Friday, April 13, 2012

Reluctant Confirmation

I was called tonight by someone associated with Olivet. I don’t want to pick on him too much, so I’ll leave him anonymous for now. Not surprisingly, they’re a little unhappy with some of the things I’ve been saying about them (both here, and on the Bethany Alumni Facebook forums), and he wanted to ask me to be as balanced and fair as I could. Of course, I hope I’m doing that already, but he had a specific request, which I was happy to oblige. (It had to do with posting a link to Hokuto Ide’s yamayamakotowatcher blog to the Bethany FB group, to even up an earlier link I’d posted to the pseudonymous Davidian Watcher blog. Background: DW is convinced David Jang is a dangerous heretic; Hokuto Ide is convinced that DW is a malicious nutcase; and so it goes.)

During the course of our conversation, I asked the Olivet representative about one of the charges I leveled in my last blog post, namely, that the EAPCA had been engaging in dishonest and unethical promotional practices by hiring an offshore company to generate fake “Likes” for their Facebook page. It’s always possible that there’s a reasonable explanation for the evidence I’d found, and I was curious to see if I’d missed something. After all, I suppose it’s possible that the Romanian company ran the fake “Like” campaign without authorization, or maybe some overzealous SEO guy from Deographics (one of their web design firms) ordered it up and has since been smacked down. So I wanted to know if Olivet could offer some explanation beyond, “We’re slimy weasels.”

Our conversation went something like this (abbreviated somewhat, but pretty close):

Me: “Did you know about the fraudulent ‘Likes’ before you read about them in my blog?”
Him: “Fraudulent implies something criminal. That word is too strong for what you describe.”
Me: “Maybe you’re right. Did you know about the unethical and dishonest ‘Likes’ before you read about them?”
Him: “You’re talking about the EAPCA. I don’t work for them.”
Me: “You work right next to them, in the same office, for Pete’s sake. Did you know about those dishonest ‘Likes’?”
Him: “What’s wrong with working in the same office? You seem to think there’s something sinister about it.”
Me: “Nah, of course there’s nothing wrong with it. But did you know about those dishonest ‘Likes’? Yes or no.”
Him: “I can’t answer that.”

I learned two things from this exchange. The first is that obviously, yes, he must have known about them. Without belaboring the point, otherwise why all the evasion? Why not just answer the question with a straightforward denial? “No, I don’t know anything about it, but we’re looking into it, and I’ll let you know what we find.” That would have settled me down just fine (for the moment).

The second thing is that, to his credit, he didn’t want to lie outright, and was rightly embarrassed they got caught. I’ve worked with plenty of folks in my day who would have lied, and wouldn’t have been embarrassed. The fact that he insisted on telling the truth, if not precisely the whole truth, indicates that whatever I may think about David Jang’s organizations in general, my interlocutor was not just a slimy weasel. I was glad to see that. He still has a sense of shame; and that means there’s hope.

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