Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

All fired up

I’m serving up snippets again today, Dear Ones. As I noted on previous posts, I do have some "real" posts on the back burner (so to speak). But since I don’t have the time right now to devote to these stories, here are a few more bits and pieces.

How to avoid getting your house burned down
There has been an incredible amount of pain, suffering, and loss of life and property on the Left Coast this past week or so, what with
those pesky wildfires. But much of this could possibly have been avoided if only all of the residents had been Law Of Attraction hustledorks. How do I know? I know because it’s all there in black and white on the blog of Mr. Fire himself. Apparently if you have a fire in your soul and are focused on that, your house won’t burn down. To me this sort of contradicts the "like attracts like" idea so popular with LOA-ers, but then again, it does fit in nicely with that whole concept of "fighting fire with fire." Or even with "like cures like," which is the basis of the well-respected science of homeopathy.

Mr. Fire tells us that while 45 homes burned near the home of Secret star John Asshat Assaraf, John’s home is safe! And so are the home and office of another Secret star, James Earl Ray…oops, I mean James ARTHUR Ray. (James EARL Ray is deceased, and so, because of him, is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sorry; I keep getting my James Rays mixed up.) Furthermore, the manager of yet another Secret star, Lisa "Hairdo" Nichols, also escaped the fires unscathed.*

"Instead of wondering why they attracted a fire," writes Mr. Fire, "it might be wiser to wonder how they didn’t attract a fire." Mr. Fire says he has spent the last day or so with Lisa and John, who, he says, "are not focused on fires. They are focused on the fire in their soul." What sets them apart from others, apparently, is that they "spend their time working, making a difference, writing, speaking, and changing lives." Same goes with Dr. John Demartini, yet another Secret star and a friend of Joe’s for more than 20 years. Like the others, Dr. Demartini lives a life of passion and purpose.

"Fires," says Mr. Fire, "don’t stop people like this."

One of Mr. Fire's fans responded:
Yes, it is absolutely amazing that their homes were not touched by the fires. But even if they had been, I know it would have been also good as they would have responded with fire in their hearts and used it as fuel to push us all further along our path.

Still, I sigh a sigh of relief to know that John’s house as well as the other people’s houses stayed intact. Thank you for the news!
Naturally, the Rev has an opinion or two about this matter, one of which he expressed publicly on Mr. Fire’s blog, and one of which he expressed in a private email exchange (he has given me permission to share this). "At the very least," Ron wrote in his private missive, "I would think that the profoundly evolved souls who managed to spare themselves from the ravages of the fire would be mightily pissed at those unwashed masses whose negative energy screwed up the view from their hallowed decks and hot tubs. Of course, they would only acknowledge such anger amongst themselves… No sense letting the ‘little’ folk know how much power they apparently have!"

Sorry, Rev, their secret is out.

Amazon, Shamazon redux
In addition to having the ravages of nature under their control, the hustledorks and their minions apparently have some power over Amazon reviews, too. Not that this is news, but, speaking of Mr. Fire, the issue has popped up yet again. Amazingly enough, all of the negative reviews about Mr. Fire’s latest book,
The Key, have disappeared. Yesterday the book had a "three-star" average; as of right now it’s four and a half stars. As a friend of mine put it, "Now if only they can get rid of that pesky three-star review, he’ll have a perfect score."

The Key, according to the promotional material, tells you once and for all how to REALLY make The Secret and the Law Of Attraction work in your life – but some malcontents have groused that the book is a bunch of recycled material and advertisements for Mr. Fire’s other products and those of his friends. Those people’s comments were there yesterday, and are gone today. I’m sure there is a perfectly legitimate reason for their disappearance, e.g., they were "voted off the island," so to speak, by defenders of the faith. And at least the discussion forum begun by some of these naysayers is still up there. For now, anyway.

However, at least one of the five-star reviews of The Key is nearly as damning as the worst of the one-star reviews. I have thoughtfully included an excerpt below. You'll have to ignore the dangling modifier at the beginning – although, on second thought, if you believe in the Blessed Trinity, it's sort of appropriate for the man whom Ho’oponopono expert Ihaleakala Hew Len called "The Jesus of Business" (if you follow the "Jesus" link, scroll down to "Joe Almighty").

Divided into three parts, Vitale begins by explaining how to recognize limiting thoughts and emotions. He offers examples of how he and others have come to recognize self doubt and eliminated the individual sabotage they were administering. Exercises are provided for becoming familiar with personal desires and the various ways those desires are being internally quelled. Addressing critics, Vitale explains the value of aspiring to material ownership as a way of self actualization.

Part two contains ten methods for clearing the mind of negative thoughts and emotions. Almost every method is developed with an article from a coach who works with that particular approach…

The final section contains a question and answer excerpt from one of Vitale's seminars, a transcript excerpt from another, and Peter Michel's** suggestions for "Emotional Freedom 101." The question and answer excerpt is most helpful in that participants were allowed to ask Vitale questions regarding his philosophy and how best to enact it in their own lives.

Vitale's writing style is relaxed and conversational. Entries penned by other contributors--and there are quite a few--are clearly defined so the reader does not confuse Vitale's words with his guests' words. The Key is very similar to The Secret in that it is comprised of the suggestions of many experts rather than focusing on an individual. It comes close to a compilation of essays. The marketing strategy is brilliant, as each person gets exposure for their particular product or service in exchange for contributing to Vitale's book, and while the reader is aware of the obvious solicitation, each person appears to be offering a valuable tool.

While the writer of the above review may have thought she was taking a proactive approach to expected criticism, she ends up reinforcing some of the very points some of the critics have complained about. And I can’t help wondering how many people bought The Key, expecting it to be full of never-before revealed "secrets" from Joe himself, only to be disappointed to find a collection of promotional "fillers," recycled material, and stuff written by Joe’s friends.

As some of my email pen pals have pointed out before, though, the "blame" in this situation doesn't lie solely with the author and his minions. That old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," really seems to apply here.

In any case I think the real "key," if you will, to the book's appeal is revealed by the reviewer's" last sentence:

Between the inspirational quotes and Vitale's unyielding enthusiasm, The Key leaves the reader with a sense of invincibility [that] extends far beyond the pages.

And as soon as that sense of invincibility begins to fade, there will, no doubt, be another earth-shattering, ground-breaking book to take the place of The Key – a book that will really, REALLY tell you, once and for all, how to put the Law Of Attraction, or some other ancient wisdom, to work in your life.

It’s really all about feeling good, as is the case with most New-Wage stuff. As SHAMblog’s Steve Salerno put it the other day, regarding another New-Wage guru, Marianne Williamson:

…in a way, the utter imbecility of a message like Williamson's was its great genius in a culture that prefers the simple, uplifting lie to the complex, prosaic truth. The success of Marianne Williamson (then) and [creator of The Secret] Rhonda Byrne (now) shows us that many Americans would rather hope than think; they'd rather "live" an imaginary life of conjured superlatives than get the most out of their actual life of everyday ups and downs.

If you follow the "Amazon, Shamazon" link, you'll see that Steve Salerno has been on Amazon's case for a very long time, regarding funny business with reader reviews.

In the interests of full disclosure, I hasten to add that I have not yet read The Key so, of course, this is not a direct comment on the merits of the book, only on its marketing. As a matter of fact, I was somewhat disappointed not to have heard from a book publicist, offering to send me a copy of The Key to write about on my blog – as was the case with Joe's previous book, Zero Limits. Then again, it looks as if maybe the publisher is not using that same publicist to help promote The Key. At least, The Key is not yet listed on the publicist’s web site. Maybe there’s a story there too.

Waxing profound
Okay, enough of that. Let’s talk about your health...although, come to think of it, this, too, has something to do with fire. I received this exciting email – actually, I’ve received several copies of it over the past week or so – from my favorite New-Wage spam service. The subject line reads: "Ear Coning-featured on TVC, & Barbara Walters for relieving many ailments."

It is an ad from one Val Kirkgaard, who says she is an honorary Ph.D., which could very well mean that she has one of those faux-degrees I blogged about the other day. Never mind, though; Val wants to clean your ears, and you don’t need a degree to do that. I can testify to this, because I don’t have any degrees whatsoever, and I am quite proficient at cleaning dog and cat ears. Val, however, is interested in cleaning human ears, and she sells the products to do that.

Ear coning, also known as ear candling, is an ancient healing art which involves setting the patient's ear wax on fire, or something like that. Dr. Val (who is not pictured above) takes it seriously, as evidenced in her mission statement:

I’m Val Kirkgaard, Ph.D. (hon) and I committed in 1992 to make the finest and highest quality cone I could produce. When I accepted my place in this 5000 year old tradition, I was delighted to contribute quality, love and community education on this ancient subject. It is with great gratitude, I offer you Laughing Dragon cones, my contribution to this wonderful legacy… We offer classes on the first Sunday of the month. If you are not local, I recommend the starter pack (the best deal by far) or the professional kit.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s a little video to watch.

As usual, those stuffy skeptics are trying to rain on the parades of our New-Wage healers, who are, after all, only trying to make an honest living.

I’m just waiting for an email from someone who combines candling with the New-Wage obsession with colon health. Just think of it – colon candling: a great new way to process your inner "stuff!"

How not to write a book proposal
I don’t often bring my "
day job" into this Whirled, and, naturally, neither the Rev nor I publicly share confidential inquiries from prospective clients. But I received an email the other day, not at my "day job" address but at my Cosmic Connie address. And judging from the mail headers, this message was apparently mass-mailed out to anyone even marginally involved with book publishing.

It began:

Greetings Publisher,
I'm a preacher reaching out to angels and find the cost of publishing not attainable. So in an effort to do so I writing you, only if you are an angel (even fallen, as humans amongst us) and can publish this book on angels for yourself and even profit, as long as it is published and available to the angel and especially fallen angel populace.

The writer conveniently provided links to the material, which is a book about angels. He also provided a brief synopsis of the book, and some information about himself:

[Name]. a licensed minister and founder of a worldwide ministry with several certifications, has spent several years and study in the paranormal and has written extensive literature on the subject of angels, with several first hand accounts. Nonetheless, the anointing received is the deciding factor of the truth on this subject, which is unparallel in content as being current, biblical and to the point. Why are you angels here, where are you coming from and do you give a "damn" where you are going!? This book intend to bring a resolution to these questions and if eternal damnation is obvious, redemption is also plausible; as one extremity has a equal opposite, except in the case of God. The tenets also brought forward is capsule in much teaching on the dealings of angels, which I perceive not all angels grasp the full extent thereof and so, as said, they too, being excellent in knowledge and wisdom far beyond humanity will learn what was not told them. As such, the true author is God and not the human pen, hence not only divine, but the clear fact that not the human blogger but God saying, "Angels, Let's Talk!" Such a time has come for dialogue, such a time has come to repent, such a time has come to look to God, such a time has come to receive what you have been waiting for and such a time has come to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Php 2:12).

If any of you publishers out there are interested in this material – and I’m sure you’ll be lining up! – email me privately and I’ll send you the links. Then again, if you’re a publisher, or even remotely involved in publishing, you have probably already received this information. I expect a bidding war to break out any day now.

That’s it for now, Dear Ones. There’s ever so much more, but the day is almost gone and there is much to do. I hope y’all have a great weekend. And if you want to actually do something to help those who are suffering as a result of the San Diego wildfires, here's a link.

* I don’t normally rag on people’s appearance if it’s something they have no control over. But let me go out on a limb and say that I have long felt that Lisa Nichols should attract a new hairdo.
** That's Peter Michel of "iCAP Release Meter" fame, not Peter Michel the sculptor.

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Blogger Steven Sashen said...

I had some VERY spicy Thai food last night and while I wouldn't put the location of the ensuing morning-after fire my soul, I'm still hoping that I'm now protected from wild fires, being fired and Mr. Fire.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 10:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about flaming homosexuals? Given JV's logic, they should have been protected from the blaze as well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Steven! Let me know if the protection works. If it does, or even if you think you can convince people it does, you can turn it into at least a book and a DVD -- maybe a thousand-dollar workshop too.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Good point, Anon. Perhaps someone should do a survey about the sexual orientation of those who were spared from the wildfires. :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007 4:33:00 AM  

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