[UPDATE] “Off the Mat” Gets $40,000 for Oasis Stunt /// Volunteers? Well, I Guess That’s Why They Call Them Volunteers

In this commercial yoga world, it’s really quite hard to catch it all. Thanks to Babarazzi commenter, Be Scofield, for bringing this to our attention. Lot’s to follow up on here.

Be Scofield’s comment:

[Y]our article doesn’t mention it but HuffPo paid Off the Mat $40,000 for this Oasis stunt! Wow! Yet, no one got paid who volunteered. Read the Salon.com article HERE

Quote from it:

“So it’s basically exactly what I said before: These people — the meditation teachers, “estheticians,” masseuses and yoga teachers — happily volunteered their labor because they were essentially conned into believing they were performing a public service — spreading mindfulness and getting buzz for yoga! — instead of working for free.”

Author of the piece, Alex Pareen, did the hard work for us and located the original call for volunteers. You can check it here by clicking there.

____________________

More of Be Scofield’s comment:

You [The Babarazzi] mentioned that critiquing Seane Corn doesn’t happen. I wrote a lengthy critique of Off the Mat, Into the World two years ago:

“Beyond Spiritual Activism: Creating a Just and Sustainable Movement for Change”

The above piece is worth every bit of its length. We highly recommend you read it. We’re still making our way through.

____________________

Really. You can’t (and absolutely do not have to) make this shite up! Just copy and paste!

40 comments

  1. Yoga Dude

    Ms. Huff did it to her bloggers — AOL followed suit….

  2. Dyspeptic Skeptic

    Never let a good PR opportunity go to waste:

    • It’s cringe worthy…. she wearing black too. Like a real activist.

      And who shows up??? Brower! Literally all places at once! I almost pissed my self.

      • krishna

        omg, ‘repeat after me’ … to exercise their right to speech. omg, russell simmons trying to quite the Gita? barf. i have always seen straight through these holier than though ass kissers seane, elena, etc…. BARF BARF/////

    • I like how EB says that they are not “against anything”, but she is participating in Occupy Wall St., which last time I checked, was kinda anti-Wall St, anti-greed, anti-inequality, anti-corruption, anti…

      And this is followed by SC chanting “We stand for unity” at a protest, which almost by definition constructs an “us” and a “them”. I also think SC’s speech smacks of condescending white guilt, and inherently divides. Oh, the poor socio-economically disadvantaged people have “finally” risen up and we are here because we are not poor, not socio-economically disadvantaged, but they need us. If you think that what other people have to say is important STFU and let them say it.

  3. Linda-Sama

    Corn’s cronies repeating her every word is scary….yogabots.

    • Linda, that call-and-reply type of communication is referred to as “the human microphone.” It’s a way of communicating in large groups when there isn’t electronic amplification available. It’s actually quite wonderful and effective–the speaker speaks, pauses, and his/her words are repeated in waves all the way to the back of the group. It’s one of the many truly democratic methods employed by the Occupy movement. (just fyi).

      • The use of megaphones and amplifiers were prohibited to the protesters by the NYPD.

        However, your accusation of “yogabots” is not totally without merit. Why shouldn’t they have taken that foreign body/foreign voicebox and played the game of “telephone” with the pronouncements …?

        If “yogabots” are found in commercial yoga classes, etc. Most are followers, alas …

    • krishna

      its SO disgusting i can’t even believe it. OTM = WTF all these people are the ANTI-rebel. ANTI-yogi. ANTI-love. its sad to see the sheeps. did everyone forget krishnamurti?

  4. wondering

    It’s super creepy. why would anyone want to repeat after her in this way? egomaniacal. there are so many folks of real depth and wisdom to learn from in this lifetime, but she ain’t one of em.

  5. Yoga Dude

    @Linda-Sama

    Yogabots….what a wonderful term.

  6. Yoga Dude

    A little humor from Steve Martin regarding repeating what other people tell you to say:

  7. John

    On Seane Corn’s Facebook page
    Last day of the convention. Can’t say I’m not relieved. This experience has been confrontative and intense for me. I hope we brought meaning. I hope we modeled compassion. I hope we represented something positive and unified. Whether or not “they” got our messaging, i guess, is beside the point. Anyone “getting it” is between them and their God. Me? I witnessed my assumptions, classism, rage, judgment, expectations and have had to speak truth to power on more than one occasion. I’ve learned a lot, grown a little, and see the world a little differently than I did before. As always I am grateful, but could use a little sleep…. x

    • Would love to interview her on these exact topics.

    • The P

      It’s all about me and my growth experience and how I can better myself and empower myself to go out and create more opportunities for growth experiences where I can better myself and empower myself to go out and create more experiences …

  8. Be Scofield, your article is superb and hits all the correct points. I studied International Development Studies (IDS) and one of the biggest problems in IDS theory is the idea that you cannot have development without assuming this role of “trusteeship”, which smacks of White Man’s Burden all over again, albeit in PC terms.

    That Seane Corn can show up at Occupy Wall Street on one hand and then go to work to help out the Republican Party on the other reeks of nothing less than sanctimonious opportunism.

    • Yoga Dude

      Was she helping the Republican party or people?

      • There’s the blurry line.

        • wondering

          I don’t know either, but maybe because the people are attending the rnc in support of the republican party, at that venue they are the republican party…since acting in support of the group, and not as individuals?? for example if you meet that same person at the supermarket, they are not the”rep party”, but an individual grocery shopping, who votes rep. and supports the rep party platform, values etc. there are so many intelligent and insightful replies on this post, I’m looking forward to the ideas on this. I’m learning alot on this sight.

        • They’ve also got one at the DNC, to be fair to this question. Just to be clear, it was HuffPo that donated, yes? Not the Republican Party? Here’s the DNC call for volunteers. Same deal. Haven’t gotten through the Spiritual Activism article, but I look forward to it. http://charlotte.craigslist.org/spa/3216404191.html

  9. I’ll only add that spiritual activism has been around for a very long time, Corn isn’t creating anything new here: The Quakers and the Religious Society of Friends have a very long and involved history of it and putting their money where their mouth is. It was a Quaker, Norman Morrison, who set himself on fire under the window of then-Secretary of State Robert McNamara to protest the Vietnam War. Quakers, were also the first whites to push for the end of slavery.
    Sometimes in the zeal to help others and do good, many often fail to see that sometime home-grown local activism and solutions are the best way to go. Check out the Gulabi Gang in Utter Pradesh, for example.

  10. jorge

    can add dorothy day and the catholic worker to that list too. just finishing her autobiography right now actually, it’s wonderful.
    don’t know what else to say about the video above that hasn’t been said already, other than although i applaud the first lady of nike for showing up to an occupy rally, i just wish she would try taking a back seat for once instead of on various perches whether they human shoulders, park benches, or more well known celebrities.

  11. amphibi1yogini

    Parts of the Occupy Wall Street protest were (probably) staged, as per the slideshow … click on through to notice how like chess pieces some of the protesters appear next to the red-hot-center (Russell Simmons, et al)…

    http://blisstree.com/move/yoga/occupy-wall-street-yoga-with-seane-corn-russell-simmons-367/gallery-page/1/

  12. amphibi1yogini

    Referring to this video, below …

  13. __MikeG__

    I have been mostly in agreement with previous Barbarazzi articles. After carefully considering the arguments made in both articles about this subject I find myself not giving a fuck.

    The only thing I know about Sean Corn came from a Bryan Kest video. The sum of my knowledge is that she is bendy and cute as a button. Same with off the mat. It also appears bendy and cute as a button.

    Some rich people the Barbarrazi does not like get a rub down by some hippies. Don’t care.

    So, the Republican party gave Off the Mat a donation. So, some volunteers volunteered for a volunteer organization. Don’t care. I personally hope the shade of Jerry Falwell and the current incarnation of Pat Robertson hand deliver the check. Then Jerry and Pat can charter a private jet to a tropical island and explore the love they have so long denied. I think Pat will catch, but I could be wrong.

    I understand that some people are really up in arms over this. Like I said I read the arguments but I have not been convinced by those arguments. PeaceOut.

  14. Yoga Whelp

    Yoga, Inc. is emerging as the “bendy cute-as-a-button face” of 2lst century global corporate capitalism. And every corporate offensive needs its attractive sales reps and product models. If Corn, Brower, and the rest of the Yoga Bimbo Club want to be the benevolent public face of this process, fine, just don’t insult our intelligence – and our souls – by pretending that you’re selling “enlightenment” or “spiritual freedom,” It’s Orwellian

    You know, when the Jesuits went to Latin America for Spain, they tried to put a human face of the rapacious greed and abuses of the Conquistadors, and sometimes complained to the Crown that the Spanish were being too harsh and should raise up the natives. So if Corn and her whiter-than-white sistuhs want to put lipstick on a pig with these Happy Horseshit missionary social programs all the while spreading the Gospel of Yoga and the Holy Yoni Society, go right ahead. Who knows, you might even get yourself named the the Yoga Pope one day.

    Same as it ever was. Money for soap, money for dope..

    • Yoga Whelp

      “I’ve had enough of watching scenes with schizophrenic egocentric, paranoid prima donnas….All I want is the truth, just gimme the truth.”

    • Greenpoint

      wow, that was awesome…

    • Greenpoint

      really, really nicely put…

      • Yoga Whelp

        Thanks, GP. There comes a time when people just have to call TOTAL BULLSHIT on these Yoga-Lettes. They are serving no useful purposes whatsoever. Anyone who isn’t bought off, economically or psychologically, by their narcissistic pitter-patter knows that they are total wannabes – and completely irrelevant to the real world of community and social change

        I’ve spent decades with real political organizers, many of them women, and they are awesome ladies, and they wouldn’t be caught dead spouting the ca-ca or spreading their legs for corporate America the way these mindless Hippie-Chicks do.

        I have said ot before an I will say it again: We need to start over from scratch. Banish these bimbos to
        a yoga Bantustan where they can feast on each other’s bodies and souls – rather than ours. Or turn JAMA from a PR agency into a career re-retraining service. Place these women in jobs for which they are eminently qualified – restaurant hostess, trade show manager, tour guide, and others involving sales and a friendly smile. They can even do an asana or two on the side for tips.

        Just keep them away from people seeking a spiritual path unencumbered by their insufferable self-delusion and grandiosity. We’ve all had enough.

        And before any of their sycophantic, boot-licking followers decide to rag on me again, or monitor my Internet, or engage in more useless cyber-attacks – yes, these are the latter day Scientologists, these women, employing the tactics employed by all cults – let me just say, if my message hasn’t come through already:

        FUCK YOURSELVES.
        WITH A PURPLE DILDO BLESSED BY SHAKTI
        AND SIGNED BY JOHN FRIEND

        You’re even worse than the people you’re clinging to.

        Namaste!!!! ONE LOVE!!!

        • So, let me get this straight. They are putting a hip, trendy, yuppie face on neo cultural imperialism. And cloaking it in social change. That is a much stronger argument than just saying these people with more time and money to burn than the rest of us want to take a tax-deductible vacation (disguised as an international eco-tour and activist “social responsibility”).

          Look, if some entity like that HAS to exist, I still think Oprah would have done a better job. She’s got the force of her own network, the purity of intention, and major influence. But nobody much agrees with me.

          Damn right it’s “sales and a friendly smile”.

          Why doesn’t anyone call it what it really is: showbiz!

        • Awesome Yoga Whelp!
          Here are some ladies do are doing some serious bad-ass activism:

  15. bummer, y’all. get the facts straight: it was HuffPo that gave a donation for OTM’s programs. the volunteers know this. we gave of our time willingly, though certainly not without challenge. i’m neither a “yogabot” nor a suck-up nor a yuppie nor a white ‘sistuh.’ and the cute as a button comes across as not only misogynist but petty and envious.

    as for some of the other comments. wow. makes it even more clear why i, personally, have volunteered for this.

  16. LShark

    Wow… I came here because I was interested in the debate on the subject of whether or not the yoga community should be trying to engage with politicians (especially at the RNC/DNC). After reading the posts here, I really don’t know how to respond on that topic, because I can’t tell what anyone’s argument is. All I see is a whole bunch of venomous personal attacks and hostile attitudes based on speculation and assumptions about Seane Corn’s personal motivations at best, and downright incorrect information at worst. I’m really wondering how that’s supposed to be better than what you perceive as OTM’s flaws. I know there are a lot of different opinions about what yoga is, what our goals and actions as a community should be, and that’s great. If you don’t like Seane Corn, cool. If you think it’s wrong to host a yoga room at the RNC, no problem. But is it really that difficult to approach the discussion with compassion, integrity and the intent to be constructive and engage in civil debate instead of just spewing anger, hostility and judgement without actually doing anything about any of it? Whatever you think of Seane Corn and OTM, at least they are trying to accomplish something. What exactly is being accomplished by slamming their actions without suggesting any alternatives, or even any consideration of what might work better? How about it if we were to start this conversation over again and have a civil, informed conversation about the actual subject, free of speculation, judgement and hostility? OK, I’ll go first:

    On whether or not yogis should even be at the conventions, I can see both sides of this argument. While my initial reaction was to think “Ew, no! Don’t go there!” I can’t really come up with a good reason for that, other than my own fear about blurring what I preceived to be clear demarcation between my beloved yoga “community” and the Republican Party. And I can’t help but hope that if some avid Republicans (people who like policies that favor the haves at the expense of the have-nots, war over peace and bigotry over inclusion) were to get centered and present, then maybe they would begin to shift to a more compassionate and inclusive state of mind.
    On the issue of all those people working as volunteers even though OTM got paid for their presence, I just don’t see what the problem is. Don’t most non-profit organizations rely heavily on volunteers? The fact that OTM made money off of the event doesn’t change that. Most non-profits have fund-raisers, which is what this was. If the workers were paid, there would be less of that money available to be put towards OTM’s work.

    I’d be really interested to hear what others have to say about why/why not it is a bad thing for yoga to be a part of political conventions, and why/why not OTM should have paid the workers at these events rather than relying on volunteers.

    • @lshark: I’m truly sorry to hear that you’ve encountered only nastiness on yr first visit to The Babarazzi. I promise you that we are much more than that. I hope you stick around and see how our sometimes ascerbic critiques are actually backed by well thought out theses. Albeit often couched in dark humor from a cutting tongue.

      Do give us a second chance.

      Sincerely,
      Aghori Babarazzi

  17. LShark

    @Babarazzi: It’s not the dark humor I object to; it’s the self-righteous assumptions about other peoples’ motives that you can’t possibly know without having talked to them. Having apparently spent more time looking at what OTM actually does than others who posted here, I can comfortably say that many of the comments above are based on misinformation and speculation. I don’t quite see how that can be passed off as a “well though out theses.” In all fairness, I can say that after posting my first comment, I did go back and read your previous blog “Bringing Foot Rubs…” and while I disagree with most of it, I am happy to see that it actually IS a well thought-out theses. So yah, I’ll probably give you a second chance…

    • Babarazzi readers are usually on a lot of psychotropic drugs when they write on this site. Ignore them if you must, but don’t dismiss their spirit. Click around. You’ll find your place among the rubble. I’m sure if it! We’d be happy to have you.

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