Thursday, December 10, 2009

You are what you hate

Well, our buddy Pat O'Bryan wrote a little missive yesterday about self-help, the greatness that is his buddy Joe Vitale, and how petty and horrible critics are.

It was then that I realized why he is always hating on Fox News: it's because he is just like them.

The largest criticism of Fox News is that they've been Roger Ailes' mouthpiece for the Republican party since its creation. They twist facts, hide the truth, and go nuts on any opposition to their viewpoint. Wow, that sounds entirely familiar. Kind of like what Pat O'Bryan does for Joe Vitale.

So, really, we could say that Pat O'Bryan is to Joe Vitale as Fox News is to George W. Bush.

See, just like George W. Bush was, Fireboy doesn't like it when he's criticized. He can't stand it. You can see evidence of it in his whining and crying when his former friends wrote a book criticizing The Secret, he whined that there were "hecklers" in the audience in Russia. Because these were apparently people that paid for his event, I suspect that people asked him to become congruent in his statements or challenged him to defend a position. He couldn't take it and labeled them "hecklers."

He lobs passive aggressive responses to any opposition he receives on his blog, if he even posts the comment at all. Fireboy can't handle any criticism at all.  You're not allowed to say anything even remotely critical. Even constructive criticism is attacked in trademark Joe Vitale style.

And if he can't do it himself, he'll send one of his Fox-news-esque minions to do it for him just like Pat did with this post.

Knowing this from blatant statements of his, we can only assume that those closest to Joe are not of the critical type. They are the quintessential "yes men" who tell the emperor that his outfit is splendid even though the emperor is wearing no clothes.

What happens in these type of situations where opposition is quashed and obsequious behavior is rewarded? You get crap. You get invasions of foreign countries on spurious data (Iraq, Bay of Pigs), you get the destruction of free speech and the fourth estate, and you get fucking wish dolls. You get toxic groupthink, and the results of being surrounded by "yes men" can be disastrous.

As far as fireboy and company, sometimes the disastrous loss someone's $40 on a goofy wish-doll or a $197 loss on a program that is the same regurgitated crap as his previous book. But sometimes it could be worse. Sometimes it could be someone's last thousands in savings paid to a miracles coaching program that does jack shit for them, maybe it is someone going into debt because they've been hypnotized by amazing copy.

Look, the media has served the place of the governmental watch dog since Johannes Gutenberg got his groove on. Our founding fathers felt that freedom of the press to say whatever they want without governmental controls was so important, they made it amendment #1.

Now we're living in the age of the internet where anyone with a keyboard can say whatever they want. In some cases, we have Fireboy, his sycophants, wish dolls and awakened millionaires. They have as much voice in the world as the government would have pre-desktop publishing. Do these people get to say whatever they want without criticism?

Sorry Fireboy, sorry Pat O'Sycophant, you don't get to do whatever you want without criticism. Just because you've banned dissent from your blogs, your cigar bar, and your discourse because you're too afraid to actually handle constructive criticism just like George W. Bush couldn't handle it, it doesn't mean you can go around sucking others into that vortex without critical examination of what you're doing.

I have my reasons, as does Connie, the Salty Droid, and many others that are critical of the things Fireboy and his compatriots do. Connie has a much more interesting take on Fireboy because she knew him when he was just getting started.

Of course, I am of the opinion that most of your online ventures do not provide the value you proclaim they do. It does not make any logical sense that paying $10k over the course of a year for a promise of total life transformation is realistic. I also don't think your conspicuous charity, Operation YES, has done anything of value either. I don't think you should be allowed to go around talking about how generous you are unless you have some evidence of that generosity.

Basically, all I am asking is for you to substantiate your claims. You say an AWFUL lot without much evidence to back that up, and testimonials from sycophants and the sycophantic-wannabes don't count for much.

As for Fireboy's friend, Operation YES supporter, and deathlodge leader, James Ray, I'll leave that rebuttal to those more interested in James Ray. I will say that Ray is most definitely a hot potato I wouldn't want to be defending right now. O'Bryan says that he's participated in sweatlodges and never had a problem and that "Several people popped out of the sweat lodge at Ray’s event feeling great."

Pat, you're being Fox News in your accuracy again. You need to go read the first-hand accounts, watch the nightline interview with someone who was there, and get your facts straight. No one is saying that sweat lodges are the problem anyway. Lots of people are saying that paying $10k for a sweat lodge is a problem, lots of people are saying that if you pay someone to manage a sweat lodge for you, it better be done right and not kill people. That's why people are claiming negligence and looking at homicide charges.

It's about negligence, Pat. Do you know anything about that? Because on a smaller scale (as you and Fireboy are), I think that many things you and Joe sell do harm people financially and don't help them at all. That's my opinion, of course, and I would love to be proved wrong.

But thus far, neither you nor Joe Vitale have taken any steps towards proving your critics wrong. You simply put up walls and blinders and stomp your feet and whine that people have the audacity to criticize you and Joe for selling things without any proof that they work.

"What if it works" is not valid proof of efficacy. "What if it works" is a question you hide behind so you can't get called on making spurious claims by the FTC.

Criticism is the thing that HELPS you. The day that I stop criticizing your ill-founded marketing schemes and products is the day we will really feel sorry for you...


  1. Interesting points that you make. I have had my comments deleted from Joe's blog before. I think my comments add to the discussion, but I guess they are too controversial.

    good work on your blog.

  2. Good job as usual, BBF. It looks as if the conversation between Pat and Ron & I is over. Pat declared it so, saying that he has proven his point that Ron and I are not only unqualified to express an informed opinion, but are incapable of producing anything of value ourselves. I bet he gets an extra scratch behind the ears from Master tonight for being such a good boy, and maybe even a little extra gravy on his kibble.

  3. Wow, it got pretty heated. You and Ron held your own, though, despite Pat's attempt to take the discussion into the realm of personal attacks.

    But apparently, that's what they do in the "Wimberley mafia" - if they can't address issues and have a respectful discussion on ISSUES because their feelings are so hurt, they go for the personal attacks to discredit the person as a method of trying to make themselves feel better.

    That way, they can say ANYTHING they want and not have to defend it because the realm of discussion is brought into personal attacks on credibility, not the issues at hand.

    I was incredibly impressed with Duff McDuffee's comments to Pat. He really brought up some important thoughts.

    Incidentally, I saw a rapidly disappearing comment from Mark Ryan last night. I didn't copy the text of it, but the gist was something about calling Pat a hypocrite for calling him Vitalewatch without any data, but that Pat's going to wait until the trial is over before he draws any conclusion on James Ray.

    If Mark Ryan was Vitalewatch, I think you'd have radically different content here than what you see now. That doesn't mean I wouldn't love to hear from Mark Ryan, HINT HINT, because it is apparent to me that there is a story to tell and I would love to hear it.

    And I apologize that apparently you and Ron are to blame for my writings. Of course, because Joe can do no wrong, right? It couldn't be my distaste for actions (and lack of action) that Joe took in dealing with people I know. Nope. What a moron. I'm sorry you got blamed, but it just goes to show the idiocy we're dealing with there.

    So, you got blamed, and Mark Ryan got blamed, which means I've apparently struck a nerve somewhere. They're angry. But that's to be expected, I guess. They've lived a rather carefree lifestyle doing and saying whatever the hell they want without any thoughts about consequences. The lack of criticism they enjoyed grew their egos and self importance to a place where they thought they deserved no criticism and that everything they touched was perfect. They probably just got used to you and Ron snarking over the years and excused it from the time you knew them. But now there's another person. And hopefully even more.

    It's time for people to come forward and really be honest about their experiences with Joe Vitale, Pat O'Bryan and the rest of the crowd in Wimberley.

  4. Thanks, BBF. Yes, I noticed how Pat took such pains to discredit Ron and me by "proving" we are unqualified to have an opinion about Joe Vitale or the self-help business in general, as well as “proving” that we are incapable of creating anything of value. He even attempted to rip our book ghostwriting/editing/design business to shreds by pointing out that we don't currently have a bunch of books on Amazon that are up there in the top sellers. (I believe that our other inadequacies include the fact that we either haven’t created a bunch of top-selling self-help programs, or haven’t studied and completed a bunch of programs recently, or something. I forget the details.)

    In fairness, I suppose you could say that Ron opened the door to the attacks by answering Pat’s challenge, “What have YOU accomplished?” Yet that whole thread was based on Pat’s false premise that only people who have or are currently fully participating in something they criticize are able to express an informed opinion about it. But Ron answered Pat’s question, and the race was on. Of course, just by engaging with Pat in the first place we were already in an unwinnable position. Had Ron not answered the “challenge” or found some way to skirt it, Pat would still declare “victory,” saying our lack of response was proof that Ron and I have in fact accomplished nothing.

    As it happens, none of the book titles Pat dug up when Googling us were current or recent projects, except for one that is being re-done and completed for a big launch next spring. Another fairly recent project is a wealth book by an author who actually became wealthy doing something besides teaching other people to be wealthy. In addition, R and I have been revamping our business model and talking with other publishers about new ventures. Our current rather rudimentary web site doesn’t reflect any of the recent, new or future stuff. But the redesign and new launch are coming. But y’know, BBF, it just didn’t seem worth it to go into that discussion on Pat’s forum, especially since it wasn’t the original issue.

    Besides his assertion that Ron and I create nothing of value, I noticed that more than once, Pat called me "incoherent" because I have vacillated on certain issues related to the James Ray tragedies. In fact there were areas where Pat and I share common ground, and I tried to express those in my initial comment to his blog post. It just got thrown back in my face. Although I've documented my vacillation fairly well on my own blog and have admitted my contradictory feelings about some things, Pat used my alleged "incoherence" as further proof that I am unqualified to have an informed opinion. To me the examination of “shades of gray” on an issue feels honest. To Pat, apparently, it seems “incoherent.”

    And let’s not even get into his claim that I’m “wrong more often than right” on my blog, and that someone needs to fact-check it. Pat’s claim is that I know I’m wrong but deliberately publish lies. My claim to the contrary is irrelevant to him. End of discussion.

    [to be continued: I got a “character limitation” message]

  5. [continued from previous remark]
    The big thing that stuck out for me was that after Pat had made one snarky remark after the other about how Ron and I are trivial and incapable of creating anything of value, and after he had claimed that nobody reads our stuff anyway, THEN he whined about how *my* blog has done real "damage" to Joe Vitale, how I am engaging in "character assassination" of Joe – and, of course, how I am "inciting" others to follow my example. Like you, f’rinstance. I suspect, BBF, that it as as you said above: you came to your own conclusions about Joe, Pat et al. independently of my influence. (Oh, and I do recall that Pat had previously snarked on Twitter about your minuscule audience as well.) Anyway, as you may have seen, he all but told me to stop what I am doing NOW.

    Ultimately he declared "victory" on his blog by saying that he had "proved" his point about Ron and me, as well as about my readers (who are supposedly all losers like me), as well as his point about the critics in general, all of whom are, in his view, monumentally unqualified to even utter the names of the great gurus of the industry. Yet, strangely, he didn't question the credibility of the several folks who agreed with him. Do the yay-sayers, such as that Chris Sherrod guy who was the first to jump in with an “attaboy,” all have multiple streams of income, dozens of Amazon bestsellers, and all of those other things that prove a person is “creating value?” All I can say is: Well played, Patrick. You really added to the credibility of you, your buddy, and your dodgy business. And you’ve more than proven the points I’ve made on my own blog.

    On the upside for Pat, there are nearly 70 comments on that one post of his, which must be a record for him. Geez, I'd think that this alone would be proof that Ron and I (and Duff, and “ex-Employee”) provided value for Pat.

    Of course I understand why Pat wrote his blog post in the first place (and reacted to dissenters the way he did). As Ron said to me the day before yesterday just after I’d read Pat’s blog post, “If you poke a pig with a stick long enough, sooner or later the pig is going to come after you.” (I swear he really said that, and by strange coincidence, Pat apparently had a pig metaphor of his own last night to share with his faithful regarding this whole event.) I suspect that Pat is doing some of Joe’s dirty work for him, as I suggested in a slightly more colorful manner in a previous comment. Joe can’t afford to sully his saintly image by getting down in the trenches. And Pat feels that the ad hominem attacks against Ron and me are only a small part of what we really deserve for our years of snarking about Joe. I understand why he feels that way, of course, but even so, his responses to Ron’s and my comments seemed…well…illogical. He calls me a minor annoyance, and yet he has devoted a great deal of energy to “fighting back.” That’s why I suspect that the force behind the whole thing is the VVV (Vitale’s veiled vitriol) factor. Even greatly Awakened ones can have seething rage, it seems.

    I guess we just have to remember that Joe has said time and time again, “My marketing and everything I do is based on love.” Can’t you just feel the love, BBF?

  6. Hey Anonymous who posted a story about Jonathan. You're not the only one who has told me such things. However, I decided to reject your comment. You're making some very serious allegations. I am comfortable pointing out the obvious. But without any actual evidence, I am not comfortable publishing allegations of that sort. Believe me, there's enough out there in Mr. Fire's world for me to criticize.

    If you want to set up your own blog with evidence, etc. I would be happy to link to you, though.

  7. BBF - Pattie's assertion that he wouldn't pass judgment on Ray's fiasco until "all the facts were in" gave me a good laugh (one of many I enjoyed during the course of his little piss-fest). The inconsistency of his statements - given his willingness to pass judgment on our qualifications/intelligence/accomplishments without knowing us or even having met us - was obviously too complex for him to recognize, much less, comprehend. But I knew he wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree right off the bat, when he lied about having met us and got caught in it. His attempt to qualify and negate his lie was even more lame. And he grew increasingly shrill as the "discussion" progressed (regressed?).

    All in all, a complete waste of time, but I've wasted time on things that weren't nearly as amusing. :-)