Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't worry, buy happy!

Just a few snippets and updates, partly in honor of the financial insanity that's going on all around us...

Buddha would be proud
As mentioned here a couple of posts ago (third item down, "It's because the Universe likes greed"), Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale – the man who says that Buddha wants you to be rich (and who calls himself "The Buddha of the Internet") – recently bought a 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom. If you've read much of his stuff, however, you know that he doesn't actually refer to the process of acquiring a car as "buying." He rarely speaks in such mundane terms about his car purchases (or any of his other extravagances, for that matter). Instead he says he is "attracting" these cars, which of course is partly a play on the whole Law Of Attraction craze and The Secret, but is mostly a way to promote his own "Attract A New Car" scheme. Every time he egregiously overpriced automobile, he points to it as proof that his program really works.

Thus the meta-tag title (the
title appearing on the top bar on the screen) of his October 13 blog post, "Meet the Phantom," is, "Secret movie star Joe Vitale attracts $375,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom" – as if the car just magically appeared on his driveway one day as a gift from the Universe. He writes that he didn't expect to attract yet another new car when he went to San Diego a couple of weeks ago for his "Miracles Weekend," but by golly, he did, and wow, what a car! It makes him look and feel like a royalty.

He is now using his new acquisition not only to show the world how rich and successful he is (yes he is, he really, really is!), but also to get all of the mileage he can out of his readers' concerns about the current economic crisis. He writes:

There’s a lesson here, of course.

The Rolls-Royce motor car was created to serve the affluent market. It’s good to remember that even when the media says the money is gone and the sky is falling, life goes on and money still circulates.

On the day the stock market took its biggest dive, I bought a $375,000 car.

Naturally the Joebots were quick to jump in with oohs and ahhs about his new baby, thanking him for being such a bright and shining point of light on a generally gloomy landscape. But even though most of the respondents seemed to project a sense of optimism that they too would eventually reach Joe's level of success, one message from a perpetually sad but nonetheless loyal and devoted fan stood out.

I was at the Car Show today - Autoshow 2008 Istanbul.

Everything was beautiful… Cars, girls, people around. Even under the affects of the world economic crisis we enjoyed our time a lot...

BUT after that beautiful day why I feel sad & downhearted ??? Because I back to the same rented apartment on a slum quarter with taking buses and trains ? Because I have $1000 on my bank account and the cheapest car I like to buy was $30,000 ? Or because I don’t have a beautiful girl friend to warm my heart ?…

...I feel sad & downhearted right now because I’m focusing to the things I don’t have… I know I should focus on things I want and should say thank you to the divine for the great things in my life. But why I’m not doing that ?… I don’t know.

I feel happy right now to see you with your new baby - A Rolls Royce Phantom. One of the most amazing cars ever built. Keep me inspired dear Joe…

I snark about the silly side of selfish-help/New-Wage, but that young man's message, as English-challenged as it is, speaks more poignantly about the sadder side than anything any critic could write. It's not the first time this individual has written a message like this to Joe's blog, and he's not the only one who has expressed despair over the fact that life hasn't changed in spite of investing in all those breakthrough products and trying all of those magical techniques.

Such "woe-is-me" comments aren't the sort that Joe normally answers directly on his blog, but on a fairly frequent basis he does address the question of why, despite their best efforts, people fail at self-improvement, wealth creation or whatever. The answer to that timeless question, of course – the key to the missing secret, the hand up to the "next level" – is always contained in Joe's latest product or program or workshop. And if that product or program or workshop doesn't do the trick, well, there's always the next one. (Not that Joe is alone in this m.o. – hardly. It's just the New-Wage way of marketing.)

In any case, the vast majority of responses to the Phantom piece, as well as to most of Joe's boast posts, are more in the spirit of this one from a guy named Josh:
Like Joe says, we live in a world of abundance. It’s supposed to be like that!!!
Here’s the concept…You are supposed to be living the life you want. You are supposed to have the things that you want. This is how you and the Universe are made. It’s made that way and when you fight it, well… things go out of tune!!!
It’s true!!! Look at Joe he knows what he is talking about. Thank You Joe!!!
P.S. Nice Wheels.
If The Secret did nothing else, it expanded the New-Wage consumer's sense of entitlement. "We deserve everything we want, and furthermore, the Universe wants us to have it! That's the way it's supposed to be!"

The October 13 blog post wasn't Joe's first mention of the Rolls; it was merely its formal introduction, complete with photos, to readers of his blog. His buddy Pat O'Bryan shot a video this past weekend of Joe sharing a "prosperity lesson" in the Rolls. (And by the way, according to that video, the car cost not $375,000 but $400,000; maybe this is due to the fact that it is, as Joe said his banker told him, appreciating in value. Or maybe it's due to Joe's tendency to be a little creative with facts. But heck, what's a mere $25,000.00 or so? Any bets on how long it will take his Phantom to become a half-million-dollar car?)

the past couple of weeks Joe has also been "Tweeting" frequently about his Phantom on Twitter. At one point another "Tweeter" asked him, "Why do you find it so necessary to brag about your possessions?" He replied, "Why do you consider it bragging and not inspiration to reach for more?"

In addition to Tweeting and blogging about his cars, he has also presented a running account of his quest for the perfect mansion, one with a garage large enough to house his growing stable of jalopies and sufficient square footage to accommodate his ever-expanding ego. A recent Tweet informed readers that he was "Off to Austin to check out another multi-million dollar hidden estate. The Phantom demands it."
That's right, Joe. Blame the car.

When it comes right down to it, though, this picture tells us more than Joe's words ever could.
You can get a taste of Joe's wealthy lifestyle for yourself; just fork over $5,000.00 US and you will get taken for a ride. In the Phantom, that is. Not only that, you'll get to go to dinner with Joe, and you will get to participate in a Master-Mind session to brainstorm on ways to help Joe pay for his Phantom and next car and his mansion...I mean, ways to make loads of money for you.

Financial crisis? What financial crisis? Just keep spending your money on Joe's books and DVDs and workshops and seminars and special Master-Mind sessions, and you'll glide in comfort and luxury over these rough economic roads. Or at least Joe and his buddies will.

Like I said, Buddha would be proud.

Onward Christian wankers (the long-promised David Schirmer update)
Speaking of the stock market, we haven't heard much lately from that brilliant investment adviser, Law Of Attraction expert and Secret star, the Blunder From Down Under, David Schirmer, who is pictured on the left in a pose that somehow reminds me of the Joe+Rolls photo I linked to in the snippet above. Alas, Schirmer can't do much with the stock market these days because he's in a spot of trouble with the Australian authorities. But that hasn't stopped him from exploiting his Secret connection to the max, and trying to glom onto other Secret stars and selfish-help gurus.

There was, for example, the short-lived partnership with the elder statesman of the LOA crowd, "Scientist" Bob Proctor, who ultimately took Schirmer to court for deceptive and unfair business practices, among other things. Apparently Schirmer has violated some of the court orders and is in even more trouble with Proctor. But that still hasn't stopped him from promoting himself as a "wealth coach" and trying to grab on to the coattails of any guru he can. For a while he tried to make it look as if he had a special connection with Joe Vitale, using the fact that Joe was featured in multiple issues of Schirmer's publishing experiment, Succeed Magazine (which, rumor has it, is on the brink of failure).
And Schirmer's endorsement appears on the back cover of the new version of Joe's book, The Attractor Factor.
"Joe Vitale not only appeared in The Secret, he is one of the few who knows and lives attraction! Contained in the five steps that Joe maps out in The Attractor Factor are the keys to endless abundance. This book instructs on how to take control of your beliefs and focus, ultimately attracting the life of your dreams. If you just do what Joe tells you, you will create an abundance far beyond what you can currently imagine. The Attractor Factor is the secret that The Secret doesn't tell you."
— David Schirmer, wealth coach and star of The Secret.

Nevertheless Schirmer is apparently persona non grata in the upper tiers of the hustledork hierarchy, and scuttlebutt has it that a few of his fellow Secret stars have gone so far as to warn others to stay away from him. I suppose that it's professional courtesy as much as fear of litigation that prevents them from making a big public deal out of these warnings, but the train has left the station anyway.

Even New-Wage guru wannabe and former Schirmer admirer Keith Leon, who until recently had a series of events with Schirmer scheduled in California, seems to have dropped him from the roster. Keith was reportedly going to be Schirmer's ticket to breaking into the US market, but he has his own career to look out for; he is apparently trying earnestly to gain credibility in the selfish-help industry, as evidenced by the fact that he and wife Maura are in the line-up of life coach and Vitale bud Jennifer McClean's "Healing With The Masters" teleseminar series. It just wouldn't do for a rising star to be seen with the likes of Schirmer.

So what's an ousted hustler to do? There's so much money to be made in the New-Wage/selfish-help industry, but if you've been shunned by some of the industry's leading luminaries, whaddaya gonna do?

I'll tell you what you do, and in fact I've already made mention of it here: you try to break into the Christian hustledork market.

Now, it's not that I have anything against Christianity, though I don't consider myself a Christian, but I have to say that if there's anything worse than a New-Wage hustledork, it's a Christian hustledork. That's a person who combines crass materialism, greed and arrogance with traditional religious self-righteousness, as opposed to New-Wage sanctimony. Gaggggh!

Word has it that Schirmer used and abused the folks in the church he used to belong to, and was kicked out. He subsequently became involved in another church,
RHEMA Melbourne (formerly Word Family Church). For all I know, he may have been ousted from that one too by now – I'm kind of behind on my Schirmer updates – but until I hear differently I'll assume that he's still trying to capitalize on his "Christian" faith via that church.

Lately he's been promoting one of those intensely annoying motivational Christian types, a former baseball coach named Chip Brim, founder of Champions 4 Christ. Chip is the son of Branson, Missouri evangelist Billye Brim. A few years ago Chip had a mystical experience while stalking Bambi.

Eight years ago, while deer hunting up in a tree-stand, God gave me a divine visitation. I was taken out of my body for two hours, back in time to my high school football field. With this encounter, God gave me an illustrated message to the Church for these last days—“why prayers are not being answered.”

When it happened, I thought it was ten minutes, but two hours had passed by. I've never even heard of anyone being taken to another place in time. However, I have since and have seen it in the Word. So, I'm O.K. I am on, thank God.

You can read the rest of this exciting story on Chip's web site. Anyhow, apparently Schirmer's church is infatuated with Chip, and last month Schirmer sent out this email:

Subject: A special invitation for the people of Melbourne ... and the world

Date: 2008/9/13


This is an unusual email for me to send you ... in fact it is unlike anything I have ever sent before!! I'm sending it to you because I'm so excited!

Read it carefully - it could impact and change your life forever.

Last night I had the privilege of listening to one of the most inspiring, exciting and stirring speakers I have ever heard and I want to invite you to listen to him ... either in person or online.

Millions of people know that I am one of 24 Teachers on the movie 'The Secret.' Many thousands of people have had their finances increased and lives transformed by what I have taught in both the stock market and abundance thinking areas. I am truly grateful for the experience and knowledge God has given me to enable me to impart the financial wisdom.

What most people don't know is that I have another passion that is far greater and more profitable than all the stock market and abundance thinking put together.

Let me share with you a glimpse of my story:

I was born into a wonderful Christian home of farming parents, one that upheld the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, kindness, love and God. My Father always treated my Mother with honour, respect, equality and love. He taught us a work ethic that very few people have or understand today. He often said, "If it is not true, not kind or not helpful don't say it!" We got a belting with a stick if we were disobedient ... or talked back! We went to church every Sunday, rain, flood or drought!

We never had a TV or went to the movies ... imagine my disbelief when I went into the world and workplace and saw husbands that bashes their wives, and employees who stole from their employer and people disrespectful to authority. I will share more about this another time!

I started to study the mind and thinking 20 years ago this year ... what an amazing journey.

I have been down many, many rabbit holes ... from astrology and past lives to quantum physics and the metaphysical occults. Down many holes I didn't find much of value ... not ever rabbits.

While studying the mind and why we get the results we get, I always tried to bring it back to the truth written in the Bible. Why you might ask? Because I had and have an absolute faith and belief that the Bible is God's written word and everything must align to that.

Yet the more I studied it and the more I listened to some of the world's personal development guru's, the more lot of teachings didn't seem to line up. Some of my mentors would quote verses out of the Bible as truth yet say that all roads and all beliefs lead to the same end and that there is no hell or Satan only God and love.

Now that really confused me!! The Bible says clearly that there is Satan and there is hell and if you don't get your act together here, that is where you are headed regardless of your beliefs; so how can they quote part of the Bible as truth and not believe the complete story? It's either all truth or not!

The other challenge I had is that many religions and beliefs teach and preach it is ok to be broke ... even righteous ... and that if you live in poverty or sickness then it is your lot in life. Yet when I studied the Science Of Getting Rich and the science of the mind it directly opposed such crazy beliefs. Then I went back to the Bible and re-read and studied it ... Guess what? The Bible doesn't teach poverty and sickness either ... it teaches prosperity, abundance and health.


Well, it was for me because many of the beliefs I had been brought up with around money and prosperity where not lining up with my new awareness. We are not meant to be unhappy, sick and broke ... we were made in the image and likeness of God; and God certainly is not unhappy, sick and broke!!!

Many people's lives are ruled by fear and lack ... many people are in pain. There is a way to live in complete joy and abundance.

My question for over 16 years has been, "Is there a Christian group or church that teaches the abundance that is promised in the Bible?"

16 months ago I found such a group of people who not only taught what I understood to be the truth about the mind, the Bible and abundance, prosperity and health, but lived it daily!!! I have learnt more in the last year than I have in the previous 45 ... now that's saying a lot!

As I said in the beginning, last night I had the privilege of listening to one of the most inspiring, exciting and stirring speakers I have ever heard (I have travelled the world and listened to some pretty good ones); A man who knows how to live and walk in abundance and peace, free of fear and teach others to do the same. He is Chip Brim - a great baseball coach from the USA.

How would you feel if you had no worries, no cares just abundance and prosperity flowing to you?

The purpose of this email is to invite you to listen to Chip Brim. If you live in or around Melbourne then do whatever you can to see Chip. It is totally free ... you don't need to be a Christian either to learn from him. Here is the only place you can see him:

This Sunday, September 14 @ 10:00am and 5:30pm
RHEMA Melbourne (formerly Word Family Church),
100 New Street
Ringwood, Vic Australia

If you are somewhere else in the world or in Melbourne and can't make it then Chip Brim's talk will be posted on on Tuesday.

I hope his message and this information helps you as much as it has me.

David Schirmer

P.S. Feel free to forward this email on to those who you know would be interested.

Amen, Brother David. And what a blessing to know that Jesus, like Buddha, wants us all to be rich.

One of the things I find truly remarkable about the above message – I mean, besides the way Schirmer tries to set himself apart from those other LOA proponents who don't believe in Hell or Satan, and will therefore probably burn in Hell themselves – is the wholesome story he paints of his family life when he was growing up. That's not exactly the version of his background that I've heard from numerous other sources. And as adults, Schirmer and several of his brothers have lived, to put it mildly, very troubled lives.

Let's face it: revisionism is a way of life with the hustledork crowd. Whether they're counterfeit Christians or bogus Buddhists, they're all cut from the same cloth. The good news, though, is that it looks as if Schirmer's US debut has been stalled indefinitely...that is, unless he can get here via the Christian Hustledork Express. I'll keep you posted.

"You've got to do something about that negative attitude!"
That's what some teachers, a couple of past employers, and even an ex-boyfriend or two told me. Let's just say that more than once in my life I've been lectured for having a bad attitude. (And I'm not even counting the lectures I've received from Secretrons and others since I've been writing this blog.)

Well, I think there's a lot to be said for having a bit of a negative attitude. Furthermore, there's a good case for the argument that perpetual positivity can have...well...negative effects. Among other things, argues SHAMblog's Steve Salerno, the emphasis on a positive mental attitude is part of what has landed us in the current financial mess. In a recent post Steve wrote:
To me... Tony [Robbins]—more specifically, the sky's-the-limit mentality he sells—is part of the problem. It is directly related to the analysis I presented in my Journal piece last week at this time. I blame Robbins for being a major contributor to the climate of faux optimism that seized hold of America roughly a decade ago and is just now being revealed for the, well, sham it is. What's wrong with faux optimism? Who does it hurt? It hurts everyone, and in surprising ways. It makes people far less inclined to have a Plan B (since they've already put their full faith in Plan A). It bullies people into sticking with a given course of action until long after its dangers have been revealed—because after all, if they "just keep a positive outlook," how can they fail?
You can read Steve's Wall Street Journal piece here. I also recommend his recent "Can This Market Been Saved?" series of blog posts, the latest of which appears here. Among other points, Steve does a good job of tying the "irrational exuberance" perpetuated by the selfish-help industry to the current economic mess.

* * * * *

Okay, that's it for now; it's time for me to get back to my real work. There are bills to pay, and I need to buy a new laptop, and one of the cats has an ear problem and needs to go to the vet. There's always something. So Ron and I are constantly dreaming up new ways to make extra money, and as it happens, we are now planning a series of rolling Master-Mind sessions of our own. This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime for you; for a mere ten grand in US dollars, you get to ride around in our Honda Odyssey mini-van with us and bask in the presence of our scintillating personalities. Of course, dinner is included with the ride; you can even order the large fries. If you're interested, send me an email. Or better yet, just send me the ten thousand dollars and continue to enjoy my scintillating personality via this blog, and Ron's scintillating personality via his blog and his participation on Steve Salerno's blog, from the comfort of your own home. You don't need those fries anyway. And if the Universe guides you to do so, feel free to send more than ten thousand dollars.

It's the only way to get the economy back on track.

PS ~ In case you're wondering about the graphic at the top of this post, I didn't steal anyone's original artwork and fail to attribute it. I did "borrow" and crop a photo of the Rolls-Royce "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament, and then applied a few cheap tricks (e.g., water color effects) in PhotoPaint, which is Corel's equivalent of PhotoShop.


Yakaru said...

Re. "Negative attitude". I find this whole thing of dividing the world up into "positive" and "negative" incredibly egocentric. And it's always done by people who think they have disidentified with their ego and can perceive the world from a higher perspective!

Saying "negative" is really just another way of blocking their ears. (And now I always associate it with that footage of Shirmer's assistant standing in front of the mens toilets where David was hiding, and telling that journalist to stop focussing on the negative.)

mojo said...

I like how the Schirmer picture illustrates the glory of lusting after something that, as it turns out, isn't what it appears to be. A common brick masquerading as a bar of gold (complete with the stenciled word "GOLD", which makes it look like a prop from an elementary school pageant) strikes me as lame scam worthy of Nigerian exiled royalty. (Perhaps the brick I scorn is one of them magic rocks. Won't I look stupid then!)

But after taking my valuable time to actually sit down and read the diatribe you quoted, as I sometimes do, it just left me sad. Especially this one nostalgic reminiscence of the Good Life:

"We got a belting with a stick if we were disobedient ... or talked back!"

Yeah, I know,
some--not all--fundie Christians use the "spare the rod" argument to condone child abuse, so that would probably play okay in certain circles, but I fail to see how belting one's children with a stick corresponds to the whole wonderful kindness and love ideal Schirmer's trying to depict. Especially that "kindness" part.

Unless "belted with a stick" is some sort of silly Aussie phrase that actually means "hugs 'n' kisses". Something tells me it doesn't, but I'm prepared to retract my horror and concern if I am just culturally ignorant. Wouldn't be the first time....

Cosmic Connie said...

Yakaru, you hit it on the head re the egocentricity behind most talk about "negative" and "positive." The LOA folks in particular seem to be grads of the "Three Monkeys" school (see-no/hear-no/speak-no).

As for Schirmer's former assistant, Warren Henningsen, who tried so nobly to defend his boss outside the men's room... even he got to the point where he could no longer turn a blind eye to Schirmer's shenanigans. He has left Schirmer's employ and is now trying to strike out on his own as a life/wealth coach. Hopefully Schirmer was enough of a *negative* role model for Warren that he will avoid the same mistakes.

Cosmic Connie said...

Mojo, although I'm sure that Schirmer's pic was intended to be humorous (even as the pic of Joe the Rolls hood ornament was intended to be humorous), both pictures are weighted with symbolism. And in both cases, I think it's a symbolism that the subjects did not intend.

As for Schirmer's background story, Amen to what you said. I have no doubt that there were beatings and perhaps other abuse in that family; it's more than a little appalling that he spun that as a good thing. But what really struck me was his overall attempt to paint a picture of a wholesome, church-going, family-values-embracing group of folks, and his implication that this background made him the fine upstanding Christian he is today.

Apparently those beatings and the forced church attendance and such didn't instill the best values after all. David Schirmer's troubles are well-documented, but he's not the only sad case in that family. For example, there was his brother Ian, with whom David went into business for a while (after the two of them reportedly stole a design for a hay-baling machine from a farmer for whom they were working). Ian ended up serving prison time for sexually molesting a nine-year-old girl, the daughter of some friends. Another brother, Jamie, had a lifelong battle with mental illness and ultimately committed suicide.

David, meanwhile, continues to spin his own tales, but his misdeeds are catching up to him, and I don't think he will be making his US debut any time soon.

Lana said...

I just visited the RHEMA site and saw a comment from Glenn McCullough. Did you happen to see his site and your artwork there? LOL!

From what I know about RHEMA and the prosperity gospel, Schirmer will be able to play his game pretty well there. For awhile. From my personal experiences with RHEMA and related groups, most of these people are intelligent and extremely sincere. More than likely they'll see through his charade. No place to hide, dude.

Jordan said...

I 'attracted' my car but I am not into the secret.

In order to be out of the ordinary you have to think out of the ordinary.

Law of Sucess is cooler.

Mary Anne said...

I'm negative and proud of it!

Usually being called "negative" is a way to silence you. You are asking too many questions and lifting the curtain off the Wizard of Oz. Saying someone is "negative" is a way to shame them into silence.

No surprise the con men use this device.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Branson? It's a great place for family vacations and they have plenty of Branson shows as well.