Friday, July 06, 2012

STRAWblog?

I'm growing a tad weary of being used as a straw man or the token naysayer. You'll notice that in this article from the Khaleej Times Magazine, of all places, a drop-in quote from me anchors the nominal "rebuttal" section in mid-piece. This has pretty much been the nature of my "appearances" the last half-dozen times out, at least since the very nice treatment in The Verge (which fittingly gave most of its coverage to Salty Droid's fine work). The formula for these straw-man features goes like so:

1. We all know self-help is huge right now. Millions (if not billions) around the world swear by it.
2. But Steve Salerno says it's a scam.
3. But we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water; you just have to figure out what works for you.

Maybe it's time to recommit myself to a new and ever-more-energetic critique of the genre.

P.S. Saturday, July 7: This piece, on the other hand, provides a nicely balanced debate. I'm still buried, but at least they surrounded me with like-minded arguments as part of a fair pro-and-con..

15 comments:

Pasquale Di Rago said...

Hi Steve;

I first became aware of you through your book SHAM a few years back, and have been wondering when you would do a follow up. I think the time is ripe, for one, given some of the drivel that gets served up as the answer to all our prayers.

Perhaps people need to be reminded, that there are real dangers to the Self Help and Actualization Movement, if we take it too seriously.

Anyway what ever you decide I'm sure it will be the right move.

Adrian said...

I wouldn't take it personally, in fact it's a bit flattering as you're still the go-to expert. It sounds like this is a sad feature of hack journalism where all issues of fact are portrayed as just a matter of opinion no matter how clear the issue is. ("To discuss the Mars rover we have Dr Y representing NASA and the team of experts whose multi-decade project culminated on robots on another planet, and Mr Z who runs a conspiracy newsletter out of his basement and who says it's all a fraud.")

If you get the urge to publish again and go on a book tour, I'll queue up to buy!

Steve Salerno said...

Adrian, I'm not quite sure whether I'm supposed to be the target of your comment, but in any case, I like the way you expressed it.

Steve Salerno said...

Pasquale, don't be so sure that whatever I decide "will be the right move." My track record in that area is spotty.

a/good/lysstener said...

Steve, I notice you deleted my comment on the previous thread, no doubt because of the "gratuitous" sexual reference. What, you didn't see it when you first read it??

Anyway the bottom line is that I'm really glad you're posting again, even if it means you had to lose a job to do it. And though I hope you won't censor me again, it doesn't sound like any great loss.

Anonymous said...
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Adrian said...

LOL!

It never occurred to me to classify your writing with the false-balance drek. Now I look back I can see I'll have to cough deeply to dislodge my shoes. Oops! Beg your pardon.

Stephen Fine said...

You are always capable of producing great work don't ' underestimate yourself I am always ready to co author with you I have a pretty solid storyline!

RevRon's Rants said...

Sometimes, it is the baby that has fouled the bath water in the first place, and will continue to foul bathwater until it is aborted. Just sayin'...

Steve Salerno said...

Wow. We go from quotes used out of context (because, of course, the writers never TELL ME they're going to set me up as a straw man) to aborting babies. Where'd you hide those bran muffins, Rev?

Steve Salerno said...

Mr. Fine: Two Flew Into the Cuckoo's Nest? The Year+ of Living Dangerously?

(Shambloggers: These are private jokes. Sorry.)

RevRon's Rants said...

To butcher what Jack Nicholson said (in 'As Good As It Gets"), "People who pretend not to get it when I talk in metaphors can shampoo my crotch."

I don't think it's you who needs the extra fiber, Steve... not this time, anyway. :-)

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, I know a woman whose knowledge of - and disdain for - the scam world denizens is probably unparalleled, and who would probably be open to the idea of working with you. I'll introduce you if you like. :-)

a/good/lysstener said...

I'm curious, did Acquarius magazine interview you or did they take that quote from somewhere else? If they took the quote from another source, how do you feel about the use of the attribution "says"? I was taught that you should only use "says" to indicate that the person said whatever it is to you personally, the writer.

Steve Salerno said...

Alyssa, Aquarius took it from somewhere else, I believe from an interview I did on Australian radio.

You're right, though: If the reader sees a quote accompanied by the unadorned word "says," he or she has a right to infer that the quote was said directly to the writer.