, in an attempt to nail down the evil in the self-help world, which the market doesn’t really care about (and I realize the market is not the only measuring stick), we SHAMBlog readers get to watch this comedy that ends with the eventual slippery getaways and big paydays. I find this very entertaining.

You see, there I go again, pointing out things that depress others.

I didn't realize my writing was so "blue". Sorry Connie, you are correct in that you look blue enough already. I'll have to correct my style in the future because like Steve I'm an "optimist". And like Steve, when I write I will try to jam too many thoughts, “quotes”, and qualifications into one sentence*. Watch me dance now**.

I would like to formally introduce myself. I am “The Winner”. If Steve would do me the honor of an approval, I will from time to time post comments. My comments are biting and will often turn your stomach. That’s why you don’t venture into these areas of thinking, but I do. My take on the self-help world is that it is a placebo. Sometimes it does great good and sometimes it does great damage. In the end, it’s a sugar pill that people believe is real medicine. It’s that belief that drives the economic engine. The only way to stop it is to kill hope. Now, why would you want to do that. It doesn’t sell well and nobody wants you to kill their hope. People want to hear about how something could work. The harsh reality is never something people want to hear, especially on a casual Friday, and especially by people with wet heads. I’m sorry, but after so many years of reading this blog I have yet to enough real hard evidence of the broken lives. And the one time we got close, Steve had to back off because his –ss was getting sued or something like that. So the rewards are very little for this crusade and the risks are very high. In fact, people will actively seek you out to shut you up. So, until you get insiders to risk for nothing and speak out about their gurus, or you get real people to stand up and speak about their horror stories without getting sued, you have nothing but a group of people here with a chip on their shoulder. Someone has to take the risk, like some reader of the Secret or some industry insider that can speak to intentional eval and tell you that seminars are not about helping you, they’re about making money. That self-help is not about getting you on your feet, but about developing an addicted user to keep buying new product.

To repead, it takes real people with real stories, and real whistle blowers. And it will take a never ending stream of them to get the majority to wake up and listen to a message they don’t want to hear. And even then, they may not listen.

* Hi Steve, I am no master of letters, but maybe you can teach me something about grammar.
** But keep in mind, The Winner is about hard cutting statements that drive results, not grammar

Steve Salerno said...

Well, I'm always vaguely tickled by people who give themselves self-congratulatory names (and then go on to post material that makes it sound as if they, among all mankind, "know the score"). Unless you're being ironic. But hell, it's a good comment, and The Winner has a nicer ring than The Loser--especially on a casual Friday--so you're welcome to comment at will.

Btw, I'm thinking that my post next week at this time will be devoted to fate and determinism. Would that make it a Causal Friday?

RevRon's Rants said...

"My take on the self-help world is that it is a placebo. ... The only way to stop it is to kill hope."

On the contrary, the most logical replacement for a placebo is a real "cure."In short, a hope based upon something besides fantasy. In the self-help world, there's as much emphasis on discovering new "pathologies" - or, more accurately, concocting pseudopathologies - as there is on the "treatments." After all, if you run out of fairy-tale diseases, the demand for "cures - and the cash cow - dries up.

Frankly, anyone who prescribes a placebo when they haven't the foggiest notion what is wrong (if anything) is the polar opposite of a healer. They are but another form of disease. Capitalists? Sure. As are crack dealers.

"I’m sorry, but after so many years of reading this blog I have yet to enough real hard evidence of the broken lives."

And thus, said broken lives must be a product of whimsy? I have seen lives broken - one in particular who, as it turns out, was once married to a well-known "teacher." And too many that weren't completely broken, but certainly on the right road.

The Whiner said...

"[Expletive] you and the high [expletive] horse you rode in on..."

Who me?

I was being like totally Ironic, and I figured any name would be better than "Crack MC".

Actually, my name should be the Whiner.

I did get on my high horse ... something had to relate to the post. It seems we get on tangents here in the comments.

Like how does Steve's picture mysteriously keep changing now. Strange.

And if you ever wanted to know where Smurfet went to live after being famous, I think we now know.

Anonymous said...

It's time to reach out to the blogosphere and build a community, grass roots effort.

I see connie blogs. Isn't it time we launch an effort to get other people to blog their stories. I think that sufficiently avoid Steve posting things himself and doing the reporting.

He would just be linking to or quoting to a real person writing about their lives.

Cosmic Connie said...

Hey, I have no argument with "Winner's" contention that the baby boomers wrote the book on self-absorption, indulgence, etc. I don't think Steve would argue with that either. That doesn't make baby boomers' critiques of pop culture invalid.

My own view of New-Wage/selfish-help stuff is that it is, for the most part, ludicrous entertainment, and for the most part I treat it as such on my blog.
But there is a "dark side" to self-help, as there was (and is) a dark side to the legacy of the Flower-Power peace-and-love culture of the hippies. And I have seen at least one life that seems to have been badly damaged by a selfish-help "guru."

I don't have any argument with Winner's view that SHAM is market-driven, but it's not as if the SHAMsters are just selling widgets or a better mousetrap. Many claim to be selling "truth" or the key to happiness or whatever, and in many cases they're messing with people's psyches. In some cases they're committing actionable fraud (a la Aussie Secret star David Schirmer).

But hey, I agree with Steve that Winner's comment was worth reading, and obviously Steve's blog has some entertainment value for Winner. So it is, if you'll pardon me, a win-win situation.

Love and hugs,

PS ~ Steve, I like the idea of "Causal Friday." Count me in.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Steve, I like the idea of "Causal Friday." Count me in."

*** Sarcasm alert ***

Me too! It's keyboards at dawn, you determineest peeg! :-)

*** Sarcasm alert over ***

Anonymous said...

"Many claim to be selling "truth" or the key to happiness or whatever, and in many cases they're messing with people's psyches. "

How is that any different that the latest beer commercial selling suds as the key male success with the ladies ... something many young men equivocate with ultimate success.

- Winner

RevRon's Rants said...

Hmmm... unable to differentiate between the objective of beer commercials and pseudo-spiritual guidance. Probably a lot of fun in church! Schirmer would love this guy. :-)