Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On things I'd rather my family didn't read

This weekend, I was watching Hockey Night in Canada and praising Eric Lindros' ability to not only play exciting hockey but also give artfully boring, content-free interviews, ala Crash Davis in Bull Durham. "That sounds like you every time I call," she lamented. "I always hang up and I've never learned anything." She's got a point. It usually goes like this:

"How's work?"

"I'm just happy to be here and hope I can help the organization."

"Well, are you dating anybody?"

"I just gotta play this game one day at a time."

Like that. So you can probably guess that I've taken pains not to reveal the existence of this blog to the family. I think the reasons for this were perfectly summed up in the Onion article "Mom Finds Out About Blog". I just like to keep things on the down-low. I have a creeping sense of horror that they may have found out about it nonetheless. My sister has dropped the occasional reference to things I've posted about, which I've let slide by. Better not to know. But if they are in fact reading this, and while I'm on the subject of things I'd rather they didn't read, let me say this:

Kevin Trudeau is a fraud. Do not buy his book.

Both my mother and my sister have expressed interest in this Kevin Trudeau huckster and his book, Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About. But I bet the book jacket copy neglects to mention that he's a convicted con man.

My first exposure to Kevin Trudeau came via a Salon article, which made it clear that he's bad news. I could tell that just by looking at him, of course: He may have the name of a Trudeau, but he's got the slick, smug look of a Mulroney, and that ought to be a warning sign right there. I haven't seen a con man this obvious since Creflo Dollar. But if you want a more fair and balanced view than you'll get from those protectionist commies at Salon, try looking him up at Wikipedia, which, by its nature, should give you a more neutral view. And the neutral view is that he's bad news. Check out the various links at the bottom of his Wikipedia entry's page—to the Skeptic's Dictionary, to Quackwatch, to MSNBC. Read an annotated transcript of his latest infomercial. Just do a Google search on the guy. Bad news.

In 1990, Trudeau fraudulently posed as a doctor in order to deposit $80,000 in false checks. The next year, he was convicted of credit card fraud and subsequently spent two years in prison. In 1996, he was forbidden from doing business in the state of Michigan for operating a pyramid scheme. In 1998, he was fined $500,000 by the FTC for making fraudulent claims in six infomercials. In 2004, the FTC fined him another $2 million and banned him outright from appearing in infomercials for his unrepentant, recidivist shysterism. Nonetheless, this convicted felon defies the ban and continues to shill his wares in the late-night time slots. But this time, he's shilling bogus all-natural cures. That means that this time, trusting him may potentially lose you not only your money, but your life, too.

Contrary to my mom's arguments, just because the government doesn't want you to have something, that doesn't make it a good reason for you to have it. But sometimes the goverment is right. The government doesn't want you to have sarin gas or fissionable uranium either, and for good reasons. I have no problem with them adding snake oil to their list of banned substances.


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