Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Journal piece on James Ray and such.

Click here to read. Feedback obviously welcome, all the more so from those whose research tips helped make the piece possible.

(It's in hard copy in Friday's edition.)

NEW VISITORS: Please scroll down for more on Ray, etc. And who knows, you may even find that you like some of the other stuff....


Your host is quoted here today. Actually, our blog is quoted
and much as it pains me to say so, I believe that's only the second or third time that has happened, at least in the kinds of major publications tracked by Google Alerts.

Incidentally, I'm fielding lots of requests for "media" today. Still don't know which ones (if any) I'm going to participate in, but I'd have to say this sweat-lodge debacle has made SHAM as hot* as it's been since the original marketing push petered out in late 2005.

Like I said last time around: Death is sexy.

* dreadful pun, and not consciously intended.


Soylent said...

"Apologists argue that there are bad outcomes in any endeavor, that it's unfair to single out self-help when, say, conventional medicine kills thousands each year. The difference is that in medicine, practitioners share demonstrated expertise in methods that evolved over time and have been tested and retested for efficacy. A bad outcome in a field with proven benefits is unfortunate. A bad outcome in a field with little basis for existing in the first place is unforgivable."

Can you email this par to Bill Maher while you're at it?

Chad Hogg said...

Your second-to-last paragraph has some issues, if it still possible to fix them before printing (unlikely). The words "in" and "a" ran together, and while it is possible the error is in the original quote, I am assuming Ray claims to have "studied" rather than "studies".

Breatharianism is one of the stranger things I have ever read about.

RevRon's Rants said...

Great article, Steve. I'm sure that after being made aware of it, the hustledorks will loudly advise their sycophants & followers to "ignore the mainstream media." Yet I seem to recall these snake-oil salesmen just as loudly announcing those occasions when that same evil media offered them a forum in which to promote their scams. I wonder: are they really that blind to the irony, or are they just integrity-deficient? Well, I don't really wonder... just enjoying the chance to watch the cockroaches scramble as the lights come on! :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Thanks Ron et al. Now we just need to sit back and wait for the very nasty registered letter that everyone who writes even a single skeptical syllable about Landmark Forum gets from the company's barristers. At least we didn't use the word cult. Landmark has a history of suing every time they appear in a piece that uses that word, even if the word isn't applied to them specifically.

Anonymous said...

Please keep talking about the James Ray incident. The media that helped him acheive success now needs to help expose what he has done.

Cal said...

I don't know if this has already been said before but: What is the difference between this guy and Jim Jones?

The only one I can think is of that Jones preyed on poor inner city people while this guy preys on middle and upper middle class people who can afford to pay $9,000 for a retreat.

It sounds like to me if Ray told his followers to drink cyanide to "cleanse" themselves of demons, may of them would at least consider it.

Anonymous said...

I have a family member who has been involved with J. Z. Knight's group in Yelm, Washington. She is very secretive about what takes place during the required paid "seminars" at the School. I wonder if they fall within the parameters of the methods used by Mr. Ray.

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve, let me add my voice to the accolades for your WSJ piece. I've already linked to your article on my own (ever-growing) blog post about James Ray.

I hope you frame that registered letter when you get it from the Landmark Forum barristers. :-) What the heck are they so scared of? Negative press is really NBD. For example, bloggers and other writers are lambasting James Ray left, right and sideways now -- and devastating eyewitness interviews are emerging -- and he's still getting standing ovations at his public events, especially when he does his public-grief performance. Consider what happened in Denver this past Tuesday night:

Oh, and regarding Ron's remark about "ignoring the mainstream media," one of our favorite snark targets has once again advised his followers to do that.

This same "guru" is now in Warsaw, Poland, and can't seem to understand why the presence of a US politician there would be causing traffic jams and filling up all the hotels.

Sheesh, I hope this doesn't mean he'll have to sleep in his rent car.

But anyway. The cockroaches, to continue The Rev's metaphor, may be scurrying, but some of them really don't seem to fear the light all that much after all.

[verification word: dinge] :-)

RevRon's Rants said...

Connie - It's been my experience that cockroaches don't fear shoes, either. Perhaps they have a sudden flash of enlightenment, right before the shoe falls on them. :-)

Cosmic Connie said...

Steve, I'm glad SHAM is getting more attention now. BTW, I sent a guy from CBS News your way. He originally contacted me because was actually looking for employees or ex-employees of James Ray International. In a subsequent email he was seeking out other participants in the sweat-lodge incident; apparently the media have pretty much exhausted poor Beverley Bunn. I replied to him that I couldn't help him there but that you had been writing about the matter and have pertinent insights about the deleterious effects of self-help on our culture. I figured that might be grist for a few more stories to help fill CBS' air time.

Richard said...

ok piece. Thanks.
Have a neighbor currently being scammed in Fiji, as she centers herself through the help of a guy who so far has had three names and paid at least $800,000 to settle suits of the scammed or plagiarized. An ugly corner of the world of thieves and the fools who feed them. Meantime, the semi-delinquent son tortures the neighbors with parties till 4am.

Elizabeth said...

Nice job, Steve. Yeah, likely there will be letters, but what else is new?

Connie, I bet JV wishes traffic stopped for him in Warsaw (and elsewhere). (BTW, I hope he never makes it there. Poland has enough troubles as it is.)

WV: congs (as in, congrats? :)

Anonymous said...

If Landmark tries to bully anyone, contact the EFF.
Landmark always backs down when a person has strong support.

Did James Ray particpate in the Landmark Forum at any point?

Landmark and the Internet Archive | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Anonymous said...

if you want to read some ridiculous grandiousity, like the kind that will get you locked up for the weekend for observation by psychiatrists, read James Ray's letter to Obama.
Open letter to President Obama

James Arthur Ray
President/CEO, James Ray International
Founder, World Wealth® Society
New York Times bestselling author of Harmonic Wealth®

Elizabeth said...

Oh my, Anon, Ray's letter to Obama is priceless. LMAO!

I like (among so many other things) how he signed it:

Your friend and partner in world transformation

That exemplary humility of gurus always impresses me.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is fair to say that there is a continuum from orthodox psychology and therapy into the new age because it seems to me that many psychologists with academic credentials have cult like status, and their half baked therapist/counsillor followers are as much to blame for muddying the waters of the human mind as any new age guru, but with the added danger of being state approved and protected. I've known credentialed counsillors and therapists that are as flaky and neurotic as anyone. I don't thnk an official certificate on a wall is any better than one from a degree mill, in a lot of cases. I think the difficulty with human growth and development goes much deeper than the extremes like Ray and it may be that these extreme cases are enabled to some extent by the wolliness and lack of scientific rigour of officially sanctioned psychiatrsts and psychologists many of whom feel themselves to be above reproach in a similar way, and much better protected by law and social acceptance.