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.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

James Ray: what a difference four years make

On my previous post, I quoted briefly from a February 2007 post that Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale wrote on his old blog, Beyond Marketing. He was defending the runaway bestselling New-Wage moviemercial The Secret against what he apparently saw as the first real wave of criticism of its teachings. At the end of his post he wrote:

TIP: Most people who criticize The Secret are doing so because they want it to work but can't seem to make it work. One of the biggest reasons The Secret doesn't instantly work for someone is due to lack of forgiveness. An entire culture can experience this. But it can be changed with one person forgiving. Namely you....And dare something worthy, that will inspire yourself and others, rather than raining on a parade that could heal millions. Don't be seduced by the dark side. Go toward the light.
And toward the [fake] light the millions streamed, and many were blinded. Some are still blind.

What struck me more than Joe's blog post itself was the fact that several of the commenters, also Secret apologists, used the performance of one James Arthur Ray on various talk shows as an admirable example of how to deal with critics of The Secret and the Law of Attraction. Oh, those were the days, my friend, when James Ray and all of the Secret "teachers" were riding high on accolades and attention and their own seriously bloated egos. Most of them were already pretty successful at parting marks from their money, which was why Rhonda Byrne chose them to be part of her project in the first place. But The Secret propelled them to new levels of fame, and they raised their prices accordingly. James Ray, of course, was one of those who profited handsomely from that ol' Secret black magic.

In my own blog post yesterday, I linked to one comment to Joe's piece that particularly stuck out for me, though I didn't quote it on my post. But I'll do so now to save you from having to go back searching through links. A woman named Vicki Kunkel, a self-described "nationally-recognized expert in mass appeal," wrote, in part:

...I witnessed a rather hilarious segment on The Today Show where James Ray was defending The Secret, and two nay-sayers were vehemently spouting their disapproval. James was smiling, calm, composed, relaxed. In a word, peaceful. The one opponent -- although slim and good looking -- appeared tense, uncomfortable and ill-at-ease. The other was sweating profusely and seemed on the verge of a heart attack because he was so out of shape. (If ever anyone could benefit from some self-help, this guy was a good case.)

Hmmm...quite a disparity there. I couldn't help chuckling at how well the nay-sayers unwittingly advocated the validity of "The Secret" through their tense body language and demeanor.
Well, four years have passed since those heady days of Secret mania, and between then and now some pretty bad things happened with various Secret stars, one of the worst of which was James Ray's Death Lodge in October 2009. You know what they say about hindsight, although my personal opinion is that some of the people who spent so much time and energy defending The Secret and hailing James Ray were always practicing a type of hindsight, in that they had their heads up their a$$es. How many of the folks who vehemently defended Ray back then feel the same way, now that he is finally on trial for three counts of reckless manslaughter?

In any case, we shall see in the weeks and months to come how James Ray's demeanor holds up.
Will he be "smiling, calm, composed, relaxed...peaceful?"

I'm not going to be attending the trial at Camp Verde, Arizona, which is expected to last four months. I won't be able to watch the whole thing on TV either (it will be televised live on In Session), but I will be checking back frequently on various spots, including Salty Droid's James Ray Trial Update page, for blow-by-blow accounts. Here's the link:

There's also a link in the left-hand sidebar, right under my Twitter link, so it will be continually visible on the opening page of this blog for as long as the trial lasts.

I'm hoping the mainstream media will give this story the attention it deserves. Dan Harris at ABC is off to a good start, as Salty Droid noted, in his own eloquent way, on a related post about the beginning of the trial: http://saltydroid.info/get-set-go/

On that post, Salty embedded the video of Dan's Good Morning America segment from this morning. Here's another link to that video, which Dan shared on his Twitter page: http://t.co/zBiJYqO. The page to which Dan linked also contains the code for embedding the video on your own site, but I suck at embedding so I think I'll leave it alone, and you can watch it on Salty's site or the one Dan shared. But do watch it, if you haven't already, because it shows photos from the 2008 sweat lodge that the jurors are not going to be allowed to see.

So ABC is off to a good start, and judging from some correspondence I've been having with a producer at another major broadcast network, that network may also be pulling its weight for this story. I hope so. And good for In Session for their decision to televise the trial. As Salty Droid wrote on his James Ray Trial Updates page:
In the final week before the trial :: Judge Darrow agreed to a request for live television coverage. Ray shouldn’t be too nervous :: he’s been on television before …
Perhaps some of the chat shows will even pick up on this story...hey, maybe the ladies on ABC's The View will give it a whirl. I'm guessing Oprah won't be saying much about it, though.

As I remarked on Twitter earlier, March is blowing in like a lyin'...sociopath. I hope that some justice for the victims and their families and other loved ones blows in with it. I guess we'll know for sure by July, if not sooner.

PS ~ I apologize for using a graphic I'd already used on a previous post, but I figured, what the heck. In searching Google images for "James Ray trial," my little composite was the first result. Go figure. So I decided to borrow from myself.

Related posts on this Whirled:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

4 years is a long time indeed. We saw the rise of everyone in the secret, then watched a few of them fall somewhat in credibility. Some spectacularly. Now we're watching one do the exact opposite he preached about accountability, respect, and value for life.

In fact, the only one sitting pretty rolling in her dough is Rhonda Byrnes. Reading between the lines, it's no surprise she kept her distance from these people after 'the secret'.

Thursday, March 03, 2011 7:18:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You said it, Abalance. Actually it seems Rhonda first ran and hid a few years ago when the anti-Secret backlash hit a certain critical (in more ways than one) mass. The flap with Abe-Hicks, and those rancorous lawsuits (Drew Heriot, Dan Hollings) probably just made her more publicity-shy. But the crap with David Schirmer, and then with James Ray, not to mention a few other Secret "stars" behaving badly (e.g., Marie Diamond, Bill Harris, Hale Dwoskin, Bob Proctor)... geez, it's no "secret" why she chose NOT to focus on the New-Wage scoundrels in her long-awaited sequel, The Power. Why share the glory, and leave yourself open to so much guilt by association, when you can have the cash cow all to yourself?

Thursday, March 03, 2011 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous disillusioned said...

Rhonda has got her world-wide profile now, thanks to the assorted hustledorks from the secret--so she can remain true to her marketing roots and now dump their arses.
I'm sure all those hustledorks would have unblinkingly done the same, they know how the game is played.

Friday, March 04, 2011 7:08:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

You're right of course, Dis. It must be rather galling for some of the h-dorks anyway, especially since Rhonda played the role of the nice, innocent, wide-eyed, wonder-filled gal who just wanted to spread joy to as many people as possible via The Secret. For the most part it seems she has spread poison instead of joy, and has profited handsomely from it.

In any case I suppose you could say that the h-dorks got what they wanted; they will forever be able to market themselves as Secret "stars." Not that having been a Secret star has kept James Ray out of his deep troubles, nor has it prevented David Schirmer from being banned for life from offering financial/investment services in Oz. Oh, well!

Friday, March 04, 2011 8:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Saturday, March 05, 2011 8:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for that link, Anon March 5, 8:03 AM.

Everyone else: http://www.hare.org/
is a link to "Without Conscience,"
Robert Hare's Web Site devoted to the study of psychopathy.

Among other things the page contains info about several books about psychopathic and sociopathic leaders.

I didn't see this one mentioned on the page, but another good book on the topic is "Evil Genes" by Barbara Oakley. http://www.barbaraoakley.com/

Saturday, March 05, 2011 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger The Lazy Vegan said...

James Ray has always skeeved me out. I do believe in LOA (and have posted here before about that), but that's one cold heartless guy; I read one of his early books years ago and it's all about ego for him, something "true" practitioners (IMO) strive hard to stay away from. He's getting his due. (And if he'd followed his own "teachings," he wouldn't be sitting where he is; funny how he apparently thought he didn't have to listen to ... himself. ;-) )

Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:57:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for your comment, LV. Yes, apparently JAR was a "do as I say, not as I do" type of New-Wage goo-roo.

It seems to be all *about* ego for most New-Wage leaders, no matter what sort of lofty babble they may spew about transcending ego.

Thursday, March 17, 2011 10:55:00 AM  

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