Understanding MILO, Understanding Donald (Update)

The world learned yesterday MILO, the self styled “Dangerous Faggot” landed a quarter million dollar book deal. A bunch of people lost their collective ever loving minds over this. As of this writing MILO’s book, “Dangerous,” sits as the number two best seller in all of Amazon. The crazy part is his book won’t be out until March of 2017! How does someone who describes himself as a “virtuous troll” achieve such instant success over a book that isn’t in print?

Understanding the cultural phenomenon that is MILO means understanding the America that elected a reality television star President. You may love it or hate it, but you’ll have a better grasp of the America that allegedly rejected “progressive” values. Taking a moment to examine the events of the last twenty-four hours surrounding MILO’s book deal will help you get a better grasp of where America stands culturally as we move forward into the new year.

MILO represents a rejection of identity politics. 

Identity politics have been quite the rage. It’s common to see someone start a social media post labeling themselves “As a” before launching into an argument or stating a position. When your “As a” label is offended, it gives you a chance to express your outrage and call someone a racist, sexist, transohomophobic bigot. That outrage sets the internet social justice posse in motion, silencing you for your viewpoint. It makes you think twice before you hit “post” or say something in public.

MILO is part of the cultural nexus that holds up the viper of identity politics, cuts off its head, and throws both pieces of the snake into two separate fields. His “Dangerous Faggot” college tour holds talks with themes like “Feminism is Cancer,” “Fat Shaming Works,” “Why Do So Many Lesbians Fake Hate Crimes?” and other ridiculously outlandish topics. The stated purpose of each talk is to make people laugh, piss people off, and maybe make people think.

It would be easy for people to dismiss him if he were simply a white guy. Under the mantle of identity politics, he gets a following for being a gay Jewish Briton with a German mother who has a propensity for dating black guys. It also makes him damned near bulletproof from the Social Justice mobs.

People love him for his outlandish antics, and his talks are often to standing room only crowds as a result. When college campuses pull off a stunt that either shuts down a talk or cancels it completely, it makes headlines. Shouting him down only amplifies his voice to the people that want to hear him.

Silencing MILO only makes his voice stronger, and people hate that. 

The “Heckler’s Veto” is a common tactic for those who want to silence someone with whom they disagree. Shouting someone down produces no honest conversations that lead to productive exchanges over big ideas. Yet society continues to do this and ask for “honest conversations” at the same time. You can’t have an honest discussion if you’re unwilling to listen to the ideas and concepts you can’t stand to hear.

Silencing MILO, for some reason, only makes his voice that much stronger. It’s the real life equivalent of Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Darth Vader “Strike me down, Lord Vader, and I shall become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” When Twitter suspended MILO’s @Nero account during the Republican National Convention he dominated press row the next day. Every time a campus shuts down or protests one of his talks it’s a newsworthy story.

This is why MILO’s book deal dominated the media world for twenty four hours and put his book at number two on all of Amazon. Announcing an alleged quarter million dollar advance for a book due in March caused an incredible number of celebrities to decry Simon and Schuster for “normalizing hatred.” The Chicago Review of Books announced it wouldn’t review a single S&S release in 2017.

The effect of this was an insane number of pre-orders for a book that’s going to launch with a $26 hardcover price. A comparable hardcover sells for approximately $17. This is what people mean when they speak of voting with their money. People want to hear what MILO has to say so much they were willing to launch money at him three months before his book ships.

Understanding MILO means understanding America in 2017. 

If you take a moment to examine the meteoric success of MILO, you will understand why we have Donald Trump in the White House. Both men represent a group of people tired of being told they were a bunch of things they weren’t, like racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bigoted, ableist, or whatever label you could put on them. Both men listened to the America that was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore. Both men took time to listen to those more concerned about rising health care costs and lack of employment than discussions of which bathroom or pronoun to use.

Both men were unapologetic in their actions. Both men said and did whatever the hell they wanted without fear of repercussion. When people tried to shut both men down the public that was mad as hell lashed back with time, money, and energy most thought never existed.

Examine MILO. Instead of trying to shut him up, take a moment to understand why he dominates public discourse. When you understand that, you’ll understand America in the coming year.

Watch American Milo here.

MILO is in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.

His YouTube Channel is a repository of his college talks.

UPDATE: “Dangerous” is now the number one book in all of Amazon. The self-styled “Most Fabulous Supervillain on the Internet” strolled past Carrie Fisher’s “The Princess Diarist.”

Score one for the bad guys.

The Phone Call and Expectation Management

It’s late afternoon when the phone rings in my office. I don’t recognize the number, but I answer.

“May I please speak with Mr. Seaton?”

I identify myself.

“Hi I’m (name omitted). You probably remember me. We went to school together way back when, I wanted to see if you were available for legal services.”

I pause here to let the reader know this line is one every single fucking attorney hears on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s a case of mistaken identity. Sometimes people just lie. Regardless, the line is an attempt to establish familiarity with the attorney, and worm into the lawyer’s good graces.

“What’s going on?” I ask.

“Well I…” This is the point where the prospective client then begins a long-winded spiraling tale about his or her woes, usually at a rapid fire pace in an attempt to get free legal advice on their issue. Phone calls like this happen all the time. Newer lawyers will stay on the phone with the prospective client and eagerly share their hard-earned knowledge. I have shit to do.

“Wait a minute,” I respond. “I want to make the best use of your time, so let me ask you a few questions.”


I ask the questions I need to determine whether I take the case or not. I tell the caller my policy on consultations, discuss the fee for the consult, and ask when they’d like to schedule.

“Well, I have to talk with my spouse, and it’s almost Christmas, and…”

Again, I pause to let the reader know the Christmas line is just that. A line to signal the quoted price for my time is too high, and an appeal to emotion wrapped in a nice little phone blurb. Again, I cut the caller off. I give the caller three available dates and times, and let the caller know when they speak with their partner and decide a time I’m eager to help.

“Thank you. We’ll be in touch.”

I’ll most likely never hear from this person again.

The caller meant well. They were conditioned through a series of advertisements from bigger law firms about how the consultation would be free, how their problems would be answered with one phone call. They have a false expectation in their minds about the delivery of legal services. It’s all supposed to be free, and the person who takes the case does so because they have a boatload of money and are just in this profession for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

Except we are people who like to get paid for our work too. We have overhead, costs, and sometimes staff to pay. Once all that is paid, we have to put food on the table for our families and pay for our home expenses. Those who can’t or don’t get paid end up finding another line of work. It’s as simple as that.

My time is valuable. So is the person who calls. That’s why I developed a system over the years of learning how to cut through the weeds, get to the point, and let the caller know I’m available when they’re ready to pay. Absent that, there’s no point in staying on the phone when others who have paid, who earned my time and attention, need my help.

When you call, be prepared for a short call. It’s not that I don’t want to hear your problems. It’s there’s only so many hours in the day, and so much work to do.

Let’s Talk About That Joey Styles Joke

Joey Styles, the former ECW and WWE play-by-play broadcaster is now banished from the industry he loves. He did nothing to “expose the business.” Joey didn’t “go into business for himself” on air.  Joey Styles was fired from pro wrestling over a joke referencing the President-elect. No one learned the Election Night Lesson, and now even my beloved pro wrestling has jumped into the world of self-censorship.

On the November 12 EVOLVE pay-per-view event, Joey Styles was in the middle of an in-ring promo with EVOLVE’s ring announcer Joanna Rose. Styles was apparently in an ongoing feud with his color commentator, Stokely Hathaway. During the opening moments of the show, Joey said the following to Joanna Rose:

“Joanna, you look great tonight. And if our next President were here tonight, he’d want to grab you by the…And speaking of my broadcast colleague…”

It was an off-color joke intended to throw heat on Stokely Hathaway. Never you mind this was in a business which regularly toys with racial stereotypes, built itself on everything from self-mutilation to human sacrifice, and featured more “bra and panties” matches than pearl-clutching third wave feminists would count. This was completely unacceptable to EVOLVE promoter Gabe Sapolsky, who twitted out the following to EVOLVE fans:

I deeply apologize for Joey Styles’ comments and am furious

We’ve parted ways with Joey Styles and that’s my final comment on this. Thank you for your support.

It didn’t take much longer for two other wrestling promotions to fire Joey Styles. On November 14, Beyond Wrestling axed Styles with the following twits.

Despite his unprofessional behavior I would like to extend him the professional courtesy of a phone call before making an announcement.

That was at 11:11 AM on November 14. By 11:44, Beyond twitted Joey all the best in his future endeavors.

Joey Styles will no longer be appearing at Sunday’s live event in Worcester or any future Beyond Wrestling live events. Thank you.

The world will never know if the phone call to Styles occurred, or the substance of that call. Did Beyond’s management give Joey a chance to speak on the matter, or was it a simple termination? That is left in the air. What runs clearer are the thoughts of CHIKARA Pro Wrestling’s Mike Quackenbush, who took great pains in a blog post to defend the promotion’s termination of Joey Styles.

The events of the last few days have been just cause to take a look at the state of professional wrestling. The art form that I love, and have dedicated my entire adult life to, is embarrassingly behind the times. It is beholden to outdated tenets that threaten to render it…obsolete at worst, and a punchline at best.

I know there are others, influential and celebrated, that imagine pro-wrestling to be a bubble in which the social norms from a bygone era are still relevant and valid. At CHIKARA, we rail against them, and those ideals, with everything we make. It is one thing to speak, to voice an opinion. It is one thing to call for change, to wish for change, to imagine how that change might come about. It is another thing to make it.

Effective today, we are terminating our relationship with Joey Styles. Effective today, we are instituting a zero tolerance policy for misogynistic, racist, and/or homophobic speech, written or verbal, whether it’s directed toward our cast, our crew, or our patrons. This is the shape of CHIKARA.

Ladies and gents, I give you the pro wrestling version of Twitter.

One person who didn’t seem to understand the significance of Joey’s termination was legendary pro wrestling manager Jim Cornette. During the latest edition of the “Jim Cornette Experience,” Cornette railed against Quackenbush in a hilarious fashion, slammed the outrage culture that bubbled up once Cornette defended Styles online, and questioned why a person who made essentially the same remarks is now set to hold America’s highest office, but another lost a job. “If you can’t take that joke, you need to get laid,” Cornette mused.

I like Jim Cornette. He took the time to speak with me personally during a really serious time for my family. He signed a tennis racket that sits in my office. He’s also one of those guys who’s really nice, wrong on a lot of things, and tone deaf to others. This is my plea to Jim Cornette: Google Justine Sacco. You’ll learn why Joey Styles is no longer welcome in pro wrestling circles, and why he may lose his “day” job too.

You’ll also learn why we have Donald Trump as President-elect.

Reality Bending Through Media Manipulation

As a student of persuasion, NLP, and hypnosis, I’ve spotted a new form of “reality bending” in recent months. Media hoaxes are the latest form of manipulating people’s attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions. If you want to manipulate a layperson’s belief in a given area, all you need to do is talk to the right people and reality changes right before your eyes.

Most journalists are lazy in their work. Look at former American Apparel CEO Ryan Holliday’s stunt with the service HARO, an acronym for “Help A Reporter Out.” In a short time the Observer’s Editor at Large managed to pose as an “expert” on everything from repairing antique ships to vinyl preservation. The “journalists” who didn’t want to actually check their source took his word as gospel on their given subject and went to press, unaware they’d been lied to and were feeding the public lies.

You may have seen this story of a Muslim father who allegedly killed his son for being gay. This AP-reported story was picked up by more outlets than CNN. Most every news source “covering” the story contained the exact same AP-reported language. Only after guys like Mike Cernovich dug deeper into the story were these same news outlets forced to change their tone.

It’s not entirely the press’s fault. Some times the hoax begins on social media, like the story of a spike in trans suicides following the 2016 Presidential election. Anecdotal evidence on social media that fits a chosen narrative makes its way into the mainstream press until someone with actual credibility like Elizabeth Nolan Brown does some fact checking. Then the chosen narrative, like a world where LGBTQ individuals must live in fear of a Trump administration, falls apart.

“The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it.”–Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1904.

As an experiment, I took an article from the New York Times this week exposing some of the “Day 1: Trump’s America” hate crimes and shared it on Facebook. The results were astounding. Many of my liberal and conservative friends nodded their heads and acknowledged the Paper of Record’s credibility on the issue, when they’d previously turned a blind eye to the Carlos Slim owned media outlet’s acknowledged bias against conservatives. Others screamed “Just because a couple of incidents were false doesn’t mean there’s hate crimes spreading everywhere.”

I’d be willing to predict these are the same folks that said “Okay, so that whole Rolling Stone article about a UVA range rape was false, but it’s important to have a discussion about rape culture on college campuses.”

It’s gotten to the point where if you watched the final days of the 2016 Presidential election, you’d think you were seeing two realities, as Scott Adams said.

Why do these people continue to fabricate stories? Why is the press so complicit in lies? It’s a simple question to answer. If you had the power to control the public’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, wouldn’t you be tempted to use that power to reach whatever goal you chose? Be honest as you ask yourself that question. It’s why the press decided to abuse it relentlessly.

For the individuals who fake the issues the press reports, it’s usually a matter of attention-seeking. That doesn’t matter in a world where bloggers control the main press, and the story is “traded up the chain” as Holliday put it in his best-selling book Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. It’s how you get a pastor to fake a story about a Whole Foods cake to hit mainstream press.

It’s time the world wakes up. The press doesn’t give you the truth. They’ve been feeding you a narrative for years, one you bought into because it comfortably fit your vision of the world. The lies they spread are ones you want to hear, because it’s comforting to see your worldview as right. Cognitive dissonance is quite the bitch when it hits you, and the press won’t stop hoaxing you until someone makes them.

Those people will be the mad, the passionate, the ones who give a damn about the truth. Those people will be the ever-vigilant fact checkers who call the lazy out on their shit. They will be, to borrow from Warren Ellis, the New Scum. And they’re already watching.

Friday Fantasy Cabinet Draft

It’s Friday, and time for a bit of fun, so let’s play a round of Fantasy Cabinet. Who will serve as President Trump’s “best people,” his team of advisers? Let’s gaze into the MiD crystal ball and find out.

First, the Cabinet is only loosely created in the Constitution. Article 2, Section 2, contains the following words that create a team of advisers for the President.

[The President] may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices.

Who those executive officers are makes up the President’s Cabinet. Here are my suggestions for President Trump’s chief team to advise him on all matters foreign and domestic.

Chief of Staff: Peter Thiel

Secretary of Labor: Mike Rowe

Secretary of Transportation: Jesse James

Secretary of the Interior: Bear Grylls

Secretary of Agriculture: One of the dudes from Amish Mafia

Secretary of Education: Scott Adams

Secretary of Energy: Elon Musk

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ludacris

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Dr. Drew Plinsky

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: R. Lee Ermey

Secretary of Commerce: Dana White

Secretary of Defense: Conor McGregor

Secretary of Homeland Security: Willie Robertson

Secretary of State: Edward Snowden

UN Ambassador: Gad Saad

Attorney General: Fault Lines’ Andrew King

Secretary of the Treasury: Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones)

And the all important position:

Press Secretary: Milo Yiannopolous (come on, not like he hasn’t practically earned this)

There’s the cabinet picks for a President Trump administration. Feel free to leave your own choices. Personally I think this a YUGE move towards a greater America.

The Tale Of Election Year 2016

I’m a big fan of the Hallerin Hilton Hill show on Newstalk 98.7, the local talk radio station in town. Yesterday, Hallerin gave listeners a homework assignment for today’s show. You can talk the election, your candidate, or anything related to politics, but it must be in poetic form. As he’s slammed with calls in the afternoon, I thought I’d post my contribution here for the world to see: “The Tale of Election Year 2016.”

Listen, dear children, as today I bring

The tale of Election Year 2016

A year so divisive, ugly and raw

It resembled a pro wrestling free for all


Democrats had it easy. Pick one from this list

A crook in a pantsuit or Vermont’s Socialist

Some felt the Bern, their feelings were nixed

When word got out their Primary was fixed


Republicans lined up, seventeen in all

Our country’s future at stake, they’d answer the call

When a Bush tried to run, most thought it a dump

Few saw the rise of The Man They Called Trump


He took down his challengers, left and right

Verbal jabs like punches in a Mike Tyson Fight

“Low Energy,” “Little Marco,” and of course “Lying Ted”

The fallen slunk back, careers left for dead


Conventions arrived, as did media spin

As each party crowned their pick for the win

Cleveland was peaceful, calm and clean

News outlets dubbed it “White Rage 2016”


No riots, few protests, mostly just peace

That drama’s in Philly, where protestors clogged streets

An ironic twist, most absurd of all

Hillary accepts the nomination behind a large wall


Then we’re off to the race, with scandals and scams

Pay for Play, assault claims, email problems, Twitter bans

Their faults on display, each accepted their fate

With rampant name calling at every debate


Now voting’s begun, it’s the people’s choice

A four year commitment to America’s Voice

Early voting began and the crook thought she’d won

Until the FBI’s Comey said “investigation begun”


Who wins is uncertain as the outcome draws near

CNN is With Her, so their feelings are clear

Fox says Trump will make America Great

Neither side can manage to rise above hate


On the Eighth of November, a winner’s declared

One side victorious, the other sad and scared

Hug your family and friends come November 9

As no matter the outcome we’re all going to be fine.

Lawbot, Meet Monty Python

First Keith Lee tried “Lawbot–the World’s Most Advanced Chatbot Lawyer.” It proved incredibly tone deaf to issues concerning sexual assault. Then Ken White at Popehat tried the bot through the experience of a client who got cheated by a drug dealer. My hypothetical came from a Monty Python sketch. Let’s see if I get justice for being sold a dead parrot by an unscrupulous pet shop owner.


Hi, I’m LawBot, a robot lawyer designed to help you through this situation. Please tell me your name or say anonymous if you would rather not.




Nice to meet you, Chester. I can help you understand if you have been the victim of a sex offence, a property offence, physical or psychological injury, or harassment. If you don’t understand what I am saying, just say so and I will explain. If you don’t understand a word, just ask me about it and I will give you a definition. Would you like to get started?




Please describe briefly in one sentence what happened to you. Try to use words that people usually use when speaking about this issue to help me understand you.


A pet shop owner sold me a dead parrot.


Sorry, could you try to explain that in a different way? Maybe be more specific about the incident?


I was sold a dead parrot by the owner of a pet store.


Ok. Let’s try to get to the bottom of this. Say ‘crime’ to start the questionnaire.




Which topic suits the crime? You can say the topic or its number. 1. Sex Offences; 2. Injuries and Assault; 3. Harassment; 4. Property Offences; 5. None of these.




Which topic matches your case? Say the number or the topic. 1. Theft; 2. Burglary; 3. Robbery; 4. Fraud; 5. Criminal Damage; 6. A different topic.




This is a serious crime! I would like to ask you a few questions. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, just say so and I will explain. Are you ready?




Great, let’s get started. Did someone say or do something, which was untrue or misleading?


Yes, he sold me a dead parrot and said it was sleeping.


Hm, could you rephrase that? I didn’t understand. Did someone say or do something, which was untrue or misleading?




Hm. Do you think the person knew that the representation was, or might have been, untrue or misleading?


Yes, I was sold a dead parrot and told it was hibernating.


Sorry, didn’t get that. Was there a typo? Do you think the person knew that the representation was, or might have been, untrue or misleading?


Oh good grief. Yes.


Sorry, didn’t get that. Was there a typo? Do you think the person knew that the representation was, or might have been, untrue or misleading? Alright. Do you think that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider their conduct dishonest?


Yes. You usually don’t sell pet owners dead pets.


Ok, Chester. Do you think the person who did this realized that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider their conduct dishonest? Sorry, didn’t get that. Was there a typo? Note that under the term ‘ordinary, honest and reasonable person’ you should imagine a ‘normal’ or ‘typical’ person in society. Do you now think the person realized it?


Yes, I think he realized the parrot was dead when he sold it to me.


Ok, glad I could clarify. Do you think the person did this in order to make a gain for themselves or another or to cause loss to another? Note that gain and loss concern only money and other property.


Yes, he took my money and gave me a dead parrot!


That is a serious crime. I would like to ask you a few questions. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, just say so and I will explain. Are you ready?


What the hell? Okay.


My bad, could you say that differently? If you are not sure about the answer, just say so. Are you ready? My bad, please say it again? If you are not sure about the answer, just say so. Are you ready?




Great. Did anyone take property belonging to you?


Yes, they took my money!


That is a serious crime. I would like to ask you a few questions. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, just say so and I will explain. Are you ready?


What the hell have we been doing for the past five minutes?


Sorry, I’m not sure I got that. Try again? If you are not sure about the answer, just say so. Are you ready?


Yes I am ready


Great. Did anyone take property belonging to you?


Yes they took my money


Ok. Almost there. Did this person use force on you or make you fear violence right before or while taking your property? Yes or no?




I understand. Did the person take property in your building or part of it, without your prior permission to enter?




So far it looks like a case of theft. Do you think the person intended to deprive you permanently of your property?




Hm. Do you think that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider the appropriation dishonest?


Yes, they sold me a dead parrot!


My bad, could you say that differently? Do you think that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider the appropriation dishonest?


Do you even care about parrots?


Sorry, didn’t get that. Was there a typo? Do you think that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider the appropriation dishonest?




Right. Do you think that the person who took your property realized that an ordinary, reasonable and honest person would consider their conduct dishonest?




Ok, Chester. I think that theft was committed here. Would you like me to help you find the closest police station?


I think your mother was a hamster and your father smells of elderberries.


Which city or town do you live in?




Sorry, didn’t get that. Was there a typo? Which city or town do you live in?

Two takeaways from this experience.

  1. I don’t think lawyers have anything to worry about with Lawbot.
  2. If I get sued for defamation by a chatbot lawyer it’ll be the weirdest experience of my life.

Book Review: “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto”

The title alone will make some of my conservative readers cringe, but place aside your politics and give the boys behind the “wellRED” comedy tour a chance. “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Out Of The Dark” is not as political of a book as one would think. It’s an unapologetic celebration of all things redneck, written by three guys who’ve lived the life, and a reflection on how the South can do better going forward. Trae Crowder (the original “Liberal Redneck”), Corey Forrester, and Drew Morgan hit with this book so hard if it were a baseball, you could consider it a home run ball that left the stadium, crashed through the window of a pickup truck in the parking lot, and then set off about three hundred fireworks in the back seat destroying a crate of liquor in the process.  It’s that damned good.

The book begins with a discussion of the etymology behind the word “redneck” and how it became a slur against poor white people from the South. Because the wellRED boys aren’t ones to mince words, they go into detail about how the term “redneck” was taken back by Southerners, why other slurs like “cracker” and “peckerwood” just don’t work, and how to spot a real redneck from a fake one.

Once the reader gets past why the wellRED comedy team has no problems admitting they’re from the South, or why they refuse to “lose the accent” to pander to mainstream audiences, no subject is off the table. From what constitutes acceptable country music (including a playlist of the Liberal Rednecks’ favorite hip hop groups), to alternatives to the Confederate Battle Flag, Trae, Corey, and Drew go after every subject near and dear to a redneck’s heart. They discuss the love and odd relationship with our Mamaws and Papaws. Why Church is a big thing in the South and why some Southerners try so damned hard to get out of going on Sunday. And the biggest problem of them all is something Trae, Drew and Corey tackle hard: why Taylor Swift is considered a country music artist and why in the name of Aunt Tammy no one has called this incident of cultural appropriation out yet.

In case you thought this was just a feel good book and a celebration of all things Southern, hold your horses. The Liberal Rednecks aren’t afraid to talk about the political and social issues concerning them. The war on drugs, gun control, and racism are all areas they discuss in detail and offer suggestions on how to get out of the loop the South continually seems stuck in with regards to each. Trae, Drew, and Corey don’t pull punches, and while I may disagree heavily with them on some of the points raised in the “Liberal Redneck Manifesto” they actually made me laugh in the process. If you can make me laugh when I disagree with you on a point, you’ve scored one for your side, and the wellRED boys do so with flair in “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto.”

The book is interspersed with “Porch Talk” segments from Trae, Drew, and Corey. These are personalized segments where each of the wellRED team talks about their personal life experiences to the reader. I won’t go into detail, because I think this book worthy of your time and money, but I will say Corey’s tribute to his Granny Bain and Trae’s final porch talk both moved me to tears. They were both strong, moving, and inspiring. You can’t ask more from people who make their living making people laugh. The porch talks are the authors getting as vulnerable as possible, and it makes the entire book real for everyone who reads it.

Prior to this book’s release, a tome called “Hillbilly Elegy” was released to critical acclaim as the de facto explainer for life in the South. I can tell you after reading “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto” whoever tells you that is full of shit and probably a Northerner. Shame the person with the Cafe Au Lait, tell them they’re wrong, and then make an offer of peace by getting them to read “The Liberal Redneck Manifesto” if they want to see what life in the South is really like.

It’s worth your time, money, and energy. You can buy the book at Amazon or most book stores, but I recommend you order the book through the wellRED website here. It’s a great way to get in the head of most Southerners, get a good idea of what life is really like in the South, and have a good laugh and think about all of it.

*Disclosure: I’ve had the privilege of sharing a stage with Trae Crowder, and Drew Morgan I’ve interviewed on the radio. I consider both friends.

On “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech”

The next release of films I’ve worked on, set to release any day now, is “Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.” This was by far one of the best projects on which I’ve ever worked. When I first learned of the project via Kickstarter, I chipped in a little coin to make sure it met budget. Later, I learned Loren Feldman, the director of “Silenced” was looking for research assistants to help with the film. The initial phone call between Loren and myself solidified the two of us were on the same page when it came to our passion for this film.

“Why do you want to work on my picture?” he asked me.
“Because when I can’t watch the Dukes Of Hazzard because the General Lee has the Confederate Battle Flag on it, there’s something fucked up with America.”

That statement seemed to click with Loren, and we went to work. I would get assignments from time to time, draft up information for him to work with, and we would go from there. I don’t want to disclose any of the research I did, but I will say working on “Silenced” was one of the most fun, fulfilling projects of my life. I learned so much from working on this film about the way we view “free speech” in America right now that when this film finally hits the distribution outlet of your choice you’re going to have your mind blown.

“Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” is going to serve as the definitive snapshot of what “free speech” means like in America right now. According to Executive Producer Mike Cernovich, it’s going bigger and better than just the movie Loren Feldman created. There will be a YouTube channel devoted to all the interviews that didn’t make it into the film, called the “Silenced Project.” There’s talks of this even going into the Library of Congress.

The film is called “Silenced: Our War On Free Speech” because we are deliberately censoring and silencing ourselves. This isn’t an outside attack. We, the American people, chose to self-censor and silence ourselves and others for fear of any number of reasons. When the film finally reaches you, you’ll have a better understanding of why and how this happened, plus implications for the future if we continue this war in America.

“Silenced” is already drawing controversy and it’s yet to be released. Right now, it’s building enough steam to become the most important documentary you will watch all year, if not of all time. When the film finally releases, expect everyone to be talking about it. Don’t wait until you hear someone telling you about it after the fact. Get ready to see just how we’ve created a war on ourselves through the eyes of people who want to be able to say and do as they please, but can’t, because of the way America really views free speech.

You can check out the movie so far at this website. Below is my favorite of all the trailers.

Playing With Beliefs: An Exercise in Devilry

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, has a great series called “Trial Theory” going on at his blog “Defending People.”  His first post concludes with a thought I want to address in a different light.

Most jurors form a belief about the right result in the case by the end of opening statement; this belief will not be changed absent blockbuster evidence that they have not been primed to expect.

Beliefs are interesting to me in the world of psychological mind reading, mentalism, and suggestion.  It’s my job as a mentalist and persuader to take a subject’s belief, frame it in a different light, and then play with it to my liking.  By the time I’m done playing with a subject’s belief structure, they might have changed their minds.  They might not. But under a theory of suggestion and belief open to the idea that humans aren’t rigidly locked into a certain worldview, one that shows under the correct conditions beliefs can be shaped, twisted, bent, and stretched, one can persuade a person to open up and provide you with more information than ever before.

I’ve not been partial to cold readings in the past.  After a bit of reading into the art form, I’m warming up to the idea.  I’d go as far as to say a study of it is an excellent idea for anyone whose livelihood depends on persuasion, or making a sale to someone.  The best “psychics” understand the art isn’t about reading into someone’s lives and looking for a good hit or miss, then fixing your work and moving forward.  It’s about developing an empathy with the person who you’re reading so they provide you with all the information you want or need.

Herb Dewey, the “King of the Cold Readers,” didn’t spend time making statements and carefully checking vagaries for a person whom he read.  He’d ask a subject for their full name, place, and date of birth.  Dewey would then shut his eyes and for twenty minutes tell his subject things about them no one could possibly know.  He did this because of an understanding how open people are to suggestion, and knowing the skeptic would be watching him for a “read” of hits or misses.  After that twenty minute time frame was up, he’d usually open his eyes and say “Oh, I thought I was boring you to death and you’d left.  I didn’t know you were still here.”  The last ten minutes of a half hour session with Dewey would usually be him answering questions the subject wanted based on the previous twenty minutes’ divination.  Not surprisingly, most of the questions would contain extra information Dewey never uncovered!

Because I apply the principles I learn in my “off hours” to my law practice, a study of cold reading now leads me to take Mark’s above statement and address it with a “Yes, and” approach I think he’d appreciate.  If I were to take that statement it would probably read as follows:

Most jurors form a belief about the right result in the case by the end of opening statement; and this belief will not be changed absent blockbuster evidence that they have not been primed to expect or the attorney’s ability to reframe the juror’s belief.

There are times when working as a defense lawyer I’m tasked to work with someone a jury may not particularly care for.  When I get a sense the trier of fact isn’t keen on my client or the outcome I desire, a certain onus then shifts on me to take their belief and test it, through evidence or developing a sense of empathy.  If I can get an “in” with a “hit,” be it through a rhetorical device, piece of evidence, timely objection, or otherwise, I have to exploit this to see if I can get them to give me more information.

Subjects don’t have to express their beliefs for me to shape them.  A slight smile, a half frown, a look of contempt all give me enough information to pursue a certain avenue that will work to provide the best outcome possible for my client.  In other words, if a juror has a certain “belief” about the “right result” of a case, they also have a “disbelief” about that result.  I want to take that “disbelief” if it’s in my client’s favor, toy with it and then see if I can suspend it.  Once the suspension of disbelief about the “right result” kicks in, it’s time to manipulate that subject into what is hopefully the desired outcome for a client.

Mentalist Peter Turner studies astrological signs heavily.  It’s not because he places a belief in them, it’s because he knows others believe fixed patterns of stars rotating in the heavens dictates the course of their lives.  Once he can get an “in” by plucking the star sign from a person’s head Turner uses that to “read” the person and get information “no one could possibly know” about them.  What that person doesn’t know is Turner is they’re providing him with every bit of unseen information he needs as he speaks.

How often do you look for the commonalities in life?  When you’re attempting to gain empathy with someone in any setting, what information are you leaving on the table?  As you’re working to establish credibility with your counterpart in a negotiation, what are you refusing to see?  That’s why cold reading is so important, and why it’s an important weapon for litigators, mediators, and anyone interested in effective communication.  Empathy can stretch even the most rigidly held belief.

The best time to establish that empathy?  Jury selection.
And if you’re interested in learning a bit more about that from a devil’s perspective, you should definitely find a way to attend the TCDLA’s voir dire seminar in Dallas this coming Thursday and Friday.