Gonzo Marketing:Winning Through Worst Practices The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy
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Thursday, August 26, 2004
beck and call
whatever you think, it's not what you think

Strike a pose
Strike a pose

Greta Garbo and Monroe
Dietrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
on the cover of a magazine...

Madonna - Vogue
I feel I should warn you at the outset that the whole first part of this could be a red herring. Also possibly the second and third parts. If there is a third part. I can't remember. Think Virginia Postrel. Think style, not substance. Think, hey: just a ripping good read!
So what I want to know is: who the fuck is Steve Nakamoto? He keeps turning up in the sidebars of a whole lot of the searches I run on Amazon. But as a whole lot of these searches are for new-agey relationship shit, I at first just ignored him. I mean, this whole research agenda is masochistic enough. However, not to be so easily thwarted, the bastard kept popping up so often, I finally looked at a couple of his "So You'd Like To..." guides, wondering if one would be like "So You'd Like To... Strangle Me With a Live Boa Constrictor," and a box I could check for YES. It was just what I expected, though: shit. Though it could be valuable at some point, I told myself, as it's so pure, such 100% grade-A hogwash. Not a single book he lists has any redeeming social value. But then, I told myself some more, this is hardly anything, in itself, to write home about. There are so many examples of this sort that they constitute the quotidian mean, the hump in the bell curve of unadulterated idiocy that has come to characterize nearly everything written today about "love." So hey, just another garbage-bargeful of nauseating drek.

But tonight I searched for something by Aaron T. Beck, "the father," as it says in the mini-bio on the back of one of his many books, "of cognitive psychology." He is too: full fathom five. <!-- I wonder should you add: "Thy father lies." Hmmm, I suppose not. The smart ones will get it the way it is; you'd just be insulting their intelligence by spelling it out too plain. And the dumb literary-allusion challenged ones wouldn't get it anyway. OK, so no. But should you tell the hosers Valued Readers that we piss on cognitive psychology? Nah, not yet, requires too much explanation. Later for sure, though, right? And as long as I'm making these little personal hidden comments to yourself, also don't forget to explain, like you promised -- what? five-six months ago? -- why Abraham Maslow, co-court-jester to Esalen Institute along with Fritz "I am not in this world to live up to your expectations" Perls, was a dangerous fool. --><!-- uh... what's that? Oh yeah, I see, good point. But remind me later, OK? --> And there he was again, Little Stevie Nakamoto. Damn! That tears it, I opined. <!-- Christ, don't say opined! It's a stupid word. C'mon. Only bad science fiction writers say opined. And besides, "that tears it" is hardly an opinion. --><!-- RB, would you PLEASE just shut the fuck up! --> So I went to his profile page to see what I could see. What I saw immediately was that he seems to have cobbled together 39 of these "So You'd Like To..." guides. Count em, thirty-nine!

  3. Attract Love Into Your Life Naturally!
  5. Become A Master Listener & More Compassionate Person!
  7. Catch & Release: Keep Your Relationship Alive and Well!
    <!-- Oh lookee, it includes Unmarried to Each Other: The Essential Guide to Living Together as an Unmarried Couple -->
    <!--Yeah, followed by Get Anyone to Do Anything: Never Feel Powerless Again--With Psychological Secrets to Control and Influence Every Situation. Nice segue, Steve! -->
    <!-- Not to mention my own personal favorite, I Hate You, Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality. -->
    <!-- And how about The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate? -->
    <!-- Sounds like a borderline to me.. -->
    <!-- Well, let's run down the list. Mad, check. Hurt, check. Scared, check. Frustrated, check. Insulted, check. Betrayed, check. Desperate, check. Yup, definitely borderline. -->
    <!-- That's by that Harriet Lerner bitch, isn't it. Didn't someone tell us she's a total cunt in real life? -->
    <!-- Yeah, I seem to remember something about that. But I'm surprised to hear you say such a thing, RB. What do you know about "real life"? Look, hey, this is great fun and all, but it's almost 6am. Could we like you know move on?. -->
    <!-- What? So I won't ask you what YOU know about "real life"? Yeah sure, let's move on. Asshole. -->
    <!-- I guess it's a "blind" spot because you can't see inside your own mouth. I never thought of that. Man, this Steve guy is some kinda smart! -->
  11. Find A Man's Love Weakness!
    <!-- Wouldn't it be funny if it was bad breath? -->
  12. Get A Man To Commit With An Unshakable Attachment!
  13. Have Tons of Fun Meeting Quality Men!
  14. Hook Up With A Nice Catch Online!
  16. Increase Your Attractiveness To Men
    <!-- THE BABE MAGNET! -->
    <!-- Yeah, THE BABE MAGNET!!! You go, RB. -->
  18. Land The Love of Your Life For Keeps!
  19. Learn Advanced Communication Skills For Dating & Love!
  20. Learn the Secrets of Unconscious Rapport
    <!-- Hey, wait a second. If it's unconscious, how would you know you had it? -->
    <!-- Read it again. It's a secret. I bet it's a spiritual thing, you think? -->
    <!-- Or maybe he means when you're both asleep. -->
    <!-- Or fucking. I could see that. -->
    <!-- Something Tantric then, yeah. That's probably it. -->
  21. Let Go Of The Big One That Got Away!
    <!-- Hey, my Big One never gets away! -->
  23. Make Your Attraction Mega-Powerful!
  24. Manage Your Love Upsets With Men!
  25. Men: Fall in Love With the Right Woman!
    <!-- Yeah, good fucking luck with that one, Men! -->
  30. Score Points With Your Mate When She Has PMS!
    <!-- Hold on, I think I know this one. You say, "Sweetheart, I know why you're being such a bitch. You're on the rag!" -->
    <!-- Does that really work? -->
    <!-- Every time. -->
  31. Separate the Men From the Boys In Your Love Life!
    <!-- She'd have trouble with us! -->
    <!-- What do mean "would have"? She did. -->
  32. Size Up The Men In Your Love Life More Accurately!
    <!-- "Alright, listen up! All you guys with eight inches or more, over here. The rest of you can hit the road." -->
    <!-- It's that "catch and release" thing again. -->
  33. Succeed At Love (Men) Or Get Happily Married (Women)
    <!-- How come you can never find a feminist when you really need one? -->
    <!-- Is that a joke? If it is, I don't get it. -->
  34. Surf The Internet For Love!
    <!-- You get that one, though, doncha RB? Speaking of which, I've been meaning to talk to you about the 30 gigabytes of JPEGs I found on the Mac this morning. -->
    <!-- Yeah, yeah. Cry me a river. -->
  36. Take Up The Slack In Your Small Talk!
  37. Understand the Unconscious Dating Secrets
    <!-- Christ, first it was Unconscious Rapport. Now it's Unconscious Dating. -->
    <!-- No mystery here. It's anima stuff. You really need to brush up on your Jung. -->
  38. Win Points Instead of Lose Points With The Bachelor!
  39. Women: Learn How To Talk To Men

OK, you say. All right, I give up. So who the fuck is Steve Nakamoto? Other than some x-random bungwipe who thinks he knows WHAT MAKES WOMEN TICK.

Why, you mean you didn't know? He's no less than a former "Life Mastery Trainer" for "motivational expert" Tony Robbins. Plus a "Human Relations/Communications Instructor" for Dale Carnegie & Associates. That's who! Wow, huh?

However, as you may have guessed, this isn't really about Steve-O. It's about America's -- and therefore, by way of export, the world's -- funny ideas about credentials. In other words: what counts toward credibility these days? These other words are necessary here because the specialized term of art, "credentials," is so freighted with academic connotations: doctorate, post-doc, university affiliation, number of journal articles published, number of peer citations, fellowships, chairs, membership in (the right) professional associations, and so on. And so very on, in fact. Notice I haven't mentioned salary, number of palms greased, conventional beauty of wife and/or lovers (or rugged good looks of husband and/or lovers), lavishness of dinner parties thrown, number of institutional power brokers invited to lavish dinner parties, currency with cutting edge jargon, vocal support of ideas already safely well supported, vocal non-support of ideas not supported by those higher up in the hierarchy, unqualified faith (or at least well-voiced lip service to the idea) that The Hierarchy is an inherent given of Existence -- the Way Things Are writ large.

These outwardly endorsed semantics of what "credentials" confer or infer credit for -- as well as their concomitant, if always implicit, self serving suggestions -- have been around for a long time. As long as the Academy, in fact. Which, suffice it to say, might as well be fucking forever. Please note that I do not mean to indicate by this description any measure of undue esteem.

Granted, there are many good heads (not infrequently accompanied by good hearts) who have survived the credentials racket and refused to let it prevent them from advancing the state and store of human knowledge worth knowing. Their cred is of a different and a deeper kind. Such people, when I come across them, command my profound respect, and whenever I can, I commend them to yours.

Nice paragraph, huh?

I mean, for someone who barely finished high school.

And therefore has no credentials to speak of.

Which point is intrinsic to the larger point I'm building toward. That is, if I can remember at this point what it was, and this potential for mental slippage -- as you, Valued Reader, know all too well -- is always a clear and present danger.

My little detour though the academic world was to differentiate (if not distinguish) it's notion of credibility from the credibility that has come to count in popular culture. Instead of differentiate, I was going to say compare and contrast -- echoes of the classroom; hey! teacher! -- but that's not really right, not the same thing. Because the popular view of what's credible is not in contrast to the view from the academy, but rather, is firmly founded on it.

Universities gave us a sort of standardized system of weights and measures for assessing what is good, valuable, interesting, laudable and possibly even true. It's the system, not the weights and measures themselves -- the specific gravitas -- that pop culture has inherited.

Potentially annoying but needful aside: The highly undisinterested ideological project that has sought to distinguish "high culture" from "low culture," "high-brow" from "low-brow," is what is technically referred to as a rhetorical blivet. A blivet being ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. It's purpose was to re-animate (see adjacent figure) the God-given validity of an "upper class," not as measured by economic status, but as conferred by that noble if somewhat rarefied abstraction called culture. See, e.g., Mathew Arnold on Culture and Anarchy. Yes, as in mere lawlessness loosed upon the world when the center of centers does not hold. That already-here millennium in which the falconer cannot recall the Millennium Falcon. But is legally forced to recall the Pinto because the gas tanks blew up. All of which is to say that one of the many things postmodernism means is never having to say you're sorry.

Aside within potentially annoying aside: Note that "culture" is the root of "agriculture." Curious, no? And that "cultured" people are people who pretend to a high degree of "cultivation." Curiouser still. And note further that this cultured cultivation has come to distinguish so-called civilized people from so-called heathen primitives (we don't call the Darkies that anymore for reasons of political correctness, a.k.a. abject fear). The irony in this nomenclature is that it's no accident that culture and agriculture share a common etymological... uh... root. They are both all about roots. About digging in the dirt. Just as "cultivation" is largely about shit. That is to say, heaping shit on roots so that they'll grow. All these words are about farming. And why did cultured, civilized society come to be called the "landed gentry"? Because they had land. Duh! That's how they got rich and got to be powerful and control shit, just as they once controlled how much shit they put on the crops they cultivated, like corn and cotton and coffee and tobacco and -- oooh, oooh, I know -- opium! They got so rich that they colonized and now control even language -- think universities, publishing, radio, television, advertising -- such that we have forgotten what culture and cultivation used to mean. And that they were once farmers. If you don't believe this, don't believe in the power of agriculture, or think these observations reflect mere quirks of evolving usage, then you probably also don't believe that the real reason the war in Viet Nam went on so long was the staggering profits reaped from heroin shipped home to Amerikan ghettoes in the body bags of soldiers who grew up in those same brokendown sub-cities. And that before those profits were reaped, opium poppies had to be reaped by the billions in the Golden Triangle. The power of agriculture. Believe it.

Ah, but I see that I'm getting ahead of myself.

All this purposeful obfuscation has been to set up an example, which if I were a smarter (or less perverse) fellow, I would have presented first to help you understand what I'm talking about. But I'm either not that smart, or I don't give a fuck about helping you. Take your pick.

Here's the example. You ready? I've left it nice and big because I like the title typeface. And also so you won't miss anything. That's a hint. And you may need this hint, as there will be a pop quiz directly after the grafik.

Now, what do we notice about this cover that's a little odd, a bit fishy? Class? Anyone?... No? How about you Billy. Why don't you explain to us what's wrong with this picture -- as you seem to be doing nothing but drawing pictures of Tyranosaurus Rexes on your math book and you haven't heard a word I've said. Why don't YOU tell us!
Faint strains of primitive music drift through the classroom window from a chopped Camaro breaking Mach 2 on the street outside. We don't need no education...

Billy, looking up from his paleontological reconstruction, and looking, moreover, terminally bored, drawls:

That's easy. Since when is fucking Vogue a credible arbiter of what's "definitive" [he does finger quotes here like he's flipping the bird] in any domain beyond lamer "fashion" [he flips the quotes again] and pathetically obsolete delusions of what's "hip." Beck and his marketing handlers are clearly pitching this cognitive "psychology" crap to the self-help morons who, if they could help themselves, would be cruising a different aisle, so to speak. And if they had half a brain to cognize with, would be like LOL, dude, when they spotted this blowhard blurb, wondering how anyone could be stupid enough to believe for a New York nanosecond that Vogue -- fucking VOGUE??? -- would know dick about cognitive psych, which is a crock to begin with, a black boxful of simple-assed algorithms pretending to explain the most complex organic structure in all of like fucking NATURE, man, not to mention what people can do with it, or how twisted they get behind what it gets off on doing back. And what? Did positivism stage a come-back while I was drawing dinosaurs? Gimme a break. It's a load of shit.
The teacher, though clearly floored at this totally unexpected answer:
You watch your mouth in here, Billy Milligan!
Billy, laconically:
Blow me.
Strikes a pose.

...to be continued...
The author wishes to acknowledge the generous support he has received for this work-in-progress from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Pugh Charitable Trust. But however munificent, these pale in comparison with the Gonzo PayPal Blog Grants that continue to pour in from...
You, The Valued Reader!

<!-- Jesus, am I ever glad that's over! Do you realize it took us all fucking night to write this worthless swill? -->
<!-- Yeah. Whew, huh? But wait... Shouldn't we say more like "dribble in"? I mean, if money was pouring in, we wouldn't be eating cat food. Now would we? -->
<!-- No, I think we should leave it "pour." Then people will think, well damn, if everybody else is giving them money, I guess I better drop a C-note on the button too! -->
<!-- Bloggers? Are you shitting me? -->
<!-- Hey, at least we're eating good cat food. Where do you think that came from? -->

11:02 AM | link |

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"RageBoy: Giving being fucking nuts a good name since 1985."
~D. Weinberger
28 October 2004

Chris Locke's photos More of Chris Locke's photos

Until a minute ago, I had no photos. I still have no photos to speak of. I don't even have a camera. But all these people were linking to "my photos." It was embarassing. It's still embarassing. But I'm used to that.

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