Today in Places I Am Not At

The Rose Garden arena and the convention center (which is hosting a live broadcast of the event in the arena). Starting at 8 am today (which means rush hour severely affected) and ending around 5 pm today (again, rush hour!), there is a seminar. And not just any seminar, it's one to get you motivated. In fact, that's what it's called: Get Motivated. Here's who will be there (today in PDX):

Rudy Giuliani
Gen. Colin Powell
Bill Cosby
Laura Bush
Brian Tracy
Steve Forbes
Howard Putnam
Terry Bradshaw
Rick Belluzzo
Krish Dhanham
Julie Ziglar

And lest you think it's just a bunch of people giving speeches:
Dazzling pyrotechnics, live music and stunning special effects set the stage for our superstar speakers who deliver riveting presentations packed with cutting-edge skills for success.
The site says they aren't there to push any particular religious or political view but (but!) that they will not censor speakers, either. So, well, it pretty much turns out exactly how it seems like it'll turn out when a roadshow of conservative politicos, conservative famous people, and sales people take the stage to "motivate" people (re: sell people a whole bunch of crap). A friend of mine, Bill, went to one here a few years back and, judging from poking around online, his experience is about what you'd still get today:
The Big Names were alternated with Lesser Names throughout the day. When I attended, the first up was in fact a protégé of Zig Ziglar, followed by Ziglar himself, the Dalai Lama of motivational speakers. If you've never seen him, he's a tall, slender, now-aged southern Christian gennulman with an amazing, Ol' Time Gospel voice. You either like Ziglar or hate him, and I think his on-stage presence borders on the reptilian. Your mileage may vary. When Ziglar finally got around to opining--apropos of what was not entirely clear--that this country needs more Christian judges on the bench, there was a smattering of applause from those seated in the auditorium floor, and in the upper decks where I was, the gasps were audible. I wasn't prepared to stand up and jeer--someone had invested $4.90 in my presence there, after all--but silence seemed too much like assent, so I walked out, hanging by the concession stand and making a few calls until Zig was over.


At this point, we can note some trends already emerging: The show is a merger of big-church Christianity and upwardly-mobile Republicanism--almost reminiscent of the old Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker "PTL Club" show, but far more polished and upscale. Buried in near the bottom of the of that full-page, in 4-point type that only someone with 30-20 vision could find, let alone read, is this message: "SPECIAL BONUS: One of the most popular parts of The GET MOTIVATED Seminar is a special optional 15 minute bonus session on the Biblical Secrets of success."
Well. I don't know about you but I'm definitely motivated. To not go to that.

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