The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Was it the LOA or was it 'synchronicity'? I'm not sure. I had been thinking an awful lot about my last post about "The Secret", and how con artists manipulate people's emotions in order to inflate their bank accounts and magnetic heads. It's been a curious week.
I magically stumbled on a google link to a 1958 full online version of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and was thrilled, excited, completely amazed at my good fortune. This film was one of my very favorites when I was eight years old (or thereabouts). I watched it almost as many times as I watched The Wizard of Oz. Sinbad the Sailor evoked memories of me telling my sisters to say "Open Sesame" in front of the barn (I was secreted behind the doors) so I could mysteriously push them open. We played some of the best games kids could invent after watching a film with cyclops and genies and teensy little princesses. We ran through the house looking for anything resembling a brass lamp that JUST MIGHT have a genie inside! Who knew? The fun was in the possibility, we didn't really want to know for sure...it was the mystery and magic that entertained us while we waited for afternoon television to start broadcasting cowboy and Indian shows.
This is a link to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. So turn up your speakers, sit back in your desk chair (pretend your feet don't touch the floor) and take a trip down memory lane way way back to your childhood when you truly believed in magic and genies and my favorite character in the film: The Cyclops. I used to pretend Dad was a cyclops just to scare the willywonkers out of my sisters by telling them a hairy monster was walking in the door any minute so they'd best arm themselves with weapons of some kind. My littlest sister managed to spit in Dad's eye but she only did it ONCE. He did not appreciate what the rest of us thought was enormously funny! Oh.......to be a kid again!! To feel that same 'wonder and awe' of a life unlimited, where fantasy and magic intertwine with only occasional appearances of reality---like what really happens when you spit in a cyclop's eye. Now that was a reality check on a kid's imagination!
My Dad, 1958
Photo taken during 'harvest time'
I tried sharing the film with my eighteen-year-old nephew but he couldn't get past the Dynamation. "They don't even look REAL", he complained. "How come you like this stooopid movie?" Obviously, this generation of kids weren't trained to use their imaginations which is too bad. The less real a monster is, the less likely we are to confuse reality with fantasy. I still prefer a good horror film like "Godzilla versus King Kong" or even "Killer tomatoes" to the horror films of today that desensitize people to sadistic cruelty because directors contrive films so the viewer identifies with the killer. At least in 1958, you didn't identify with monsters because they were obviously 'fake'.
Anyway, after posting my big, fat opinion about "The Secret", I went upstairs to make cinnamon rolls while my nephew baked bread. We have a television in the kitchen to help pass the time spent peeling carrots and dicing onions and cooking broth from the prior night's roasted chicken. It was strange to see several network channels showing Paid Programming instead of Brady Bunch reruns or Law and Order marathons. We ended up watching one of those 'paid-for-advertising-progams' which generally run after midnight.
Now maybe it was the Law of Attraction or perhaps it was synchronicity or maybe it was the Celestine Prophecy bringing a 'teacher' into my life right when I was ready to receive instruction, but a guy with crummy teeth was sitting with an interviewer, talking about his amazing program for getting rich. Considering we're on a strict budget stretching one chicken three ways, I thought, "Why not watch this show and see what secrets he's willing to share." Plus, he was offering an amazing 70% off and heavens knows a woman like myself is a sucker for a 'sale'.
I took out a notepad and jotted down what he was saying just to check in with what I'd written on my prior post. Even though I'm not inclined to watch stuff like this, nor read long persuasive websites selling products, books, and DVDs, what this guy was doing to his audience was exactly what I'd written about!
He must have said 'Elite' twenty times if not a hundred during his half-hour sales pitch. He dropped codewords that carry a big impression on people like yachts, mansions, exclusive parties, love relationships, secret societies, vacations in Europe---particularly the Alps where people paid Ten Thousand dollars each to attend his two-day seminar! He produced anecdotal evidence of clients' satisfaction with his seminar and how their business grew from a piddlin' mom-and-pops to a fortune 500. All in a year's time. Then he topped his fantastical promises by saying that you might not make a million dollars the first week after listening to his DVDs, but you would see a noticeable increase in your trust that the money will come at some point. First though, you gotta pay the Master to reveal his secrets.
"This program is like buying your personal genie!" he said without flinching. While I'm watching this bare-faced con artist sell lies to an audience of financially stressed people who weren't at work that day because they'd been laid off, his arrogance was so hard to believe that I almost believed, if you know what I mean. In my realm of human possibilities, nobody would lie like that with a straight face (and crooked teeth, but that's part of his charm). I thought, "Gee, if he had a perfect smile, he'd be less credible in a way." He looked like the average guy in every neighborhood and yet, as he admitted to his audience, he was rich beyond imagination and all without an education, or years of hard work in a corporation. From rags to riches, his success was attributed to 'The Secret behind The Secret." He and he alone had the missing key that The Secret forgot to tell people. And for 70% off, he was willing to share this amazing secret with anyone; PLUS (get this all you people who feel alienated from the upper class)---he was extending a private invitation to join his exclusive club of elite and fantastically rich and exclusive people.
(A club that might not be exclusive if anyone can buy their way in for 70% off on a Saturday afternoon. But we're used to be told we special in a world of billions of other special people.)
I'm thinking, of course, about the desperate people who invested in Enron and other disasters like that. People who lost their retirement, lost their jobs, and in our current financial situation, are scared to death that they won't have enough money to buy one chicken for a hungry family of six.
I was thinking about how low we feel when we fail. How vulnerable we are to labeling ourselves as worthless scumbags whose failures define us and that's when he said, "If you do not order this amazing secret, You Are a LOSER! That's right!" he said. "Losers are people who aren't willing to take a risk or even try to solve their problems!"
His manipulation was retching. A person with a conscience couldn't help but think to herself: "Has this man NO SHAME??!!"
Hummm...obviously not. He has no shame because he is absolutely convinced that a sucker is born every minute and he is only actualizing his true potential as a manipulative, lying rat bazturd whose mission in life is to take advantage of people's desperation. DESPERATION, as I wrote in my prior post, is the fodder of manipulation.
This guy enjoys pulling one over on other people. Do you think he unconscious of his deception? O heck no. He does it intentionally because to him, his market audience is comprised of marks. Get that? You are a Mark in his mark-et audience.
He has no shame about using people to get what he wants because the man is shameless. Ordinary people would shudder before selling a product that was worthless to vulnerable people, so it's really difficult for us to believe someone would stare his mark-et audience right in the eye and then spit in it. The biggest insult to us and proof of his arrogance is that he wants people to pay him for the joy of being spit on by the spittle-master.
Spittle does come to mind when watching these glib-tongued con-artists talk a mile a minute! Have you ever seen anybody talk more words and say nothing much at all better than the con-artists selling products today? Those people who sit there without any shame or guilt and stare you in the eye and call you a loser if you don't buy their product!?!
It made me wonder what would have happened thirty or forty years ago had someone told the average American that despite generations of hard work, this salesman had the secret to not working hard. I don't think they would have fallen for the con...they may have tarred and feathered the jackass and chased him out of town, though. So why are we so susceptible to schemes like this today? The thought that occurred to me is that we've been Groomed to Be Persuaded through our media. How many commercials appeal to our 'narcissism' everyday? On TV, in magazines, on billboards, on the radio, even on websites and the sides of buses and taxis.
It's as if we're desensitized to blatant commercial persuasion these days, like people get desensitized to horror films. What used to shock us no longer has an impact. Perhaps the subtle messages in less-persuasive commercials has numbed us to out-and-out con artists looking for a mark in the consumer mark-et.
Instead of turning a blind eye to what's going on in our world or blaming the victim for being susceptible to manipulation and magical thinking, we oughta speak up. I'll bet there are lots of people who are too embarrassed to admit they let their Inner Kid fill out the order form and then use the Adult's bank account to pay for a worthless product. They are probably embarrassed so much that they won't say anything at all because they know people will mock them for being hoodwinked.
Well, if you fell in love with, and stayed with a narcissist, in the belief that eventually your good thoughts and good support would transform him into a hero like Sinbad the Good Sailor, then you've eaten your fair share of humble pie. As a society, I believe we have the obligation to protect people from being conned by manipulators and not stand idly by, smug in our certainty that 'we' would never be scammed by a guy with crooked teeth.
O yes...we can be taken advantage of and it's up to each of us to protect one another from opportunists who have no limits to their shameless manipulation. I don't know how we go about accomplishing that but ignoring the problem (or blaming the victim) only enables the con-artist to continue playing his game.