Friday 6 December 2013

'Amway's' Co-opting of Norman Rockwell (How the pernicious 'MLM' fairy story infiltrated American culture).

In 1945, whilst most, contemporary mainstream commentators were unable to look beyond the ends of their noses, with a perfect sense of irony, Eric Arthur Blair a.k.a. George Orwell (1903-1950) presented fact as fiction in an insightful 'fairy story' entitled, 'Animal Farm.' He revealed that totalitarianism is merely the oppressors' fiction mistaken for fact by the oppressed.

In the same universal allegory, Orwell described how, at a time of vulnerability, almost any people's dream of a future, secure, Utopian existence can be hung over the entrance to a totalitarian deception. Indeed, the words that are always banished by totalitarian deceivers are, 'totalitarian' and 'deception.'

Sadly, when it comes to examining the same enduring phenomenon, albeit with an ephemeral 'Capitalist' label, most contemporary, mainstream commentators have again been unable to look further than the ends of their noses. However, if they followed Orwell's example, and did some serious thinking, this is the reality-inverting nightmare they would find.

More than half a century of quantifiable evidence, proves beyond all reasonable doubt that what has become popularly known as 'Multi-Level Marketing' is nothing more than an absurd, cultic, economic pseudo-science, and that the impressive-sounding made-up term 'MLM,' is, therefore, part of an extensive, thought-stopping, non-traditional jargon which has been developed, and constantly-repeated, by the instigators, and associates, of various, copy-cat, major, and minor, ongoing organized crime groups (hiding behind labyrinths of legally-registered corporate structures) to shut-down the critical, and evaluative, faculties of victims, and of casual observers, in order to perpetrate, and dissimulate, a series of blame-the-victim closed-market swindles or pyramid scams (dressed up as 'legitimate direct selling income opportunites'), and related advance-fee frauds (dressed up as 'legitimate training and motivation, self-betterment, programs,' etc.).
The overwhelming majority of all the countless millions of victims who have been consumed by individual 'Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' cults, have remained silent and passive,  and continued (unconsciously) to form part of the overall lie: whilst, as a direct result of the silence and passivity of the overwhelming majority of the victims, all casual observers of individual 'Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' cults (including, law enforcement agents, regulators, academics, legislators, judges, journalists, etc.) have also remained silent and passive, and have continued (unconsciously) to form part of the overall lie.
Today, it is very difficult to determine exactly how many people in total around the world have already been churned through the pay-through-the-nose-to-play 'MLM Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' cultic game of make-believe, since it was first peddled as reality under the name of 'Nutrilite Inc. /Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.' back in the late 1940s. It is also important to distinguish between short-term and chronic, losing-players. In general, the overwhelming majority of fraud victims never complain, but, right from the outset, the self-perpetuating 'MLM Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' lie was maliciously designed to implicate its victims - loading them with shame and guilt, and, thus, prevent them from ever facing reality. Classically, the quantifiable evidence proves that, without exception, chronic, losing-players have been subjected to co-ordinated devious techniques of social, and psychological, persuasion designed to shut down their critical, and evaluative, faculties. In this way, they have been conditioned (unconsciously) to think of themselves, not as the victims of a cruel deception or as brainwashed cult adherents, but as 'Independent Business Owners' exercising free-will.  What has made external reality even more unacceptable, is the ego-destroying fact that a large proportion of victims were deceived by a close friend or relative and, in turn, these victims then deceived, or tried to deceive, their own close friends and relatives. The few, destitute, chronic, former losing-players who have managed to recover fully their critical, and evaluative faculties, and who have filed well-informed civil lawsuits against the corporate fronts of 'Income Opportunity' cultic racketeers, have invariably been obliged to settle out of court. Although a number of isolated civil investigations, and successful prosecutions, have been pursued by the Federal Trade Commission against some smaller 'Income Opportunity' front-companies in the USA, no co-ordinated official effort has ever been made to face wider-reality and identify, let alone tackle, the overall criminogenic/cultic phenomenon that has lurked behind all the shielding layers of structural, and pseudo-economic/scientific, mystification, reality-inverting 'commercial'  jargon and kitsch capitalist/Utopian/American Dream imagery.


The following article explains how the pernicious fairy story entitled, 'MLM Income Opportunity,' progressively infiltrated traditional American culture, to a degree where the truth has now become almost unthinkable.

Norman Rockwell at work, mid-career.
Norman Rockwell circa 1945

This week, an oil painting on canvas by the prolific American artist/illustrator, Norman Rockwell (1894 -1978), entitled, 'Saying Grace,' has been sold by Sotheby's in New York for $46 millions (against a pre-sale estimate of  $15-20 millions). 

Kenneth Stuart

Included in the same Sotheby's auction, were nine other works by Rockwell. Most of these had come from the family of Kenneth Stuart (1906-1993), the former art director of 'The Saturday Evening Post' - a magazine for which Rockwell produced more than 320 covers during 47 years. 

'Saying Grace,' appeared on the cover of 'The Saturday Evening Post' (Thanksgiving Edition), November 24th, 1951. At the time, Rockwell (who was already an American institution) commanded what was considered to be the princely-fee of $3500 per cover. 

Rockwell at work on “Golden Rule,” 1960.

'If it [America] isn't an ideal world, it should be. So I painted only the ideal aspects of it. Pictures in which there are no drunks or self-centred mothers. Only foxy grandpas who played baseball with the kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard.'

Norman Rockwell

During all but the last few years of his life (after American art critics reluctantly accepted that Rockwell had produced a number of historically-significant paintings reflecting progressive, egalitarian, non-sectarian/non-racist views which he shared with intellectuals and liberals, and which contributed to the transformation of American society) Rockwell was widely-dismissed as being a self-confessed idealist - a cultural anachronism who used his realistic style to portray an unrealistic, and self-gratifying, American Utopia.

'The Four Freedoms' (1943) has been described as Rockwell's most important series of paintings - inspired by a wartime speech made by Franklin Roosevelt, in which the President affirmed that 'Americans held rights to four freedoms on which to stand in their defence.' Rockwell's typically-emotional depiction of Roosevelt's words immediately struck a chord with Americans. The paintings were exhibited around the USA during WWII to popular acclaim, and transformed into posters. They are credited with raising over one million dollars in war bond sales.

Rockwell's 'Rosie the Riveter' (right) , loosely based on Michelangelo's 'Isaiah' (left) was also used as a cover for 'The Saturday Evening Post ' in 1943, and also toured the USA during WWII with 'The Four Freedoms.'  This oil painting on canvas was sold at auction in 2001, for $2 millions and then in 2002, for $4.9 millions. (Notice how 'Rosie' is depicted using a battered copy of Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' as a footstool).
The model whom Rockwell chose to pose for 'Rosie' was, in fact, a 19 year old telephone operator, Mary Doyle Keefe, who weighed just 110 pounds.

Although Rockwell was undoubtedly a culturally-important figure whose kitsch, technically-brilliant magazine covers immediately became some of the most familiar, and iconic, images of the American way of life in the mid 20th century, for his entire career, he earned his living by selling his artistic talent to anyone who was willing to pay.

Many of the most famous (and not-so-famous) brands in the USA, employed Norman Rockwell to produce his characteristic 'American Dream' images to sell anything from insurance and airline tickets: to beverages and breakfast cereals.

Tragically, in the late 1960s, when faced with a US federal government investigation, blame-the-victim 'Multi-Level Marketing Income Opportunity' racketeers, Richard De Vos and Jay Van Andel, were easily able to co-opt (an evidently ill-informed) Norman Rockwell (aged 75) to produce a series of kitsch drawings.  In this way (as part of a pattern of ongoing, major racketeering activity), America's favourite artist was tricked into accepting stolen money (albeit no more than just a few thousands dollars) by cultic charlatans posing as patriotic Christian businessmen, and then used to infiltrate respectable American publications (including: 'Readers Digest' and 'The TV Guide') in order to shut down the critical faculties of not only the victims of the 'Amway' racket, but also those of all casual observers.

Again, as part of an overall pattern of ongoing, major racketeering activity, in 1980 (two years after Norman Rockwell's death at the age of 86)  the 'Amway' bosses began to use Rockwell's celebrated, pro-United Nations, 'Saturday Evening Post' cover of 1961 ('Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'), to continue to commit fraud and to obstruct justice all around the globe. This particularly stomach-churning example of hypocritical 'MLM' propaganda bears the signature of Norman Rockwell along with the 'copyright of the Amway Corp.' However, it is unclear whether the De Vos and Van Andel clans ever handed over any of their ill-gotten gains in exchange for a license to hide their abusive activities behind Rockwell's reality-inverting 'Do unto others' image. 

Judging by the 'Amway' mob's monumental theft of other valuable copyrights (particularly, involving recorded, popular music), it is highly-likely that they did not. 

Rich DeVos appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1982.

In 1979, Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos featured in a largely comic-book article by Frederick A. Birmingham in 'The Saturday Evening Post,' entitled 'The American Dream.'  Whilst, in 1982, Richard DeVos even appeared on the cover of,  and featured in yet another chapter of the pernicious 'MLM' fairy story, presented as reality, in 'The Saturday Evening Post.'

David Brear (copyright 2013)

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