Sorry I’ve taken so long to post. For the last 2 days at least, this thread appears to be an ever shifting list of questions and answers. So I will start from the present and answer one question at a time in subsequent posts attempting to be diligent with my presence (yuck, that came out strange!)
Here are some quick thoughts mainly, but not solely, on the posts of Deke Sharon:
With respect to Oprah: see front page of the RI site.
With respect to legal cases: There is a substantial difference between settling a case with
the judge’s subsequent order and a case that goes to trial. Lauren is correct with her representations but to understand them fully one needs more distinctions and data.
With respect to A Cappella support and Tibet, AIDS, Global hunger etc.: they are in different categories. Depending on your beliefs, your list comprises effects of humanity’s ethics, Nxivm affects these ethics directly so does A Cappella.
With respect to a product such as Red Bull, I believe in free enterprise and shameless plugs (I just typed pugs!) Nxivm is different. Nxivm is a method to inspire humanity and its primary objective is not to earn money for the owners. In this way, Nxivm and a cappella are sisters—both derive from the same thing. Products like Red Bull provide a value for the purpose of earning money for the owners, this is different.
With respect to AMalkoff’s last post: I’ve always found it suspicious when nobody says anything good about something except for the something itself (say that 5 times fast)—except I view it the opposite way from most: even Charles Manson has others claiming he is good. If there is no good, I start to think of censorship and bias. If you dig deep enough (or truly want to know by maintaining a dialogue) you will discover why. If you assume I’m a bad guy there will always be layers of questions with answers and in the end you will probably think, “Oh, the whole situation is just weird” without ever being able to put your finger on it. This is because in the end you will have a guy you assume is bad in the middle of a lot of smoke (remember; to many if there is smoke there is fire.)
If you assume I am good, I think you will find a simple resolution. I suggest doing both THOROUGHLY. Certainly, the depths of my potential evil have not been fully explored, but my potential good has been explored less so. Check your sources and the sources of the sources you will find interesting connections. Of course it is my position you will ultimately find I am good. But it is so much more important if you come to your own conclusions than if I argue with you about them. You may find the smoke comes from a surprising source.
With respect to cult: Besides being a cover label of sorts, it carries with it a Gödel sort of paradox: if you defend or disbelieve in a cult, then you have been affected by it. The accuser always has authority over the accused. Anything the accused says can always be refuted with, “of course you would say that, you’re in the cult!” You see, the “outsiders” are afforded an extra degree of freedom over the “insiders” (apologies to non-nerds.) This is especially true of a brainwashing cult (if anyone out there knows of a brainwashing system there is a great market for it in prisons, not even the system presented in A Clockwork Orange could resist Beethoven!) Unfortunately, you will be appalled when/if this happens: if you ever take the position Nxivm is not a cult you will likely be accused of being in the cult. Remember, as a famous lawyer once told me, “no good deed goes unpunished.”
With respect to the group(s) and individuals(s) who did damage: We are offering them the opportunity to come forward and make amends (this is far more complicated now.) They need to contact Clare by midnight this Sunday 4/13/08. We feel they have affected a local business, our festival, our sponsors, the festival judges, the a cappella community, our local community, their universities, the image of college students in general as well as themselves and the potential enjoyment of other groups.
Why a cappella? A cappella is a vehicle to help inspire humanity. The festival came about very naturally: I was moved by an a cappella performance; I assembled 6 musical friends; they performed; 50 more people wanted to try a cappella; we thought we could have a large performance; we thought we might invite another local group; we expanded it to be a festival.
I’m sorry this is so dry. Clare and I spoke this morning; she is going to propose some options for this thread after this post. I will continue to answer questions but only one at a time! I will be more humorous so try to not take me too seriously.