Family Disgrace


To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, nobody can make you feel inauthentic without your consent. And the phony who uttered the onerous words recorded by the good and kind Don Linn should be whacked in the kneecaps. Just so the phony can decide whether or not there is indeed a metric that can be applied while excruciating pain shoots through legs I realize that these are strong words, but they are necessary ones, I think. If you cannot feel and you wish to advocate emotional capitulation, then you have no business being an expert or speaking before a crowd. For there is no strategy for living. Life simply doesn’t work that way. It isn’t a matter of taking in and emitting anthracite deposits of objective data. If you really need some hokey maxim to start with, life is what happens when you make other plans. But why settle for Werner Erhard-like comforts? If you can pretend that you know what you’re doing and you can improvise around the mad anarchy on your own terms and truly appreciate other people in the process, then you’ll probably get a lot farther than those foolishly pursuing “the metrics to assess whether you are successful.” Twitter can neither help you live better nor transform you into a better person. Like any helpful tool, it can enhance your life and direct you to the right people and permit you to exchange sound ideas and giddy concepts with people who are excited. But it is no replacement for real life. Nor is it landscape to be carved up by the avaricious marketing people. Ten conferences or twenty boot camps couldn’t possibly tell you how to stick with a vision and connect with others who have similar ambitions. Twitter, Facebook, Augmented Reality, and the flashiest technological tool shooting off the tip of your tongue can’t possibly help you understand why that person across from you is lighting up and smiling and getting excited. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to summon forth that same energy in yourself, find common ground, and make that passion happen, and make the passion of others happen. If Twitter can get you there, that’s fantastic. But what are you saying to the world when you tint your Twitter photo green instead of summoning up an original thought about Iran? How authentic — whether strategically authentic or genuinely authentic — are you when you’re so determined to run with the herd?

On a lighter (and possibly more disgraceful) note, here’s another interview I did with the good Austin Allen of The Abbeville Manual of Style. I do have a plan to save the publishing industry and it involves loganberry mint juleps.


  1. But it’s nice that they revealed themselves as the smarm-monsters that they are:

    * Amy Martin of Digital Royalty talked about “planning spontaneous twitter events” for Shaquille O’Neal. Spontaneous planning? Isn’t that a wee contradictory?

    * Ted Murphy of IZEA defending taking money for tweets as long as you’re “authentic.” Apparently, he’s never heard of Caesar’s wife, suspicion, above (wiki it up, man).

    Notice how none of these people discuss actually selling a product, as if the quality of the product, the desirability or the product itself matters. Reminds me of the crop of MBAs in the 1980s who believed they could run any company, no matter what, because they have an EMMBEEAEE. And run them they did, right into the ground.

  2. What Werner Erhard-like comforts are you referring to? Do you know anything at all about the man and what he stood for? IDid you just pick out a name that you heard bandied about? Werner Erhard was never an individual who told people what they wanted to hear nor was he one who pronounced obvious maxims that comforted people. Werner’s purpose in life was to challenge others to be great and he was never comfortable to be around. I know because I worked with him for seven years, the most challenging time of my life.

  3. The transformation of one’s self and worldview through the sham of est? Who WOULDN’T want to hear such comforts, however abrasively delivered?

    Erhard, 1978: “I have a lot of feeling for Ron Hubbard. His genius has not been sufficiently acknowledged.”


  4. The transformation that was delivered by the est training was totally experiential. It was not about information spoken or heard. Unless you don’t like to hear the truth, there was only love and support, nothing abrasive. Doesn’t sound like you know much about it and are just spouting off from who knows what ideological stance.

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