Gamers Don’t Need NFLer Chris Kluwe

Subcultures tend to latch onto celebrity recognition for inroads into popular appeal. In the chess world, “chess-playing” celebrities like Dustin Diamond and Will Smith have written forwards to study books in place of those with tournaments named after them for decades of devotion to the hobby. So has been the case with minor celebrity and “gamer” Chris Kluwe, who was punter for the Minnesota Vikings until he was thrown out of the NFL for his constant verbal abuse of managers and fellow players, and for turning the NFL into a referendum on gay marriage after the league asked him not to do so (Kluwe erroneously claims such actions violate the First Amendment – he is not a legal scholar).

Kluwe enjoying a stale rehash of a AAA title.

Kluwe recently wrote an article called “Why GamerGaters Piss Me the Fuck Off,” which parallels so many of his other poorly written rantings and ravings, laden with juvenile potty language and self-righteous indignation towards those not as socially progressive as Kluwe. This particular screed is remarkable only because it targets one of the few groups still interested in Kluwe’s association with them, which is the gaming community. To be fair, after white millionaire Kluwe complains of “patently obvious white privilege,” he only calls “ignorant,” “slopebrowed,” and “shitgoblins” those gamers participating in an online social movement called “GamerGate,” which – to make a long story short – is a grassroots, leaderless backlash against politicization of gaming by social activists, and the collusion and corruption in gaming journalism that inevitably accompany progressivism, of which there are numerous examples. Kluwe now spends much of his days insulting gamers on Twitter and blocking the many female participants in GamerGate who challenge his Alinskyite smear campaign that the movement is a platform for misogyny.

For GamerGate, incurring Kluwe’s wrath is a reliable indication of being on the right track. Following his pattern of atrocious behavior in the NFL, Kluwe is exploiting gaming to advance a progressive agenda and assaulting the un-politicized escapist value that has made gaming meaningful for so long. Those reluctant to see gaming go the way of television and the movie industry – “exploring” the same politically correct themes over and over again – should welcome Kluwe’s ostracism (or ragequit) from the gaming community as a positive development.

Sell Anything and Get Rich Quick Course – Just $599

Jordan Belfort, subject of the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, has found a lucrative new career in the field of sales psychology. Belfort reportedly charges $30,000 per motivational speech and up to $80,000 per corporate training course, in addition to hawking other “sales” materials through his company, Jordan Belfort’s Straight Line. Full instructional self-help courses are available to customers at his online store for the low purchase price of just $599.

What is it, we can wonder, from Belfort’s track record in business that allows him to solicit such awe-inspiring fees?

According to his autobiograpy and news reports, Belfort began amassing his  fortune running an illegal Long Island boiler room, selling worthless stocks with false promises to gullible investors. He redirected his profits and ragamuffin sales team to a bogus Wall Street company, Stratton Oakmont, where he pursued bigger fish with false stock statements and used the resulting profile of the company for a massive pump and dump scheme that manipulated markets and reaped huge illicit gains of over $200 million. For defrauding investors and money laundering, Belfort was sentenced to two years in federal prison (reduced for turning state’s witness on his business partners) and ordered to pay restitution of $110.4 million to his bilked investors (which he has not yet done).

Now there is a resume that just screams legitimacy. But fear not – Belfort says he is reformed from his shyster ways and now wants to use his extraordinary speaking gifts for noble ends in the self-help world, inspiring a whole new generation of go-getters and entrepreneurs to chase their dreams as he did (sans securities fraud, of course). He laments how some choose to focus on his ignominious past instead of what good he is doing in the present. Didn’t they even *read* his motivational materials? He’s laid it out there, quite explicitly, in Life Principle for Success #3: You Are Not Your Past!

I am not my past. You can totally trust my business advice.

I won’t go so far as to claim that there is nothing of value to learn from this man. At a minimum, he gave us a mildly entertaining movie, and he’s affirmed that there are indeed suckers born every minute, inside and out of the stock market. But he’s wrong on at least one principle: our actions do define us, and the past is one predictor of character and future behavior.

Belfort, notably, also likes to make the dubious claim that he could just as easily have made his fortune through legitimate sales. Therefore, the logic goes, his more youthful indiscretions shouldn’t invalidate what he has to say through buzz-word-laden, numerically ordered sales methodologies.

Well, sorry – no again. To those who aren’t rationalizing sociopaths or gullible saps, life doesn’t quite work like that on principle. Whatever legal fame and fortune Belfort managed to amass are all just so much fruit of the poisonous tree and, as such, are inseparable from their criminal underpinnings. It’s a relatively simple affair to make fame work for you once you have it – every air-headed Real Housewife heiress raking it in on the Bravo network is a testament to that. But if you are only rich and famous because you cheated your way there in the first place, it doesn’t carry nearly the same weight as somebody who made it there honestly and by offering real value.

As is the case with so much of the self-help material out there, it’s doubtful many of Belfort’s students realize the irony of him getting rich quick (again) by selling them an overpriced training course on that very subject. Come to think of it, maybe Belfort is something of a marketing prodigy after all – he’s just now pursuing a different kind of mark.

 

Celebrity In Chief

It’s the night of the Grand Ball in Versailles Palace, and anyone who is anyone will be there, hobnobbing and photo-oping with the increasingly cozy elites of the news media and national politics (my invitation was lost in the mail this year).

The White House Correspondents’ dinner began in 1920 as a relatively modest affair, but with the ever-growing profile and power of the federal government, combined with the fanatical celebritization of the Executive Office since 2008, the event has since ballooned into one of the nation’s most extravagant and widely covered red-carpet star-gazing events.

Renowned foreign-policy expert Sofia Vergara arrives at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (Source: CNN).

If you’re truly interested in the full list of celebrity attendants, you’ll have to get it from CNN because… screw you.

But before closing the door on this wretched display of sycophants and status seekers, one interesting phenomenon worth mentioning is the cottage industry of faux criticism and introspection now accompanying the event, primarily appearing on the same leftist outlets affording it the most hype and publicity. In addition to being a form of publicity in itself, these staged discussions function as safe-outlet Potemkin Villages for any would-be actual critics or reformers.

“See? We may be promoting this crap… but we feel really bad about it… and isn’t that what matters?”

Remember – you’re free to complain as long as nothing actually changes.