Friday, February 19, 2010

A Landmark moment.

If you read the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal today, you will find a partial/qualified correction pertaining to my October 23, 2009 piece, "Self-Help Doesn't Help...and Often Hurts." You'll also find a letter from a higher-up at Landmark Forum, whose company is the subject of the correction. Both are the result of a negotiating process that has been active and ongoing since shortly after the publication of the piece, when both the Journal and I received the sorts of letters for which the notoriously litigious Landmark is famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view). Although I'm not altogether happy about thisthe correction could be read by some to mean that I got the Singer quote all wrong, and that she never said what she did, in fact, say*the editor of the page, Paul Gigot, was kind enough to call me personally and give me a heads-up here, and I basically agree that his course of action was a wise one, given the larger circumstances and his desire to clear this sticky and time-consuming imbroglio off his desk.

I'll have more to say when the time is right. S

* though she later admitted, as part of a settlement in a suit filed by Landmark, that she'd never actually attended a version of the Forum course after Landmark assimilated est.


Chad Hogg said...

Reading Singer's deposition about The Forum, it reminds me very much of Scientology. Based on those similarities, I was surprised that a search of your blog turned up no mention of it. Do you have anything to say about L. Ron Hubbard and followers?

Steve Salerno said...

Chadd, you know, I've had this come up before, and I guess I always felt that if I crossed over into that realm, I'd be tackling religion and cults and that whole end of the spectrum, and that's a bright shining line that I've tried to uphold. Don't misunderstand: I'm not saying that your question is without merit (of course it has merit), and I'm not sure that my "bright shining line" holds up to logical scrutiny, either. But it was a practical and, I think, "politically expedient" distinction, if you will. It's just not a can of worms that I wanted to open, for I guess I thought that it would muddy the message and further segment my audience. Maybe somewhere down the road?

Yekaterina said...

Didn't you write something at one time about Jehovah's Witnesses?

Do you know where I can find that?

Steve Salerno said...

Ykat: The only thing I recall writing about J-Witnesses was some bit of psychopathic snark in a comment somewhere about how it should be legal to stab at least one or two of them per year when they come to the door; kind of like a "bag limit" in hunting. I don't know that I've done anything more meaningful than that.

Yekaterina said...

Thanks. I don't know why I was under the impression there was an article out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work! Free press is a wonderful thing. --A Landmark grad

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on Landmark.

I have a love/hate relationship with them -I went through their programs years ago (almost 20 now)and frankly, I got a lot out of it. But then, I'm by nature simply not someone that lets others think for me, so I focused on what I wanted out of it and set aside the rest. I've noticed that it can be highly transformative, or make you into an even bigger Jerk than you were before.

I don't like how defensive they seem to inquiry of their practices - it just brings up red flags.

The final straw for me was their hard sale approach - I felt it greatly undermined their work because it was CONSTANT at higher levels, and I just couldn't take it anymore.


Pareidolius said...

I had a similar reaction to the Forum as Kimberly. I liked my Forum experience for the most part (except for the part where they try to turn you into a used car salesman for them), but trying to get Landmark off your back after you do the Forum is like trying to get dog doo of the bottom of a vibram-soled hiking boot. You need a power washer. I reached my breaking point when I went into their office in SF to tell them to stop calling and sending me stuff. It was there that one of their earnest Stepfordy drones got that disappointed, hurt look and asked me "why are you making Landmark wrong". That kind of sums up how I feel about that.