Old Sock Drawer

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#048: Of charlatans and fools

February 2nd, 2009 by Mary Leong

Currently listening to: “The Great Wall of China” – Billy Joel

I think self-help authors are an absolute crock of rubbish. No, that’s not entirely true. To be precise, I think self-help authors who portray themselves as faith healers while invoking some sort of power from some sort of imaginary god figure are completely deluded opportunists preying on the minds of fools who need to feel as though some sort of supernatural being existed in order to feel better about their empty lives.

Why do I go on so, you ask? Why do I fume in indignation, why don’t I just let those fools prance off in their blissful wake as long as it makes them feel good? I’m not trying to be to self-help books what Richard Dawkins is to religion (well, maybe a little bit, but only because Dawkins is one of my all-time heroes). I would just like to let it be known that this man here, who calls himself “Master” Zhi Gang Sha, is 1. either a complete crook, or 2. absolutely bloody insane. I’m thinking a good combination of the two.

(The caption was going to say something else, but it was inappropriate for the contents of this public entry.)

Let me start at the very beginning. So Indigo announces that he is going to do a book signing and a talk. We are all rather amused – these author visits are usually rather entertaining. We sell lots of books. It’s all good stuff.

But entertaining doesn’t even cut it here. I don’t know whether I am more amused or more angry. Firstly, this man calls himself a “master”. Master of what? Poor oratorical skills, off-key chanting, failure to stay in one key when chanting? Master of being a general twit? Master of obtaining fans who are completely rude and inept (more on this later)? As you may have deduced, yes, he chanted heartily throughout a good portion of his talk – a chanting, which he tells his transfixed audience, will heal their souls. He begins to chant in absolute gibberish, which he claims is “soul language”, and by jove, the audience is overwhelmed! They are falling for this trash! Now let’s pause here. Heal their souls? On whose authority is he “healing” souls?? What makes him think that anyone wants him meddling with these souls?

Furthermore (and here is where I am absolutely bloody furious and indignant on the behalf of these poor people who sincerely believe that he’s some kind of faith healer), he made it known that people would be blessed for purchasing his crock of rubbish, um, I mean, his books. “Buy a bunch of my books and I’ll bless you”?!?!?!? What absolute blarney. I’ll write a freaking amazing book and go around blessing people and become rich. Marvellous. God, could he be any more of a charlatan? You know, if you were really sincere about being a charlatan, at least be a wicked cool one like Rasputin. THE WORST PART? People bought it. People bought books. People wanted to be blessed by this madman, this crook, this ridiculous caricature of all those evangelical pastors and New Age spiritual kooks put together. People came down to the cash desk absolutely raving about how he changed their life.

People are so stupid they’re willing to believe anything they want to believe. Twats Self-help authors like these simply capitalize on that knowledge and scam them out of hard-earned money just so that they can feel like there’s some sort of purpose to their miserable existences. If you can’t feel like your life has a purpose without having someone chanting and telling you that they’re going to save your soul, you should probably re-evaluate your priorities in life. The charlatans are opportunists, the gullible are willing victims.

That aside, I dropped off my two weeks’ notice for the library. I’ve been paging for over two years, it’s time to move on. Screw having a real job, I guess I should go pen up a colourful book on healing souls and go make a fortune.

P.S. regarding his fans? Some of them are so incredibly rude. One man came up to us and was practically shouting, “You don’t know who he is, you don’t know what he’s done, you don’t know!” Oh dear sir, I’m afraid I -do- know what he’s done, what he’s doing, he’s an absolute crook; it appears to me that YOU are the one who’s lost the plot.

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