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...