A Cappella Innovations

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Postby H.F. » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:53 pm

acluv wrote:Despite the poor decisions of one group who attended AI, other groups HAVE come forward and discussed their uneasiness with the whole situation. The members of NXIVM are purposefully highlighting the negative actions of one group to dissuade other groups from stating their discomfort. The original purpose of this thread was to raise awareness/questions about the weird happenings at the event, and they have done so.


Stop being an idiot. I'm not a member of NXIVM, and most of those who've posted aren't (maybe 1 person has been, thus far, in this thread). I'm personally of a mind that there was probably other agendae on *some* level, and am all for outing those agendae, and hopefully *concurrently* improving an event that seems to show at least some promise.

EDIT: I've censored the rest of my post, as it was pointed out to this hothead that not everything in life is black and white, and that I probably don't know shit. And I have to say - the man made great points.
Last edited by H.F. on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bstevens » Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:06 pm

First: Kurt and others have forcefully expressed my own experience of working with ACI's organizers, especially Clare (with whom I've had the most contact, and with whom I have the pleasure of taking for granted a constructive working relationship), and with Allison, Nicki, and other supply-side participants (with whom I've also enjoyed strong working relationships, also lunch): positive, and characterized by what I take to be sincere common interest in enjoying and promoting a cappella as a potentially humanizing artform. As I hoped to make clear in my first post, I haven't personally had the impression that ACI is about anything else. 10c, moreover, gets to do whatever it wants, and if what it wants is to put the actual social back in 'social networking', then as a professor of the humanities I say "power to you, Allison and Nicki!"

Second: Collin and others, including Kurt and Michael, have called clearly and, I think, with level heads for some of the same positive changes I would be interested in seeing as a participant in future ACI: ever-clearer organization including advance notice of content, more involvement of judges on workshops (Clare promised I could play!), more nuanced public and semi-private activities for developing emotional or personal connection to material. As I also hope my first post, and indeed my very participation, make clear, I operate under the assumption that everyone involved is open to those kinds of positive changes ...

... and I also won't take it personally if the particular changes I hope for aren't implemented. In other words: I hope, as others seem to, to encourage separation of personal and professional -- not in order to disconnect work from life, but in order to keep both 'personal' and 'professional' safe.

And here I'd like to second Kurt's and now Allison's understated calls, which I phrase more strongly because a teacher can't help it when students are involved, for making sure that a healthy spirit of inquiry doesn't lead to unhealthful lack of charity. By all means, all of us should ask: but we must ask a lot both of others _and_ of ourselves, we must recognize that questions aren't fair if they're leading or leveraged, and we must have the strength -- we must work towards the wisdom -- to make sure we know an answer when we get one.

All of the opposites (asking a lot only of others, phrasing questions so that our interlocutors are compelled or coerced, not accepting an answer as an answer) are at the least awkward challenges to human interaction and at the worst out-and-out interrogation. All are encouraged by the tonelessness of email and, in a negative spin on positive, by the fact that as artists and fans of a niche artform we are, as it were, overprotectively passionate and, so, somewhat prone to these tempests in our teapot.

None of this is to minimize legitimate concerns or any feelings of having been treated inappropriately. It is only to remind that open critical inquiry needn't come at the cost of basic kindnesses which, often, cost nothing.

--

PS: Siobahn is not crazy on stage. She is totally f**king insane, and it rocks -- I've been singing, somewhat against my will, "Roxanne" more or less non-stop since Sunday.

Benjamin Stevens

CASA Director of Education

Educational Officer for Festivals and Events

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Postby TheProjectPiper » Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:12 pm

WARNING: Concerned outsider posting...


I feel like there is a lot of secrecy in this thread pertaining to secrecy in which the thread is about.

Why can't we have full disclosure? Who is this poo smearing group? Who are the anonymous posters? It'd be nice to have a quick overview of the companies involved (10C, and this "Warren Jeffs" of the east character). This all seems like a good topic for Fox News' Red Eye...

Maybe I'm a skeptic, but I was always told that you don't get anything for free...

Many thanks to Bill and MSNBC for providing some levity to this thread.

Matt

The Madison Project 2002-2005
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Postby theblondeone » Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:32 pm

Will one of the several people posting in this thread who are affiliated with NXIVM please give a clear explanation of what NXIVM is?

The only reason NXIVM makes me uneasy is that I have no idea what it is, and no one is giving a clear answer. Even if I hadn't seen the rumor websites or read this forum, if I'd stumbled across the NXIVM website or read any of your descriptions of the organization thus far without any other outside information to influence my opinion, I'd still be very confused and a little creeped out.

I'm positive that's the reason several groups were uncomfortable this weekend. Not because they necessarily believe the rumors, but just because no one from NXIVM can step forward and say, "We're not that, we're this:" and complete the sentence with something other than vague praise.

What does NXIVM do? In clear, concrete terms? Can one of you please ease our minds? Otherwise, I believe your pleas for an end to the worried speculation are just going to go unanswered.
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Postby borski » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:26 pm

theblondeone wrote:Will one of the several people posting in this thread who are affiliated with NXIVM please give a clear explanation of what NXIVM is?

The only reason NXIVM makes me uneasy is that I have no idea what it is, and no one is giving a clear answer. Even if I hadn't seen the rumor websites or read this forum, if I'd stumbled across the NXIVM website or read any of your descriptions of the organization thus far without any other outside information to influence my opinion, I'd still be very confused and a little creeped out.

I'm positive that's the reason several groups were uncomfortable this weekend. Not because they necessarily believe the rumors, but just because no one from NXIVM can step forward and say, "We're not that, we're this:" and complete the sentence with something other than vague praise.

What does NXIVM do? In clear, concrete terms? Can one of you please ease our minds? Otherwise, I believe your pleas for an end to the worried speculation are just going to go unanswered.


Amen, sister. I enjoyed the weekend, had fun, and got a lot out of it. I really appreciate that and will be the first to admonish the poo-smearers for their actions (I'm not making a joke out of it; that's disgusting and _incredibly_ disrespectful). That, however, does not mean I wasn't a little creeped out at times simply because I still have no idea who NXIVM is or what they do. I know some will say it doesn't matter, but it does. Even if there is no direct connection between NXIVM and AI, I wish someone could just tell me what they hell it is they do.

Don't take offense to anything; as I said, I got a lot out of the weekend and am very appreciative for it. But label me apprehensive.

blah blah, me not my group, this shit is getting old, blah blah
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Postby Cutter » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:19 pm

billhare wrote:
bstevens wrote:It's just that we've never seen one with so many ZEROES in it!

Neither of the two digits in my Social Security Number is a zero - I have no idea what you are talking about!
-B

I'm sorry, that is the most hilarious one-liner I've read in quite a long time. Well done, Bill. Well done.

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Postby dherriges » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:49 pm

Some thoughts on the whole idea of a "cult":

-I think the people raising concerns about NXIVM's role in the festival aren't actually accusing the organizers of deliberately sinister motives or some massive conspiracy. Anyone who is is overstating their case big time. We all know the organizers didn't get together in a room and discuss "How can we sucker naive college kids into our organization? Mwahahahaha!"

-Real cults don't work that way anyway. They're made up of, by and large, very normal people, who would come across to a stranger as well-adjusted and not crazy at all. I think those of you who are being dismissive of the notion that NXIVM is a shady or dangerous organization simply because the people you've met from it seem normal enough are being naive.

-I find the Pepsi sponsorship analogy actually apropos in a way that its original poster probably didn't intend. After all, modern consumer culture is essentially a cult. Many people are extremely dedicated to the goal of accumulating money to buy consumer products; they define their identity and lifestyle around those products; there is extreme social pressure to consume in certain ways and you're ostracized if you choose not to buy into consumerism as an ideology or way of life; and the "cult" of consumerism can lead its members (all couple billion of them, with more in the third world joining up every day!) to make irrational and self-destructive decisions. The only reason we don't consider it a cult is because it has so many adherents. Same goes for every organized religion and every political ideology. The education system? Yup. Pro sports? Sure. A cappella? Probably, in some ways. Every one of us is a member of several cults - institutions and organizations that basically function in the same way a cult does. The mass media have encouraged us to only label as "cults" those organizations that are far enough outside the mainstream of society to be seen as threatening or sinister. And the more blatantly sinister they look, the better sensationalist news story they make.

-All that said, I think there is no way you can read the links posted about NXIVM with an open mind and not be extremely suspicious / reach the conclusion that getting involved with this organization is probably a bad idea. I mean, come on. It's a bunch of creepy pseudoscience bullshit and it centers around the supposed genius of this one man who's made out to be virtually superhuman. At best it's not a cult but it's still a scam. I don't think we need to be any more sympathetic toward the organization itself just because, hey, they seemed like nice guys, or because they've done our community a huge favor by putting on these festivals.

-To the extent that participants were creeped out by the format and content of the workshops, etc., it's probably because, surprise surprise, when you bring a bunch of people from NXIVM together, they're going to talk in language that reflects the organization's mindset and values... whether or not this is a deliberate sinister plot to brainwash college kids is almost beside the point. This is an organization known to recruit in less than transparent ways, known to show a certain hostility to open questioning and skepticism about its values, and known to have adherents who have given up vast sums of money to the organization, or cut off contact with some friends and family because of it - definitely not healthy. Unless this Rick Ross guy is talking out of his ass. But I bet there's some truth to it - I think the problem isn't that society is too paranoid about cults like this, it's that we're not skeptical enough about the unquestioned tenets of the far bigger and more sinister cults that make up our culture itself.

-In short, thinking for yourself, keeping a clear head and questioning what you're told = good. Complacency about the above things = bad. As far as this festival goes, if they want to put on another one, I say they go for it, but I think every participant owes it to themselves to approach it with full information and a clear head about what they're getting into, and to make sure other participants also have that information. People shouldn't be Googling info on NXIVM in their hotel room in the middle of the festival; they should look it all up before they come and decide if they're still okay with participating. They may well be. I wouldn't blame them. I mean, it's an incredible deal, and for the chance to see FORK or something, I mean, how bad can a little cult be? ;)
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Postby dherriges » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:51 pm

Also:

-It sounds like that one group's behavior was incredibly juvenile and disrespectful. They'd best be praying their identity stays unmentioned.

-On the other hand, bringing that up in order to discredit legitimate concerns about the event and its organizers' motives is ridiculous. That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.
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Postby livingfiction » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:59 pm

dherriges wrote:Also:
-On the other hand, bringing that up in order to discredit legitimate concerns about the event and its organizers' motives is ridiculous. That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.


True, unless the ones doing the attacking, and the ones doing the vandalism are the same.
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Postby mwhitehouse » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:43 am

dherriges wrote:I mean, come on. It's a bunch of creepy pseudoscience bullshit and it centers around the supposed genius of this one man who's made out to be virtually superhuman.


Just throwing out the best link of all the NXIVM reading: http://keithraniere.com/

The two "links" on that page aren't bad either:

1. List of current patents (all of one ... with only a patent application number ... and the body of its text is "temporarily unavailable" from FreshPatents.com)
http://www.freshpatents.com/Intelligent-switching-system-for-voice-and-data-dt20070607ptan20070126855.php

2. Brief mention in what I'm sure is a very scientific paper, published on some dude's www.eskimo.com website on IQ tests (find where he's mentioned the second time: evidently Mr. Raniere's contribution was rambling off things supposedly "reported orally to him by Educational Testing Service officials")
http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/megadata/fifthnorm.html


dherriges wrote:That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.


I promise I don't mean to attack the substance of Mr. Raniere's character. Maybe the website above wasn't created by Mr. Raniere, or even approved by him. I just think it adds some depth to the discussion of NXIVM: at it's heart, it's probably defined by the absurd eccentricity of this strikingly "down to earth" personality. One of the top three problem solvers on earth, you know; cracking the nut on how to get "zhin-zhins" to blend with "bah-nohs".

(Check out his fantastic first post on these forums, whence dherriges' "ad hominem" reference: http://forum.rarb.org/viewtopic.php?t=4017&start=20 )

My grandpa has two PhD's and an MD (all from Harvard, no less). He worked at the NIH for years, made the cover of Science, Nature, etc. with work that involved rigging night vision sniper scopes to get motion picture of malarial parasites invading red blood cells. He also believes quite sincerely that aliens gave us transistors, that Area 51 is just the tip of the iceberg, and that a device he sent me in the mail once (the Biotec 3000) can cure cancer (its manual mentions that it can also tune your piano).

There is no limit to the extent of human eccentricity. All my experience suggests that it is exceedingly rare that such smart, silly people mean any harm whatsoever.
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Postby H.F. » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:46 am

dherriges wrote:Also:

-It sounds like that one group's behavior was incredibly juvenile and disrespectful. They'd best be praying their identity stays unmentioned.

-On the other hand, bringing that up in order to discredit legitimate concerns about the event and its organizers' motives is ridiculous. That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.


No one did that. At all.

EDIT: I've censored the rest of my post, as it was pointed out to this hothead that not everything in life is black and white, and that I probably don't know shit. And I have to say - the man made great points.
Last edited by H.F. on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby BenjGC » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:47 am

I want to make it clear that my being "a little creeped out", as I referred to it in my original post on page 1 of this thread, derived almost entirely from my not knowing about NXIVM in the slightest; that is, I didn't even know that NXIVM existed when I did the first ACI.

Had I known, I suspect I would have weighed the situation, and gone anyway, as my group did. I had a great time, loved interacting with everyone (especially Siobahn, who is ineffably cute in person and horrifyingly awesome onstage), and benefited greatly from much of the commentary. Were there things that could be improved? Sure. But one can say that about the Red Sox too.

I'll be attending Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications next year, studying broadcast journalism (and setting up a small a cappella recording business...holla at me!). Quite frankly, if any of the people I met at ACI come from Albany to see me, I'll welcome them with open arms.

Ben Gellman-Chomsky
Brandeis VoiceMale 2004-08
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P.S. To the group who smeared poo and menaced Allison: How dare you? You can have problems with something, but that gives you no right to be a jerk. If I had been there, I'd have stood right by her and thrown all of my 5'6" and 142 lbs. of fury at you.
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Postby AMalkoff » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:50 am

livingfiction wrote:
dherriges wrote:Also:
-On the other hand, bringing that up in order to discredit legitimate concerns about the event and its organizers' motives is ridiculous. That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.


True, unless the ones doing the attacking, and the ones doing the vandalism are the same.


well, as long as y'all continue with the cryptic commentary and pronouncements about these goings-on, we have no idea what you're talking about, and you lack legitimacy.

and sure, dismiss the original posters if you will. the other concerns from many others of us (many of whom are not posting here) should NOT be dismissed.
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Postby H.F. » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:53 am

EDIT: I've censored the rest of my post, as it was pointed out to this hothead that not everything in life is black and white, and that I probably don't know shit. And I have to say - the man made great points.
Last edited by H.F. on Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby StopBeingaLoser » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:10 am

ok, i'm tired of this, literal, crap. if the group won't man up to their actions fine, i'll do it for them.
will the urine-slinging, fecal matter tossing, disrespectful, generally sackless, self-absorbed assholes known to all of you as the binghamton crosbys please stand up?

congratulations on pissing off more people. glad you come back to menace those of us in the a cappella community yet again guys. really, we missed your bullshit.
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