What's All This Then?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I’d been wondering lately about what had happened to "Doctor" Greg Cynaumon and the product he hawked endlessly on radio and television - "Cortislim." Remember it? It was one of those campaigns that could drive a person nuts. It certainly drove me nuts with a "spokesperson" who came across as phony as a three dollar bill - and when I checked on his background when I wrote about him on December 1, 2004, my gut feelings were confirmed. The guy was a huckster with some suspect Ph.D. from a school that couldn’t be found, but allowing him to use the title and con you into believing that he was a doctor of medicine.

The commercials and the good "doctor" disappeared a few months ago, but when I started to hear radio commercials for a book called "Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About," I thought maybe he’d surfaced again. It wasn’t anyone claiming to be a doctor verbalizing the commercial - just a hushed voice telling anyone who wanted to listen that the nation’s pharmaceutical companies were united in their wish for Americans to be sick. According to this whispering revealer of conspiratorial desire, they - the evil consortium of drug manufacturers and distributors, wanted us all to be sick so that we would continue to need and to buy their vastly overpriced medical nostrums.

Now anyone who is a regular or even occasional reader of this blog, knows that I do not have a high opinion of pharmaceutical companies and their predatory practices. In fact, just two days ago, on my blog post that precedes this one, I linked the unconscionable increases in the price of gasoline to the kind of thing that goes on in the pharmaceutical industry. Oil companies can charge pretty much what they like for a gallon of gas and there’s not much we can do about it. And pharmaceutical companies can gouge us five bucks a pill for a medication that we need to stay alive and there’s not much we can do about that either. Pay up or die. The pharmaceutical companies don’t need to want us to be sick. Their prices are enough to make us sick. Very sick if you throw in the price of gasoline!!

But what is this "Natural Cures" book that the drug companies don’t want us to know about - and who is its author Kevin Trudeau? I haven’t seen the book and I doubt that I will get a chance to leaf through it’s contents. It won’t be in any libraries and for sure I’m not going to fork over any of my hard earned cash to support Mr. Trudeau’s con game, so I won’t be able to pen even a mini review. But I have been able to learn something about Mr. Trudeau. His is not a reincarnated Greg Cynaumon, but he’s cut from the same cloth as the good "doctor." He’s a con man. And a convicted felon. And like Greg Cynaumon, he’s been under the watchful eye of the Federal Trade Commission which has been trying to stop him again and again from fleecing a gullible public with his con games.

Despite all of this and despite the accusation by the New York State Consumer Protection Board that the "book" is a fraud , "Natural Cures" is at the top of the New York Times self help best seller list. So I asked myself, what reputable publisher would stoop so low as to become involved in a massive con game? The answer of course is that none would nor did. Not even a disreputable publisher. The guy published it himself. He didn’t need all of the trappings that a legitimate publishing house brings to the table - just the money to finance a series of commercials and "infomercials" that promise something that anyone above the intelligence level of moron should know can’t be delivered. Natural cures for the diseases that ravage mankind that the giant pharmaceutical industry knows all about but doesn’t want you to know about. Presumably in cahoots with your doctor. Heck - if all you need do is to pick up a couple of roots from your back yard to repair your ailing heart or get rid of that cancerous growth that’s squeezing the life out of you - why would you need to spend money to see a doctor? So for sure they don’t want you to know about all these natural cures either!!

There are "natural cures" for a number of ailments that work as well or better than prescription medications - and there are legitimate books that are written from time to time about them. A friend of mine wrote one some years ago that was also on the New York Times best seller list. For two years!! It was called "The Eight Week Cholesterol Cure, " written by one Bob Kowalski. Bob was a medical writer with a great deal of knowledge about medicine, who had had two by-pass surgeries before he wrote his book. Because of those surgeries, he became determined to find a way to control the cholesterol that was trying to kill him. Available remedies weren’t working, so Bob dedicated himself to research and found a remedy - a "natural" remedy that did work. It was only then that he sat down and wrote his book, published by a legitimate book publisher. There was no advertising campaign claiming that pharmaceutical companies didn’t want you to know about what Bob had discovered. Simply that a particular kind of diet and life style regimen yielded dramatic results. It made him healthy as a horse. My cholesterol should be as good as his is!!

Over four million copies of "Natural Cures" have been sold according to Mr. Trudeau. What does that tell us? That there are four million morons with money to burn running loose in the countryside? Or the core stockholder group of Brooklyn Bridge preferred? Maybe not quite something that bizarre. But it certainly says something about the gullibility of people who are looking for miraculous solutions to their problems or their hopes and desires or their fears.

Maybe it tells us something about the way elections turn out. Maybe there’s a partial answer there to the question posed in the front page headline of Britain’s leading tabloid, The Daily Mirror on November 4, 2004, wondering about our election results. HOW CAN 59,054,087 PEOPLE BE SO DUMB? The link to the story may not be active any more but you can read about it in my blog post of that date. That same questioning headline could just as easily be applied to the four million buyers of Mr. Trudeau’s con game. How could they be so dumb?

I don’t know the answer, but maybe it tells us why millions of people will continue to tune in the 700 Club to listen to the utter nonsense spouted by Pat Robertson - and will continue to believe that he is bringing them the "word of God" no matter how many world leaders he proclaims worthy of assassination by the U.S. How could they be so dumb?

What amazes me is that a legitimate "natural cure" book and a con job like "Natural Cures They Don’t Want You To Know About" could both find their way to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Kevin Trudeau’s book is an obvious con job. Just the stupid advertising campaign should have been enough to tell anyone with average intelligence that it was a con job. A big come on. Bob Kowalski’s book got there because he worked hard at getting it noticed, because he could be on panel discussions with doctors who didn’t challenge his research - but also because very soon after it was in circulation, genuine word of mouth called attention to the fact that Bob’s "cure" worked!!

You can see from the news reports what the word of mouth is about Kevin Trudeau’s snow job. One can only hope that it will work as appropriately for "Natural Cures" as it did for Bob’s Cholesterol Cure - and get it off the best seller list and into the dumpster where it belongs.