Friday, June 04, 2010

Actually, 42 minutes, allowing for commercials.

I quote from media reports about Tony Robbins' forthcoming TV show, set to debut July 27:
LOS ANGELES, June 2 (UPI)NBC says its new U.S. alternative series "Breakthrough with Tony Robbins" will premiere next month.

The network described the self-help guru/motivational speaker's new show as "an inspirational, hourlong series starring Robbins and his team of experts who will help participants and their families overcome complex challenges and personal obstacles, and turn their lives around."
Read that last line again. So Tony's going to help participants and their families overcome complex challenges and turn their lives around. In an hourlong show.

Well, I bet he does at least as good a job as Dr. Phil has done, as evidenced by McGraw's sterling work here, here, and here, among other places.

Set your DVRs.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it safe to say that persons who are critical of "self help" are persons who have no $ or success (by their own terms) in their lives? It seems to me that that characterizes most critics. They are on on-line trying to help other to help others be free and happy and expose shams but with no money involved. So, it is basically persons, who have not been able to realize what they want in life, pointing at people who are making $ and preying on the folly, mistakes and weaknesses of others in the spotlight, who have clawed or worked their way into the public eye and are enjoying any glimmer of success.

Are their any critics who are fantastically successful and have some stature (in the Western world's definition of the word successful)? And not talking about people who are kinda of a big deal on facebook or myspace or YouTube or blogging?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: I would be the first to admit, there is a lot more money in fantasy and b.s. than there is in reality and the honest search for truth. It's like my agent once said to me: "Why don't you come on over to the dark side: stop writing about self-help and start writing self-help so we can all make some real money!"

Occasionally people like James Randi, Michael Shermer or Richard Dawkins do pretty well by taking a stand for truth and reason. But by and large, you're right, the money is on the side of folly and pandering to human weakness and insecurity.

RevRon's Rants said...

The typical used-car salesman also makes more money than does the typical grade-school teacher, and thus, by our favorite anon's standards, would be the greater "success."

I guess we each have to establish our own criteria for "success." For myself, the choice is obvious.

Cosmic Connie said...

In any case, Anon (and welcome back; you just can't stay away, can you? :-)), most critics of self-help aren't grousing about the mere fact that the targets of their criticism are making money. But critics of the critics either can't understand this or deliberately gloss over it. They love to use that tired old "they're just envious because they're broke and unhappy themselves" line to deflect the criticism about the real issues. (Joe Vitale and Kevin Trudeau, to name but one example (which sticks out in my mind, Anon, only b/c I blogged about it last July), beat that horse to death in a conversation on KT's radio show last summer. As I recall, they called us "losers" several times. That seems to be a common marketing ploy among the h-dorks: critics/skeptics are losers, and who wants to be like THEM?)

The truth is that critics aren't a homogeneous group, and I'm sure they have varying degrees of "success" by the Western world's definition. I often wish I had more money but I never could go the hustledork route myself, though I've had my share of opportunities to do so.

And speaking of shows and speaking of Joe V, he apparently couldn't get his proposed Expect Miracles "reality" TV show off the ground, so he is now supposedly working with some folks from CNN to create a "reality" show on Joe's plans to end homelessness. Oh, yeah, and to end foreclosures too. Stay tuned...

Jenny said...

No money, no success. How sad! I'm afraid this is my lot in life, too. Actually, I did try once to claw my way to the top but was beaten down by a ruthless pack of marmosets. Taught me a lesson, it did. My claws are now safely sheathed.

I can hardly wait to experience those life-changing 42 minutes! Thanks for the tip, Steve.

roger o'keefe said...

Anon, you should also realize this cuts both ways. Let's even assume Steve is a jealous so-and-so. He envies guys like Robbins their fame and fortune, so he tears them down on his blog. Let's just say that for the sake of argument.

The gurus, too, have a vested interest. Even if what they're saying is complete garbage, and they know it's complete garbage, they're not going to come out and admit it because that would kill the golden goose. Right? They're going to defend what they do and back each other up because that keeps the con going. They make money sucking the money out of gullible people. That's not a noble way to amass a fortune. It doesn't create anything or build anything, it just transfers wealth from other people to them. If that's the kind of success you're admiring, the problem may be in you, not Steve. Keep in mind, this comment is from someone (me) who has enjoyed a great deal of success in life. The difference is I did it by building and running companies that produced something of actual value. I created jobs, I didn't just suck the money out of people who worked long hours so they could transfer the fruits of that labor to me by writing one check for some screwball seminar.

People on this blog know I'm a staunch defender of capitalism. That's very different from being a staunch defender of money-making scams.

RevRon's Rants said...

Allow me to be the first to offer Roger a (firm) handshake and a big pat on the back! You absolutely nailed it, Roger!

As Connie said, we'd certainly love to have more affluence in our life, but know that we couldn't enjoy it if we had acquired it by taking advantage of others. Jealous? Not at all. Resentful? Sometimes, but that resentment is offset by our knowing that whatever we have, we have earned by providing real value, rather than the "caviar dreams" promised by the hustledorks.

Duff said...

Perhaps the successful are "just jealous" of the free thinking and moral courage of the critics, having long since sold out to appeasing the masses.

But back on topic, I'd love to watch Robbins new TV show--should be a hoot. Anybody know if it will be streamed online? (Don't have a TV)

Anonymous said...

I said "success (by their own terms) in their lives". I was and am saying, that most, not all, but most, critics have failed to be successful by however they themselves define "success" any not other definition of the word.

I was not talking about just $. I was talking about do and being who and what you said you would be in the world, your world, failing to realize your own goals or commitments or whatever you call them.

I was not defining "success" as being able to sell somebody concocted fantasy something's that they don't want or need e.g.. billions of diamond rings, cell phones or iPods for example.

Was that not clear?

We may not like a person but we see them going for it and being bold and "out there" and getting attention and maybe that is where some of the envy and criticism is coming from. Like why should anyone listen to or give their love and $ to that guy??

"Why are milions of people flocking to "Self-Help", what about me????"

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: Speaking personally--since we were asked to define ourselves by our own aspirations--I have achieved every goal I could have possibly achieved and then some. I am not a good fit with life: a square peg. Beset with all sorts of demons that confound interpersonal relationships. However, when I abandoned a commercially successful sales career for a career in writing, I had a few things I hoped to do. I wanted to publish in the magazines I admired and considered elite: Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, Playboy, and Esquire. I have done all of that. I have also written books (I had no such expectation when I started) and seen one of those books made into a TV movie. (Incidentally, that was my biggest windfall, and the book on which it's based is almost surely the worst piece of garbage I ever wrote. So there's a message there, too.) I was asked to be an honorary professor at one of the elite journalism schools in America, even though technically I lacked the minimum "entrance requirements" for such an exalted job. I ran two major publishing outfits. Before all of that, I had a brief career in modern jazz--my first love--and I think I can continue to hold my own in that realm today. I still play baseball at a high level, especially for a man my age with a body that is literally falling apart. I could go on and on, but the point is, I have surely made the most of my own personal abilities. Where I've fallen short is in terms of people skills and such. So if someone were to ask me, "Do you consider yourself a success?", my reply would be, "That depends on whether you're talking about me as an insular being or me as a member of a larger group." I have been stunningly successful as Me--detached from all else. I have been far less successful in the second, social sense.

That my achievement of all the foregoing has failed to lead me to financial Nirvana is not, I feel, my problem or concern. I would like to have greater stability than I do, but I will only do it on my terms. I think you'll find that that last trait--"doing it on your own terms," so you can respect yourself in the morning--is disastrous for the great bulk of people, but enormously rewarding for a handful. But there is often nothing to admire about that handful, either. Lady Gaga, for example, "does it her way," but she sucks. There is nothing to recommend her but the sheer "quality" of being outre, which in our society can (ironically) make you a mainstream star of the first order.

Steve Salerno said...

And to Anon: I'm not going to play that game with you again. If you have a point, make your point affirmatively. STATE THINGS. Tell us what YOU think. Build an argument. But I will not allow this blog to be littered with another protracted series of (pseudo-)"probing" questions. Such behavior is often the refuge of the weak mind (though some Americans find such empty word-play incredibly provocative and "enlightening," which is the very foible that allows so many of these so-called mind-expansion programs to thrive).

Anonymous said...

Steve, I decline to let you tell me how to talk and what to say and how to say it. There are countless of examples in Shamblog of contributors (including yourself) using ample questions and sophistry but that are permitted by you because they promote the party line or undermine anyone not promoting your views. And as usual you resort to personal insults. Not cool.

My questions to Roger were totally appropriate follow up to his post and would have been good for discussion. And also as usual, you get squirrelly about dissent rather then just letting it flow,and allowing contributers to choose to respond or not for themselves.

Will you reconsider and allow my post to addressed to Roger and let him choose for himself it is a road he wants to go down or not?

Steve Salerno said...

Anon. All right. Send it through again.

Anonymous said...

@ roger o'keefe

"[The gurus, too, have a vested interest. Even if what they're saying is complete garbage, and they know it's complete garbage, they're not going to come out and admit it because that would kill the golden goose. Right?"

[ This could be said to be true of almost every person on earth, we all protect our views and don't readily admit to our garbage, it is a matter of basic survival. I don't see your point. Critics/the spin gurus on the other hand proactively go after people in the spotlight and I am attempting to discuss what might underlie Critics/the spin gurus taking what are sometimes obsessive campaigns against others.]

"... that keeps the con going. They make money sucking the money out of gullible people."

[ Who gets to say who is being/getting conned and who the gullible people are Roger? You or them? Do you want the job of saying I am "gullible" and that my family and friends and neighbors and all the people I know are "gullible" and got "conned"? ]

"That's not a noble way to amass a fortune. It doesn't create anything or build anything, it just transfers wealth from other people to them."

[ What do any services that deal with education or human well being "build" or "create"? And how are all of them not just transferring wealth other people to them? Do you get to be the authority of what educations is useful and valuable and to who?]

"If that's the kind of success you're admiring, the problem may be in you, not Steve."

[ If you like, reread my comment Roger, that is 100% not what I was saying. I am going to assert you know that I was not saying that. ]

"I didn't just suck the money out of people who worked long hours so they could transfer the fruits of that labor to me by writing one check for some screwball seminar."

[ Who gets to say what is a screwball seminar or not for other people and who gets to say if they got their money sucked out from them ...which suggests against their will? You or them Roger? ]

"People on this blog know I'm a staunch defender of capitalism. That's very different from being a staunch defender of money-making scams."

You seem to want to have it both ways. You want to be in charge and accountable for what is a "money making scam" or not Roger? Like you will be THE person who makes the call and closes down and refuses licenses. Do you or the customers get to say what is a scam and whether they were scammed or not? Would you want somebodye else making that determination for you?]

RevRon's Rants said...

Duff - To put it simply, the hycksters are increasingly being seen for what they are, and are scrambling to defend their territory (and cash flow). As we've seen on numerous threads, most are unwilling to even attempt to defend their practices. They either ignore criticisms completely in the vain hope that they will die down, or they depend upon their programmed minions to attempt to distract people's attention from the issues under scrutiny.

What is happening of late is that way too much light is being shown on the scammers and their scams, ant the roaches are learning that there's no place to hide. The attempted distractions and obfuscation will only increase as prospective customers look ever more closely at what is being offered to them, and begin to pattern their own behavior more intelligently.

roger o'keefe said...

Anon:

[This could be said to be true of almost every person on earth, we all protect our views and don't readily admit to our garbage, it is a matter of basic survival. I don't see your point. Critics/the spin gurus on the other hand proactively go after people in the spotlight and I am attempting to discuss what might underlie Critics/the spin gurus taking what are sometimes obsessive campaigns against others.]

Almost everything could be true of almost everything on earth. So what is the garbage you're protecting, Anon? Or are you the one person who doesn't have any garbage? If we all have a vested interest in survival which means that everyone's view is equally tainted or suspect by self-interest, then why bother talking if there's no consensus common ground of meaning and value?

[ Who gets to say who is being/getting conned and who the gullible people are Roger? You or them? Do you want the job of saying I am "gullible" and that my family and friends and neighbors and all the people I know are "gullible" and got "conned"? ]

Who gets to say what a con is? What a job is? Who gets to define who your "family" is? Do you really think you "know" people? How can any of us truly know anyone? Do you even know what the word know means? Maybe when I think "know" I think something different than what you think.

[ What do any services that deal with education or human well being "build" or "create"? And how are all of them not just transferring wealth other people to them? Do you get to be the authority of what educations is useful and valuable and to who?]

Who's to say what's a service? What is true creation? What credentials should someone have to be an authority? Is there any such thing as true authority? Who says you have authority over me, or I have authority over you? Are we even sure the words we're using in this so called discussion have the same meaning to each of us? What is value?

[ Who gets to say what is a screwball seminar or not for other people and who gets to say if they got their money sucked out from them ...which suggests against their will? You or them Roger? ]

How do we know there's a difference between "us" and "them"? Maybe like the quantum physics people say we're all connected? What if your viewpoint right here in this discussion is "screwball"? But to be honest, you're right, we don't really know the money was "sucked". Maybe it was just "taken". Maybe it fell out of their pockets. But what's a pocket anyway? Is your definition of a pocket more valid than mine? What if you put things in your pockets that I don't put in mine? Why is the sky blue? Does it matter what color the sky was when people attended their seminar? How do we know that the clouds in the sky don't make people more easily persuaded at seminars?

Blah blah blah

Cosmic Connie said...

Brilliant responses to Anon, Roger. You have managed to turn the LGAT blathering back on the LGAT blatherer. Answer senseless questions with still more senseless questions.

Oops, I think I just participated in some "online mob mentality." I'm sure it will come back to haunt me on my blog. :-)

Steve, it looks like we're the cats and Anon is the dangling cat toy. We stretch and yawn and try to be indifferent but we always end up batting at the toy.

When WILL we learn?

Steve Salerno said...

I thought about it, and in the interest of fairness--after killing one of Anon's more recent comments--I decided to give all parties their say. But in the future, I hope that people with a point to make will err on the side of making that point, rather than just barraging everyone else with endless questions/rhetoricals. As a writer, I am well aware that there is a time and place for a judicious question; e.g., I use several of them in my just-completed article about happiness for Skeptic. But those questions are well-placed in the center of 5000 words' worth of evidence and other substantiation.

In these discussions, the questions should not serve as the argument itself, and (purportedly) stand in place of logic etc. That sort of word-play is, I repeat, the height of intellectual laziness and posturing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response Roger. Can you add a bit more to it?

I am trying to grok how you view what I was asking about: Who do you think should get to say or have the authority be the one to say, if a person was "conned" or not or if something was a "money sucking scam" or not, an outside of observer? or the customers themselves about their own experience? If a person says with 100% surity and conviction that they were not "conned" and their money was not "sucked" out of them, does their view carry any importance with you? Or are they all duped and blind to your "brillant" insights and opinions?

It seems to me that you are saying you want to be able to make that call for others and have your opinion regarded as valuable and useful.

Thanks for reconsidering posting the comment Steve.

Connie, how are my questions "senseless" and "blather"? Are personal insults and mob voting necessary?

Anonymous said...

LOLOLOLOL, Roger!

Anonymous said...

This "discussion" started with Anon theorizing that critics of self-help are envious losers (loser = sans "$ or success (by their own terms)").

This is so LGAT. Take what someone says, twist it, psycho analyze it, and make it about THEM.

A few handy, easy steps to keep things out of balance and keep the upper, conning hand.

Manipulative, disingenous.

Envious of *that*? Give me a break, Anon.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Are personal insults and mob voting necessary?"

They weren't, anon, at least not until you arrived and appointed yourself chief obfuscator on several blogs. Perhaps if you would address facts once in awhile, rather than going on ad infinitum about your perception of others' motivations, your offerings would be less tiresome and less likely to incite insults.

Just a thought... give Salty Droid's blog a shot. They're even harder on your LGAT buddies than is Steve. And I'm sure they'd welcome your perspective with open arms... or gently smiling jaws. For that matter, I can think of another blogger who would simply LOVE to hear from you. Steve will know who I mean. The two of you would be a perfect match. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

I have to wade in here at this point and reiterate that I don't like piling on. Never did. The phenomenon that Anon references--where others seem to gang up on him/her--is not so much a function of being boorish or rude, but of the natural dynamics of the blogosphere: People seek out blogs that are more or less aligned with their existing perspectives and sympathies. For example, you don't see a whole lot of people attacking or even mildly disagreeing with Joe Vitale on his blog (and when they do, he has been known to censor the comments). The same holds true in the political sphere, for the most part. You listen to Hannity or Rush and you get a monolithic point of view, not just from the hosts themselves, but by and large from their listeners as well. When you hear a liberal caller get through on the phone, the hosts are doing it for the express purpose of using the caller's opinion as a straw man, or making a spectator sport out of ridiculing the caller himself.

Having said all that, I also feel that SHAMblog is far more open to a diversity of opinion than most other ideologically driven blogs. Hell, about a year ago I got booted off the Rick Ross board myself, not so much because I took significant issue with Ross et al, but because I apparently didn't agree enough. The only thing I insist upon here is that somewhere in the thread, contributors actually contribute something. Sure, there's always room for a little zinger or two, but if you're making a full-fledged comment, it should consist of an idea, an argument, a logical analysis, and preferably one of your own devising (i.e. don't just recycle something you heard somewhere else). Whether it qualifies as "trolling" or not, I hate the kind of argumentation that consists solely or even largely of replying to someone else's arguments with a series of combative questions or minor syntactical nitpicks. Especially if you're doing it not just once, but in a progressive series of comments. If we're going to engage, let's engage. That's all I ask.

It's somewhat like being in aerial combat and, when someone else fires on you, responding not by firing back but by asking over the radio, "Hey, did you just fire a missile at me? Why did you fire at me? Are you sure you should be firing at me? What did you mean by firing at me? In any case, I refuse to accept that you fired at me..."

Anonymous said...

I concede that I replied in kind to Anon. Having been around the LGAT world way too long, and, once out of that crazeeee world, having tried - in vain - to engage with LGAT-infected minds, I decided (for my own purposes) that it's utterly futile to have a productive, honest, fair exchange. After innumerable attempts, I threw in the towel. I do not try. I snipe back. Sigh, and sorry, Steve.

Anonymous said...

You made some good ponts and observations there Steve, all pretty fair and not lost on me. Thank-you for weighing in.

But this....

"Hey, did you just fire a missile at me? Why did you fire at me? Are you sure you should be firing at me? What did you mean by firing at me? In any case, I refuse to accept that you fired at me..."

My questions do not belong in the same absurd category as the examples you provided. The questions you are giving as examples are neurotic and pointless. My questions on the other hand were on topic and relevant but seem to be a cut at what goes on in critic town that is taboo to ask about.

If you think someone got "scammed" or had the $ "sucked out" of them and they do not think they got "scammed", do you second guess them and hold onto your view that they did , inspite of their own words to the contrary?

THIS is hardly silly neurotic offering, but rather is one that contributes to this discourse IMO.

And RevRon's Rants seems to have answered yes, "personal insults and mob voting is necessary" Ok then. Does RevRon's Rants speak for you as well Connie and Steve?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 5, 2010 12:12 PM

"This "discussion" started with Anon theorizing that critics of self-help are envious losers (loser = sans "$ or success (by their own terms)")."

I did not use the term "loser".

Anon, your spin/rewrite may reflect your own view of others, it does not mine.

Steve Salerno said...

We're all human, Anon. We grow weary. I have to be honest, I think I've published a lot more of your comments (of the sort I'm attacking in my own recent comment) than a lot of people would... I think you also fail to realize that it is possible to be highly insulting and personally offensive to someone without saying "f**k off." There are many ways that an ad hominem attack can lurk behind seemingly upstanding prose. And just so you know, yes, I've also been through this with other contributors. Over the course of the years, this blog has hardly been a mutual-admiration society. There has been a good deal of infighting.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if our places were reversed, all in all, you have chosen to post way more than I ever would have, I know that for sure. I acknowledge you for that -takes a big person to allow other sides to speak.

That is not an area I consider myself strong in, which is evidenced in presence here.

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, there comes a point at which one realizes that nothing short of a "f**k off" will make so much as a dent (if even that does). Her arguments are always the same: ignore the actual topic, and attack the motivation of other commenters. I'd wager that I could probably copy & paste pretty much any one of anon's comments - from any of three blogs to which she has "contributed" - and paste them here, and they would mirror her current comments. In many cases, they'd be almost verbatim matches, anyway.

I, like pretty much everyone but our favorite LGAT drone, have grown weary of the redundancy. Have fun with her (if that's what you call it).

Anonymous said...

@ RevRon's Rants

my recent post was related to the topic at hand,but how is yours about anything other than silencing and marginalizing and condescending others? Do you not demonstrate that all comments about all things fit into a blog dialogue? How is your comment different than any other person ignoring the actual topic, and attacking the motivation of a commenter?

You going to use other people as an excuse for or to justify you blog conduct again?

Steve Salerno said...

OK. I gave everybody a chance to gripe. Now, no more personality-based criticism, please.

RevRon's Rants said...

Thank you, Steve!

NormDPlume said...

I hope this doesn't qualify as "personality based criticism" - but I now stand corrected: the 1-hour Jay Leno show of last fall is not the biggest turd of an idea to be squeezed from the intestinal tract of NBC executives. I predict Mr. Robbins will motivate millions of NBC viewers to hunt for Law and Order reruns on cable.

Yekaterina said...

If you think someone got "scammed" or had the $ "sucked out" of them and they do not think they got "scammed", do you second guess them and hold onto your view that they did , inspite of their own words to the contrary?

This comment brings to mind the woman who is being physically abused by her husband and refuses to see it. She can swear up and down, right and left even, that her husband is not an abuser and that she has not been abused by him. The black eye begs to differ.

Steve Salerno said...

Ykat: It's interesting that you should bring this up, as I just finished another long piece for Skeptic, this time on "happiness," where there are similar issues: If you're in a relationship that just about every outsider recognizes as terrible and abusive and masochistic on your part--and yet you pronounce yourself "happy" with it--then how does society evaluate that scenario? This also goes to Anon's point about "who are we?" to form such judgments. Your final comment about the black eye is aligned with my thinking, which says that there are certain objectively identifiable standards that fit a consensus definition of scam, abuse, etc.

Anonymous said...

Cosmic Connie said:

Very good points, Ykat (and Steve, in your response). However... even setting aside the people who think they're NOT getting scammed, when some critics see it differently... haven't both you and I, Steve -- as well as numerous other critical bloggers -- reported the stories of many people who DO feel they were scammed? This just raises the question of whether the "critic-bashers" are trying to second-guess those people who firmly believe they got scammed. Are the defenders of LGATs and self-help trying to argue that the people who thought they got scammed are somehow wrong? That sounds disturbingly manipulative (Orwellian, even).

I'm working on another blog post about a scammy org I've written about numerous times before. And many of the people I hear from, and on whom I base my posts, are those who once were involved with this org and "saw the light." While I also gladly publish comments from those who love the org, and have even published comments from its founder, the bulk of what I hear about this org is negative.

So, back to the original subject of this post: How 'bout that Tony Robbins? I wonder if the announcement of this show will make the CNN affiliates that are supposedly working on the Homeless Joe Show I mentioned in an earlier comment decide to (1) race full speed ahead to try to beat 'em to the punch; or (2) wait to see if Tony's life-makeover show is a success or a flop before they make any decision.

Anonymous said...

@ Ykatand Steve

That sounds reasonable in theory, musing about some abstract group of women (or persons) in denial "out there" or in the past, but in practice, do you and Steve want others making that decision for you and about you and what you say about your situation, and disregarding what you say? Soem stranger telling you an others that you are being "scammed" and "conned" and that you are not managing your money right and second guessing you and your choices in life? It easy to say the things you are espousing, I just rarely see it favorable in practice.

I sure as hell do not what it. Not once and not even some of the time.

The only person I might grant the power to make those kinds of assessments for me and second guess me is a surgeon or a doctor in a life threatening situation or an expert who's opinion I have asked for and maybe even paid for, and even then I would keep a close eye that what they are saying does not contradict my own experience and wishes, and the choice would still with me.

At the end of the day I am more attracted to the idea of empowering any individual who might be being physically abused refuses or is unable to see it. In extreme cases we sometimes commit people to psychiatric institutions where they can no longer make choces in their own best interest.

Anonymous said...

"are trying to second-guess those people who firmly believe they got scammed. Are the defenders of LGATs and self-help trying to argue that the people who thought they got scammed are somehow wrong?"


Anon June 7, 2010 12:04 PM

When anyone second guesses another person without their permission or being asked to do so, it is insulting, demeaning, inappropriate, presumptuous and less then optimum IMO, no matter where one stands in the discourse being discussed here.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: I don't think anyone is suggesting that a formal process be put in place that "disempowers" people from making stupid or self-defeating decisions. I think we're saying that when there is enough objectively verifiable evidence, there is nothing wrong with a consensus of people calling a spade a spade. If you had a sister, let's say, who was in the relationship Ykat describes, where your sister showed up constantly with bruises, missing teeth, whatever, you might not try to run her life for her...but I think you sure as hell would feel quite strongly that she was in a destructive relationship. You would feel confident in making that judgment about the way she was living her life. And I think you would also have some rather strong feelings about the individual who was beating her. (And if I'm wrong in those assumptions, please correct me.) But getting back to the matter at hand, there are many common practices in SHAMland that are clear frauds, certainly of the intellectual kind, and it amazes me that relevant laws aren't brought to bear more often in dealing with those abuses. If I tell you that buying my $695 program will enable you to get what you want in life by just snapping your fingers (once you learn the secret mumbo-jumbo that "empowers" your fingers, that is), that is not just "silly." That is fraud, as there is no evidence whatsoever to support my claim.

That, by the way, is the kind of "success" that galls me. Not because I'm jealous, but because I think it's deplorable that con artists get away with that stuff (and, yes, consumers fall for it), over and over again.

Anonymous said...

From RevRon's Rants:

"At the end of the day I am more attracted to the idea of empowering any individual ..."

And the best means of empowering individuals is by educating them, which is by its very nature helping them to see things that they might not understand, or have previously overlooked. And *that* is the purpose that Steve is attempting on this blog, as I see it.

On the other hand, one of the most effective weapons abusers have at their disposal is the ability to prohibit their victims from looking beyond the borders of the manipulation, either by restricting their victims' contact or by attempting to dismiss any threatening information as being invalid.

Anonymous said...

"If I tell you that buying my $695 program will enable you to get what you want in life by just snapping your fingers (once you learn the secret mumbo-jumbo that "empowers" your fingers, that is), that is not just "silly." That is fraud, as there is no evidence whatsoever to support my claim."

This brings to mind the Baloney Detection Kit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUB4j0n2UDU&feature=player_embedded#!

Anonymous said...

"And the best means of empowering individuals is by educating them, which is by its very nature helping them to see things that they might not understand, or have previously overlooked. And *that* is the purpose that Steve is attempting on this blog, as I see it."

Is "education" something we seearch out for ourselves or is it something like you seem to be suggesting, something you do to another person? I know I don't want to be "educated" by anyone unless I ask for it.

How keen are you and Steve for me to inflict my brilliant "education" (= my opinions of life) upon you? :-)

Gonna take a wild guess, not too much, probably not at all. I am gonna take another guess that you would not want to be "educated" by anybody, and would not tolerate anyone attemting to "educate" you, unless, you specifically emplyed or asked them for an "education".

I certainly prefer a world that operates that way!

Anonymous said...

Manipulators/exploiters also "teach" distorted thinking, but even more importantly, how to stop thinking.

Regarding one's (subjective) experience of having been conned or "brainwashed", Steve Hassan, in one of his books, poses this question: "How would you *know* if you were under mind control?".

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 1 p.m.: Thanks for that. It's always nice to incorporate Michael Shermer into things somehow.

Anon 1:03: You know, I'm glad you said that, because it embodies the critical-thinking flaw that goes, more or less: "All ideas are equal." All ideas are not equal. Since you brought up the realm of teaching... If I try to teach a child that 2+2=4, and in return he tries to teach me that in his world, 2+2=19, our respective teachings are not equivalent. One of us is right and one of us is wrong. One of us has the weight of human experience/learning on our side, and one doesn't.

I'm not implying that evaluating the ideas that emanate from SHAMland is quite that cut and dry, but it's like this whole quantum-physics-based justification for the Law of Attraction: There is no scientifically valid evidence for it; none. It is an airy philosophical construct (and not even a very persuasive/coherent one at that) and does not in any sense live up to the inclusion of the word "physics."

Anonymous said...

There is a rich history of humans inflicting their "2 + 2= 4" on others. The earth really was flat once just like "2 + 2 = 4" and if you talk to radicals who are currently acting out their actions that I would call extreme and would like to avoid, they will tell you their version of 2 + 2=4. Just because their is agreement in the adult world that 2 + 2 = 4 doesn't mean it is true, not for the child anyway.

You and I can offer the child a point of view and if they want it, they will take it on and most do. But many do not, many have their own way of seeing things and end up making amazing contributions to the world at a very young age. I would passionately offer a child the view "2 + 2 = 4" like most adults would, but that does not make it a fact IMO.

It is the forcing round kids into square pegs and making them memorize all the 2 + 2 = 4's and testing them on it for 15 years and giving them c's or failing marks when they "failed" to spit out the party line and instead told you "2 + 2 = 19", that does the most damage in our education system.

Stanley Kubrick was no slouch IMO and he often expressed a very harsh view of the education system as it is and it is from him that I stole this point of view, lock stock and barrel :-)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 7, 2010 1:11 PM

I only know that I have no desire to be informed of where I am at by you, by Steve Hassan or by others with some brilliant opinion about how things should be and how things should not be, unless I ask you for that, and I never would.

Steve Salerno said...

Well, assuming this the same Anon who's been with us all along in this thread, I must say I much prefer this style of affirmative argument to the tedium we endured before. And Anon, no, I'm not saying that you're supposed to fall over in gratitude at my congratulatory back-slap; I'm just saying that it's the kind of debating that's welcome on this blog, despite the provocative nature of the actual ideas expressed. And at the risk of alienating some of my regulars, I think you make a few intriguing points.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve, your acknowledgement throws me off my self-rightious battle ready fight fight fight position :-)

Allow me to now revert back to my tedious character in hopes that it will un-alienate some of your regulars....

One problem I see here, with Shamblog is that most people I know could not stand up to the criticism and scrutiny that is directed at people in the spotlight or on the edges of the spotlight , and I dare say I doubt any critics would want their foibles and life put un under the microscope and scrutinized as critics do to those they label fair game because they are attracting a large audience and making or trying to make $.

I think most critics would slither away under a rock if the internet turned it's most prolific proponents turned their attention to the details of their lives and used all their intellectual powers to dissect and pick apart that critics personal and professional life.

So peole in the spotlight are chosen becuase that is what sells and holds an internet audience, and to me, this is a questionable hobby and approachg to making a name for one's self as a blogger or a jourlanist.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon: Once again, God help me, I find myself agreeing with you, or at least one part of your comment, entirely. I forget the film that contained this line--there were probably several films--but it goes, "Who among us could survive being judged by our life's three or four worst moments?" Especially private moments. (I've long contended that in the privacy of their hearts and minds, most people are basically insane. Or maybe that's just me.)

Where I disagree with you is that we're not really talking about private moments here. We're not talking about poking around in people's closets, for the most part. We're talking about very public positions that people have taken, and "ideologies" that they espouse...and sell, in some cases for lots of money.

Anonymous said...

Yes you make a good point there IMO.

And if what you were saying was the case, would it not follow that critics would focus on and discuss the "positions" and "ideologies" and leave the people out of it? Critics could disuss the merits and value (or lack off) of "transformation" or "law of attraction" or "neuroscience" of "Sadhana" or whatever. It seems that bloggers and critics bring in the names and personal part soley as part of their own selling of their views and holding an audience.

I would be into discussing "positions" or "ideologies" and critique any of it as long as people were left out of it.

We can discuss a specific British Company and jump on their every move and failure to move, it is not going to make any difference in this situation, it might punish and bankrupt said British entity but another will probably just take it's place, no? What I want to discuss is offshore drilling oil and gas consumption, alternatives and the health of the earth. I don't want to talk about the players. But hey that is just me. :-)

RevRon's Rants said...

"I think most critics would slither away under a rock if the internet turned it's most prolific proponents turned their attention to the details of their lives..."

I can't help but wonder about the milieu in which anon places herself, and which forms the basis for such a cynical perspective. We all have moments we're not proud of and would like to keep private. Welcome to the human race. Our character, however, is not defined so much by a few moments as by our general approach to life, and by the overall results of our lives.

I can honestly state that I have never taken advantage of someone's gullibility for personal gain, have never caused anyone to be injured, killed, or emotionally traumatized in my pursuit of profits. I've never promoted someone whom I knew to be a predator, and certainly haven't offered up someone I professed to love to such a person's predation. Neither have I ever been complicit in the embezzlement of funds from a nonprofit organization, been investigated for fraudulent practices, been sued for such practices, or been forced to stay out of a country to avoid being prosecuted for molesting a friend's child.

These may seem to be extreme examples, but they are descriptions of behaviors exhibited by critics' targets. Not hearsay. Not rumors. Documented facts. All exhibited by those who proclaim to lead others in their efforts to become more wealthy, more spiritually evolved, and happier. And I personally believe that prospective "customers" deserve to know about such things when deciding whether or not to invest their economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being with these people.

And to restate a point, my own behavior and identity are publicly accessible. If I were prone to "slithering under a rock," I would likely find it desirable to remain anonymous. I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

As I said Ron , I think there is merit in discussing why humans take advantage of someone's gullibility for personal gain, why humans caused anyone to be and injure, kill, or emotionally traumatize each other in the pursuit of profits and what kind of predatory behaviors exist in our society , and how people could offer up someone they professed to love to such a person's predation, and embezzlement from a nonprofit organizations, been investigated, fraudulent practices, been sued for such practices, or how as a community we want to deal with a person who molests anyone?

We could also discuss how humans espouse one thing and have a tendency to act out another, the exercise of leadership we want to see in this world and what we don't want to see and who should be permitted to become wealthy and who should not.

We could discuss what is the best way for people to make the right choices for themselves And that will most contribute to their economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

All great things to look at an examine with excruciating relentless rigor.


But run a minny courtrooms where we get to judge and assassinate the characters of specific individuals and entities on public message boards? That is where you lose me.

I obviously like to discuss criticism and I don't name names. the one time I did, I saw it and apologized to that person on this blog or Whirled Musings. I am not above or beyond the worst behavior humans are capable. IMO, it is folly to name names in a derogitory way to make a point , and make the world a better place for everyone and I am not committed to that.

RevRon's Rants said...

May we then assume, anon, that you disagree with the practice of providing a public registry of convicted sex offenders and their locations? Having raised two children, I appreciated knowing whether there was a child molester living nearby, especially given the high rate of re-offense among such offenders.

By the same token, when an individual's business practices and personal behavior fit within a pattern of deception, abuse, and fraud, I cannot accept your justification for withholding that information from their prospective targets. The "character assassination" you decry isn't assassination at all, but appropriate documentation of the elements that make up the individuals' "character," and which a prospective consumer has a right to consider when deciding whether or not to patronize that individual's programs or products.

For myself, I would be prone to distrust any individual who chose to hide their business practices, and even more so, those whose personal practices cast a questionable shadow over their business behavior. I would also suggest that people who would object to such scrutiny are likely hiding something. It is only reasonable to ask one's self why.

Anonymous said...

So, Hitler is a person whose name you do not mention?

Anonymous said...

I don't discuss "Hitler" nor have I ever once observed the evocation of that jargon (in the context most people reference it) to be enlivening, or useful (in how I define useful) for anyone.

Anonymous said...

RevRon's Rants

Your assumptions, conclusions, suggestions and personal world view has been noted. I have nothing I wish to add to what you expressed.

Steve Salerno said...

I could be wrong but I sense that we've gone about as far as we can go on this one. I'll take further comments, of course; I just question whether ongoing dialogue can be productive. Maybe we'll all be surprised...

RevRon's Rants said...

"I have nothing I wish to add to what you expressed."

How about a straight answer to my first question, re: the appropriateness - in your opinion - of publicly revealing the identities of convicted sex offenders?

Or whether the consuming public should be allowed to know about the questionable practices of a commercial enterprise - especially one whose claimed focus is upon improving the economic, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being of its clientèle?

It sounds as if you'd prefer that the activities of groups such as the Better Business Bureau should be curtailed or even eliminated. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but please don't just continue to evade the questions... unless that is ultimately your preferred communication model, as your comments would indicate.

Cosmic Connie said...

With self-help products and events -- more than with many other types of product -- it's about the *person* as much as it is about the ideas that the person is selling. I hesitate to use the term "cult of personality" because I know how much LGAT fans take umbrage at the word "cult," but that's very much what self-help is, by and large. Why else do self-help gurus work so hard to establish their brand, and why else do they attempt to jealously guard their trademarks and proprietary methods and techniques (even if said methods and techniques are shameless ripoffs of numerous others)?

All of this helps to explain why it's often extraordinarily difficult to separate the message from the messenger. It explains why critics so often "name names" and make it "personal" rather than just talk about ideas.

Look, the self-help gurus are putting themselves out there every day, working very, very hard to become household names. Many of them brag about what happy and fulfilled lives they have, what successful relationships they have, and so on.

They make themselves, in other words, very easy targets.

verification word: suing

(Say what?!)

Anonymous said...

So many dramatic exits, so little time!:-)

I will not be coming back nor lurking but since I came, thought I would leave with a word of care and say that I do see that all people who contribute here and on Whirled Musings have some committment to justice or a better society or upgrade in practices in business that is intended make life better for me and for everyone. I am giving up lumping people who want to express their committment to others in the world into the category "critic", the way I use that term for the most part does not honor the different places people are at and the unique contributions they are trying to make, and making.

bu bi