18
Jan

How does Lance Armstrong compare to James Arthur Ray?

   Posted by: Britt   in General

I thought the Lance Armstrong interviews were fascinating. I tend to err on the side of trust, so I tend to believe in Armstrong’s remorse. His was a colossal fall from grace.

A similar fall happened to James Arthur Ray, an entrepreneurial guru featured in The Secret and really rocket-launched to fame through an interview with Oprah (Feb 8, 2007).

On October 8, 2009, three people died in one of his sweat lodges (a five-day, where about 50 people paid $9,000 to $10,000 per ticket). Colleen Conaway committed suicide in an earlier event. Ray was a crook and a shyster who did have some good things to offer. But for the most part, his credentials were almost all fake (like many in the Law-of-Attraction business). When in court, JAR’s tactic was deny-deny-deny. Keep your mouth shut, head down. His defense team even went so far as to get an expert to speak to the possible presence of organophosphates on location as a possible contributor to the deaths of his students.

Putting Lance Armstrong side-by-side with James Arthur Ray, I am impressed that Lance Armstrong admitted doping and is contrite. He too had a lot to offer, especially when it comes to the amount of money he raised for Cancer research. I DON’T think he should be resurrected as a hero. I don’t think he should be given an easy out. He let a lot of people down.

The hole he dug is MASSIVE, and his sense of entitlement was equally massive. And repaying his debts (beyond finances, into the emotional with personal relationships) will take a whole bunch of time.

I also happen to think that most of us have experienced entitlement to some degree. I know I won’t be throwing the first stone here.

I am not saying that he should be instantaneously forgiven. He wreaked havoc of an unimaginable scope. He damaged reputations, legally and personally. He falsely lashed out at others, leveraging his FALSE image to intensify the both the wrath and the damage that was inflicted. I’m fine if his ban is for life. He cannot wipe this slate clean with a single apology.

I am saying that I need to live in a world where we believe people can change. No in a la-la fairy-land, everyone-must-feel-good sort of way. There are people who cannot. Psychopaths for one. Because they (as far as our understanding goes) live in a mental state where the world-view is completely different from the one in which most of us reside (ie, total lack of empathy accompanied by an unfalterable sense of entitlement).Our corporate world is heavily infested with these types. There is, of course, much conversation about whether or not Lance is psychopathic. I am not qualified to go there.

Granted, Lance’s change ONLY came about because the massive fall from grace was scientifically and undeniably presented. And even the time that it took for him to own up was painfully prolonged for the people he affected. A simple, public apology will by itself not put things right. It’s a start, but time will tell if there’s “momentum” behind this swing.

It is impossible for us to see anything beyond the surface of a person. The recent unveilings of the Jimmy Savile’s sexual predatory nature is crystal clear evidence of that. And the bullet-proof facade build around Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a known misogynistic womanizer. Without a personal admission, we’ll never know what’s really real. And then, as in the case with Lance, arises the question, “Is it believable.”

On a much much smaller scale, I can look at my own life. I have lived through my own sense of entitlement. Indeed, every time we buy something knowingly manufactured in China or Taiwan, odds are we are contributing to near slave-labour and the oppression of women and children. But then we in turn think of how hard we worked for our money, and how we need to stretch a dollar in order to survive to the next paycheque. In most cases, this is grossly exaggerated. Regardless, it’s a sense of entitlement that directly and indirectly damages others.

Also, there’s the team of two who are directly responsible for the events in my life that led to bankruptcy. The short version is that they learned a quick way to make money, which was to “teach” people about their entitlement to wealth. It was very standard Law-Of-Attraction stock. I did not know that at the time. But having since delved heavily into the teachings of T. Harv Eker, James Arthur Ray, Jack Canfield and the like, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s one voice with a slightly different drone. And very effective at that. And the handful of success stories continue to uphold the lie that “anyone can do it if you just think positive,” propped up by half truths backed by false stories of successes (fake-it-till-you-make-it is a perfect example touted by Anthony Robbins, effective and necessary on one hand — ie you need to believe in yourself — and a complete and utter lie on the other, esp. when you start to manipulate the lives of others).

This team of two convinced me (and many others) to invest money in these sure-bet investments. They used their own lives as proof of their success (turned out to be a lie, they were faking it till they would some day make it, and I suspect that most of their income came from commissions on investments and teaching their courses), and wickedly effective marketing. Most of their investments were duds. Most people (like me) lost all their equity and fell deeply into insurmountable debt.

The team of two fall heavily on the mantra used by Law-Of-Attraction types, which is to say that if LOA doesn’t work for you, you must be doing something wrong. Thus, an apology will never be forthcoming.

A part of me believes that this team of two was naively and genuinely interested in helping others. They got caught up in their own social sense of doing good for others, and bucking the system that “wants you to stay poor so that they (ie banks) can get rich.” If they themselves became rich along the way, all the better. And when their mini empire crumbled, they resorted to lashing out and blaming others. Kind of like what James Arthur Ray is doing, sitting in prison, convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Whereas an apology to me would have gone a long way. I cannot undo what has happened to me. But boy oh boy would an admission of their responsibility have gone a long way with me toward forgiving this team of two. I’ve let go much of my anger since it does nothing for me, but not all.

Lance Armstrong does not exist for me as an individual human being. I don’t know him as a person and don’t care to. He’s a sports superstar elevated to success by a public’s crazy need for heroes and sports champions. In a week’s time, I won’t even be thinking about him. He will never be short of money as his biography and following Hollywood flick will ensure a steady income. He leveraged his cancer story quite nicely and have no doubt this tragedy will be converted to cash in too. I have no doubt in my mind that he consulted with a lawyer before hand to mitigate the damage. He’s a smart, crafty and manipulative person.

Perhaps naively, I am believing the surface presentation. In part because many of the people who do inflict massive damage spend all their efforts on publicly denying their dark sides in order to preserve the shining light of their (falsely constructed) surface saint. What Lance did by admitting and apologising was very unusual for people of his level of fame and wealth. James Arthur Ray is currently in jail doing time, still professing his saintliness.

I see the apology as unique, and yes, somewhat genuine. At least I hope so, though I can also see how, after years of lies and lashing out and damaging the lives and reputations of others, it is hard to swallow. If it’s genuine, it’s a start (start being the keyword here). If it’s a salvaging tactic to gain sympathy and support without any genuine remorse, then it’s very very sad. Time will tell. Maybe.

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28
Aug

A bit of good news

   Posted by: Britt   in General

Heard through the grapevine that the company that financially destroyed so many lives posing as a wealth creation alternative education resource has closed its doors. Thank-fucking-god. Their website is gone. The inane Youtube videos remain. But at least that dog-and-pony show is now over.

SaltyDroid is a hero of mine. Here’s why.

14
Jul

Women still stuck doing men’s work

   Posted by: Britt   in General

If the world really is what we think about, then why does male-induced violence still dominate the headlines? Clearly I’ve done a lot of thinking to the contrary. Perhaps the next step is stating my thoughts out loud? 

I’m bored. What to do, what to do….

Oh, I know, let’s stir the pot shall we? Let’s talk about male-induced violence.

{{PD-US}} Dessins de Martin van Maele. Martin Van Maele. Illustration extraite de L'Histoire comique de Francion. En laquelle sont découvertes les plus subtiles finesses et trompeuses inventions tant des hommes que des femmes de toutes sortes de conditions et d’âges. de Charles Sorel. Jean Fort, Paris, 1925.Now, whenever I raise the issue of male-induced violence, especially violence against women, I inevitably get the insufferable tired refrain that “Men get beat up too y’know.”

I hate HATE hate that I even have to respond to this, but time and time again I find that I do. So I’ll dedicate a few simple lines here to the above inane comment. If you’re smarter than that, you can just skip on to the next paragraph. Otherwise:

Consider these terms: rapist, abuser, attacker, killer, murderer, pornographer, gang banger, violent offender, kidnapper. What gender mostly comes to mind? [Pregnant pause.] There’s a reason why your brain automatically assigns a particular penile gender to these labels. Do I really need spell this out? It’s because 95% of such crimes are committed by men. And, yes (sigh), women rape abuse and murder too.

So here’s my little trick (you may have already noticed this): I’ve changed the language, changed the terms. I don’t talk about rape or abuse or murder. I talk specifically about male-induced violence. This way, I can include all the hockey coaches and football coaches and priests who like to diddle their boys. This way, I can include all the fathers who want to (and do) fuck their daughters, believing this to be some sick inherent birth right. This way, that teeny tiny handful of folk who want to campaign against female-induced violence are free to do so, in any conversation other than mine.

Now, when a strident feminist typically starts talking about male-induced violence, the next step is usually some form of radical action. Burn a bra. Walk around topless. Write a letter. Slam down that angry fist and demand change. Gosh darn it all.

Not me.

The thing that I’ve come to realize, my ultimate sadness, is that there’s not a goddamn thing that I can do to shape up men’s perception of women, of men’s chronic misogynistic treatment of women. And the other thing that I’ve come to realize: The world is NOT going to become a better place for anyone until men—that’s right, MEN—step up to the plate.

Consider the unholy trinity: the bully, the bullied, and the bystander. The bullied, that poor skinny sap with taped up glasses, can never convince the bully to stop kicking sand in his face. The job of rallying must fall to the bystander, the one who is actually a peer to the bully.

Sadly, we’re not a society of strong bystanders, are we? We really are a pathetic bunch of spineless bystanders for the most part.

All my life I’ve been surrounded by these soft cushy cowardly man-boys who claim to be feminist-friendly. Yet, when some dork makes a dumb-ass blond joke or salivates when a pair of boobies float by (they’re actually breasts attached to a person, but you’d never know it based on this a-hole’s salivating response), these so-called feminist-friendly man-boys snort-and-guffaw along with the rest of them, awkwardly shift their balls from one side of their pants to the other, and cast me this hopeless “Oh well, what can I do” look.

{{Information |Description={{en|1="Queen Guinevere", James Archer (1823-1904), Scotland, c.1860, Oil on canvas. Dimensions: 32 cm wide, 61 cm high }} Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating a return to some moral code where men revered women (and where women where barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen). The whole idea that there once was a moral code is a laughable. That era has never actually existed. Sure, King Arthur had his code when it came to the Guineveres of the world. But that honourable code typically didn’t include the beggar girls, the hired help, the single moms, the un-beautiful abandoned children, or the wrecked and manipulated prostitutes.

Without a moral compass set and monitored by male peers, rape has always been – and continues to be – common place. It’s called sowing your seed. It’s called boys will be boys. It’s a known and documented war tactic. It’s “ethnic cleansing” (godhowIhatethatterm). It’s the husband-steps-on-his-broken-wife’s-head-to-feel-better-about-himself way of life.

Male-induced violence is so goddamn commonplace, mundane and boring that I’m willing to bet that at least half of the women through whom you were ultimately conceived have experienced it at some time or another.

It’s true for me and my circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Rape by a stranger, date rape, gang-banged, victims of incest, we cover the gamut, damnit.

And it’s not like I sit around with the woman in my life swapping who-got-fucked-by-whom stories. It took about 40 years for just a few tidbits to come out. I’m convinced there are more layers of secrets that no one is talking about.

I’m not playing a sad violin here; I’m not drawing the old sympathy card. I’m too old for that shit. I’m simply making the point that male-induced violence is so incredibly dull, so incredibly mundane, that even your own family is besotted with it; you just haven’t realized it yet.

The kicker? Eliminating male-induced violence is not a woman’s job; it’s a man’s. To put it bluntly, reducing male-induced violence is out of scope for us women.

We women have our own work to do. We’re as catty as hell amongst ourselves. We’re too busy feeling fat to actually acknowledge our own beauty and brilliance. We’re all-to-happy to pass along the derogation we’ve suffered onto our sisters or worse yet, our female children – all too apparent in the female tradition of FMG (female genital mutilation), staunchly handed down the maternal lines. We still only earn seventy cents (give or take a few pennies) for every dollar a man earns. We’re under-represented in governments and power positions around the world. And while our own bodies have the godlike capacity to conceive, create and bear life, we still defer familial lineage and power to the donor of the fertilizer. (That one just baffles me beyond belief.)

Ani Difranco, one of my most favourite angry chicks in this world, captures it nicely: “Men are delicate / Origami creatures,” she writes in one song, “Who need women to unfold them / Hold them when they cry.” Like I imagine Ani to be, I’m fucking sick and tired of doing the work that men themselves should be doing. Like ending male-induced violence.

So if you are a man (or know one), then ask yourself (or him): Are you man enough for the job? Ready to man-up? Then stop being a bystander and help put an end to this shit. Be the man that changes the world, that makes it a better, safer, kinder place. Mankind will ultimately thank you. And so will we women.

– Britt Santowski.

AuthorBikerCartoonist. Feminist at large.

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11
Jul

What the universe must think

   Posted by: Britt   in General

This image is a screenshot of a copyrighted television program or station ID. As such, the copyright for it is most likely owned by the company or corporation that produced it. It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots for identification and critical commentary on the station ID or program and its contents on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, might be copyright infringement. For more information, see Wikipedia:Non-free content.The universe must think I’m fucking strong, because this shit is getting relentless and I just don’t know how much more I can take. I’m no Xena. Instead, look at by feet, beside the piece of dung and there you’ll find the beetle juice that is/was me.  Although you must admit the breastplate is mighty fine indeed! Even from this perspective.

On the plus side, I suppose, is the liberty the comes from divorce and the repo man, the unveiling of several butts (trying to keep it clean here and not say the word assholes — oops), the opportunity to start from ground zero, and the yee-fucking-haw adventure of not know where I’ll be tomorrow. Keeps me alert at 3am, high-strung and wide-eyed.

Which reminds me of my favourite acronym: AFGO. Another fucking growth opportunity.

Sadly, I can’t even vent here any more. Mostly now my frequent readers are those busy-bodies who are combing through my posts to see if they are even mentioned by vague implication. Apparently, that won’t do either.

For those of you who have been following this blog, you may recall financial stress.

My best-kept secret was that on April 19, 2011 I declared bankruptcy.

The direct cause-and-effect event that led me there was an “intentional wealth” course that I took back in 2007.  When all investments purchased through this group started to fail in 2009, I was told by the CFO to “keep the faith” and “stay positive” — because your mindset effects all things universal. Read the rest of this entry »

Yep, I even had an executive summary. This was the front page of the document I pre-submitted to the courts. Names, and some other personal information of others, have been removed. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s the beef, the full document with footnotes and cross references that I submitted to the BC Supreme Court before my appearance. Note that I’ve left the name of the Intention Wealth company out and the actual people involved. While I still curse them, I did learn a lot from them. And they have since changed the products they support. And if I want my past by-gones be by-gones, then doggone I’ve got to do the same thing. (If you want to know who they are, contact me. I’ll tell you in person. But I won’t randomly blow it out to the universe.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Below is the document that I read in court to present my side of the story. The lawyer I consulted before-hand told me that nine times out of ten, the courts accepted the trustee’s recommendations. My trustee was recommending an additional 12 months in bankruptcy. Based on those odds, the lawyer felt that taking money to represent me was an expensive exercise in futility. So I delved into the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and wrote my story. The document was submitted to the courts a few days prior to my court appearance; the conclusion, which is below, was read in person by myself in court.

Here it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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I just got an email from Jack guru Canfield. It went right to my spam, so I can only assume it was intended for “Recipient,” not specifically “Britt.”

Oh well. I’ll get over that.

Anyway, my good friend Jack begins his email with these three sentences:

  1. Did you know only 3% of the world actually sets goals?
  2. In addition, only 3% of the orld owns 97% of the world’s resources.
  3. I don’t think this is a coincidence; it’s important to set goals to achieve success in today’s society.

Did you get that? The “implication” that is not, apparently, a coincidence, is that if you set your goals, you will become one of the primary owners of the worlds resources.

Jack’s email is a pitch for “free” coaching. Given that these guys typically charge thousands of dollars, you’ve really got to think twice about what this free coaching is all about.

Let me save you a bit of time. Typically, these gurus give a bit and then sell sell sell. And then a bit more, and then sell sell sell.

And how do they hook you? By feeding you your own self-serving biases. As described in a website called Cold Reading 101, self serving biases are our positive beliefs we hold about ourselves, whether they are true or not. Typically, these include the beliefs that:

  • Most people see themselves as more intelligent than average.
  • Most people consider themselves more attractive than average.
  • Most people consider themselves more educated than average.
  • Most people consider themselves better drivers than average.
  • Most people see themselves as more ethical than average.

So you can take pretty well any positive result (like telling your client that they too have the potential to be part of the 3% that owns 97% of the world’s resources) and tell  your client that they have the potential to reach it. First, attend this free coaching session (which is populated with heavy HEAVY sales tactics) and voila! You are special, successful, and wealthy.

Also, should my friend Jack contact you with this incredible faulty logic and offer that will change your life, I want you to ask yourself this question:

What exactly has Jack himself done?

Other than luck into the get-famous-as-a-coach spiel, I don’t really think his resume is that impressive. Has he headed up a Fortune 100 company? Has he changed the world in any meaningful way for anyone not white, male or middle aged? Has he solved any environmental stress issues? Backed the electric car? Fed starving Somalians? Helped pass the American Equal Rights Amendment?

Hmmmm.

One has to wonder how we fall for this time and time again.

Maybe it’s time to start realizing that we are not special, not unique, not brighter than any other particular star in the universe. The Jack’s pitches will become but a wee annoying drone in the background, like that pesky mosquito in the tent who you know you can quash in the morning but for now you’ll just have to put up with it.

Or you can learn more about the art of cold reading. Derren Brown is one of the masters. Learn from him. He reveals his secrets. No charge.

Jack pitches to the 3% of the population ready to make goals. In one of T.Harv Eker’s seminars, a friend of mine was quoted a 5% success rate of all attendees, and this was at the executive level (for which one paid $50k). This translates into a 0.06% chance of success. That’s how much they believe in you.

You’re better off talking to a local businesswoman, partnering with a mentor, and taking it from there.

 

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