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Everyone’s Voice Had Been Silenced! (Including Mine!)

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[This post was literally 6 months in the making. Thanks to recent events and the timely Blog Action Day's focus on Raising Your Voice, it was time to finish it and get it published. The dreams that I mention below 100% happened... they are not a literally device.]

It was a few days past the Ides of April and which for me was day three of recovering from a stomach bug. I was feeling good and even eating almost regular meals. Everything was getting back to normal except for the dreams.

It started with:

Even in dreams Beck is really, really cool. Unfortunately, Twitter didn't give me the space to mention how Beck windsurfed into my driveway on wheels.

Silenced

Silenced via deviantart

The next day I had a fantastic science fiction dream about how aliens created life on earth and only a select few knew about it. If I was a fiction writer, it could have been the next Frankenstein. Then I remembered listening to talk radio about Scientology earlier in the morning. Suddenly that dream made a lot more sense than the Beck one.

[Fast-forward to April 16th...]

I just woke up from the third dream and I'm typing as fast as I can remember it. I know it's important. I'm going to chalk up the part of Gronk paddling me and some unidentifiable friend in a small boat to me wearing my Do You Job Patriots jersey that day. (This isn't the important part.)

There is some sort of pizza celebration going on in the city. Everyone had reason to be excited. However, when they opened their mouths, they found they couldn't speak.

The mayor's voice... silenced. The pizza shop owner getting inducted to the Pizza Hall of Fame... silenced.

It was exactly the plot of the Emmy Award-nominated Hush episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but without the creepy Gentleman to give you nightmares for weeks.

People with important things to say should be heard. They should not have their voices silenced.

Instead of listening to these important things, we are focused on what Kim Kardashian had for lunch or whether a damn dress is blue. (It would be fair to question the importance of announcing a pizza celebration. Cut me a little slack, it was a dream that I had after a stomach bug where I couldn't eat. "Importance" is relative.)

I'm typing like mad because I realize it this was just like the Scientology dream above. It was based in reality.

[Returning to October 16th...]

The reality is that I live in world where people are ROUTINELY silenced. It's not China or North Korea, it's the world of people who try to inform the public about pyramid schemes that call themselves multi-level marketing.

I first noticed MLM sites and articles disappearing around 2010. One of the popular websites that exposed MonaVie's scheme was called Purple Horror. One day all the content was erased and it was suddenly a website supporting MonaVie. Of course, MonaVie also tried to silence me by claiming that I couldn't use their trademark in my website's metadata. It was even covered by the consumerist. Fortunately it was unsuccessful and MonaVie was foreclosed upon.

In another case, Vemma had silenced a website called YPR Pariah. All the useful content was erased and was instead replaced with a lawyer-speak statement of, "Any disputes or misunderstandings between the publishers or authors of this blog and Vemma Nutrition Company have been resolved to the satisfaction of all involved."

Truth in Advertising covered the silencing of YPR Pariah here.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending: The FTC shut down Vemma a few months ago.

Other schemes have silenced critics and still remain active. I've covered Nerium who seems to have silenced extensive work by Bare Faced Truth. Similarly, Rodan and Fields have silenced the I Stopped Selling Rodan and Fields website.

Finally, there's my voice. I can still write about many MLM schemes. There is one that I can't. So instead I'll simply point you to my statement on LifeVantage.

Now where was that mayor? If I can't use my mouth to speak my mind, I might as well use it to eat some pizza.

Posted on October 16, 2015.

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