Djer was an Egyptian pharaoh of the First Dynasty. In about 3000 BC he ruled for 41 years as a god on Earth.
A god that eventually died.
A god that had to be buried.
Djer's tomb was re-discovered on New Years day, 1898. It was never lost, never 'un-discovered', except that the British and the French had taken an interest in Egypt and now wanted to discover things for themselves, or at least for their own museums, which they filled with the tomb's many objects and riches.
The tomb also contained 318 other corpses.
These are retainers. The 'down line'. Servants of the Pharaoh in life, and then again in death.
It is currently thought that the retainers died in one of two ways -- strangulation or poisoning. It is also thought that they submitted to this willingly.
They thought that death was merely a transition and that the Pharaoh would still need servants in the afterlife.
You could argue that the servants, grief-stricken with the spectacular marvel of a god's death submitted to this practice willingly out of a sense of natural order, or duty...
…but that isn't entirely the case.
The servants were promised payment. Not in this life, but the next. They were promised wealth and comfort and enduring favour from their God-King. All they had to do was follow him across the divide, and by doing this they could become a little bit more like him.
[FRIENDS AND FAMILY]
07 September, 2018
A private funeral service, for family and close friends is announced for billionaire Richard DeVos, the co-founder of the direct-selling giant Amway.
The following Thursday an invitation only service was held at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.
He was 92.
How many friends do you have on social media. How many on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
I have 446 friends on Facebook.
It calls them friends, and I call them friends too. I'm not sure I'd recognise some of them if I passed them in the street. I'm not sure I'd want to spend an evening in the company of some of them.
If I'm totally honest, I think I would call less than a hundred of them friends. The rest, acquaintances, friends of friends, friends for the reason of business.
There are also family members. They get on the list by the virtue of biology, mostly. I'm not sure they can be friends either.
Facebook doesn't really like you to catagorise people as such. They are all your friends. In this way Facebook attempts to redefine what 'friend' actually means.
Would you give any of your Facebook friends one of your kidneys, if they needed it? Would you give all of them one, or just some of them? Could you count on them to reciprocate?
At least Twitter and Instagram refer to people as followers. Following is a one-sided pursuit, the other side being 'followed'. The relationship is not reciprocal. You can be one and not the other. With a friend, you are either both friends or you are not friends at all.
A nicer name, a more clinical name, for pyramid selling. This is where a non-salaried workforce sells the company's products. The workforce, in turn, make their money from recruiting their own workforce, often from their friends and family.
An example of this you might be familiar with is Tupperware. Or Avon. Or Anne Summers. Situations where your friends come round to your house and try to sell you the benefits of these products. They are often dressed up as parties. Parties are fun, parties are not business. Parties are what friends have.
The party is mostly over.
Now, we have Facebook. All of your friends gathered in one place, easily accessible.
Facebook is a great place to convert friends into 'down line' or 'down stream' distributors.
At the heart of the MLM strategy is that the sales person is someone you trust, someone who you want to support. Maybe you don't need that sweet smelling candle, but you do like Lorraine, and the candles aren't that expensive.
And then Lorraine tells you that you too could make some money, and you'd like that. She can get you the candles, and you can sell them yourself. She'll take a small cut and you can keep the rest of the profit. It's fool proof.
...and on it goes.
According to the Federal Trade Commission in the US, 99% of people who join a MLM scheme lose money. This statistical improbability of making money is somewhat de-emphasised.
The difference, legally, between a MLM and a traditional pyramid scheme is that a MLM must encompass the sale of and actual product or service. That's the only difference. It does mean that it is theoretically possible to make a profit from an MLM, whereas profit from a traditional pyramid scheme is both statistically, and theoretically impossible.
MLM salespeople are not employees either, they are considered an independent business owner. As such they have no employment rights, sickness benefits and certainly no wage.
"UK Justice Norris found in 2008 that out of an IBO [Independent Business Owner] population of 33,000, 'only about 90 made sufficient incomes to cover the costs of actively building their business'. That's a 99.7 percent loss rate for investors. -- Eric Sceibeler "Emerald" Amway member
These are not your friends, they are a sales force and you are their market.
The only way, realistically, to make money is to recruit a massive down line sales force. Like a virus, an MLM salesperson must turn their friends into MLM salespersons.
And no matter if they are selling you candles, herbal supplements, or plastic food storage, or makeup or dildos, they are building a giant pyramid.
I pop round for a chat. We talk about politics, terrible films we've seen, his family.
"I've got a new comic coming out next month," he says.
He offers to send me a digital copy and I decline. I joke about having no interest in reading his comics as they still have too many words in them. I'm serious about not wanting a copy though.
I want to buy one, in a shop. He'll probably see a tiny percentage of that sale, after the shop takes its cut and the publisher takes its cut, but it isn't about the money, it's about showing that there is a market, that there are people willing to buy it. That's how I want to support him. It's how I like to support all of my friends, through the support of the things they are really good at.
He sends me a digital copy anyway. I'm grateful that he saw through my protest. I say I'll attempt a review. It's the least I can do.
(Writer:Alex Paknadel/ Art:Martin Simmonds/ Colour:Dee Cuncliffe/ Letters:Taylor Esposito)
I'm SO lucky to be reading an amazing comic right now. I absolutely LOVE it and wanted to share this life-changing experience with you.
FRIENDO has been formulated by leading industry experts to bring you a perfect blend of near-future sci-fi horror that works FOR YOU in balance with the plausibility and familiarity of all of the best near-future sci-fi horror.
The GORGEOUS artwork by Martin Simmonds brings this awkwardly-close dystopia to life in combination with Dee Cunliffe's late 80s sheen of sunset pinks and you-can't-do-better blues.
With artwork like this it hardly feels like you are reading at all!
For additional value, the first issue contains not one, but TWO quotes that bookend it. Words by TS Eliot and Emil Cioran create an apt container of intent that creates this UNIQUE Passionate Pessimism© scent that, when coupled with seemingly throw-away one-liners, evokes a darkness of casual despair.
I know you have probably seen the marketing copy aimed at 'customers' but I want to let you in on ONE AMAZING SECRET THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Much is made of the malfunctioning marketing AI, Jerry, but the real heart of this issue is the relationship between a zealous father and his son that has to survive in a world that he was trying to prevent.
Right now there are children on social media learning how to behave from our interactions with the world. The endless streams of malice and marketing, monetisation and celebrity endorsements. This is the water that they swim in. FRIENDO feels like an attempt to confront this. It feels timely and important -- functioning as the best sci-fi should. It is not a tale about the future, or where we are heading, but a reflection on the now.
I suspect that Alex Paknadel is contemplating his role within this, as a creator of entertainment and as a father -- as someone that can be repulsed by facets of neo-liberalism, capitalism and social media, but that is also reliant up them for his livelihood. His writing is sharp and focused. It avoids bluntness and escapes the lure of fantasy. FRIENDO is grounded and swaggers a little with righteous purpose.
It is also a fun read, full of humour.
[name], I'm telling you this because I want you to SHARE IN MY HAPPINESS. It might seem far-fetched but I have seen the RESULTS for myself and you can too! Just pop along to your local stockist and ask for FRIENDO…and tell them I sent you.
I am so lucky to be working with a company that I feel passionate about. I absolutely LOVE my 'job'. Are you wanting to learn more about the same life-changing opportunity? I'd be happy to share my experience if you'd like to learn more!
[AMWAY: OUR STORY]
"It Starts with Integrity"
From the beginning, Amway has been a company built on the integrity of our high-quality products and unparalleled support of people looking to start and build their own business. From seed to supplement and labs to living rooms, we provide the opportunity for people to live better lives.
This is your first day as a tomb robber.
You've never seen inside a pyramid before. It's smaller, and darker than you expected. You can just make out the outlines of the jars, and the chariots and all of the other objects. You've hit the jackpot. You'll feed your family forever on this one.
It has been hard work. This is no get-rich-quick scheme. You have dug through rubble with your bare hands. You have scaled drops that would easily kill a man, with only a palm-frond rope to help you.
As you lift the treasure out of the tomb, you are struck by a thought. All of this wealth is here. You all thought it was buried with the Pharaoh so that he could take it to the next life. He's gone now… so why is all this stuff still here?
There's this wonderful term, ‛AMBOT'. It is what happens to your friends when they become involved in MLM. The way they talk changes. It becomes formulaic, predictable. It is almost as if some one else is speaking the words from far away.
They repeat the same few phrases, using words like, ‛opportunity' as punctuation. They suddenly want you to be more like them.
They are trying to convert you.
When you realise you are talking to an Ambot, you also realise you have lost a friend.
On the website/service ‛Cameo' (www.cameo.com) you can purchase a personalised video shout-out from celebrities.
Former gods to do your bidding.
This. Is. The. Future.
You could have Tom Felton, known for playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, say 'happy birthday' to a loved one.
It will cost you $333.
Tom typically responds to requests within five days, according to the site.
When did a god last respond to your request, offering or not, at five days notice?
You can get the actor that played the Red Power Ranger to endorse your Youtube channel, or your Instagram account… or to just repeat your name like a wonderful mantra, if that's your thing.
It is not mentioned on the site if he will do this in full costume.
...And for the very reasonable price of $75, you can pay the actress Micha Barton to announce that you are quitting your job. You can even get her to endorse the products of your new business. The one you are starting up yourself. The one selling candles.
You are stood at the back of a long line. You are down line.
317 people are ahead of you, up line.
316 people are ahead of you, up line.
315 people are ahead of you, up line.
This is good, you think. All of my life I have worked hard for my employer. I have worked hard for little money. Sometimes, not enough money… but now, that hard work is being recognised. I have a wonderful opportunity.
199 people are ahead of you, up line.
198 people are ahead of you, up line.
197 people are ahead of you, up line.
You fantasise a little about what you will do with your new found wealth. Some nice smelling oils, candles for the night, medicines, a little storage container for your food.
54 people are ahead of you, up line.
53 people are ahead of you, up line.
52 people are ahead of you, up line.
Perhaps I will have enough to hire my own servants, and I won't have to work at all. No longer will I have to work until I hurt. My days will be my own. I could be just like the Pharaoh… I could be just like him!
16 people are ahead of you, up line.
15 people are ahead of you, up line.
14 people are ahead of you, up line.
...But wait …there will be no servants for me to employ at the other side. The dead do not care for money, the dead do not starve. I should have employed my servants before I joined this queue. I could have promised them a percentage of my new wealth if they just joined the queue too.
4 people are ahead of you, up line.
3 people are ahead of you, up line.
2 people are ahead of you, up line.
You consider your future. Endless servitude where your reward is worthless. Only, you will be there willingly, having been sold a dream. An afterlife.
No people are ahead of you, up line.
The priests hands are around your neck. He is chanting something that you don't quite catch. Something about maximising returns or taking it to the next level. You feel light headed, a little euphoric, but then the panic really kicks in. Your heart beats faster and weaker, and finally, all that is left is a voice echoing in your skull.
"I've made a terrible mistake".
[SELLING THE DREAM]
"If you aren't selling the dream, what are you selling?"
-- Sophie Gold, Wealth Coach [Huffington Post, Jan 25, 2012]