Monday, November 30, 2015

Tomorrowland, Scamworld, my Whirled

November is waning, and time is running out for me to keep the commitment I've kept for nearly nine and a half years, which is to never let an entire calendar month go by without blogging. I've been more than a tad negligent yet again this month, but please don't interpret that as a lack of interest in the matters that have kept this Whirled spinning since July 2006. My interest hasn't abated and neither has my commitment. If anything there have been too many matters to write about -- so many that I scarcely know where to begin.

Where to begin, indeed? There is no dearth of choices. There's the usual low-hanging fruit such as serial scammer
Kevin Trudeau (aka KT, aka Katie), who continues to manipulate the masses to the best of his ability via a public Facebook fan page, though he remains locked up. I would so love to participate on some of those Facebook threads, but I'm still banned from doing so. I do need to get on to PACER and poke around for new Katie court docs, if any. I promise to do that soon and get back to you.

And in other low-hanging-fruit news (or maybe low-hanging-nut news, though I really don't want to know), the stupidest and most evil man in Scamworld,
Leonard Coldwell (aka Lenny, aka LoonyC), who unsuccessfully sued me (and a few others, including Salty Droid) earlier this year, is still stupid and evil, though these days most of his public stupid/evil energy is spent spewing hatred about things other than bloggers. He's blathering a lot about "the Negro"/Muslim/communist/Kenyan Obama; the rapist Muslim immigrants who are taking over Europe and are headed towards Murica (because of "the Negro," of course); the "false flag"/hoax shootings that he insists are a New World Order plot to take our guns away; and his passionate and almost certainly one-sided bromance with Vlad Putin, whom he considers a hero for trying to bomb Syria out of existence. And let's not forget the characteristic Loony Lenny misogyny, this little gem from today (30 November, 2015) being but one example among many.

That screed was in response to a piece by conspiracy-monger Alex Jones' misogynistic little sidekick Paul Joseph Watson.

LoonyC just gets stupider and more evil as time goes by, and I truly think that
little Amy should do a better job of hiding the bourbon, but at least the little Teutonic twerp provides lots of cheap entertainment. Since he blocks so many folks on Facebook you might find it difficult to see his inanities firsthand, but UK wag Longdog -- whose real identity I still don't know and don't want to know -- is someone who seems to have full access, and entertainingly sums them up for the rest of us.

And Bernie just weighed in on GINtruth with his own comments about Lenny's disgusting misogyny and participation in "rape culture."

But I've written so much about Katie and LoonyC, so... no. Not them, not now. Well, at least not much. (Although my pal Salty did finally get
Part 2 of his Coldwell Case Files trilogy up. The link to Part 1 is in paragraph 3 above, but here it is again.). Several recent happenings -- call it synchronicity, call it meaningless coincidence, it's all the same to me -- helped me narrow the focus somewhat for this post. I got tiny jolts of inspiration from seeing that blogs I've admired but that were on hiatus are coming back to life... and by reading an article that a longtime supporter of this blog recently alerted me to and that sums up some of the themes on my blog and some of these others... and by watching a Disney movie that unexpectedly touched me despite its "uneven storytelling" and a slightly heavy-handed message of the type that is all too easily co-opted by the sleazebags of Scamworld.

Somehow it all seemed blogworthy, though I won't guarantee coherence. And maybe you'll roll your eyes about the Disney movie. But I'll plow right on, since I started this thing, and since the last sun of November is setting even as I write this.

Mystic B is back
Early in my blogging days I happened upon a blog called
Mystic Bourgeoisie by the brilliant Chris Locke. I found it inspiring, and ever so much more cerebral than my own efforts. I didn't always agree with the way Chris connected the dots between New-Wage culture and more nefarious forces such as the Third Reich, but he made a very convincing argument. I have mentioned Mystic B a few times here over the years (here, f'rinstance), and have hounded Chris over the years to turn his blog into a book, which he may or may not have plans to do. But in recent years he was awfully quiet on that blog, though active on Facebook, and I wondered if he would ever begin blogging again.

The good news is that yes, he has. In fact he
has just launched a whole new Mystic B, though the old one remains up for posterity. On his inaugural post he 'splains the reasoning behind the new blog with its simpler template, and he clarifies his chosen target, which remains...
...those aspirational bourgeois who perceive some form of worshipful pseudo-spiritually as their ticket to ride into the ranks of the upper middle class - or at least what they yearningly imagine that class to comprise.

That leaves only the difficulty at this new beginning, the challenge of which will be to stop puttering about with the tech and spend the saved time instead attempting to denigrate and deconstruct the so-called "Cultural Creatives" and suchlike ilk that - living as I do in Boulder, Colorado - it has been my great misfortune to have so intimately known.

Yes, and I look forward to reading the new Mystic B. And that brings us to...

Yoga whores and such
My pal Duff McDuffee posted
a link to this 2014 article the other day on his Facebook page. I believe it was the aforementioned Chris Locke from whom I first heard the term "spiritual-industrial complex" (and I mentioned as much on this October 2006 blog post, under "Other places to hang out"). Anyway, this piece is from the Guerrilla Buddha blog, and even though at this time I'm not into personal growth or spiritual practice, I think this guy nailed it regarding the ways in which the spiritual industrial complex (or SIC) creates and perpetuates a vicious circle of suck. And not the good kind of suck.

In a sense this piece is both a fierce cry against New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality elitism and a soft call for another sort of elitism involving a litmus test of who is actually worthy of true wisdom. It was that latter part that gave me pause, though I understood the writer's point. As well, the whole concept of being a spiritual warrior or indeed any kind of warrior is pretty alien to me. I just sling words; I don't wage war. But even so, there's some pretty good food for thought here.

Salty went to sea

After another couple of months of silence, Salty Droid seems to be active on his blog again, and I couldn't be happier. Shortly before publishing the Coldwell Files Part 2 installment, he re-emerged from his hiatus with a tale of a very special sea cruise he took, and though thousands of folks might have envied him the opportunity, it sounds as if he was really taking one for the team on this one. The cruise was Summit at Sea 2015, a congregation of the best and the brightest and best-and-brightest wannabes and hangers-on of the (mostly) millennial generation -- or at least those whom the media have declared to be the best and the brightest.

More than one media source describes the Summit gatherings as a combination of TED and Burning Man. That should give you an idea of what they're about. Business Insider
gushed and gushed.

But one goal of the summit was to unplug from technology — the only place on the boat you could get WiFi service was the Internet Lounge. Many participants did yoga on the deck in the morning, while others tried out a ropes course and a 3D figure painting class.
And everybody was Kung-Fu fighting. And it was just a little bit frightening. And so on, and so forth. Mostly, it appears, they spent the time on board and afterwards congratulating themselves on being masters of the universe, as Kate Winslet famously said to Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.

In case the above-linked Bus-Insider piece wasn't enough for you,
here's some more stellar writing from an "insider."

What it all comes back down to -- at least from my own profoundly shallow perspective -- is that no matter how noble the intentions may be at the beginning, it's all about elitism and pretension, even when it's wrapped in a cloak of "changing the world" for the better. Chris Locke always got that, particularly in regard to the baby boomers and Gen-X'ers. The guy who wrote the Guerrilla Buddha piece gets it. Salty gets it too, from a slightly different angle and in regard to the millennials as well as the preceding generations.

And the problem goes well beyond
the "conspicuous altruism" that I've poked fun of on my own blog and that Salty has written about as well on his. He emerged from Summit at Sea 2015 with his well-directed cynicism intact.

Changing the world through the divine power of repeatedly repeating the words … “changing the world.”

Be the change you want to see in the world!

Or maybe just say the change you want others to believe you want to see in the world :: that’s prolly just as good … what with all the global cross platform social synergies that have been going around like venereal diseases on a cruise ship. More talk … less action.

Let’s just flap our mouths about change :: and then go ahead and do whatever the fuck we were gonna do anyway … it’s a win win {for everyone but the vast majority of humanity}.

But it was Salty's endgame spoiler that seemed to sum it up:

Scamworld isn’t creeping upward toward the real world in an effort to increase its reach/credibility. Scamworld is just the trickle down of the devastating devotion to lies and corruption that form the basis of the real world.

Salty indicated that the above epiphany was a game changer for him. He has yet to reveal whether that means a new direction for his blog, or a new direction for his "real world" activism, or both. But he's back, and feistier than ever.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow...
I will shamelessly admit that despite my own cynicism, which I've come by honestly and which has been further reinforced by much of what I've mentioned above, I was both entertained and touched by the Disney movie
Tomorrowland. Granted, I'm not as tough on movies as I am on books (Joe Versus the Volcano remains one of my favorite movies of all times, so that should give you an idea of what a softy I am). And I get what the critics said about uneven storytelling and less than subtle messaging in Tomorrowland.

I get too that the base premise of Tomorrowland -- the abiding value of dreams for a better future and the people who nurture that dream -- is one that has been co-opted and abused by some of Scamworld's finest. The premise was certainly misappropriated by Kevin Trudeau when founding his biggest scam of all, the Global Information Network (GIN). How many thousands of GIN members believed, because of Katie's relentless marketing, that they were part of something truly grand, and that they were on the brink of changing the world? Six years ago I was laughing at those people, feeling more than a bit smug and self-righteous that I was smart enough not to be conned by a notorious con artist. But later I got to know some of those GIN members, particularly the disillusioned ones, and I felt their deep disappointment and sadness and anger, and I came to realize that some of them really had joined GIN with a higher purpose in mind than Trudeau's implied promises of nearly effortless material wealth.

And in truth I love the notion of dreamers and people who won't give up, which is one reason I so adored Tomorrowland. Even as I understand that in the real world, when dreamers attempt to cordon themselves off to create a new world, they become GIN or the worst of TED or Burning Man or Summit at Sea (with perhaps a bit of Bilderberg and Renaissance thrown in there somewhere), I also understand that there still are people who have a genuine wish to make a difference in good ways, both large and small. I remain as touched by that wish as I am by the longings for redemption and new beginnings that are expressed every year at Christmastime. It may never happen, but the dream lives on.

Anyhow, check out Tomorrowland for yourself. At the very least you'll enjoy the special effects, and if you like George Clooney, here is a chance to see him at his brooding best.
Here's an Amazon link.

Scamworld is the real world, but it's still a thing unto itself as well.
There's a lot to be said for the notion, expressed in the Salty-at-sea post I linked to above, that Scamworld and the larger "real world" are all part of the same big ugly thing (the "big sick machine," as Salty famously called it), with the borders between the two being not just increasingly porous but, I am beginning to believe, mostly illusory.

The Scamworld/real world merger has come to light in ways I find particularly interesting (in the blogworthy sense) as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has heated up. Take the current GOP front runner Donald Trump (please!), whom I've mentioned a few times on this blog,
such as here. As noted on that post, and provided links, Salty Droid did a good job of exposing Trump's notorious MLM (multi-level marketing) connections, years before the current crop of pundits jumped on it.

But good for the pundits for giving it more than passing attention anyway, as well as exposing the other top GOP candidate, Ben Carson, for having a few fingers in the Scamworld pie himself. In fact numerous GOP politicians are or have been hucksters on the side. Here are a couple of links:

Oh, and my favorite doc blogger Orac
also weighed in on Ben Carson's lack of critical thinking skills. Orac is not really what I'd call mainstream, though I wish more folks would read him, but I had to get this link in somehow.

I think it's a really encouraging note that Scamworld is getting more mainstream media attention now, largely because of Carson's and Trump's involvement with scammy MLMs, but I can't help wondering if the media will even care about the Scamworld aspect after the current election cycle is over and most of the individual candidates have faded into history.

You would be justified in asking me why I think this question even matters, given that I have been entertaining the premise that Scamworld and the real world are one and the same. Well, it does still matter to me because I think we still have to pick our battles. Moreover I think that if we stop emphasizing the Scamworld aspect, the scams will become increasingly acceptable. In fact you might argue that that ship has already sailed. The NY Times article I cited above concludes:

The point is that we shouldn’t ask whether the G.O.P. will eventually nominate someone in the habit of saying things that are demonstrably untrue, and counting on political loyalists not to notice. The only question is what kind of scam it will be.
(This isn't to let the Dems/liberals off the hook; after all, many of the conspicuously enlightened whom I've made fun of over the years have leaned towards "liberalism." But when money calls, it seems that most folks begin veering towards the more "conservative" side of the aisle.)

Even so I'm not willing to concede to Big Scam and call it a day. I think there's still hope and that pointing out scams and scammers still matters, even if only a little. You probably won't see me popping out of a golden wheatfield and gazing in awe at a shining silver city in the distance any time soon... but in my own small way, I too am one of those people who has not given up.

And I'm glad to see that several of my favorite bloggers have not given up either, despite the hiatuses and resets and game-changers that sometimes disrupt their efforts along the way.