First off, note that I now have a link (on your left) to a very crappy looking page of links to all my on-line interviews. Now here’s an updated gig list:
North Hollywood, California:
Thursday August 9th, 7PM at Many Paths Bookstore, 5152A Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood Arts District, cross-streets are Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards
New York City, New York:
Sunday August 26, 2007- 7 PM at Bluestockings Radical Books on the Lower East Side 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington – 1 block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.
August 27, 2007 at 7 PM at The Interdepedence Project at Lila Center 302 Bowery at Houston (this will be the most like a formal lecture among all the NYC appearances) RSVP soon, space is limited.
August 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village 396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, New York, NY 10011
August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill Universitys Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233
Boulder & Ft. Collins, Colorado:
Monday September 10, 2007 – 7:30 pm Boulder Bookstore 1107 Pearl Street – Author Event
Tuesday September 11, 2007 Noon – Colorado State University Bookstore – The Lory Student Center at CSU Ft. Collins, CO
Tuesday September 11, 2007 7 PM – CSU Anthropology Club The Lory Student Center at CSU, Ft. Collins – Author Event
September 22 to 25, 2007, Tokei-in Temple, 1840 Hatori, Shizuoka City, 421-12 (Prior registration is required. See http://www.dogensangha.org/sesshin.htm for details)
November 7,2007 at the Akron Public Library
OK, so last night a friend of mine needed a ride to meet a friend of hers. Let’s call the first friend Sally and the second friend Tabitha. Tabitha had invited Sally to a Network Marketing thing out in Silverlake. Silverlake is a hipster area of Los Angeles.
This was my first chance to see a Network Marketing event. Network Marketing is like Amway or Herbalife or maybe Avon. There are these companies that don’t do advertising. They just throw fake parties where they try to get you to buy their stuff. But they don’t just want you to buy the stuff. They want you to beocme a salesperson for their stuff.
The atmosphere was pretty much like what you get at a religious cult gathering. A number of people are planted throughout the audience who are already converts. Their job is to yell, “Woo-hooo!” at certain scripted points in the presentation. Or sometimes they get more subtle and just say things like, “Wow!” or, “Unbelievable!” on cue as if they just happen to be there and are impressed with the Power Point presentation.
At the end of the presentation converts walk around and ask newbies, “What did you like?” I got asked this three times by people who apparently didn’t realize how fucking obvious they were being. I said, “It’s a nice house.” Because it was. That left every one of them stupified. Get a little more creative people!! At least say, “Yes and this house was bought by money earned from being a member.” Shit. Even I could’ve done that. Don’t just stand there slack jawed because I didn’t say something about the stupid presentation. Dipshits.
ANYWAY this particular scam — er, scheme — was some kind of cheap vacation deal. The idea was they form a big group who can buy bulk and reduce the prices of vacations for their members (oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that, they told us so at the end of the presentation). Nice, I guess, if you want to go on generic vacations with a bunch of zombies from their group.
As I watched this thing unfold I realized I’d seen exactly the same thing twice before. Once was on the video of The Secret and the other was on the You Tube clips of Gempo Roshi’s Big MindŽ seminars. As I said, it’s a religious cult type atmosphere at these marketing events. All the folks from The Secret and Big MindŽ have done is apply the network marketing philosophy and techniques to so-called “spiritual” practices. Which, in itself, were reverse engineered by profit seekers from religious cult techniques. Clever, really. But in the end valueless.
This is why Genpo Roshi ought to be kicked in the ass very, very hard. In the case of The Secret, the whole thing is a load of horseshit right to its core. There’s not a smidge of value to be had in it at all. It’s not even as useful as Herbalife or cheap zombie vacations. But Genpo is trying the same bullshit with Zen which, at its core is the most practical and useful philosophy and practice to be found. Like I’ve said before, if you wanna go attend one of Genpo’s idiot conventions, be my guest. But that is not Buddhism and anyone who says it is ought to have his butt thoroughly booted.
The entire network marketing thing — of which Big MindŽ and The Secret are examples — is based on two ideas. One is that what you really want out of life is OVER THERE somewhere. Not here. The other is that the dude running the show has what you need and can sell it to you. It’s pure confusion created and sustained by collective thought.
Also, interestingly, both the network marketing scams and Big MindŽ espouse the same idea that this stuff used to take a lot of time, effort and energy, but now a new technique has been developed that’ll give you the same effect right away without all the muss and fuss. In the case of the network marketers the goal getting rich, in the case of Genpo and all the rest of them it’s getting enlightenment. Believe whatever you want, suckers.
Listen. I’m just telling you what I can see. I don’t give a shit if you believe it or not. I’m not trying to convince you I’m right. But I do think there’s some value in expressing this point of view even if nobody pays much attention. So there.