October 22, 2009

In the sweat lodge of doom: "There were people throwing up everywhere."

If you are crowded into a small space — about 24 feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall— with 50 people and one person throws up — for any reason — if you have any sense at all, you will leave immediately. Imagine the space being very hot, and everyone feels bad, and multiple people are throwing up. Yet you stay. You are out of your mind in that very special way that involves ceding your responsibility to a guru, and he's urging you one, telling you the vomiting is "good for you," that it's "purging what your body doesn’t want, what it doesn’t need." You can't even struggle back to that dim light of consciousness that warns that "what your body doesn’t want" seems to be life itself. Get out of the sweat lodge! But you paid $9,695. Get out of the sweat lodge!
About 90 minutes into the ceremony, [orthodontist Dr. Beverley] Bunn said, someone yelled in the darkness that a woman had passed out just after [the guru James Arthur] Ray closed the tent door between rounds. Dr. Bunn said Mr. Ray replied, “We will deal with that after the next round.”...

Mr. Ray’s company, James Ray International, made $9.4 million in 2008 from events including weekend seminars with titles like “World Wealth Summit,” videos and books, including the 2008 best-seller “Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want.”...

“James Ray stood by the door of the tent and he controlled when those rounds began and ended,” [said Thomas J. McFeeley, a cousin of one woman who died]. “He called for more and hotter rocks that were brought into the tent between the rounds. He instructed people inside that you could not leave during the rounds. If you had to leave, you had to wait until the end of the round.”...

On a conference call Mr. Ray held last week for sweat lodge participants, Dr. Bunn was shocked to hear one recount the comments of a self-described “channeler” who visited Angel Valley after the retreat. Claiming to have communicated with the dead, the channeler said they had left their bodies in the sweat lodge and chosen not to come back because “they were having so much fun.”
Yes, read that again. A channeler is reporting that the people who died voluntarily crossed over into the next world during the ceremony, decided they liked it, and chose to stay. Dead.

Clearly there is a lawsuit in the works. And Ray has a good big pile of money. You can see the competing stories about whether his followers chose to stay or were blocked when they tried to leave. Whether they fell for his idiotic explanations or tried to prevent escape, he should have to pay. Still, how can people be so stupid. And 50 people can push one man out of the way. As they should have done, after the first hurl.

114 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Come on it was only 3 out of 60 who died. This was supposed to be a vision quest.

They did pay $9000 for the privilege of being challenged.

David said...

People who go to Sedona and sit in sweat lodges are generally looking to be lead, not to lead.

paul a'barge said...

Jim Jones, redux. Put on your red Nike running shoes and climb into the purple bedding to await the space ship.

I don't suppose any of the dead came from Manhattan? I could use a good rent-controlled apartment.

reader_iam said...

Wouldn't it be fun, sometimes, if you could specify the order of tags in something other than alphabetically?

Ex.: stupid New Age death vomit.

Fred4Pres said...

I am sorry, but if you are stupid enough to pay that sort of money, deny yourself food and especially water for 36 hours in Arizona, and then go in some broiling hot sweat lodge with some new ager carnival barker pretending to be atune with Native American cluture...

well it is what it is. I see some Darwin Award winners here.

Fred4Pres said...

If you want to do the shaman routine, then stand for 24 hours, followed by having bones or eagle talons put through your pecs and be hung in a sweat lodge till you get your vision. If you are going to play native american shaman, then go old school on this.

EDH said...

I think the technical term is Barf-o-Rama.

elHombre said...

Whether they fell for his idiotic explanations or tried to prevent escape, he should have to pay. Still, how can people be so stupid. And 50 people can push one man out of the way. As they should have done, after the first hurl.

Yes. Because, after all, what is the legal system for if not to see that people are compensated for their own stupidity and lack of initiative.

traditionalguy said...

The key fact to the occult experience they all sought is that they have to will to blank out their own minds and accept the intelligence coming from another realm that desires to communicate with them. The question is why they would be surprised when that other intelligence told them to destroy their lives as a sacrifice to it. They were trying to connect to the Powers that native Americans worshiped here for thousands of years thru hundreds of thousands of human sacrifice rituals to it.

Fred4Pres said...

A bunch of poesers if you ask me.

I did a canoe trip in January, from Syracuse, NY to Binghampton, NY on the Susquehanna River. Daytime temps were around 15F and night dropped below zero. I drank Jim Beam and ate cheese chunks and pre cooked pork chops in zip lock bags the entire trip. There were chunks of ice in the river like George Washington crossing the Delaware, except this lasted an entire weekend and I had the flu. The high light was when my canoe hit a half frozen rotten hog in the river and it split in half. The decomposition kept the hog from freezing through and the smell was something...well it was something I will never forget. The only blessing was I was so congested my sense of smell was reduced.

And I did it. It was a vision quest and cost a lot less than $9000.

Beldar said...

The criminal prosecution should precede the civil lawsuits, although if I were a civil attorney for a claimant I would take immediate steps to attempt to ensure that assets don't move overseas in the meantime.

MadisonMan said...

GroupThink at its best.

As paul says, Jim Jones again, but instead of Kool Aid, a nice refreshing drink, we had a sweat lodge

Crimso said...

"And Ray has a good big pile of money."

Plus Rush wants to give him a Medal of Honor. Or so I'm told.

David said...

"Or so I'm told."

Don't believe everything you are told. Unless, of course, it confirms your world view. Then believe any manner of horseshit and pass it on.

Titus said...

Read about this last night.

There is quite a bit of "vortex" talk in the article as well.

I am surprised you didn't highlight that Althouse.

John Lynch said...

People will die rather than face humiliation. Nothing new in that.

That instinct is very useful, and laudable in many situations. Soldiers don't run away, firemen run into burning buildings, and so on.

When that instinct is appropriated for a fraud it becomes a tragedy.

traditionalguy said...

Has a cause of death been determined ? The coroner or the autopsy folks need to tell us why this many suddenly keeled over. What killed them?

Titus said...

There is vortex healing and dophin energy feeling-what a crock.

Do I need vortex healing?

Fred4Pres said...

paul a'barge said...
Jim Jones, redux. Put on your red Nike running shoes and climb into the purple bedding to await the space ship.


You are mixing Marshall Applewhite with Jim Jones. They are similar from a suicide basis; but this Sendona event is not a suicide event, just super reckless.

Synova said...

I think that a criminal prosecution would be the best punishment.

Money is money... so he loses it. What has he lost? Big fricking deal.

Put him in prison for negligent homicide, for manslaughter. He can't argue that he didn't have an agreement with those people, specifically, to protect them in his care if they put themselves in his care.

Those who didn't die *maybe* learned something important. Perhaps those who died should have their families compensated.

But the public interest is definitely in putting this guy behind bars.

Bissage said...

Mr. Ray has pretty much perfected the art of the trustful smile so I think we should all give him a pass on this one.

paul a'barge said...

I'm sorry I made a mistake. They were black Nike running shoes, not red.

Here you go, Heavens Gate

Titus said...

Could you imagine if your job was to bring the hot rocks in?

"Hot Rocks, Hot Rocks, watch out for the Hot Rocks".

Lots of vortexes going on in that Sedona. Who knew?

I know it is a sad story but I actually laughed my ass off after reading it.

Synova said...

What I mean to say is YES the people were wrong and stupid, but it's not an either/or thing. Their wrong stupidity has nothing to do with Mr. Ray who was not in any way coerced or forced or helpless in the face of their stupidity.

Titus said...

That guys had some work done.

It's not all hot rocks and dolphin energy healing that gave him that face.

Am I going to hell because it is so pathetic that I burst out laughing?

I like the quote from the Psychic in NC who turned on Sedona and this guy.

David said...

The list of people who do not choose to stay dead is quite short.

edutcher said...

Fred4Pres said...

I am sorry, but if you are stupid enough to pay that sort of money, deny yourself food and especially water for 36 hours in Arizona, and then go in some broiling hot sweat lodge with some new ager carnival barker pretending to be atune with Native American cluture...

well it is what it is. I see some Darwin Award winners here.


Ain't it the truth.

BTW the ritual you describe is the Mandan coming of age ordeal immortalized by George Catlin. If you look, the lodge was very big with plenty of breathing room.

Usually, these things were for the individual, particularly among the Southwestern tribes, IIRC. Before the Rosebud and Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull danced a Sun Dance under sweat lodge conditions, cutting off pieces of his flesh as he went. He then collapsed and hallucinated - warning enough for anybody!!

WV "initub" Where you must be to take a bath.

blake said...

Given that they could all leave at any moment, I'm at a loss to see why the government should interfere.

Jones had guys with guns, making sure everyone drank.

Maybe you've got fraud, if someone suggested that death couldn't possibly occur under these circumstances? And whatever charges grow out of that, following the deaths.

But, frankly, I don't want the government deciding I can't risk my life for whatever reason. (I don't think they should be keeping me from suicide either.)

wv: fibler -- a lie about cookie-making elves

blake said...

Also, where do these people get off thinking they can endure something a much tougher--and shorter lived--people did?

David said...

Aren't people with names like "James Arthur Ray" often in the assassination business?

The name alone would give me pause.

I took my lovely wife Sally and one of her closest friends to Sedona in the last months of Sally's life as a result of cancer. Sally had a bit of hope for the effects of the vortexes when we went. After a day or two, Sally concluded that the vortexes were bullshit. But she had a blast, especially taking her friend on a horseback ride to a cowboy cookout in the mountains. Sally knew these were bullshit cowboys too but she could flirt with them and ride circles around her friend. So actually Sedona did her a lot of good.

ricpic said...

So what was your vision, Fred4Pres at 2:34? Upstate New York in winter sucks?*



*As an upstater I'm allowed to say that.

Jeremy said...

David said..."Don't believe everything you are told. Unless, of course, it confirms your world view."

Unless of course, the local wing nuts agree.

Then it MUST be true.

Der Hahn said...

Gene pool, meet chlorine.

traditionalguy said...

When I think about $9,000 spent for 5 days of suffering and death as compared with $9,000 they could have spent on a Crystal Symphony Cruise for 26 days of pure luxury, beautiful land excursions and great cuisine...well these people were too stupid to be allowed to live by the Native American gods they conjured up.

blake said...

tradguy--

I think I'd prefer the Sweat Lodge.

David said...

Jeremy--If you could read, you will note that I did not limit the objects of my comment to the left. Both sides can catch the disease, and you have a classic case.

ricpic said...

"...the Mandam coming of age ordeal..."

I'll bet there wouldn't have been that many takers if this sweat lodge exercise in spirituality, or however it was sold, had been advertised as an ordeal.

Synova said...

"Given that they could all leave at any moment,"

Could they? Even not counting the psychological compulsions to go through with something that was *supposed* to make you feel horrible and the sociological compulsions not to step on and interrupt other people having a transcendental moment... it's not 50 people against one man as Althouse suggested... it's one person against how-ever many are between you and the door. Packed in as tight as that I find it unlikely that there were spaces to walk in to get to the door to face that single door-keeper.

"I'm at a loss to see why the government should interfere."

I'd hate to see special legislation based on this event (usually the worst sort of laws are passed that way) but don't we already have laws about negligence? Fraud? And in the end, people count on the justice system to deliver justice. The "having too much fun" channeler may only have to face cosmic justice, but Ray ought to face ours.

ricpic said...

Damn. That should be mandan.

Fred4Pres said...

ricpic said...
So what was your vision, Fred4Pres at 2:34? Upstate New York in winter sucks?*



*As an upstater I'm allowed to say that.


Oh it went way beyond upstate New York sucking in the winter. I floated back and forth between wishing not to die and wishing for death. The realization that the trip was over (we pulled out the canoes at a golf club on the river that's restaurant bar stayed open in the off season) and that I would soon get warm was quite sublime. My vision was the trip was strangely worth it, but have no desire to do it again.

Synova said...

My first thought, btw, was to wonder about O2 levels in an enclosed space with that many people breathing.

Were NONE of these people even rudimentary scientists?

Synova said...

And also... Ray facing and being judged by The People in no way invalidates those participants being judged by Darwin.

blake said...

Well, let me rephrase it slightly: These people SHOULD have known what they were getting into. They should not have been misled about the physical dangers.

But if you pay someone to lock you in a footlocker for a week, and you both agree to the terms and the risks as you both understand them, keep the government out of it.

SteveR said...

I was on a C-141 with about 100 people from a number of different families a couple years ago. An hour away from landing at Hickum AFB, a barf cascade started with young boy a few rows behind us and soon overtook a few more siblings, but over than dad being drenched in vomit the damage stopped there.

Obviously with no escape possible, it could have been much, much worse. Didn't cost us $9000 but probably cost the taxpayers that much.

ricpic said...

This sweatlodge was covered with felt, so there was none of the airflow (minimal but not zero) that the natural coverings of traditional
sweatlodges provided.

Titus said...

"Claiming to have communicated with the dead, the channeler said they had left their bodies in the sweat lodge and chosen not to come back because “they were having so much fun.”

Dr. Bunn had a less charitable view: “They couldn’t re-enter their bodies because they were dead.”

That is the last two paragraphs from the story. I am sorry that is hilarious.

David, your story about your friend was touching though, serious.

Roger J. said...

Synova--rudimentary scientists? Looks like they were most fully evolved idiots! It is genuinely difficult for me to be sympathetic, and I dont have any feelings of remose about that. As you say, Darwinian natural selection strikes again.

mrs whatsit said...

I think that your vision, Fred4Pres, must have had something to do with moving the location of the Susquehanna River. I live south of Syracuse and well north of the Susquehanna, which, last time I checked, didn't pass anywhere near Syracuse. Your trip description is completely convincing as an Upstate experience -- but are you sure you didn't start in Sidney or Cooperstown?

wv: demnedr -- demned river keeps moving!

Synova said...

" Mr. Ray, who is based in Carlsbad, Calif., did not respond to requests for comment. At a public seminar in Denver on Tuesday, he was interrupted by two men who shouted, “Tell them the truth!” and: “You control people! You stood in front of the door and refused to let people leave.”

The men were escorted from the meeting, and people burst into applause for Mr. Ray.
"

So.

He didn't even have the decency to pause a moment and consider if, perhaps, he's not doing a GOOD thing in the world; going on to more highly paid gigs to spread his poison. And ever more people, fully aware that those who followed him died, applauded him for it.

The worst a person will get at Jesus Camp is too much sugar, too little sleep, and a sunburn.

Synova said...

Heck... the worst you get at military basic training is too much sugar, too little sleep and a sunburn.

Hunter McDaniel said...

The best take on experiences like this was the movie "Semi-Tough".

blake said...

Synova--

People don't die at basic training? I don't mean regularly, but surely it's happened. I thought I heard of a case not long ago--some kind of combat drill. Didn't involve live fire, even?

But it illustrates my point: People should be able to take risks, including possibly fatal ones. We all do it when we drive. (It's a religious experience for me!) Some of us need more, and don't live by the 405.

ironrailsironweights said...

SWPL's will do anything to be trendy. Including, sometimes, die.

Peter

Synova said...

Well, okay, I wasn't counting vehicle accidents, live fire disasters and freak deaths due to unknown medical conditions.

I'm pretty sure, though that any deaths in military training are not met with "Ho hum, it's a risky job, and no big deal at all if the drill instructor fails to immediately recognize and treat heat exhaustion."

blake said...

Synova,

Sure, but that's a value judgment.

I might want to risk my life in some spurious way. Or some way that others might adjudge to be spurious. I consider it an important element of freedom to be able to do so.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

David said...
Titus--It's all about what a reasonable expectation is. Sally reasonably expected to die relatively soon from cancer. Having clarity about the expectation enabled her (and me) to enjoy our life together until the physical pain became overwhelming. Then there was morphine. Never disrespect morphine and the people who take it.

Kylos said...

traditionalguy, my non-medical opinion would be asphyxiation, dehydration, and starvation in lethal combinations.

Maguro said...

People don't die at basic training?

Yes, on occasion. There was actually a kid who died in Air Force basic training a few years ago because he drank too much water.

Synova said...

"I might want to risk my life in some spurious way. Or some way that others might adjudge to be spurious. I consider it an important element of freedom to be able to do so."

Oh, yes, I certainly agree. Sky diving, rock climbing, skiing, drinking too much, smoking.

Honestly, the reason I thought of Jesus Camp (in the generic) and military training is because the two of those do have a, ugh, hard to quite explain it without it sounding worse than it is, but sort of a psychological retraining element to them that seems at least marginally analogous to a spiritual retreat with a guru that involves rebirth. People might object to the comparison to what we understand about brainwashing but psychological retraining and returning home with a spiritual "high" doesn't require a three day fast and a near death experience.

Titus said...

I am totally into Nellie Mckay's knew Doris Day album.

Que Sera Sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be, The Future's Not Ours to See, Que Sera Sera.

thank you.

bearbee said...

Mainly professional, post-boomer people seeking to fill a spiritual void.

The Oprah generation.

Titus said...

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother what I would be?
Would I be pretty?
Would I be rich?

what profound lyrics.

blake said...

Honestly, the reason I thought of Jesus Camp (in the generic) and military training is because the two of those do have a, ugh, hard to quite explain it without it sounding worse than it is, but sort of a psychological retraining element to them that seems at least marginally analogous to a spiritual retreat with a guru that involves rebirth. People might object to the comparison to what we understand about brainwashing but psychological retraining and returning home with a spiritual "high" doesn't require a three day fast and a near death experience.

Exactly. But there's a threat at at least one of those. We're always free to judge the merits, but it needs to be possible for people to pursue folly.

Michael said...

Once mainstream religions, or at least Christianity, become uncool the seekers are left with a cafeteria of unappealing choices. Come on out of the sweat lodge!! Put on a suit and tie. Your wife will put on a dress. You can drive to church with the kids in the back. You can go inside and kneel down and pray. You will feel better later as you cook bacon and maybe some pancakes and settle into your comfy clothes and wait for the football to come on. You won't die. It won't be so bad. Come on.

Joe said...

Up to a point people could have left at any moment, but there clearly is a point in these types of exercises there you lose your free will. In this case, it appears that everything in the lodge would have been suffering severe oxygen deprivation.

(I recently read an account of what it's like to freeze to death; you do pass a point where you simply aren't rational anymore, not matter how tough you are.)

On the other hand, these people were all a bunch of dumbasses for voluntarily putting their life in the hands of someone who was clearly an idiot, so my sympathies only go so far.

Pogo said...

Veni vidi vomi.

Methadras said...

reader_iam said...

New Age death vomit.


I just added this to my list of whimsical and awesome band names. New Age Death Vomit. That's so cool.

c3 said...

Has a cause of death been determined ? The coroner or the autopsy folks need to tell us why this many suddenly keeled over. What killed them?

My medical opinion would be given the prior dehydration and then hyperthermia, that they died of cardiac arrythmia. We don't know their underlying medical status.

former law student said...

ceding your responsibility to a guru

This has never appealed to me. Years ago, several of my co-workers tried to persuade me to go on a Sterling Men's Weekend. Before that, there was Erhard Seminar Training, and a whole bunch of other NewAge spewage.

The difference between these cultish activities and basic training: Basic training is not secret, and the people in charge know what they're supposed to do and how to react in emergencies.

former law student said...

You will feel better later as you cook bacon and maybe some pancakes and settle into your comfy clothes and wait for the football to come on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owVF97pZFFs

Fred: Friends of mine are Forty-Sixers. Climbing the Adirondacks makes a lot more sense in the winter than canoeing, if you want outdoor activity in NY state.

Fred4Pres said...

mrs whatsit said...
I think that your vision, Fred4Pres, must have had something to do with moving the location of the Susquehanna River. I live south of Syracuse and well north of the Susquehanna, which, last time I checked, didn't pass anywhere near Syracuse. Your trip description is completely convincing as an Upstate experience -- but are you sure you didn't start in Sidney or Cooperstown?

wv: demnedr -- demned river keeps moving!

10/22/09 3:34 PM


You are of course correct on the geography (although I cannot confirm the put in town). We started the trip in Syracuse becuase the guy who organized the canoes (and also cooked the porkchops) went to Syracuse. We drove from there Friday morning to the Susquehanna River (and some of his friends drove two of the cars from there down to the pullout spot). Where exactly we put in I am no longer sure, but it involved two nights in tents, 2.5 days on the river, and we pulled out on a Sunday somewhere near Binghampton.

LordSomber said...

How much cooler would it have been if they used Pop Rocks™ instead of hot rocks?

I think it would be way cool. And it would cover up the smell of vomick.

Fred4Pres said...

And of course people occasionally die in basic training, in high school football camps, in all kinds of activities. But it is generally rare.

This Sedona thing was made especially dangerous, but these idiots went ahead with it. Just like I did with the canoe trip. Get over it. Vision quests are supposed to be hard.

Jim Beam, cheese chunks, and porkchops help in cold weather. Well maybe not the Jim Beam, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Perhaps some water for drinking in the sweat lodge would have been a good idea. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.

knox said...

When I was in 8th grade, one hot day, at the end of the school year, a guy threw up on our school bus. It went everywhere. (including on the back of another guy's afro.) Our bus driver pulled over and let us all get off the bus while she cleaned it up, because the smell was so bad. There was practically a stampede to get out.

None of these people left?? In that hot place, with multiple people puking? I'm with Fred, this was a Darwin Moment.

6p00e54eea0d618834 said...

"Sweat Lodge of Death" sounds like a South Park episode.

I once got to know a bunch of New Agers, (BTW, most of them were school teachers), and they will go for just about anything that sounds "mystical" and is non-traditional, i.e. not associated with dead, white, European males. In a way they were terribly unimaginative, they would just take "cool sounding" stuff from various disciplines and cultures, stir it together, and claim they made something profound. For example: in today's paper there was a picture of the sweat lodge in question, and next to it was a teepee with a large Yin-Yang symbol on it. Does that really make any sense?

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

I'll have to inject some serious Ojibwa Indian knowledge into this discussion. My forefathers called it the:

THE BUFFALO THEORY

A herd of buffalo can move only as fast as the slowest buffalo. When the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, we all know, kills brain cells, but naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine.

That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers.

Now, how fucking stupid are white people, that they have to pay a lot of money to crawl into some dirty hippie sweat lodge, and die? They would have been better off drinking some beer to find a vision.

Marcia said...

I thought of Jim Jones too. Since the Jonestown massacre was in November of 1978 (thanks, Wikipedia), can this post get an "Obama is like Carter" tag?

Fred4Pres said...

Suquehanna River Drainage, New York State.

I am unclear of our exact route, other than we were paddling with the current.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Sitting Bull danced a Sun Dance under sweat lodge conditions, cutting off pieces of his flesh as he went. He then collapsed and hallucinated


Screw that cutting of flesh, sweating or puking.

If I want a vision that badly I would just take some LSD and drink some Grannie Green Springs......woah.....was that a flashback?

Titus said...

Doris Day was offered the part of Mrs. Robinson but declined the role on moral grounds. Bless her.

One of her husbands was very evil to her.

She also like Llamas.

I like the part in the article about the Peruvian Ponchos he was willing to sell the campers for $250.00-again HIGHlarious.

Aridog said...

This guy running things any connection to Ward Churchill by chance?

The Crack Emcee said...

Come on, repeated deaths or no repeated deaths, this NewAge cult shit's hardly worth a mention to anyone - anywhere - even if American society's clearly got a bad case of the crazies.

There's just no connection at all,...this is "spiritual" - and he was on Oprah!!!

The Macho Response

chuck b. said...

Surely sweat and vomit acting together add up to a "bodily fluids" tag. My favorite tag!

ricpic said...

The Ventriloquist's Dummy

In the sweat lodge of doom
I found my countrymen at last
As the heat pressed down and the walls closed in
And a quavering reedy voice could be heard through the gloom
Insisting we had turned the corner, turned the corner,
And soon it would be morning in America,
Again.

Big Mike said...

Why do people find it so easy to turn off their bullshit meter? People are collapsing, your body is trying to tell you that you're in a bad way, and everybody else stays seated because the "guru" said to, so you stay seated too.

Death is the end of every organism and extinction the end of every species. H. sapiens won't escape that rule. Someday whatever species comes after us will be doing some archeological research, discover this story, and get a couple scientific papers out of the theory that H. sapiens died of terminal stupidity.

Greg Hlatky said...

Snake handling for the New Age lot.

Donna B. said...

Sedona is a beautiful place to visit if you are sane.

blake said...

Sedona was where Andy Sidaris filmed all his guns 'n' boobs movies.

1. Take scantily clad Playboy playmates.
2. Mix with incomprehensible James Bond-y plots.
3. ?
4. Profit!

Actually, step 3 was: Occasionally got from "scantily clad" to "not clad".

Sedona looked nice in that context.

blake said...

Gmail immediately responds to thread with:

Psychic Vortex Sedona Az - PsychicTarotSpells.com - Psychic Vortex Sedona Az. Psychics, Spells, and Horoscopes!

wv: actfulic

Michael Hasenstab said...

The current market price of free will is apparently $9,695.

Michael Hasenstab said...

@DBQ It's the time-release LSD. It sneaks back once every while. Just remember that you know how to breathe.

David said...

"Death is the end of every organism and extinction the end of every species. H. sapiens won't escape that rule."

Nonono, Big Mike. Get thee to Copenhagen. 50 days to save the planet!

Shanna said...

I thought Jonestown was in 77. I just watched something on cults the other day on the history channel.

Were the people who went to this thing idiots? Yes, probably so. But that doesn't mean the guy in charge didn't have a responsibility to set up a scam that wouldn't kill them. People can go out there and spend their money on stupid nonsense like this, but that doesn't remove the obligation of those setting up the nonsense to make it safe or to FULLY aprise the participants of the strong likelihood of damage. This is different from natural activities that might involve harm. This was set up so it couldn't avoid harm, and nothing was done to mitigate potential health risks. When you go skydiving or rock climbing or whatever, you use every potential safety precaution for that activity.

I am amazed that people clapped for the guy at recent event, after this occured. Look, if one person dies, it can be a freak accident, they could have had a heart condition, etc... But 3 people? That is not a fluke. That is neglegence.

Synova said...

Crack, I've despised Oprah ever since she gushed over the wonderfully romantic and uplifting bit of literature about adultery called "Bridges of Madison County."

blake said...

Oh, you HAVE to read Bridges of Madison County, it's the BEST BOOK!

--Janeane Garofalo

Big Mike said...

@David, 1000 years ago Greenland supported two large colonies of vikings with nothing more sophisticated than ordinary medieval farming techniques.

Somehow I think we'll survive a couple degrees Celsius rise in temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere.

reader_iam said...

What I never got then about the pushers of the book "The Bridges of Madison County" in movie form is why they so wanted to discredit "The Bridges of Madison County" in book form, and vice versa. That was then. I'm older now.

knox said...

BoMC was one of the most (unintentionally) hilarious books I've ever read. The descriptions of the hero photographer with his Camel cigarettes are just priceless. You can tell the author is totally projecting himself into that character, and it's just so exquisitely pathetic and gross at the same time.

knox said...

I'm convinced that just about any romance novelist could get rich and famous ala RJWaller: the key is the book cover. It needs to be sober and slightly "artsy" ... instead of the usual long-haired-man-grasps-busty-woman fare.

Presto! Romance novel passes as real lit, and people gobble it up, believing it has real content.

PS Make sure Nom de Plume has three pretentious names.

former law student said...

What struck me about the Bridges of Madison County was the number of my middle-aged female co-workers who were reading it, who normally never read books at all.

reader_iam said...

A person or two near and dear to me insist on deliberately confusing "The Bridges of Madison County" with "Out of Africa" every time even the slightest chance is offered.

William said...

Freud or some such claimed that neurosis was caused by early exposure to irrational authority. It seems to me that these people were not insufficiently intelligent but insufficiently neurotic. Where was their distrust of authority figures?... The education and income levels of these marks probably far exceeds the norm. Only someone with discipline, intelligence, and a belief in civilization can become an orthodontist--the occupation of one of the victims.....It takes a certain amount of intelligence, imagination and trust to achieve this level of flakiness. Sometimes a virus attacks the healthiest members of the population.....The plus side of being a neurotic misanthrope is that you're almost completely immune to cults.

Michael Hasenstab said...

When I watched BoMC, the movie, I kept hoping that Clyde would hop out of Eastwood's old pickup truck. Disappointed. That movie really pussified Phylo Beddo.

bearbee said...

Where was their distrust of authority figures?

In the same place as the distrust of the American voter of their political officials but we are now seeing the reawakening of healthy scepticism.

The time of acquiescence is past.

Shanna said...

A person or two near and dear to me insist on deliberately confusing "The Bridges of Madison County" with "Out of Africa" every time even the slightest chance is offered.

Heh. I never read or saw BoMC because I was a little young for the movie at the time and then it just sounded stupid, so I'm still not sure what the big deal was.

You don't have to be a misanthrope to be immune to cult, just have a healthy amount of skepticism.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Can't stand faux Indians. Where's my tomahawk dear?

save_the_rustbelt said...

Some reports indicate the chumps, er ah, voyagers were denied food and WATER.

It is a damned wonder any of them lived.

bagoh20 said...

I don't really have a problem with the whole sweat lodge activity list, but $9,695? That's freeking stupid and a neon sign telling you that there is no spirituality here.

Go backpacking, see some beautiful land be self sufficient for a few days. It costs nothing, you'll learn about yourself and the natural world. Then donate the remaining $9000 to charity or go on a trip to Europe.
How do people that stupid get $9,695 to blow?

I saw interviews of the Nike wearing cultist who committed suicide to meet the mother ship. Most were bright, educated people with normal families and good jobs and futures. They just walked away from their lives and families choosing to live and die a brain fart. Unexplainable.
This is why I respect what Crack Emcee is doing. People need to see this crap as stupid the same way they do ... Damn, I tied to think of something that everyone knows is stupid. I can't. Tarot cards, horoscopes, stock tips, communism,... There are lots of people who believe stuff no matter how disproved.

Kirk Parker said...

reader_iam,

Interesting. The plot of "Out of Africa" boils down to "rich woman makes a mess of her life, in a beautiful setting". I've never read or watched BoMC--is it all that different?

Kirk Parker said...

blake,

"We all do it when we drive. (It's a religious experience for me!)"

Wow, tell me where that is!!! (OK, maybe you could characterize driving in the Puget Sound area as a religious experience, too--purgatory, to be specific.)

Kirk Parker said...

edutcher:

"WV 'initub' Where you must be to take a bath."

Nice definition. But you can sure tell who the city people are!

Chris Wren said...

I did a sweat lodge for kicks once. You sit in a dark hut. Someone chants. It gets hot. You hallucinate. End of story. Unless you die, which really IS end of story. If you really want to have visions just go out dancing for 6 hours at a decent after hours club and indulge - or not - in your psychotropic of choice. It's a lot more fun and you'll sweat more.