Jun 6, 2014

James Ray's Crisis of Character

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

So what's on sale? The jacket???

I had hoped to never write about James Arthur Ray again. But then they let him out of prison. Try as I might I can't ignore the madness.

Connie Joy has really been keeping pace with his disturbing attempts to reboot his career. And well, he's on tour!

What will he be teaching in small, sad rooms in three whole cities? As near as I can tell, Murphy's Law. Yes, according to the new, less law of attractiony James Ray, no matter what you do, shit happens.

This is honestly the strangest pitch for one of these things I've ever seen. It starts out in a predictable manner, with a series of questions specifically engineered to make you feel like something is wrong with your life that you need this seminar to fix:

Does it ever seem that just when you feel like you’re
getting everything together… something else goes wrong?

Do you ever feel like you just get through one set of challenges,
And then the next shoe (or possibly bomb) drops?

Do you ever find yourself accomplishing what you desired
but there’s still something missing?

Are you possibly right in the dead center of
a difficult challenge or crisis in your Life,
Business, or Career right now?

But just when you expect the self-help guru to zig, he zags.

If you find yourself answering “yes” to any or all of these questions then welcome to Life. Welcome to being a part of the human race.

The fact, whether we like it or not, is that challenges are an integral part of life; and anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you (and themselves), or living in extreme denial.

In other words, all that stuff he was teaching before? He was either lying or in denial. (And lying to yourself is somehow different from denial?... I... what?)

Anyway, now he's ready to hip you to the real deal. Life's a bitch and then you die. You're welcome! That'll be $350... or not...

Thanks to that whole cooking people to death and doing time in an Arizona prison thing, you can see James at bargain basement prices. That's right. His loss is your gain. Act now and he'll take another $53 off the already low, low price. That's right! James Arthur Ray for only $297 per night! Pay for two of these magical nights and, what the hell, take another hundred bucks off!

What's more, now that he's lost everything and has to sell himself for cheap to small rooms, you might even get some face to face time with the ex-con himself.

Look, hundreds of thousands of people have paid from $5,000 to $10,000 to attend just one of James’ events over the years; and that was with thousands of other people; and with no opportunity to talk with him and/or ask him questions one-on-one! He won’t be doing these for long.

How can he afford to do all this at such a low rate? Well, for starters, he's cut corners by not hiring a copy editor. I've never thought of James Ray as a particularly good writer, but this is unbelievable. It's just a mass of grammar and spelling errors. The paragraphs don't appear to be in any particular order. Getting to the particulars about the pricing structure and other important details is like an Easter egg hunt. But it is also a window into the man's psyche.

Everybody has challenges, insecurities, and crisis of character. Everybody! From the guy on the street… to the mansion on the hill. From the out of work… to the CEO; and it doesn’t matter what you do, or what you achieve, this will always be the fact. Challenges and crisis are part of life.

I think what he was reaching for there was crises, plural, of faith. A crisis of character is when your reputation is tarnished due to bad things you've done. But according to Ray, we've all had them. Apparently even inanimate objects like mansions have lost face.

James Ray is most definitely experiencing a crisis of character and look at how the mighty have fallen. Once upon a time he was charging an outrageous ten grand a head for week long events with hundreds of people. But then he killed some of them and maimed still more. And now he'll be happy to get thirty people to listen to him at discount prices.

Another person who one could argue is facing a crisis of character is Oprah. She's largely responsible for creating this monster. She's also responsible for promoting a failed, victim-blaming ideology that not even that monster believes anymore. And Jean Brown, sister of the late Kirby Brown, is calling her out for her continuing failure to take responsibility for building up a negligent homicider.

Twice you welcomed James Ray onto your show, extolling the virtues of The Secret and its psuedo-science philosophy, the “Law of Attraction,” as life-changing. You helped catapult Ray into fame–he would go on to appear on The Today Show, Larry King Live, and others. His company, James Ray International, became a Fortune 500 company.

But, like James Frey, James Ray was a liar. He misrepresented his experiences, he lied about his background, and he embellished aspects of his personal story.

And more significantly, James Ray would prove to be deadly. To date, 4 people have died at his events, one from an apparent suicide during an event, and the other 3 from heat stroke in his version of a “sweat lodge.”

Yet after these deaths in 2009, other than quickly distancing yourself from the man, you said nothing. Nothing. You made no substantive comment on what had happened, you did not reach out to the families of victims, you did not even mention the tragedy on one of your many platforms.

So will Oprah have Jean or Ginny Brown on and provide a platform for SEEK Safely? I'm not optimistic but I sure would like to be pleasantly surprised.

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