Friday, August 08, 2008

When this guy starts talkin', I wanna start walkin'.

A visitor tipped me to some new content our friend Mark Victor Hansen has put up on his site, and it was just too good, or maybe too bad, to ignore. Hansen, founding impresario behind the Chicken Soup series and currently "America's ambassador of possibility" (as he is known to himself), is hawking his "Mega Youngevity"* seminars. He poses that there are three ages: your chronological age (which he deems "totally irrelevant"), your biological age, andmost important"When you close your eyes, how old do you feel?" Though chronologically he is 60, the answer Hansen gets when he closes his ambassadorial eyes is 28. And the great thing about being Mark Victor Hansen nowadays, he continues, is that his 28-year-old inner self possesses all the "wisdom and maturity" he's accumulated during his six chronological decades...which is why he likes to say, "You shouldn't be aging, you should be sage-ing." (Let us all pause a moment to allow that to sink in.) That's also why he wants you to come to one of his seminars and see all the celebrities who have "youthified" themselves.

Yes, MVH really says such things. Listen for yourself. Depending on your connection speed it may take a few moments, but eventually ol' Mark
wait, make that young Markwill appear at the bottom right of your screen and talk to you.

Have a great weekend, folks. On Monday I'll belatedly return to the second half of those thoughts on journalism I first broached when Tim Russert died.

* pronounced young-jevity. Get it? I mean, is there no end to this man's cleverness!?


Steven Sashen said...

There is no end to MVH's willingness to capitalize on other people's work. "Youngevity" is the name of an MLM that's been around for quite a while, and I'd be shocked if MVH didn't know about it.

BTW, when I close my eyes, I feel like I'm in my 20's, too... but when I go to the track to sprint or long jump, it's pretty clear that what I feel has no relationship to reality.

Steve Salerno said...

Yanno, I was tempted to really riff on this, saying things like, oh, I don't know--well, for one, I was going to say, I'm betting that when the woman he's with closes her eyes, she doesn't think he's 28. (Or maybe it's when she opens her eyes that she recoils in horror. Or some such.) But I decided to play it (mostly) straight.

Elizabeth said...

OK, Steve, I'll help you out here.

Let's face it (no pun): Any woman he is with would have to keep her eyes closed all the time. And not think. Either that, or think intensely about things unrelated.

Elizabeth said...

P.S. And, btw, this has nothing to do with his age and everything with his persona. I don't care how old Hansen is or feels he is, the eyes wide shut rule is mandatory for any female in his close proximity.

IMO, of course. Individual tastes may vary.

P.S.2. How does mega youngethingy differ from the regular thingy -- does anyone have a clue? I notice that everything on his site is mega. (Ugh. Another reason to keep eyes closed at all times.) Sage-ing, my, er... knickers.

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz, I'm sorry to hear that you're sage-ing your knickers. I believe they have a pill for that now?


Cosmic Connie said...

And people actually still buy crap from this joker... unbelievable.

I can't forget the story of how rude he was to you on Anderson Cooper's CNN show back in November 2005:

"In marked contrast to the syrupy-sweet tone of his trademark product line, he was obnoxious and condescending throughout; at one point, when I said I could never write a self-help book because I’m 'too realistic,' he barked, 'You’re incompetent.'"

But hey, maybe there's something to that "You shouldn't be aging; you should be sage-ing" stuff. I'm thinking maybe Tony Robbins (your would-be opponent on the Cooper show) may have been guided by this wisdom when trading his first wife in for the present one...

(Sorry, I just thought it was thyme for another joke about that...)

Steve Salerno said...

Thanks, Connie. It's nice to be remembered for something besides being out-debated by a grumpy guru.

Mike Cane said...

>>>"In marked contrast to the syrupy-sweet tone of his trademark product line, he was obnoxious and condescending throughout; at one point, when I said I could never write a self-help book because I’m 'too realistic,' he barked, 'You’re incompetent.'"

OMG!! Does anyone know if this vid exists on the Net somewhere? I want to see that!

Elizabeth said...

Out-debated?? Are you serious? I read the transcript of that "debate" with my mouth half-open, Steve, not believing what I was seeing.

H came across there as a troglodyte with an IQ in double digits (if that). Obnoxious, disdainful, rude, and without an ounce of reasonable argumentation. And I was appalled by Cooper's meek and passive behavior as a "moderator."

No, you were not "out-debated." This was no debate; just another shameful episode in the history of American TV.

Steve Salerno said...

It pains me to say that I know it's out there. However, I don't think I'm going to spend time I don't have, today, assisting in my own humiliation. ;)

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz, thanks for the vote of confidence; I received a good deal of supportive feedback in the immediate aftermath of the "debate," as well. And I agree that in transcript, I don't come off so badly. But there's something to be said for media imagery, and if you watch the debate on TV--as I did, many times, later--it's hard to shake the sense that he's this old, well-to-do--and, yes, sage--benefactor, while I'm some scruffy, untutored rube who's just out to make him look bad in the way that journalists often will...

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve - Since when does being the target of a "neener-neener, pants on fire" diatribe qualify one as having been defeated in debate?

I know that whenever I've been the recipient of such insipid, desperate verbiage, I just felt sorry for the individual delivering what was probably considered to be a proper dressing down.

As to the difference between a mega youngthingy and a regular youngthingy, it can probably be attributed to wishful thinking (and a couple of those blue pills they're always hawking in spam e-mails). Living large, indeed! :-)

Cosmic Connie said...

Sorry, Steve, my comment was intended to be supportive of you, not to remind you of any humiliation. I'm with Elizabeth; if someone has to resort to rudeness, condescension and name-calling, as Mock Victor Hamstrung clearly did, I don't see how that could possibly qualify as "out-debating."

Steve Salerno said...

Connie, not to get downright silly about this, but I'm sorry if I made you feel that my offhand comment was a swipe at you in any way. I was being sincere: I'm glad that you remember the "good stuff" about that time period--just as I'm glad that the Rev (and others) recognize that you don't win a debate simply by, well, being a dickhead. In retrospect, I don't really think I did as poorly that night as I'd initially thought. As you know, I'd been knocked off my game right from the get-go when they told me I'd be up against Mr. Chicken Soup (for whom I'd done zero preparation) instead of Tony-the-Bigfoot (for whom I'd prepped for days).

When I talk about how I came across on CNN that night, I'm talking quite specifically about "the TV effect"--the way things might have looked to Mr. or Ms. Average Viewer. When you consider that most people in the mainstream TV audience--apparently--are far more predisposed to side with the lords of PMA than with skeptics like us, and then you add the way we respectively looked (with him being all dapper and polished and such, and me looking like some snarky open-collared wise-ass), PLUS the fact that he's sitting right there with Cooper and they're smiling at each other, while I'm off on some remote hook-up, barging in to intrude on their chummy chemistry every now and then... I dunno. I just think the deck was stacked against me that night. (sniffle, whine...)

Elizabeth said...

with him being all dapper and polished

You gotta stop it now, Steve, or I'll hurl in your direction the most severe accusation in the history of SHAMblog -- that of false humility (gasp).

(Pause to fully absorb the seriousness of the moment.)

Hansen dapper and polished?! Are we again in parallel universes here? He is as dapper and polished as Shrek (minus the latter's intelligence and good heart). OK, that was not good -- Shrek is a decent fella.

Hansen is as dapper and polished as a typical used car salesman (and again I feel that I'm needlessly offending used car salesmen).

So one more time -- the last, and with no offending comparisons: That Hansen dude ain't no dapper or polished. And Cooper came across as clueless and ineffective. And you as someone who was not given enough time or an opportunity to talk (on purpose, I should add -- such was the perception of this Mrs. Average viewer -- or transcript reader, rather.)

Steven Sashen said...

I know the following is tangential to this conversation, but my wife just pointed me to a website that I HAD to share with you all... so we could begin the collective projectile vomiting:

Steve Salerno said...

Yes, I've gotten a flurry of tips to this site, from regulars as well as people out of the blue.

I'm somewhat reminded of how innocently this all started, at least for me and SHAMblog. In late 2005/early 2006 I got a couple of emails off-blog from two of our Aussie readers, wondering if I'd heard anything about this "upcoming TV special called The Secret." (They said they'd seen some very mysterious-sounding promos for it in their markets.) I said I didn't think it had reached these shores yet, but, to my credit, I also said it sounded like something that might catch fire and make its creators a pile of money.

But who knew??

Mike Cane said...

Ooh. Look what I found!

This MORON says Personal Development is a Scam!

Well, Steve, that was just a slaughter. He pWned you.

But guess what else? I think that guy is evil. I'd never seen him before this. He is oily and nasty and slick. I wouldn't let that guy pet my cat!

There's no humility in the guy. I'd like to see him fall. And to be there when none of his medicine works for him!

Oh -- and that analogy to taking a shower. Hello, brainwashing!

Steve Salerno said...

I figured somebody would trace that down.

Look, if I wanted to, I could go through our respective comments that night in annotation mode, and I'd have very little trouble refuting everything he said, probably including his name. For one thing, he flat-out lied. If you flat-out lie in a bang-bang format like that--especially if you're lying about things where your opponent has no direct personal knowledge (like his supposed conversation with Dr. Laura)--then it's relatively easy to make your nemesis look bad. (I mean, I could've started right off by saying, "Hey, Mark, I'm surprised to see you out so soon after your rape arrest...")*

The only thing I STILL kick myself over was that I didn't have sufficiently quick wits to say this: "Well, Mark, if Dr. Laura did, in fact, know that her mother died when it first happened...then why did she leave the body there to decompose for six or eight weeks before she told anyone else?" Because the irrefutable fact is, the body of Yolanda Schlessinger was not retrieved from her Beverly Hills home until many weeks, if not months, post-mortem. She was so badly decomposed when police found her that the identification had to be made by "body x-ray comparisons."

* NOTE: That is a joke. To my knowledge, no such arrest has ever occurred, and I am casting no aspersions on MVH's sexual propriety. I'm just making a point about debating tactics.

Elizabeth said...

I think that guy is evil. I'd never seen him before this. He is oily and nasty and slick. I wouldn't let that guy pet my cat!

I'm with you, Mike. A total sleaze-ball that should be kept away from children, small animals and other easily frightened creatures (myself included). My instinctive response to his image is recoiling in disgust -- and that's before he opens his mouth (then it just gets from bad to worse).

A repulsive con-man. That's why he fits so darn well in the self-help industry.

Cosmic Connie said...

First off, Steve, I didn't think your response to my first comment was a swipe at me. I just thought you were implying that I was bringing up something you'd rather forget. I felt kind of bad about that. I guess I misinterpreted your remark. NBD.

The thing is, though, I don't think this incident *should* be forgotten, and I don't think you have to spend any (more) time defending yourself. I watched that YouTube video, and it speaks for itself. Mock Victor really does come across as slick to the point of slimy, not to mention arrogant beyond belief.

And the fact that his cheerleaders in the "comments" section couldn't really find anything to say about you except that they thought you looked unhappy and sleep-deprived (surely as a result of your hatred of self-help)...well, that's pretty typical too of SHAM defenders. They have no real response to the criticisms leveled against their leaders, so they resort to slamming the critics for being angry, negative, ignorant, fearful, etc.

Actually, I thought you came across as a good sport who, at the end, realized you were engaged in an argument that you couldn't win, because the other guys really weren't playing fair. I thought you kept your cool pretty well. And I was somewhat surprised that Anderson and Mock Victor didn't fall into each others' arms and embrace passionately at the end, or at least exchange high-fives.

I know you were being facetious in your comment here about Mock Victor and the rape arrest, but there *are* a lot of sleazy little secrets in the selfish-help industry. In fact, one of the principal hustledorks in the newest "Beyond The Secret" scam has some dirty little secrets that may or may not come to light any time soon. I can't say more right now because I'm sworn to secrecy (so to speak). But still...the damage has been done to the victim and family, and the hustler in question just keeps on raking the bucks in.

And as for Dr. Laura... Well, I know you've written extensively about her, and it's too bad you didn't have the presence of mind to call Mock Victor on that lie. Here's yet another commentary on Dr. Laura's family values... this one from the delightful satirist "Betty Bowers":

Now if y'all will excuse me, I have to go wash some of the slime off my hands and then get back to my own blog. And then I'll probably have to wash my hands again! :-)

Mike Cane said...

WTF?! Les Brown is involved in BTS? The guy who dumped his wife for a a star singer, them had her dump him?!

Mike Cane said...

The last line in the Beyond The Secret trailer: "Do you know how deep this goes?"

Um... not the most unambiguous single-meaning sentence to end a trailer with. Unless, you know, it was a porn movie!

So this is to "accelerate" The Secret?

Steve Salerno said...

Folks, one of the worries I have in administering this blog is that, in our state of utter absorption in this subject matter, we sometimes fall back on nomenclature/shorthand that's just a bit too esoteric or "inside." Though we're way past the point where we have to explain everything to everyone, some folks may not know who Les Brown is (or what his relevance could possibly be here) or who the singer is (and why she's relevant); and then it even took me a couple of seconds to get that "BTS" = Beyond the Secret. Of course, that could be b/c I'm the same guy who got whipped by the Chicken Soup-meister on national TV....

Mike Cane said...

Steve, you really are too full of disclaimers and asterisks for your own damned good!

If people came across my reference to BTS and Les Brown, they should read the *rest* of the Comments for clarification. And there is also wikipedia.

You do too much hand-holiding, dammit! Really, I think if you were doing a tech blog, you do RAM*

*Random Access Memory

Steve Salerno said...

Geez, Mike. At least give me credit for not translating "WTF!"

Elizabeth said...

And I was somewhat surprised that Anderson and Mock Victor didn't fall into each others' arms and embrace passionately at the end, or at least exchange high-fives.

Indeed, Connie. It was pathetic.

As to various untold secrets of the self-help gurus, this should be no surprise. That sleaze permeates everything they do (I'm dead serious). It's not something they can switch on and off at will, even though they can fool people into believing their "honesty", "integrity" and what have you. They are who they are -- and it shows in what they do and how they do it.

P.S. I *love* Betty Bowers. She is my kinda gal. :)

Steve Salerno said...

You know, I gotta say--I didn't see the "mutual-admiration society" between Cooper and Hansen that others have alluded to (both here and when it first happened). The chemistry to which I referred was simply, in my view, a natural outgrowth of the interview environment, with Hansen sitting right there opposite the host, vs. me on a remote. I don't know how much interviewing any of you have done, but no matter how hard-boiled you consider yourself, there's almost always more of a human bond--a certain empathy or at least a politesse--that arises when you're doing the interview face-to-face. (This is for the same reason that so many of us--if we're going to tell somebody off--prefer to do it through cyberspace, or in a phone call...and ideally when we know the other party isn't going to pick up and we can berate his or her voicemail.) And let's face it, Cooper isn't exactly a combative interviewer on the order of, say, Chris Matthews. So all in all, I don't really begrudge him, per se, for the "climate" that developed.

But maybe as Mike says I spend too much time bending over backwards and giving people the benefit of the doubt, huh...?

OneMadClown said...

Hansen dapper and polished?!

To be fair -- in that photo he does look like he's been buffed, waxed, and polished with a fine shammy.