Rhymes with Sewage, Part 5: 2010
They held the 2010 New Living Expo in San Francisco last month. As I previously mentioned, I hadn’t been to one of those in at least six years, so I was overdue. I also mentioned before that there can be the occasional real or interesting thing at these newage fairs, buried in among all the woo. I like ferreting out the real. I also enjoy looking at the crazy.
As is typical every time I go up to San Francisco, the adventure begins as soon as I step off of BART. The newage fair was being held at the same venue that hosted the SF Green Festival the prior month. As you’ll recall from that tale, I encountered some graffiti on the hike there. Somebody had spray-painted “Fear God” on an overpass support. This time, I noticed that somebody had appended some additional graffiti:
When I arrived at the Concourse Exhibition Center, I saw that a few groups had set up tables out front. Several of them were petitions to get initiatives on the ballot or to sign up for protests against one large corporation or another.
But there was one other thing out front. A stripper! Yes! A stripper!
Well, not a human stripper. A canine one. And she already had some dollar bills stuffed in her collar:
I don’t know where that Tex Avery character came from. I’m sure he wasn’t there when I snapped the picture.
When I got inside, I saw a large sign advertising one of the big speakers of the event, David Icke. Here is just part of what the sign said. I’ve marked a few things for you to note:
If you want to know more about David Icke, just search Bing.
There were lots of vendors, of course, selling all sorts of stuff. Books, for example:
One of those authors claims to have a PhD. Since they’re giving PhDs to creationists now, that degree is clearly worthless.
I wandered around looking at the various offerings. I went up to one booth to look over their stuff, and the woman there took a plastic wand and waved it over me. This wand was pink. Barbie-pink. It was battery-operated and flashed different colors.
I was trying to be undercover. My intent was to just listen to what people had to say and then move on. Somehow words were coming out of my mouth unbidden. I heard myself say to her:
What’s that? That looks cheap. Is that a toy? That looks like some cheap plastic Barbie toy! What’s it supposed to do? Am I supposed to feel something? I’m not feeling anything. I don’t think it works!
Clearly the wand had taken control of my mind! It was making me say rude but truthful things to the ignorant! I must get away before the effect becomes permanent!
I staggered away from that booth. I can only hope I got away in time.
I continued my wandering. Thanks to that gullible creduloid Oprah, The Secret is still wreaking havoc on the minds of the fleeceable:
That sign has an obvious misprint, though. The spacing is wrong. It’s supposed to say:
Law of attraction inaction.
If you wanted, you could always stick your feet into some nasty goo:
I didn’t stick around to watch that. Looking at the full-sized version of this photograph, I can read some of what is on those banners on the wall. I guess you can tell what is wrong with you by which particular nasty consistency and color this nasty goo becomes.
Orange Sticky Substance
• Tissue Acid Waste
• Joint Toxins
White Cheeselike Particles
• Cellular Debris from Lungs
• Colon Backup
Reddish Brown Glue
• Cardiovascular Toxins
• Heavy Metals
• Blood Clot Material
• Ammonia from Kidneys
I did go to a few seminars. Most of them I couldn’t sit through for more than five minutes. I did make it through about 30 minutes of one of them, but that was mostly because it took the guy so long to get to the crazy stuff:
I think he was saying something about UFOs being more common now or something. Anyway, what he was really getting at is he claims there is some super-ancient being living among us. He has been here thousands of years. He previously sent his proxy, some dude named Jesus Christ. Any day now, he’s going to come out publicly by his real name, Maitreya. As you can see in the photograph above, he is a “world teacher”. He’s going to solve all our problems for us, or something. Wikipedia has more about this whole thing, if you want to read about it. I’ve already wasted too much time on it.
The funny thing about these seminars is they all have something to sell. It’s usually books, sometimes DVDs or CDs. This guy was selling a handprint. It was Maitreya’s magical handprint. Even though Maitreya hasn’t identified himself publicly yet, this guy managed to get a handprint from him. He said we could buy a copy of it for only $10. Ten bucks! That’s cheap! And what can it do for you? Why, it’s a magical healing handprint, of course! All you had to do was stick your hand on it, tell Maitreya what you wanted healed, and it would happen! This guy told us that he has used the magical healing handprint to get healed lots of times.
Apparently Maitreya’s healing powers don’t extend to baldness.
The local skeptics’ group had actually infiltrated this event. They had planned to set up a table out front for the first two hours, to talk to people as they waited in line to buy tickets. I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish with that. Anyway, around noon, the plan was to abandon the table and actually go inside and talk to the vendors. I was there for kicks. I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish.
I had arrived too late to see their table out front. I did see this guy inside. He might have been part of that group:
My advice to them is to stay away from the lady with the Barbie wand. They might say something inappropriate.
There were posters hanging in the seminar rooms listing the upcoming speakers, what time their talk would be, and which booth they were in if you wanted to go buy their crap. Here’s a detail from one of the schedules (Sorry for the back-lighting. It was hanging on a window.):
I think if the people in Booth 1017 just take a look at Booths 715 and 118, they’ll have their answer.
Overall, I was severely disappointed. This newage fair just wasn’t as fun as the last one.
For one thing, I couldn’t find anything that had any legitimate value. One of the hypnosis vendors who was there last time used to sell CDs for relaxation and the like. This year, all they were selling was hypnosis CDs for astral projection and past-life regression. The legitimate, clinical uses have been replaced by illegitimate and worthless mumbo jumbo.
It also seemed like there were more scientific buzzwords in use. “Quantum” and “tachyon” and “neutrino”, etc. I guess the public has gotten wise enough to not fall for snake oil when you call it snake oil. But if you invoke some scientific words that most people don’t know the meaning of, they’ll just accept on faith that there is some science behind it.
The place was lousy with “psychics”, maybe even more than last time. I was unable to get any free readings, though. Very few booths offered them. The few that did had a line (I hate lines. I wouldn’t stand in line for the first coming of Christ.).
So it wasn’t such a fun time. Are these people beginning to bore me? Or has my underlying disgust with what they’re doing overwhelmed my sadistic ability to laugh at the self-deluded?
I may not return.