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.)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

On Death Ray, Salty Droid, and manly men

I'm not yet up to writing anything long and thoughtful, but in the continuing interests of revitalizing this Whirled, here are a few little snippets to close out the cruel month of April.

Death Ray is still at it
If you can access Facebook and can stomach it, here is a beyond-disgusting bit from
convicted killer James Arthur "Death" Ray's presentation at last week's "Wealth Summit" held in Clearwater Beach FL (which also happens to be Scientology country). Here's the link, and don't say I didn't warn you:

https://www.facebook.com/100009492367881/videos/2047490262244033/  

The good news is that Death Ray is still playing to much smaller audiences than he did in his glory days, and he had to share billing with several other hucksters, including fellow star of
The Secret and third- or fourth-tier Scamworlder, Lisa Nichols.

The bad news is that he is still playing to audiences, and getting them to chant stupid things like, "The naysayers don't know how to count!" He is still framing his imprisonment for negligent homicide, and
his lame attempts at a scumback, as a heroic journey. And even if only a very few folks are buying that shtick, that's still far too many.

Salty Droid on QTR podcast
My friend and favorite scambusting blogger/lawyer,
Jason Jones, aka Salty Droid, did a podcast for Quoth The Raven earlier this month. While it could probably benefit from a bit of editing, it's still well worth a listen, being a powerful reminder that in Scamworld, there are no neat and tidy endings, and that the more things change with MLMs like Herbalife, the more they stay the same.

One aspect that really struck out for me is that Jason remains consistent in his refusal to condescend to victims of scams, even people who are serially victimized. As frustrating as it may sometimes be to someone observing a friend or loved one under the spell of an obvious scam, any one of us could be vulnerable to even the most blatantly scammy scams given the right (or grievously wrong) circumstances. And it can happen more than once; being screwed by one scam or scammer is almost never a guarantee that you won't be screwed again, in much the same way, by yet another scam or scammer somewhere down the road. In fact that probably happens more often than not. As Jason has pointed out to me (and I quoted him in
this October 2017 post), "Manipulation causes susceptibility to manipulation as a side effect."

Here's the link to the podcast.


Manly men, redux
This little blog may not have many readers, and the conversations may not be as active as they were in years past, but it does still get comments, which I greatly appreciate. It shows me that someone is still paying attention. Just yesterday I got a comment to
a post I published in January 2011. Framed around criticism of the men's LGAT (Large Group Awareness Training) organization The ManKind Project, the post also covered the mythopoetic "men's movement" in general, a phenomenon that took hold in the culture back in the 1980s.

A woman named Aimee
sent in a comment thanking me for my post and providing a link to a 2015 guest post her husband had written on the EcoFeminist blog. Her husband had been "groomed" by his therapist to attend a ManKind "Warrior Training" event that, she says, left him traumatized for years. And apparently there were repercussions from the therapist in question following her husband's abandonment of the "training."

Here is a link to the blog post by Aimee's husband. I think he did a wonderful job of pointing out what is wrong about ManKind Project and as an extension, about the whole mythopoetic-men's-group phenomenon. Some of my favorite bits:
Its apolitical and anti-rationalist thinking narrows down the concept of manhood to fairy tales and atavistic concepts that reinforce separation from women rather than look at rational and practical ways to heal disparities, discuss inequalities and examine existing power structures. Kind of like a ‘they have their side of the bus, we want ours’.

I don’t want to be part of a bastardised Grimm fairy tale.

I don’t want to be part of an epic.

If I’m wounded, I don’t want to exclude a great portion of the world in seeking solutions, let alone run around in the bush banging drums and howling like a fucking wolf and pretending I am carrying the strength of male lineage in my family.

I don’t want to make up stories about childhood abuse or repressed memories (a highly dubious technique with very little empirical support).

I don’t want to shed my identity and name myself after an animal.

I’m not interested in
LGAT and the rabbit holes it can lead you down and I don’t want to place my emotional/ psychological wellbeing in the hands of someone who has no background in professional mental health services or who subscribes to outmoded and pseudo-scientific ‘therapies’.

I want to be the author of my own story.I want to walk through the bush quietly comfortable in my own skin (and maybe see a real live wolf). I want to be proud of all of my traits no matter how they are labeled.
Good for him. As for me, I need to be the author of my own story too, but for now I'll settle for being the author of this blog, and I'll be back with more in (what I hope will be) the merry month of May. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Back to the Whirled: Let us prey

Cosmic Connie here, reporting back for duty after being mostly absent for a bit longer than intended. For several reasons, it has been a chaotic couple of months, but I am beginning to feel as if I've landed on my feet, though there are some days when I wonder whether I've landed at all. I won't bore you with details (or, alternatively, I won't top off your bourbon or other drink of choice with a splash of schadenfreude, should you happen to be a scammer in whose blubbery hide this blog has been a thorn). I'll just say it has been a fairly rough road, one that involved transitioning from the Shire to the Woodland Realm, and leave it at that. It's very green here, and lovely, and there are many distractions, some upsetting and some quite wonderful. But I need to get back to work.

We're probably long past the point where I have to explain that this is not a political blog, except when it has to be. And in fact it has had to be on too many occasions in the two-plus years since
Donald J. Trump, scammer extraordinaire, finally and fully insinuated himself into the presidential race, irreversibly blurring the line between my normal beat and politix.

In large part because of said blurring of lines, another line has been fuzzed as well: the one between my normal beat (New-Wage/McSpirituality etc.) and That Old-Time Religion. I've been asked on more than one occasion why I don't spend more time going after religion, i.e., more traditional faiths. The short answer is that this isn't a "religious" blog either, except when it has to be. But. When you have
fundie hypoChristians and evangescammers getting together to pray for Trump to "protect" him from various sources of evil ... well, there you have it: it sort of has to be.

Earlier this month televangelist
Frank Amedia appeared on the show of his religious-huckster colleague, convicted fraudster Jim Bakker.* Amedia is the perpetrator of something called Touch Heaven Ministries, which, according to their web site, "is commissioned by the Spirit of God as an outreach to the world to help to Prepare The Way for The Coming of Our Lord.  Jesus is indeed returning, the time is short, and ALL of us have much to do."

More to the point of this blog,
he is a self-proclaimed "Christian policy advisor" for Trump's campaign, and even claimed to have once stopped a tsunami. (In the latter regard he has plenty of company among the New-Wage hucksters and earnest but misguided McSpirituality practitioners who make up my normal beat. They've been known to stop hurricanes and wildfires.)

Amedia's message on the Bakker show centered around a so-called "conspiracy" against Trump. This is congruent with Trump's own narrative, since
Trump himself is a conspiracy fan, as are many of his followers. Anyway, Amedia led a group prayer of evangescammers to protect the Mad King against those evil conspirators, and at one point Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church, added:
We lift up witches and warlocks who have been a part of this assignment, as they have gathered in numbers almost immeasurable to curse this specific president. We cancel, we bind their authority, we bind their curses, we lift up your word that says you shall not revile the gods and neither shall you bring a curse upon the rule of God’s people. We declare those assignments null and void and we claim the souls of many of the witches and warlocks.
When I shared the link to the Amedia vid on Facebook, my husband Ron commented, "And he isn't even including the orcs and cave trolls! Woe is 'Murika!"

But here. You need to watch it yourself.
Here's a link, or just click below.




In case it isn't painfully obvious why the above-referenced blurring of lines has necessitated a few potshots at religions that were once mostly outside the normal scope of this Whirled, the answer lies in the astonishing fact that the notoriously libertine Donald John continues to be the darling of the evangelical set. The more "scandals" emerge about his past and present, the more passionately they seem to embrace him. Partly that's because he shamelessly panders to them, seemingly welcoming their retrogressive ideas and allowing them to dictate policy, thus preserving the white patriarchy and helping to move America dangerously in the direction of theocracy. As well, the "End Times" enthusiasts have glommed on to him because they believe he is helping to hasten the Second Coming. They apparently just can't wait to be Raptured Up so they can watch the rest of us suffer from a safe distance.

It would be funny, if it weren't kind of scary. Oh, who am I fooling. It's funny anyway.

But also scary.


* As you might imagine, Bakker himself is up to no good, using his pulpit to spread hypoChristian propaganda, a recent example being his declaration that the Good Lord has already tried to send two people into this world who were destined to cure cancer, but alas, they were aborted before they had a chance.

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