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.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parting the rubes from their rubles: a rockstar in Russia

Russia fans keep asking me to sign their ruble notes. They believe it will attract money.
~Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale on Twitter

NOTE: I've added a few footnotes and links to this post since I first wrote it on September 16. Also see the September 17, October 1, and October 9 addenda.
~CC

Mr. Fire is currently on a Law Of Attraction tour in Russia, and, according to his reports on Twitter, he has been treated like a bona fide celebrity there, with nonstop fans, flowers, and media. He has done press conferences about the Law Of Attraction (LOA) and The Secret, has been on numerous Russian TV shows, and has been filmed for a Russian movie on, as he puts it, "money and spirit." In Moscow he was mobbed at dinner as an "LOA rockstar," and the fans are lining up at his book signings to give him flowers and get him to sign their ruble notes.

But it's not all good, apparently. The killer pace is really getting to him, and he's been having the worst travel experiences of his life, as indicated on some of his recent tweets:

  • Missed flight. Ticket agent fired for it. Stuck in Moscow airport for hours.
  • Made it to Siberia. No palace but in Russia vodka solves all.
  • No wonder celebs turn to booze drugs or death. This pace is nuts. I want to fire all.
  • Interpreter took day off. Tired. What? I'm one doing all work. No day off for me.
  • Race car driver of limo hit bump at warp speed. Sent us into roof. Hurt back.

I know what some of you are saying: "Cry me a river, Josef." Tsk, tsk, you cold-hearted souls. I imagine that numerous others are saying, "Wait just a doggone a minute! Joe Vitale... a rockstar in Russia? You have got to be kidding me." As a matter of fact, more than one friend of mine has remarked on the weirdness of a New-Wage guru being treated like such a celeb anywhere, even in Russia.

To me, however, it doesn't seem all that weird when you consider Russian history and culture. It seems to me that Russia is a market tailor-made for Joe's brand of mystical materialism.

To begin with, Russians have arguably always been more openly accepting of mysticism, the supernatural, and the miraculous than have Westerners. Along with that openness comes, not surprisingly, an extra measure of gullibility, which (to give but one example) goes a long way towards explaining why the profligate and seriously hygiene-impaired faux-monk Rasputin was able to bilk so many people back in the day, including Russia's last Tsaritsa, Alexandra Feodorovna. Even when Russia was under the grip of Communism, and religion and spirituality were officially frowned upon while "scientific Marxism" was officially embraced, the Soviet government was reportedly quite actively engaged in psi/paranormal research, presumably to give them a leg up in the Cold War. Whether this was evidence of open-mindedness and an enlightened attitude, or merely a sign of a secret attraction to woo, is a matter of opinion. (No doubt the US government is/has been involved in the same kind of research, but they’ve never been all that open about it.)

Post-Communism, the willingness to believe just about anything remains steadfast in the Russian collective soul. In fact, Russian belief in the mystical and paranormal seems to have increased in recent years, or at least it is now more openly expressed, according to this report on the first international skeptics' conference in Russia in 2001. And let's not forget that in the years since the Cold War ended, Russia has spawned its share of New-Wage hucksters, most notably, the remarkably inventive Vladimir Megre, who suffered a few failures as an entrepreneur until he found his calling in the imaginary-friends industry. I refer, of course, to Megre's Ringing Cedars series, featuring his woodsy make-believe gal pal Anastasia.*

A few days after initially writing this post, I came across this article on the new Russian mysticism, reprinted from the Globe and Mail (Canada) on the Rick Ross web site. If this doesn't convince you that the Russian market is ripe for a little bit of New-Wage magic, nothing will. Among other things, the author points out that many Russians are quite superstitious, "openly discussing omens and bad luck. It's not uncommon for a Moscow merchant to refuse to handle money after sunset because it is considered bad luck. Customers must instead place their money on the counter." And just wait till you read about some of the wacko "home-grown" cults in Russia, including the apocalyptic cave dwellers, and another group of folks who, believing Prime Minister/ex-President Vladimir Putin to be a reincarnated apostle, perform daily devotions in front of a "presidential icon." The "Anastasians" seem quite sane by comparison. (I'll go into all of this in more detail in my next post.)

What about New-Wage materialism?** Well, even though it has been almost twenty years since the failure of Communism in Russia, many Russians are only now awakening to a new world of possibilities – including, and let's not underestimate this – the possibilities for material wealth. Under Communism, so many had so little, and life was probably pretty grim on a material level for all but the highest government officials, assorted Russian mobsters, and a few other wealthy folk. I imagine that living in such a bleak environment was pretty depressing overall for most people, and not just materially.

Even if this minimalist existence was all they knew, and even if they held to a general belief that the Soviet way was "better" than that of the cravenly capitalist West, surely they had some awareness of the larger world. Surely some must have at least wondered what life was like in a freer society. Chuckle if you will, but I am irresistibly drawn to the video for Elton John’s 1980s hit song “Nikita”; if you can suspend disbelief to the point where you can imagine Elton actually being attracted to a woman (and vice-versa), and if you can get past Elton's silly costumes and the girl's spiky eighties' hairdo and shoulder pads, the song and video can be viewed as a poignant expression of longing for a richer life that once seemed forever beyond the reach of the majority of Soviet citizens. “Oh, Nikita, you will never know/anythin' about my home/I'll never know how good it feels to hold you…"

These days, in theory, "Nikita" would have a much better opportunity to learn about Elton's home, were she so inclined, and to explore the big wide world for herself. She might manage to do it on her own, or she might take the seemingly easy way out and sell herself as a mail-order bride to a wealthy middle-aged American man who's had it with bossy, money-grubbing American gals and wants to make a fresh start with a woman who knows her place. (By the way, the richly informative Moscow Life web site offers some interesting perspectives on the Russian bride phenomenon as well as the gold-digging leggy Russian beauty phenomenon.) In any case, there are now more opportunities for Russians to broaden their horizons than there were in Soviet days. And a whole generation has come of age since the statues of Lenin first began tumbling down.

Yet in the nearly two decades since the Iron Curtain fell, Russia’s economy has been on a roller coaster, and consequently so has Russian society. As a result, in many ways much of Russia’s vast population remains out in the cold, figuratively as well as literally. While there is an intense interest in all things Western – the music, the fashions, the fads, the material dreams – the good life remains elusive for all too many Russians. Now comes Mr. LOA (that would be Joe) to tell ordinary Russians that they too can have the luxury cars and the big mansions and the vacations in a tropical paradise, and perhaps the sublime romance with the perfect soul mate as well – all this, and the ability to bend the Universe to their will. And, luckily for them, he has the books and other products to show them how.

Is it any wonder he's a rockstar in Russia?

I’m sure he has also played on the theme that if a “regular guy” like him could achieve such astounding wealth and success, so can they. No doubt he has shared his tale of former homelessness with them, and no doubt they are duly impressed. My guess is that few if any will stop to consider the possibility that being “homeless” for a few months on the streets of Dallas, Texas (or was it Houston? He has told it both ways) – while retaining the option of going back home to a materially comfortable if emotionally dysfunctional middle-class existence in Ohio – is not at all the same thing as chronic poverty on the harsh tundra, where it often must seem that the only thing between you and the abyss is a half-empty bottle of vodka.***

Nor will many of his new Russian followers pause to really think about the fact that even Joe has often said he struggled for years and years and years. (Following the bout with homelessness, there were ten or so years in poverty, and many more after that with a hit-and-miss approach as both a seller and consumer of endless selfish-help/New-Wage/McSpirituality gimmicks, till he finally hit pay dirt.) He was far from an overnight success, but somehow one has the feeling that in Russia, this fact will get lost in translation. Most importantly, I'm guessing that few of the giddy, flower-bearing Russians, envisioning their own happily-ever-after scenarios, will be even remotely aware of the extent to which Joe and other New-Wage gurus still work their buns off, their continued success depending heavily upon aggressive, relentless, and sometimes desperate-seeming marketing.

When it comes to selling ops, Joe in particular leaves no stone unturned, sending out email blasts nearly every day for one or another of his or his cronies' products. At the beginning of this month, f'rinstance, just before embarking upon the Russia trip, he sent yet another email promoting the ludicrous "Psychic Demand" gimmick that he's been marketing for a couple of years with his buddy Pat O'Bryan. If you haven't read about this scheme yet, do follow the link below to "the most shocking web site of all time," and read all about the "new method" (well, I suppose it's new if you consider something dating from circa 1910 to be new). The whole thing is so classically schlocky that even now I find it hard to believe it is serious, but it must be selling, or Joe wouldn't keep sending emails like this:

I found a technique that's far more powerful than the power of intention.
In fact, intention is for wimps.
I wish I had known this new method when I wrote my book, "The Attractor Factor."
At least I know it now. You can, too.
Go see --
http://www.PsychicDemand.com
If you're ready to achieve results so big that all your friends and family will scratch their head in wonder, then go to that site right now.
You'll love it.
Love,
Joe
PS -- What's more powerful than intention? Go see the most shocking website of all time:
http://www.PsychicDemand.com

And so on. As I said, the selling is nonstop. "So what's your point, CosCon?" you're asking. "There's nothing wrong with marketing and selling, and if you were better at marketing yourself, maybe you'd be more successful too." Point well taken. But my point is that Joe's success story isn't nearly as fantastic in reality as it is in the telling – not that this seems to matter, either in the U.S. or in Russia. And it's easy to understand why Joe's Russian fans, already steeped in a culture rich with folklore and fairy tales, might accept his modern-day fairy tale as absolute truth. It's easy to see how that tale might ignite in them a desire for a life as fun and carefree as the one Joe claims to enjoy (notwithstanding those moments when he is being hurled about in a Russian limo, or stranded at a Moscow airport for hours, or abandoned by his interpreter). Indeed, from a marketing standpoint his choice to go to Russia was a brilliant one; the only puzzle is that more of the New-Wage gurus haven't exploited this deep, rich mine (though apparently numerous other foreigners of the spiritual-huckster persuasion have, in the years since the Soviet Union collapsed). Heck, even you and I could probably be rockstars in the Land of the Firebird if we only had a good mystical shtick, and/or a way to convince large numbers of desperate or discontented Russians that we possess some great secret to make them as rich as the Russian mafiosi.

I’m not saying it is entirely a bad thing to introduce people to new ideas that will, perhaps, give them hope. The question, as always, is, how realistic is that hope? And the greater question is, does the world really need a whole nation of Russian hustledorks?

I'd say the answer to question number two is a big nyet.

As for the nightmarish travel experiences in Russia that Joe has repeatedly tweeted about (and that he even asked his Twitter followers to “clean” on (presumably with Ho'oponopono)), I wonder if he believes that he “attracted” all of that trouble, and if so, if he has asked himself why he might have “attracted” it. Alternatively, I wonder if he might be willing to consider that in a huge country where the past and the future sometimes collide in bizarre ways, where everything is in a state of flux and the infrastructure in many areas is dysfunctional at best, sometimes s--t just happens – despite all the “cleaning” and chanting and other rituals a New-Wage rockstar and his fawning fans can perform.

PS ~ I know I provided these links above, but here it is again for your convenience: For additional offerings from Russia with love, you must, if you've not done so already, read about the remarkable naked blonde wild woman, Anastasia, who first showed up on my Whirled in March and April of 2007.
PPS added later ~ For still more Musings about Anastasia, see my next post (final item).

*****
Addendum, 17 September 2009: My first commenter to this post, named "Anon" as so many of them are, made me think about my tendency to jump to conclusions and make generalizations. Although of course I do this to make a point, and I think most of my regular readers (dare I say "fans"?) will probably understand this, perhaps a few disclaimers are in order nevertheless. First, although I have long been fascinated with Russian history and culture, in part because I have Russian roots of my own (as does my partner Ron), and in part because an ex-boyfriend of mine got me interested in Russia long ago, I am not even remotely an expert on anything Russian. My opinions and observations, expressed through admittedly sweeping statements about Russia's past and present, are those of an outsider making what I nonetheless think are some educated guesses. That's why I welcome insights from those who are experts, or at least who have firsthand experience with any of what I've written about in this post.

Secondly, for those who think I may have been singling out the Russian people for special insults, particularly by pointing out what I see as a singularly Russian propensity for belief and acceptance of the mystical, that was not my intention either. I know as well as anyone that Russians have no monopoly on gullibility, and I am sure that not everyone in Russia is into woo; moreover, I realize that there is a great deal of serious scientific research going on in Russia. In fact, anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I look upon the U.S. as Ground Zero for New-Wage gullibility and selfish-help schemes.

Further, notwithstanding my Anon commenter's remark, my post was not an expression of "post-Cold-War smugness." I'm not even sure the Cold War is indeed over, and I know that Communism/Marxism are not dead on this planet, perhaps not even moribund. (I keep remembering Leonard Cohen's song, "The Future," which imagines a longing for the return of the Cold War, when the major powers thought they knew who "the enemy" was.)

Nor, despite the imagery in my paragraph discussing homelessness and poverty, do I believe that the vast majority of Russians are living in bleak circumstances on the tundra, wasting their lives away with a bottle of vodka. It seems obvious that there is a vibrant life in the cities, particularly Moscow and St. Petersburg, and there is a growing middle class in Russia – a consumer class, which really only enforces some of the other points I've made in this post.

Finally, as someone else pointed out to me privately, there is always the chance that Joe Vitale may have been exaggerating some of the stuff about the "rockstar treatment" and being "mobbed" at dinner (not that he's ever been known to exaggerate before, mind you)****, which would render my entire post somewhat less relevant. I'll just have to wait and see what else, if anything, I hear. As I noted in my response to my first Anon, I'm open to hearing from all.

Addendum, 1 October 2009: On a blog post entitled "Russia Questions," written after he got home and was somewhat recovered from his travels (and travails), Mr. Fire revealed some of the tough questions he was asked by Russian audiences and press. One of these questions almost certainly reflects the post-Cold War ambivalence many Russians have regarding Western-style consumerism, but never fear: Joe has the perfect rejoinder.

Q. Are you creating a culture of consumerism?
A. Consumerism is a negative word for a positive trend. When people buy something to enrich their lives, they are showing they respect themselves. But you can poison that positive by calling it something negative, like consumerism.

'Nuff said. Joe wraps up his post with a cliffhanger:

I was fascinated by Russia (the little I saw of it), but I had to leave it unexpectedly and in great danger. Soon I’ll post an account of my harrowing escape.

Stay tuned.

While his fans breathlessly await the rest of the story, let me offer another one of my wild guesses. Would that "great danger" be a simple matter of a tourist visa about to expire? I'm just going by what he wrote in a September 22 Twitter entry: "Scrambling to leave Russia. Visa expires tonite. Headed to Finland. Send love."

Now, according to information I read on the Moscow Life web site, an expired Russian visa is a monstrous inconvenience and extra expense, but hardly a "great danger"...

Getting a visa to enter Russia may be one of the most difficult processes, next to getting one to exit Russia if your visa expires...

...First, you can stay in Russia on a tourist visa for up to 30 days, so when applying be sure to fill in the maximum time possible, regardless of what a Russian consulate tells you. Second, you cannot renew a tourist visa! Which brings us to our most important point (and hard-earned lesson): never overstay your Russian visa!

...Against all logic, if you've overstayed your Russian visa, you're actually NOT allowed to leave the country. That's right, even though you're no longer there legally, and any other country would just kick you right out, in Russia you actually have to stay in the country longer to get an exit visa so that you can leave...

...We hate to say 'we told you so', but if you overstayed your visa, it will cost you. The price of an exit visa has been known to vary from 300 to 3000 roubles [under current exchange rates, approx. $9.95 to $99.50 USD] or more, depending largely on the whim of the immigration officer handling your case. In addition to having to stand in queues for hours to even hand in your documents, there's the amount of time you'll lose being stuck in Russia (which we normally wouldn't complain about, but it's not a pleasant experience when you have plans to be somewhere else at the time)...

But I have to admit that "great danger" makes for a much better story, whether framed as a true suspense tale or told with a wink and a nod to Joe's heroes, the nineteenth-century impresarios and twentieth-century ad men who were such marvelous storytellers. And I doubt that anyone has ever accused Joe of not being a good storyteller.

Addendum, 9 October 2009: Here at last is a link to Joe's blog post about what happened in Russia (and didn't stay in Russia). And here's a link to my comments about the story. One point I've picked up was that travel in Russia can be pretty dicey, particularly for Americans, it seems, if every detail isn't handled correctly. This page from the U.S. State Department paints a somewhat grimmer picture than the Moscow Life page I cited earlier. So...was I a bit off-base after all with some of my speculations that Joe's claims of "danger" were exaggerated? Maybe. I really want to be fair here. In any case, you can read his post and draw your own conclusions. If nothing else, Joe does provide a good cautionary tale for Americans planning on traveling to Russia.

* As it happens, Vladimir Megre's imaginary Russian babe Anastasia (or, rather, Megre's enterprising "ringing-cedar" products company, which is milking the Anastasia fairy tale for all it's worth) sells a sea-buckthorn berry oil extract, for only $45.80 (US) for a 3.5-oz (100 g) bottle. The berry extract is combined with the magic "ringing cedar" oil that forms the basis of Vlad's international mail-order business. I really shouldn't call Vlad a failed businessman at all, since he has obviously found a great gimmick, what with the Anastasia books, which just happen to mention the marvelous benefits of products derived from the "ringing cedars" (actually a species of Siberian pine). With those titillating visions of the mysterious nude nature girl, I imagine the products practically sell themselves.

By remarkable coincidence, Mr. Fire, according to one of his Twitter entries, told a Russian audience that "the cleaning tool for Russia" is Siberian sea-buckthorn berry. In his October 1 blog post, which he wrote after returning from Russia, he elaborates. According to him, his recommendation was a response to a question he was asked:

Q. Are there any new clearing tools since writing Zero Limits?
Yes. I’m inspired to say Russians are to eat or drink the Siberian berry, Sea-Buckthorn.

Uh-huh. Would "inspired to say" be code for, "I'm in an MLM scheme to sell products made from this magical berry, and I'll be glad to sell a bunch of 'em to you?"

** Re materialism: I understand that some Russians are turning to spirituality and mysticism in an attempt to escape from what they view as the crass materialism of modern life, but, as in the U.S., many others have no problem combining spirituality and materiality. In other words, they're New-Wagers in training.

*** Lest you think I'm stereotyping about Russians and vodka, well, even Russia's newest rockstar wrote, "In Russia, vodka solves all." And consider this, from the Nomad Journal Trips web site:

A quick word of warning for those intending to travel to Russia. Everything you have heard about the amount of vodka consumed in Russia is wrong. The simple truth is Russians drink much more then you’ve been told. You will be expected to join in the toasting to love, mom, vodka, fill in your favorite sports team, etc. Refusal to join in will be considered rude and an insult. It is strongly recommended that you practice drinking shots before going in for Russia travel. I’m very serious.

**** That was sarcasm.

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40 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, just a li-i-i-itle hint of post cold war smugness, if you ask me, CosCon, and quite a bit of guesswork. Why don't you go and get some Russian bloggers to fill you in the gaps?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 8:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Fair enough, Anon, at least on the "guesswork" bit. As may be apparent, I haven't been to Russia myself so I don't know any of this from firsthand experience. But... post cold war smugness? Nah, just my normal snarkiness.

So, how about it, Russian bloggers, or others who have firsthand experience with today's Russia and Russians? Am I way off base here, or is there even a smidgen of validity in my wild guesswork? I'm open to hearing all views here. If I'm factually wrong, I'll post corrections.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Looks like Vitale is taking a well-deserved break from what must be the constant, soul-crushing grind of expressing gratitude for things. We all deserve a little vacation from things, huh?

Ironically yesterday morning a friend sent me a link to the following: a video by a comedian I'd never heard of (apparently a Louis CK--Mojo doesn't have cable, and doesn't watch TV past 8:00 pm, so sorry, Mr. CK) talking about people's expectations nowadays and what happens when they're not fulfilled quick enough:

http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2009/02/so_amazing_but.php

Seems particularly appropriate, somehow. Especially HIS use of the term "Zero".

Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, she's not Russian. I thought you were getting Russians.

Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Mojo, and thank you for that link. I'd seen it before, but it seems particularly appropriate here.

I don't doubt that Joe has been having some hairy travel experiences in Russia, and obviously he was using his Twitter page to vent about it. Fair enough; he's human after all (despite being the Buddha of the Internet and all that good stuff), and obviously he wanted some sympathy from his readers (as well as, apparently, wanting them to use the powers of their mighty minds to help "clean" on the situation and improve it).

I'm sure that later on he'll be able to compose some philosophical blog posts and email messages about the whole thing, complete with lessons learned. Although in the past he has advised others to just skip through the anguishing about a bad situation and "see ahead" to the lesson (one instance that sticks out for me is the advice he gives at the end of "The Shocking True Story of Jonathan" in "The Attractor Factor")*, it seems that when push comes to shove, he can't take his own advice. NBD; most of us find it difficult or impossible to see "the lesson" when we're in the very heart of a crisis. (Although some of Joe's past "crises," such as the time he got all bent out of shape because he lost out on a chance to buy a flying car; or the time he was momentarily devastated because an expensive custom guitar he'd ordered wasn't shipped overnight to him (he had to wait A WHOLE EXTRA DAY!), are eminently snarkworthy.)

But I confess to a bit of curiosity about Joe's real-time handling of some of his Russian travel nightmares -- in particular, the missed-flight situation that, he says, got a ticket agent fired. Was the agent truly incompetent and/or surly, thus perhaps deserving of firing? Or did Mr. Fire throw a tantrum, inspiring the authorities to fall all over themselves to make it right for the rockstar? Or was it just one of those tangled situations in which a hapless low-level employee got blamed by the higher-ups (much as things often occur in Corporate America), and perhaps Joe felt bad that the person lost his/her job? Who knows?

It does seem that some of the most "enlightened" self-help/spiritual gurus have a tendency to let their own fame go to their heads, and some of them become demanding little divas, easily as obnoxious as the worst offenders in Hollywood or professional sports.

OTOH, maybe Joe was just overly tired from hours and hours of nonstop media, lack of sleep, jet lag, etc. I think we can all relate, and maybe even sympathize to a degree.

But as I said, sometimes s--t just happens, irrespective of all of the mystical, pseudo-scientific explanations and "remedies" embraced by the New-Wage gurus and their followers. Maybe acceptance of that is the real key to a satisfying travel experience, and a satisfying life.

==
* Here's what Joe wrote in the "Jonathan" story:

"I remember reading a helpful passage in one of my favorite books, 'Breaking The Rules,' by Kurt Wright. It goes like this:

"'Have you ever noticed how easy it is to look back on events that happened a year or more in the past and see perfection in them? For most of us this is true even for situations which seemed tragic, horrible, or even devastating at the time. Now, if it is possible to see perfection in those things a year later, doesn't it make sense that the perfection must be there the moment it happens, too?'

[This ends the quotation from Kurt Wright; the rest is Joe's. ~CLS]

"Wow! What a freeing statement! It causes you to look for the positive in everything, and to look for it *right now* [emphasis Joe's].

Thursday, September 17, 2009 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

I don't think I've ever read anything of Vitale's all the way through--much to my detriment, I'm sure. I assume his books are just fleshed-out versions of his web pages? I'm not a fan of his writing style, at least from what I've seen here and from occasional peeks at his blog after you've linked to it...usually against my better judgment. (Like right now, when you made me click on the "Psychic Demand" link. Why did you do that to me, Connie? Why? What did I do to deserve that? And how do I "clean" to get rid of it?)

The never-ending selling and testimonials do not appeal to me. Nor do I care for the format:

Here's a single short sentence as its own paragraph!

And now here's another!

I like using short paragraphs and tiny words.

It gets my thoughts across.

Maybe the cadence is somehow HYPNOTIC?

I don't know.

All I know is, I feel the need to take Ritalin after reading this far.

(Maybe YOU do, too!)


Of course the whole point of going to different places (aside from making money, that is) is to experience different things, and one of the first things you have to accept (if you wish to have a good time in life, that is, and not keep filling it with petty disappointments) is that many of these differences are not under your direct control, no matter how many people you get fired. (And sometimes them silly furriners don't listen to your brilliant ideas for making their country better, if you can imagine that. And believe it or not, some people in remote villages might not have motorized transportation or high-speed internet access, no matter how much you ATTRACT it to be otherwise.)

Of course it's not fair to judge people when they're in the middle of stuff. I suppose it's the varying degree of "stuff" that's so subjective. Some people have meltdowns over the silliest things, whereas others (like myself in Real Life) pride themselves on their equally foolish stoicism. Then again, like many (if not most) people, I have been in seriously unfortunate personal circumstances wherein--if some well-meaning idiot was ever stupid enough to tell me I needed to look through and find the positive aspect of my experience--I swear at that moment I would have punched them right in the face. Seriously. And I'm usually a happy-go-lucky, nonviolent, optimistic kinda gal. Really bad times occasionally do that to a person.

But missing a flight? Publicly gloating about getting people fired? Desiring to fire others? (Is this why they call him "Mister Fire"?) Hissy-fitting over a car? Geez, chill already!

(Why does my brain keep interpreting "LOA" as some scrambled form of "LMAO"? I'm sure there must be something there. Something Deep, Meaningful and Profound. It *HAS* to be. Or, maybe it's just age-induced dyslexia.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009 5:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Well, Mojo, I've read quite a few of Joe Vitale's works, and some of his earlier books aren't bad, though all are written in an informal, chatty style. As for the one-sentence "paragraphs" and repetitiveness in many of his emails and blog posts, I am sure that is indeed intended to be -- yes! -- hypnotic. I too find the style annoying, and a blatant attempt at manipulation that just doesn't work for me.

I don't necessarily think he was gloating over the fact that the Russian ticket agent got fired (though I don't know for sure), but because he mentioned it in his blog post, that raised my curiosity about the circumstances. He did, however, get really upset last year when he missed out on buying the flying car I mentioned (he even wrote a blog post about it), and he got upset a few months later when he won a guitar on eBay, wanted it overnight, and then found out that the seller *had* shipped it overnight, but used a carrier that didn't do overnight delivery to Joe's rural area. Despite all of his "cleaning" and chanting and stuff, the guitar didn't arrive overnight as he so desperately wanted it to do; it arrived a day later, as scheduled. He decided this was because he was TOO attached to having the guitar overnight.

Of course he learned lessons from these terrible tribulations, and blogged profoundly about them later -- as I fully expect him to do about the Russian snafu, once he's back home.

As for being advised to find the positive when one is in the middle of a real crisis... as I noted, even Mr. Fire can't seem to do that. So how could one possibly expect lesser mortals such as you and me to do it? :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Mojo - remember, what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Nice snark Connie, I'm sure Mr. Fire is only attracting what he deserves. Of course, to paraphrase a bit, If we get what we deserve, who should 'scape whipping? Not me, certainly, and I would hope to see Josef and his ilk duly compensated as well.

And a parting shot for Anon - we won the Cold War (at least the one that ran from the 40's to the 80's) - we can be smug if we want to. I for one am very glad that my children grew up without worrying about imminent nuclear destruction. Only in the dreamland of PC-niks do the victors have to feel guilty.

Friday, September 18, 2009 3:57:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

Yeah, "gloating" was admittedly sloppy, and I knew it as I wrote it. I was looking for something to convey the following wordiness:

As one of them idealistic types, I just don't have it in me to assume from the start that someone did something entirely out of malice. I myself have made some horrifyingly awful mistakes in my time, which have seriously inconvenienced other people who did not deserve it.

So getting someone fired for a single mistake, without knowing their work history or general competence, seems a particularly cruel response.

And even if someone completely cheesed me off and I decided to throw my weight around and fire the jerk, I'd feel just awful about it. Awful enough that I wouldn't really want to talk about it publicly, let alone blog or tweet about it. Hence the particularly snarky use of "gloating".

I guess I'm just one of those silly, narrow-minded sorts that doesn't like the idea of blithely ruining someone's life. (I blame my martial arts study in my younger days, since we were constantly instructed that we SHOULDn't beat the crap out of someone just because we COULD.) Maybe with time and work I can get over this limiting belief, and fully embrace and enjoy my power!

Friday, September 18, 2009 4:45:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for weighing in, Dave. Re compensation, I'm sure that along with all of the poetic-justice stuff, Josef *is* getting "duly compensated" -- monetarily, that is, which will make it all worth his while. He'll also get a chance to share his wisdom later on, and his readers will gush about how whatever he wrote was "just what they needed to read" at that particular time in their lives.

You made some good points about the Cold War. Even though I personally am not smug about it by any means, one of my points, which Anon seemed not to get (judging by her/his brief remark), was that the Russians *themselves* are eagerly embracing Western ways. (At least that's what it looks like to this outsider.) Near as I can tell, capitalism and Western-style consumerism are not things that the US has tried to force on them. As with anywhere else, there are those in Russia who are fighting to retain the "old ways" and cultural identity and whatnot, but Pandora's box has been opened.

In any case, I haven't yet heard from any Russians or other experts on Russia. I'm sure it's not because they're all still standing in line waiting to get their rubles signed by Mr. Fire. It could be because the majority of Russians are hard-working folks who don't have a lot of time to waste with magical ruble signers *or* snarky bloggers. :-)

Friday, September 18, 2009 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Mojo wrote:
"And even if someone completely cheesed me off and I decided to throw my weight around and fire the jerk, I'd feel just awful about it. Awful enough that I wouldn't really want to talk about it publicly, let alone blog or tweet about it. Hence the particularly snarky use of 'gloating'."

Yeah, that's pretty much the way I feel. Believe it or not, part of me still wants to give Joe the benefit of the doubt and imagine that he did indeed feel bad about it later, and perhaps the tweet was just an impulsive, ill-thought-out product of extreme weariness, jet lag, etc. If the ticket agent really didn't deserve to get fired, maybe Joe will try persuade the powers-that-be to rehire the agent. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 18, 2009 9:31:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

One minor correction in my first comment to Mojo (Blogger doesn't provide a way to edit comments once they're up; the only option is to delete and re-post, which in this case would place the comment too much out of order in the discussion).

Anyway, I mentioned in my 11:18 AM comment that Joe was upset because he didn't get overnight shipment on a custom guitar he'd ordered. Actually it was a vintage guitar that he won on eBay. For those interested, here's the scoop:
http://blog.mrfire.com/loa/how-to-attract-anything/

(And if you have a lot of time to waste, you should read the comments too; they're quite revealing in their own right. In particular, look at comment #9 from "Nohelani," and Joe's response (comment #10).)

Friday, September 18, 2009 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anonymous 10:46 AM said...

"Hey, she's not Russian. I thought you were getting Russians."

Sorry, Anon 10:46; I inadvertently overlooked your comment when it first came in, so I've just now published it. It appears immediately after Mojo's first comment (Blogger arranges the comments in the order in which they were sent, not the order in which they were published), so I assume the non-Russian you refer to is Mojo. I certainly would welcome responses from Russians, of course, but that doesn't mean I'm going to discriminate against non-Russians. :-)

Friday, September 18, 2009 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

This just in: I was Googling around and found a link to a fascinating article on the "new" (but nonetheless old) Russian mysticism. The piece originally appeared in the Globe and Mail (Canada) in early 2008, and was reprinted on the Rick Ross web site. I hadn't seen it before I wrote my own blog post, but I have since added the link to my post. (That link is at the end of my paragraph that begins, "Post-Communism, the willingness to believe just about anything remains steadfast in the Russian collective soul.")

The Globe and Mail article does quote some real Russians, as well as others who seem to have knowledge about what's going on in Russia today, and...hmmm... it would seem that my sloppy guesswork wasn't all that far off after all.

Here's the link:
http://www.rickross.com/reference/rs/rs64.html

Friday, September 18, 2009 1:33:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

I have been a quite frequent visitor to Russia since glasnost--when my earlier deportation order was overlooked in order to profit from the high cost of a visitors visa. I doubt that Joe got anybody fired--Russians don't do any version of customer service--surliness is expected and required from any petty official. It is more likely that Joe got sent away with a flea in his ear and a few curses for daring to complain about a missed flight. I find these officious mini stalins quite refreshing, and understandable in a culture that has a long history of totalinarianism. No deference there, even for newage hustledork.
I doubt he'll get much traction there either, the local mobs are very territorial and nastily inventive when it comes to fleecing the rank and file. You can earn money in Russia but very few foreigners manage to leave with any.

Friday, September 18, 2009 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Disillusioned, for your insight. Now I'm starting to get a clearer picture. Even so, I still have a desire to visit Russia, which, as I noted previously, has fascinated me for many years. I just won't expect to be treated like royalty. :-)

Friday, September 18, 2009 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, you certainly don't want to be treated like royalty in Russia.

But look, what comes over the horizon.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/18/nato-russia-defence-planning

There, Josef's mission becomes clearer, he's an emissary of the one world consciousness. Do you think even he suspected his powers of attraction were so great?

Friday, September 18, 2009 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

'Even so, I still have a desire to visit Russia,'

It is a beautiful, cultured and diverse country and people, endlessly fascinating--my comments on the reality of life as opposed to the puff in the PR brochures are not intended to put you off visiting. I just prefer the seamy underbelly that most Russians live with on a daily basis. Tsar Nicholas et al would also not recommend being treated like royalty in Mother Russia.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 4:05:00 AM  
Anonymous mojo said...

No, Mojo is not Russian. Mojo is mostly Irish, as evidenced by her general good luck, excessive charm (would that be lucky charms?) and dry wit.

(Forgive her; she suffers from the delusion that anything she can say with a straight face is "dry wit". Which must make some of these hustledorks the freakin' reincarnation of Oscar Wilde!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:33:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 5:24 PM (and Disillusioned): Agreed, "treated like royalty" generally has a different meaning in Russia than it does in, say, Europe or the U.S., as the ghosts of the last Romanovs might be the first to point out. (One of my favorite popular-history books of all time is Robert K. Massie's "Nicholas & Alexandra.")

A better choice would have been "a rockstar" or "a celebrity."

Anon, I doubt if Josef's attention is on anything quite so mundane as NATO matters. Last I read, he was still waiting for his interpreter to show up. It might be quicker for him to just learn Russian himself and go from there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Disillusioned, I imagine that "seamy underbelly" is precisely what certain species of New-Wage rockstar might wish to avoid in Russia, but seem to have collided with nonetheless. But it all sounds fascinating to me. (Though I'm not sure how I would fare in Russia, since I do not drink alcohol at all, and therefore could not rely on vodka to get me over the rough spots.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Hey, Mojo, I've got a bit o'the Irish in me too, along with German and Russian. Because you are my friend, I will forgive you for placing -- even in jest -- the hustledorks in the same category as the great Mr. Wilde. (I don't know which is the more disconcerting: the notion that the hustledorks really don't believe most of their own crap but are just cynically manipulating their marks; or the notion that they really DO believe their own crap.)

Saturday, September 19, 2009 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which bit of Ireland, may I ask?

Saturday, September 19, 2009 1:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Which bit of Ireland? I confess I don't know, Anon 1:01; I've never been too much into genealogy and I'm just going by what my mom always told me about her Irish and British ancestry. It's too late to ask her for details, alas.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 2:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, the story slips away over the western horizon.

Ay.

Fabled wordsmiths they are.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

BTW, after reviewing Josef's Russian travelogue on Twitter, I've noticed that at various times he mentioned he "attracted" GOOD things, to wit:

1. A Russian seven-string guitar (this prompted him to write, "LOA works")
http://twitter.com/mrfire/status/4051324001

2. Some nice Finnish people who gave him a ride after his harrowing midnight escape from Russia (his visa was due to expire and he had to get out of Russia pronto).
http://twitter.com/mrfire/status/4299043229

Not once did he say he "attracted" missed flights, a missing interpreter, the near travesty with the expired Russian visa, and the other trials of the trip.

As I've noted earlier, though, I'm sure he'll write about all of it later, and may very well acknowledge that he "attracted" the bad stuff too. If so, he'll have some wisdom about how he could have prevented it if he'd just had his consciousness cleared or cleaned or whatever. In other words, he *could* have controlled everything and made his Russian travel experience even better, if he'd just done a few secret things that he will be glad to share with all of us via his next infoproduct.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Re Russia travel woes... here's an article that only reinforces some of Disillusioned's first (3:04 PM) comment.
http://www.moscow-life.com/moscow/russian-visa

Thursday, September 24, 2009 9:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These newagers are obsessed with satisfying their own wants in life. I dont believe they give a shit about anyone else so long as they get enough money for themselves and I bet business is getting tougher by the day now.

Monday, October 05, 2009 5:00:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Joe's 'harrowing escape' makes it sound as if he gnawed his way through the prison wall and trekked barefoot across the permafrost to escape the Gulag, rather than having a short time left on the visa! That hypnotic writing again.
If you ever visit, Connie, try to do your drinking outside in the parks as most Muscovites do--I've been teetotal for 25 years but do a practised pretence with a paper cup and a bit of sleight of hand; a lot of the vodka is homebrew from potatoes and other strange ingredients, a bit like prison pruno, but still highly insulting to refuse.

Monday, October 05, 2009 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 5:00 AM: I imagine business is a bit tougher than usual for many of the New-Wage gurus, but if it is, you sure won't hear about it from them. After all, their marketing depends upon their being perceived as upbeat and successful.

Monday, October 05, 2009 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for the drinking tip, Disillusioned! (As far as I know, Josef still hasn't spilled the beans about what really happened re that escape from Russia. He's probably still trying to work out a way he can make some money just from telling the story and sharing the Valuable Life Lessons he learned from the experience.)

Monday, October 05, 2009 3:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

It appears that this Friday (October 9), Josef will finally spill the beans about his harrowing escape from Russia. He says his tale is not for the faint of heart.

He is also preparing a "three-part audio system" on how to use a magic Russian doll, "Hochun," to make the Law of Attraction work for you.
http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1560

The doll has blank eyes, and you have to add the pupils yourself. You draw in one pupil with a pen so the doll can see your wishes, and then you put it in a spot where it can watch you as you achieve your goal, and you can watch it to get inspiration. When you achieve your goal, you pen in the other pupil so the doll can see your success.

It reminds me eerily of that creepy wind-up doll in the commercial for the prescription antidepressant Pristiq. The depressed woman takes Pristiq and gets better but apparently she still has to take the doll with her everywhere, even on family picnics. I find that disturbing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXuMld0VwuU

As for the Russia doll with the blank eyes, I guess you have to buy a new doll for every goal, but fortunately Joe has conveniently provided a link so you can order as many dolls as you want. (That is, if you can read Russian.) Whaddaya wanna bet he's either getting a cut of the doll action, and/or will be instrumental in creating an English site to market either that doll or an Americanized/Westernized version thereof? It's a thought, anyway, and I know he and his Siglo buds are always trying to think up new ways to part the rubes from their rubles, and the dolts from their dollars.

In fairness, Joe does say that the doll won't actually DO anything to make your wishes come true; you still have to take action, but it will serve as a reminder for you. Nevertheless it is still apparently worthy of a new info-product.

And apparently the magic Russian doll wants all of us to buy a copy of Joe's new book.

That's some marvelous doll, but I like this one better:
http://tinyurl.com/ccmqra

Wednesday, October 07, 2009 1:39:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

I prefer Hochun with just one eye drawn in, as on the original site--at least he's winking, letting us know its all a bit of a joke.
It's somewhat similar to Maria Duval's system of the scrappy bit of paper to hide and make your wishes come true. How can Joe make a three part video course on how to use this; he's already told us how on the blog and the Russian site adds the bit about writing your wish and stashing it in Hochun's belly. What further mystic magic has Joe got for us?--I am agog.

Love your disclaimer for the Joe bobble-head; is it FTC compliant and can I pinch it for my next whizz-bang product? (which will cure wishful thinking and the urge to buy manifestation products in one dose or your money back--watch this space )

Thursday, October 08, 2009 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I like the idea of the winking Hochun too, Dis. Joe said he's creating a three-part audio system, not video, but even so, your question is valid. The answer is: Joe will turn everything he possibly can into a product. That's why he's rich and we are not. If he could get people to buy his cats' used litter, he would.

Speaking of the FTC... interestingly enough, Joe, although he normally eschews mundane current affairs, turned his attention briefly to the new FTC rulings on truth-in-blogging.

On October 6 he Tweeted:
RT Potential FTC Fines Raise Big Blogging Questions http://bit.ly/nZLBP

(The "RT" meaning, of course, that he is asking his readers to "re-Tweet," or spread the word 'round the Twitterverse.)

Before I knew that JV had Tweeted about this matter, I had done so too:
"I'm of 2 minds re FTC guidelines on truth-in-blogging. More accountability for hucksters? Or more Big Brother? http://tinyurl.com/yazl33o

My guy Ron was the one who first alerted me to the FTC news; he sent me an email link with the comment that he wondered whether the new guidelines would change the way the hustledorks write their blogs. The hustlers are always raving about some miracle product or person, and only rarely do they write, "I am not making a cent from this endorsement." And even those disclaimers usually seem less than credible.

Thursday, October 08, 2009 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Okay, the story is out about Josef's harrowing escape from Russia. Read it and draw your own conclusions: http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=1493

Joe does seem to be putting the burden of the blame for the fiasco on his (former) VP of Marketing, though he also blames himself for not paying attention to the "yellow flags" that popped up numerous times before he left. And I can understand how it is possible to let yourself get carried away by someone else's enthusiasm -- especially if it is someone in whom you have placed a lot of trust. So believe it or not, I sympathize with Joe, if things went down the way he related them.

But he ventures into woo territory when he writes that he also blames the fact that he still had residual Cold-War fears of Russia as the enemy of the U.S., and speculates that perhaps if he had sufficiently "cleaned" and "cleared" and done his tapping and whatnot on those fears before he left, things might have been better.

At least he is admitting, after a fashion, that he "attracted" the bad experiences as well as the good. So I will give him points there for consistency.

Moreover, it does seem clear that travel in Russia can indeed be nightmarish -- and, yes, even dangerous -- if you don't have all of your P's and Q's crossed, as this page from the U.S. State Department web site makes clear:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1006.html#entry_requirements

I will concede that the information on that page is a bit more ominous-sounding than the information on the "Moscow Life" web site I linked to earlier.

Even so (and though he gives credit to his traveling companion, Mark Ryan, for helping to save his life), Joe seems to be painting *himself* as some kind of hero, or generously allowing others to do so, which is the same thing. F'rinstance:

"When I met with Michael Abedin, publisher of Austin All Natural magazine, at the grand opening of the Vitale Cigar Bar in Wimberley, Texas, he said, 'You have the look of a great warrior about you.' What does that mean? 'You look tired and exhausted, but you returned from battle wiser, stronger, and transformed.'"

Uh-huh.

I wouldn't wish travel horrors such as Joe described on anyone, and yes, I do understand even better than I did before that travel in Russia can be a tangled nightmare. If you're not physically up to it, if you're worn out or ill, it's much worse. OTOH, it seems obvious he's going to milk this whole thing for way more than it's worth, and it does appear that he's not-so-subtly playing the martyr. I can see the icon now: Saint Josef of Wimberley...

I will say this, though: my earlier comment, though based solely upon my own speculation, was quite prescient:
http://tinyurl.com/yfnzfpf

Not that I consider myself to be particularly intuitive; predicting the mostly predictable is really no big accomplishment.

Friday, October 09, 2009 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

I think Joe has been reading your blog--and that he had a bog-standard Russian experience.
I have a few hair-raising tales of when I overstayed my visa by 11 months back in Soviet times, but I was a feisty whippersnapper then and this staid old lady thinks some things are best kept private.

Friday, October 09, 2009 2:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

LOL, Dis. I seriously doubt if Joe wastes time on my little blog. And, as typical as Joe's experience in Russia may have been in the large scheme of things, it's obvious that for him it was anything but typical, and it was apparently quite traumatic. As expected, though, his fans are flocking to him, thanking him for the lessons, etc. etc. etc. And they're applauding his decision to let his marketing VP go.

What a difference a year and a half or so make...
http://blog.mrfire.com/?p=840

Friday, October 09, 2009 7:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

I need to amend my comment immediately preceding this one. Joe has removed the sentences in his "escape-from-Russia" blog post that clearly implied he let his VP of Marketing go. Could it be that he wasn't being entirely truthful about firing the guy, and perhaps not even "truthy," as Stephen Colbert might say?

Even so, it seems that the Joebots are still flocking to him, praising him for his courage in telling his story, and congratulating him on letting his errant employee go (and Joe is not correcting them, either). So if he did play fast and loose with the truth, he is letting that deception stand by virtue of not correcting the erroneous comments.

What really stands out for me (although it doesn't surprise me in the least) is that, once again, fans are praising him for revealing his "human side." And some even seem to be surprised that he HAS a human side. Yes, oh, yes, even the Buddha of the Internet can inadvertently attract unpleasant experiences! Who knew? And he bravely takes responsibility for not paying attention to "flags," and for having residual fears that may have helped attract the bad experiences in Russia.

I imagine that the people praising him for revealing his humanity on this post are some of the same folks who similarly praised him in summer of 2008 when he revealed his humanity by writing about how he was despondent for days because he missed out on a chance to buy a flying car.

I guess he is always going to find fans to flock around him. Interestingly, though, he is also hearing from detractors, some of whom are accusing him of being a bit whiny. (And no, I'm not one of them. I have not participated in a discussion on his blog in a long time.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 3:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious. Just where did Mr. Fire find the time to receive a doctorate? He now goes by "Dr.," but that title just suddenly materialized in the last few years. I'm guessing it's mail order. Metaphysics no doubt, or perhaps small engine repair.

That's some progress, since "Dr." Joe was virtually destitute not that very many years ago from what he's written.

I remember not 10 years ago his ENTIRE schtick was MARKETING and ADVERTISING. He never talked about spirituality, or any new age stuff. Then, suddenly, he wrote something about "spiritual marketing" and POOF...new career.

Guess you can't fault a man for opportunism, but dang, the public at large is pretty stupid.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 1:34 PM: I've written a few blog posts poking fun at "Dr." Joe for his questionable degrees.

Joe boasts a Doctorate of Metaphysics from the University of Metaphysics/aka University of Sedona, which, though not accredited, is (as of a 2007 ruling) considered to be a religious school and therefore not subject to oversight by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

I blogged about that here:
http://cosmicconnie.blogspot.com/2009/05/good-news-on-faux-degree-front.html

Joe's other "doctorate" is in marketing, from the unaccredited online institution, Belford University, which often grants degrees based on life experience and previously published works.

Now, as for the spiritual shtick: In all fairness to Joe -- and I met him a little over twenty years ago; we were friends for a little over ten years -- he seems to have a very longstanding interest in spiritual and metaphysical topics. Among other things, he says he was a member of the late Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho's) cult for seven years. You can read more about all of that in his book, "Adventures Within."

I first met him when he was the speaker at a now-defunct metaphysical organization in Houston. He gave a good talk on writing, creativity and spirituality, as I recall.

But you are correct that marketing and advertising formed the basis of his work for many years. He kept the spiritual stuff more or less in the background. Even so, he was always hanging around spiritual/New-Age types in the years I knew him, and he did marketing work for several of them, including the infamous "Jonathan Jacobs." He also wrote for several New-Age publications.

I believe his big breakthrough came in the late 1990s when he finally hit upon a way to combine spirituality and marketing with...yep...his book, "Spiritual Marketing," which later morphed into "The Attractor Factor." And the woo factor became stronger in the years that followed, as he openly got into stuff like yagyas and every other magical mystical thing he could manage.

The really huge break, woo-wise, came when he was chosen for "The Secret."

The point is that it's not as if he just woke up one day and said, "Hey, I'm gonna get me a spiritual shtick" -- although it might seem that way from the outside. He has been into this stuff for a very long time.

He's just finally found a way to make real money from it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:24:00 PM  

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