Posts tagged ‘lifestyle’

June 28, 2015

#96) For whom the Belle tolls

Belle Gibson may have a smooth complexion, but she is definitely the Scarface of the millennial generation. The Australian lifestyle blogger and social media magnate has achieved a meteoric rise and fall in the time that most of us 40-somethings take to figure out how to get our five CD changer to play the disc we want. Since launching her app, “The Whole Pantry” in 2013, Gibson has taken millions across the globe on a ride, in the process making Jenny McCarthy look like an old woman wobbling to the park to feed the ducks.

The story is a reboot of Scarface, perfectly detailed for today. An attractive young woman is stricken with multiple devastating cancers. Failed by the medical establishment, she instead cures herself with diet and exercise, shares her experiences and becomes a social media hero overnight. A substantial portion of the millions in sales from “The Whole Pantry” app and its companion cookbook go to charity. The app is even slated to be bundled on the new Apple Watch. Another savvy millennial makes good.

Only problem: none of it is real.

Perhaps Gibson should have heeded Mark Twain’s advice that “If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Inconsistencies in her various interviews, blog entries and Instagram posts started raising eyebrows. Doubt spread among her loyal legions like, pardon the simile, cancers. Not only Gibson’s diagnoses but also her date of birth have been called into question. Many of the charities to which she reportedly donated have claimed not to have seen a dime. Gibson now faces the possibility of jail time for fraud and even worse, the wrath of social media.

Why does any of this matter? Quite possibly it doesn’t, but it’s still interesting. In a broad sense, it speaks to the hidden dangers of early success and how we all need heroes but when they get too big for their britches, we want to strike them down. Specifically it shows how the internet, social media in particular, speeds up the process of celebrity rises and falls. It proves how cyberspace can make someone who we haven’t met in person sometimes seem more real, engaging and exciting than the people whom we actually know in the flesh. It’s a cautionary tale for those who use social media as a business tool, also proving just how powerful the lure of online recognition can be. For the consumer, whether it’s time or money that they invest, it’s a reminder that not everything on the internet is true.

I’m not psychic but I predict the story of Belle Gibson won’t last too long. We will move onto something new and her story will ultimately be a mere footnote, along with those of Richard Heene, James Frey and Milli Vanilli. Still, her 15 minutes of fame did give us some whole food for thought. Tony Montana ain’t got nothin’ on her.

June 30, 2013

#56) My own progress report on New Years’ Resolutions for 2013

Six months ago, I told you what New Years’ Resolutions to make.  How have I done myself following them?  Well, I’m proud to say I’ve knocked off six of the resolutions on the list.  Here’s a summary of what I’ve done and how it’s worked out for me.

2) Idiot Driver Amnesty Day.  I knocked this one off back in January – and ironically let myself off the hook a couple of times for some rather bone-headed moves behind the wheel.  Turns out that when I stop fuming at other peoples’ driving and focus on my own, I realize I’m not perfect either.  Unfortunately, this resolution has had the least lasting effect; I’ve found myself getting upset again at the automotive shenanigans of others.  Maybe I need to give myself a refresher course.

3) Radio silent hour week.  This one was also finished early and has continued to be a staple of my routine; some days I’ve done two or three hours with no loss of business.

4) Piss someone off.  I’ve had a few disputes, most of which have been civilly resolved and I’ve said no to a few people who didn’t want to hear it.  The lesson I’ve learned is that it usually takes more out of me to be pissed off at someone than to have someone pissed off at me; no consequences have happened from my failure to please everyone.

5) Facebook free day.  This one coincided with Idiot Driver Amnesty Day.  Since most of what I post on Facebook seems to be rants about idiot drivers, giving them amnesty for that day meant I didn’t have much to add.

6) Media free food week.  I was sick for a few days in March and wasn’t eating much of anything, so when I did eat I made sure it was not in front of the TV or computer.  Since then I have been doing better at continuing to stay media-free while eating, although I do revert from time to time.

10) Visit a place you’ve never heard of.  I did a nice, short little hike on the Highland Valley Trail, which despite my love of hiking, had been off my radar.     The trail is located in north San Diego County, near Escondido.

One of my resolutions – a Twitter free year – has already been broken, although I haven’t spent much time on the site.  I still have six months to read an article that puts forth an opinion contrary to one of my own, to listen to a musical recording from start to finish and write a letter, but I have another 6 months to get to those.

From all of us at D-Theory (that is to say, myself), happy Half-Year and best wishes for a productive and rewarding second half of 2013.

November 19, 2011

#31) “Leave Tebow Alone!”

I’m not a Broncos fan, and I’m not a Christian.  So what am I doing writing about Tim Tebow, the Christian quarterback for the Denver Broncos?

It’s not Tebow himself that I’m interested in, per se, but the reaction he’s caused in the last few weeks.   It’s no news that we love perfection…and that we love tearing people down.  And we love comebacks.  But typically these things happen over a little bit more time.  Britney Spears had several years of pure success before she started undermining it with her bizarre behavior.  Brett Farve had a decade-plus of glory before becoming a punchline.  Even Michael Vick’s rise, fall and comeback played out over several years.  But Tebow is still a rookie.  He hasn’t had time to prove successful, much less ruin it for himself.  The Broncos are 4-1 this season when he is starting, and he’s being raked over the coals as if he is 1-4 and has already been convicted of a D.U.I.

What exactly do we want, anyways?  If someone fails, we point and laugh.  If they succeed, we wait for them to fail.  If they don’t, we have to invent their failure.  Isn’t America supposed to be the land of opportunity?  Aren’t we supposed to love success, not failure?

In a way, Tebow’s plight reminds me of that of Kobe Bryant.  For a Celtics fan such as myself to be expressing empathy for a Laker is a little bit unusual, but I’ve always respected Kobe Bryant and seen through the hypocrisy with which the media portrays him.  If he scores 50 points, he’s a ball-hog and doesn’t want to share the glory with any of his team-mates; if he scores 15 or 20, he’s tanking it.  Tebow also reminds me a little bit of Gary Carter (the former New York Mets/Montreal Expos catcher).  Carter was an outspoken Christian who was often criticized as being “too nice.”  Pete Rose supposedly said that Carter was more interested in endorsements than winning.  But between Carter and Rose, only one of them made it to the Hall of Fame.

Maybe it’s all a rite of passage.  We want to see how much Tebow can take before he cracks. Maybe he will crack.  Maybe he’ll get pulled over with a BAC of .249.  Maybe he’ll get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.  Maybe he’ll throw  twenty picks against New England when the two teams meet later this year.  (Actually, as a Patriots fan, I’d be okay with that.)

But give the man a chance.  Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”  LEAVE TEBOW ALONE!