People who follow the so-called ‘alternative media’ know Zen Gardner and his popular eponymous website. From the site’s beginning, it attracted a loyal readership and fan base. When I first happened upon Zen’s site back in 2012, I was immediately drawn to it. I was impressed with the elegant design and the articles.
The articles were drawn from a broad range of writers, bloggers, vloggers, and free thinkers. Most of them took an unconventional perspective on the issues facing our planet and species and were edgy enough so that the site couldn’t be dismissed as New Age escapism.
I really liked the streamlined design, with a bare minimum of advertising and click bait. Many of the writers whose articles I read stretched my mind and enlarged my view on world events. During the first couple of years I visited the site, I wasn’t even aware that there was a person named ‘Zen Gardner.’ He didn’t post his own articles at that time and I thought the name of the website was just a homage to Zen Buddhism.
However, by late 2014 and into 2015, a noticeable shift began to occur. First, the website underwent a dramatic redesign. The streamlined design was jettisoned in favor of one with far more advertising; furthermore, the advertising was sponsored by that evil Israeli-run company, Taboola, After reading through the list of articles on the home page, readers were confronted with a TMZ-esque smorgasbord of celebrity gossip stories. To see this advertising on Zen’s site was jarring, and I was shocked to see that few of his readers objected to it in the forum section.
The next major shift to occur was the appearance of Zen Gardner himself from ‘out of the shadows,’ so to speak. Suddenly, his articles were at the top of the homepage, and he began to write prolifically. Although many of his supposed fans in the forum were effusive in their praise of his writing ability, I never thought much of it. All of the articles were a rehash of the same theme: ‘the shift of the ages is occurring, we are ‘riding the waves’ of seismic change, hold on to your hat, stay centered, blah, blah, blah. ‘The content was uninspiring, derivative, and repetitive. The writing itself was of poor quality, though again few, if any, of the readers seemed to notice. Zen also started doing dozens of interviews, all of which were of course posted on the top menu bar. When I first heard his voice, I had an uncomfortable feeling. His voice just didn’t resonate with me; it was high-pitched- almost feminine- and didn’t sound like an enlightened man in his late 60s.
Next, the content of the aggregated articles changed markedly. The hard, edgy content of the previous years was replaced by hundreds of gloppy, syrupy, new-agey fluff pieces. Most of the newer articles focused on how to meditate and what foods to eat. Linked videos of George Carlin and Bill Hicks appeared almost daily, apparently to attract hipsters.
The appearance of in-your-face advertising and new age writing, coupled with the deliberate cultivation of the cult around ‘Zen Gardner’ set off alarm bells in my mind. I sensed something very wrong was happening and surmised that perhaps the site, and its founder, had been co-opted by Intelligence. Here and there, a few thought-provoking articles still appeared, but the new direction was clear.
When I read Zen’s revelations last month about his time spent in a pedophile cult, I was shocked and disturbed, as was everyone. I read his utterly unconvincing explanations for this episode of his life. I also followed the subsequent articles he wrote where he attempted to douse the flames and claim that those who were exposing him were merely on a witch hunt and should examine their own skeletons instead of lambasting him. To see so many of his groupie fans defending and coddling him, including Jon Rappaoport, was disheartening and disgusting.
There is much food for thought here in this sad drama and some hard lessons to be learned for everyone who participates in the alternative media, whether as a producer or consumer. Was ‘Zen Gardner’ , aka Don Ferguson, a CIA plant who was set up from the beginning to fail, and bring his followers down with him? I think it’s quite possible. In fact, until I see a more plausible explanation, that is the one I am going with.
It’s also a possibility that he began with good intentions but was turned to the dark side by the powers-that-be. As I have shown above, it’s quite easy to trace the arc of the site’s downward spiral and see when and how it lost its way.
For those of us who wade daily into the realm of truth-seeking, we need to be ever on -guard. Those who at first glance appear to be on our side often turn out to be gatekeepers, shills, double agents, spooks, and monsters. We must use our intuition at all times and bring people to task when they fail to live up to their rhetoric. We have seen so many big names come crashing down in the last few years: Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Mark Dice, Jesse Ventura, Gerald Celente, Jeff Rense, Jeff C, and many, many more have been exposed. Zen Gardner has now joined this infamous club of shame. We should have seen it coming.