March 21, 2014

#86: The WCS Mafia

The many scary similarities between
the WCS community and the Mafia.
If you want to compete, go to conventions or travel in today's world of West Coast Swing, you need to know one very important thing: you will be entering a world of criminals.

There are drugs. Dealers. Fraud. Theft. Payoffs. Money laundering. Conspiracies and, well, bad dancing (that should be criminal, right?). Everything. I'm looking forward to compiling a nice long list for you to add to this post later. 

I mean, I just learned that harassment is unlawful. Cyberbullying too, as they call it. Which has now lead to more than one break-in on more than one person's home. I have the police on speed dial for the violence. But we have a lot of others forms of violence and cyberbullying going on for all to see too. Check Amazon. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Check the last three years! Check.

I always wondered why Facebook was so quick to delete posts and bump members offline when we non-criminals reported their hate and harassing rants. Now I know. In fact, now that I know, Facebook is probably up for a major lawsuit against them for allowing so much to transpire.

But the WCS community didn't know it was criminal. They don't think of themselves as criminals - because everyone is a criminal. It's a way of life. It's why people like you and me, who are normal, healthy adults who just want to dance, are so repulsed by it all. But 

Bottom line: criminal behavior has become a way of life for the West Coast Swing world. It's textbook mafia. Let's break it down...

The Money

The World Swing Dance Council only lists you on their site if you are a member (pay dues), have the maximum amount of days (pay more dues), have the maximum amount of competitions (pay even more dues) and promote their instructors, judges and djs (under the table dues). And on top of that, it is highly "encouraged" that all swing clubs, swing instructors and swing studios worldwide contribute yearly dues to simply "support" the council. Plus all the "scholarship" money they accept, for... scholarships... that costs just a couple thousand dollars a year - for the kids, of course, which is a great front, don't you agree?

And in the end, when you add it all up? Guess what:

$500,000 a year. Half a million dollars. A year. For a non-profit. With a staff of 6. That doesn't file taxes anymore. Huh. Wow.

Half a million dollars... and the same people win, the same people are hired and the same judges are judging, and new event directors pay through the nose while specials favorites of the creators of the council (read=Don) have their fees waived... 

Huh. Sounds like the mafia.

The Drugs

Want to get high up in the "organization"? Then get in the right rooms at the right conventions and do "a line" with the above Council favorites. Marijuana is so passe. Cocaine, X, heroin and other types are in. In WCS, you'd better be willing and able to not only pay for the drugs these same instructors, event directors and djs' take and/or deal, but you'd better be ready to take them as well... if you really want to get in. 

And if you don't? You won't make it past Advanced. If you don't get drunk or high on marijuana? You won't make it past Novice. 

And what's the sign that you are really and truly "in"? That you've finally made it to the big leagues? When you are allowed to deal for them. Deal for them! That is actually a wildly esteemed and sought after honor. And remember: keep your mouth shut. 

Huh. Sounds like the mafia.

The Violence

Now. What do these heads of the families do when their money is threatened? How do their sociopaths, dealers and addicts act when someone tries to blow (pun unintended) the whistle on them?

That's right. They shut them up. By whatever means necessary.

Sounds like West Coast Swing.