The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 2: David Miscavige

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On August 5, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology

#2: David Miscavige


DavidMiscavige3.jpg
DM
Over the years, I've poked fun at the relatively short stature of Scientology leader David Miscavige. The dude is not tall. Tom Cruise, his bosom buddy and not a man known for his own vertical displacement, has a good couple of inches over the diminutive church leader. But let's give credit where it is due. Next year, it will be 30 years since Miscavige began to consolidate his position as absolute dictator of Scientology, even before its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, went to his reward in 1986. Thirty years, and the guy is still only 51 years old! What Miscavige may lack in stature, he more than makes up for in longevity.

During that time, Miscavige managed to secure tax-exempt status for Scientology, ending a decades-long war with the IRS and settling for a relative pittance ($12.5 million). Without that exemption, Scientology might have already gone the way of other disappearing acts from the 80's, like the Sony Walkman and acid-washed jeans. As the only person who matters within Scientology's byzantine corporate pyramid, Miscavige sits alone on top of a multinational corporate-religious empire. And with that pile of money under him, who needs lifts?

However, as we've been pointing out in this countdown, these are not Scientology's best days. And according to nearly everyone who has recently fled his presence, Miscavige is responsible for every disaster that has befallen the church in the years since he took over control, grabbing the reins of Scientology as the Religious Technology Center's chairman of the board. (Hence, "COB," uttered by his sycophantic junior executives, who reportedly also must salute his beagles.)

As long as we're talking about a space opera church, let us remind you what Princess Leia said to Grand Moff Tarkin, then-leader of the sinister empire in Star Wars: "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." With each passing year, Miscavige continues to do exactly that. He's tightened his grip to the point that he has rid himself entirely of potential challengers. But that purging has also left him without competent executive help, judging by the hapless dolts he has in positions of some authority. Micromanaging an organization that can't help creating its own unceasing public relations disasters requires capable assistance, and the tyrannical Miscavige has made plugging holes in the sinking ship all the more difficult by driving away staff in droves.

Of course, Miscavige himself has been the direct cause of many of those public relations disasters, making an already difficult task all but impossible when his staff has to scramble to mock up fictions and fantasies that don't include the reality that Miscavige was the source (small "s" intended) of the disaster. Lucky for DM, church members are trained to be exceedingly credulous about any fiction that is fed to them by his PR flunkies.

One of Miscavige's more infamous Scientology-crippling blunders was his unwelcome intervention into the life of Lisa McPherson, which ultimately led to her death. As detailed in Janet Reitman's excellent book, Inside Scientology, corroborated accounts told of Miscavige arriving in Clearwater, Florida and voicing his frustration at the members moving "up the bridge" too slowly. He then took a personal interest in Lisa, supervising her auditing sessions and declaring her "Clear" despite the misgivings of, well, actual auditors. And Miscavige continued to be advised, from afar, of Lisa's supposed "care," all the way to her death. Although Miscavige's direct involvement would not fully emerge for years, his direct role in Scientology's single worst public relations disaster ranks high as a cause for Scientology's deterioration.

A few years later, in 1998, Miscavige again showed up in Clearwater, this time to conduct damage control for Lisa's death, as the state of Florida was contemplating criminal charges against Scientology. Miscavige granted a few interviews around this time, the last public interviews he would give. While it's difficult to link Scientology's downfall to the tiny handful of interviews Miscavige has granted (before this was a 1992 interview with ABC's Ted Koppel), his few public appearances provide more than a hint as to how and why Miscavige is harming his organization. As Tom Tobin wrote in 1998 after meeting Miscavige:

He will challenge with a blue-eyed stare or lean forward with a direct, no-nonsense question. His attention sticks to the discussion at hand, and his words shoot out machine gun-style, in the accent of the Philadelphia suburb where he grew up. He will pound a table for emphasis or snap his fingers so hard you imagine they sting.

The flip side to this charitable characterization is that the general public instead saw a smug, humorless church leader with the emotional maturity of a spoiled child.

Apparently, we didn't know the half of it. Only later did news begin to leak about what it was like to actually work for the high school dropout who went practically overnight from Hubbard lackey to all-powerful czar. Is it really any wonder that he turns out to be a monster to work for? Although the lid on Miscavige's penchant for brutality was really blown off in 2009 by Tobin and Childs in their epic series, "The Truth Rundown," his sadistic streak was already on the record. In a 1995 interview, former Sea Org member Stacy Brooks remarked that "[Miscavige's] viciousness and his cruelty to staff was unlike anything that I had ever experienced in my life ... He just loved to degrade the staff."

Perhaps the most vivid depiction of Miscavige cruelty was the infamous musical chairs episode described by Tobin and Childs, during which he kept more than 30 executive staff members cooped up in an L.A. office building at Int base, supposedly for the purpose of brainstorming new ideas for Scientology. After weeks of forcing them to sleep on the floor, allowing them to leave only to take a shower, and finally berating them all as disloyal enemies of the church, he announced a game of musical chairs, and whoever lost would be banished to Scientology outposts away from their families. To the tune of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," the executives fought like animals into the wee hours of the morning, only to have Miscavige change his mind about sending anyone anywhere.

When you take into consideration that Scientologists are indoctrinated, practically from the first day, to accept verbal abuse as a normal consequence of their spiritual enlightenment, you begin to understand just how intolerable Miscavige must be: he's chasing off people who had resigned themselves to being poorly fed, paid almost nothing, housed with no privacy, punished like prison inmates, and screamed at constantly over the lives of their billion-year contracts. When these people tell you their boss is an asshole, it really means something!

But let's set aside, for a moment, the media drumbeat in recent years that portrays David Miscavige as a tiny terror. There's another Miscavige that has always fascinated me: the church leader as master of ceremonies.

Our infrequent glimpses of this reclusive religious leader tend to be in the form of videotaped galas which have him standing on a massive stage, surrounded by set dressing that is baroque in the extreme, delivering scripted orations in a style that seems more game show host than ecclesiastical patriarch.

I've recently been watching a recording of Miscavige give such a speech at a gathering four years ago. It was in 2007 that Miscavige had to give one of his career's most crucial performances: he had dared to rework the sacrosanct writings of L. Ron Hubbard, and now he not only had to convince his flock that it wasn't sacrilege to rewrite Hubbard, but that it was worth paying for the privilege to replace every book in their personal libraries.

Working from a thick script, but never seeming to look at it, Miscavige wields his vocal delivery like a blunt instrument. With odd choices of grammar and diction, a tale begins to unfold about Hubbard relying on nameless "transcriptionists" in the late 1940s and early 1950s who had done their jobs poorly. (Somehow, Hubbard never bothered to check their work before allowing his early books to be published. An odd trait in an author as obsessive as L. Ron.)

With Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes cheering him in the front row of a large audience, Miscavige moved on to Hubbard's 1951 book, Science of Survival, and explained that this book's biggest problem was an overuse of semicolons, introduced not by Hubbard but by incompetent transcribers and editors.

Semicolons? You mean, this book's real problem isn't that Hubbard wants his readers to believe that human emotion can be measured on something he called a "tone scale," with "tone 40" representing the highest level on the scale ("serenity of being"), and 1.0 equalling "fear"? (Hubbard would go on to say that homosexuals are 1.1 on the tone scale, which equals "covert hostility.") If it's odd enough that Hubbard suggests that people below 2.0 on the scale have bad breath, smelly feet, and that their genitals reek, he really goes into creepy territory by suggesting that the "sudden and abrupt deletion of all individuals" below 2.0 would make for a better (and apparently sweeter-smelling) world.

No, the suggestion of "quarantining" the world's smelly people is apparently not this book's problem. Instead, it's the punctuation, which required a years-long overhaul, new printing, and appealing new packaging.

With a grin, Miscavige now gets to his punchline:

Yes, this book too is now perfect. And the number of incorrect instances of punctuation that had to be corrected? Hang on to your seat. Three thousand, eight hundred and twenty five.
This thunderous announcement is met -- I kid you not -- with a standing ovation from Scientologists, who must be the only audience in history that would stand and cheer for the replacement of semicolons with periods and commas.

If Miscavige's performance garnered him loving praise from Cruise, Holmes, and the thousand other people that night, the tinkering he's done with Hubbard's sacred writings may actually turn out to be his biggest problem.

Longtime Scientologists, even in their abject credulity, at some point have to wonder if Miscavige's multiple reworkings of Hubbard's works isn't at some level a cynical cash-grab, requiring people accustomed to paying exorbitant prices for spiritual services and goods to pay all over again for books they've already purchased in the past, or to redo expensive levels of training now that they've been retooled. Jason Beghe, who had been at one time one of the most gung-ho of Scientologists, rocketing up "the Bridge" and providing an inspiring example to many in the church, began his disillusionment at such a moment, when he was suddenly told to pay tens of thousands of dollars to redo previous material because Miscavige's drones had found "errors" in Hubbard's work. For Beghe, it was a shock, and one he never really recovered from. Increasingly, we're seeing more evidence that legions of longtime Scientologists are having the same doubts.

As he faces a dwindling membership that shares such doubts, can the Miscavige act -- the stagecraft, the set dressings, the game show delivery -- really be enough to turn things around?

At this point, it appears the church leader is short on ideas, short on patience, and increasingly short on followers.

Given all those problems, can David Miscavige stand tall?

And how do I get that shirt?

[My deep thanks to Scott Pilutik for his expert help on this entry.]



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]

My Voice Nation Help
117 comments
Wendy
Wendy

Better add Debbie Cook to the list.

MarkStark
MarkStark

We know how Scientology has its "Operations." Since the death of Hubbard, Miscavige's main project has been the "Operation Deification of Hubbard." Oddly, he shares that trait with Marty Rathbun and others.

They both want history and facts about Hubbard removed, to dwell in a fantasy, his "essence," which is all these contradictory ideas, mind-numbing processes, and writings that no one cares to follow or "study", except Scientologists, and perhaps some critics.

Part of their fantasy is that "the planet" will one day -- or already has -- be influenced by Hubbard's concepts, that they will penetrate as deeply into society as Christianity or other major religion.

So, whether official cult, or Independent, this deification project fails miserably in the face of the facts, as presented on the Internet, whether it is worshiping him, or worshiping the "legacy" of his work, or exaggerating the numbers of people who believe in this nutty.

Scientology is too self-generated, and centered on people reporting on each other. They don't have the unifying community rituals, except handing over cash to expand. Mormonism had a tradition. Hubbard chose "science" but chose to follow it fancifully, instead of scientifically.

The glaring discrepancies between what Hubbard said and did, are too large to ignore when you know about them.

Even one thing, such as Xenu, is impossible to see -- for the outsider -- as anything other than a  deliberate ploy to extract money from people. Miscavige and Marty will not discuss Xenu. A few Indies who do, appropriately take a symbolic "true for you" approach. Problem is, Hubbard wrote it as "factual," just as he said of his trip to the Van Allen belt, "this is factual," or as he wrote in A History of Man, "a cold blooded account of your last..." What a fraud!

bobx
bobx

Stop, Dave... Please stop... My mind is going... I can feel it... I can really feel it... They taught me a song... It's called, Daisy... Do you want to hear it?Daisy... Daisy... Give me your answer true... I'm half crazy...

BBB
BBB

Hey la hey la, hey la now WE STAND TAAAALLLLLL!!! *Moving head side to side with the most serious wobble ever for the salvation of the universe*

Torychristman
Torychristman

David Miscavige IS the very final reason I left Scientology, after being in it for 30 years. He had lied to us on their second to the top level: OT 7, charged us exorbitant fees, lied to us, the list goes on and on and on. He has, by himself,  done more damage to the organization known as the "church" of $cientology than any other one individual. I voted for LRH to be #1 as he wrote the policies Davey boy and gang operate on, but I do agree, they have a twist that is amazingly evil. Thank you, Tony and the Village Voice! To Anyone lurking and reading this: Please continue to read, look, listen, make up your *own* minds. And ask yourselves this: Why can't your "church" say the same? Love to ALL :) Tory/Magoo

V for Vacation
V for Vacation

I especially enjoyed the Grand Moff Tarkin comparison.

Heather Grace
Heather Grace

Love this one. And I'm glad he's #2. One thing he's not short on is hubris.

veritas
veritas

Tony, clever and entertaining as ever. "short on ideas, short of patience, short on followers"........and thanks for including the ever-cheesy We Stand Tall video-no irony there! Also short on..............ethics, truth, freedom, semi-colons and jedi- mind- tricks.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

This really is the best article on Miscavige ever. Great job pushing them buttons, Tony!! 

This article will stand as one of the most hated by Miscavige and that's a very good thing!

sketto
sketto

I'm with you. Sometimes it feels like trying to explain to someone that Noah's Ark isn't real. Some people just don't care if their beliefs are true.

Robert
Robert

slappy looks like ronny wonny in the first picture.

Theoracle
Theoracle

I have to give an A+ for the humor. You've got the gift Tony.

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

The revelations of Miscavige's abuse and the strange goings-on at 'Int Base' at Gilman Hot Springs did not begin with 'The Truth Rundown', but years before, thanks to Blown for Good, BTs2Free and Little Bear Victor, including the infamous 'musical chairs game' and the list of people imprisoned in the 'SP Hall'.

Kudos to Tobin and Childs for taking the story mainstream (finally); somewhat less so for allowing the thrust of the story to be hijacked by 'forces' intent on historical revisionism and damage control.

mjm
mjm

Cruise needs to get Misscavige's dick out of his mouth and flee the cult.

Anon A
Anon A

It's good to see that the number of metaphorical beatdowns being handed to David Miscavige these days might catch up to the number of literal ones he's handed down to his hapless underlings over the years.

NCSP
NCSP

What a great piece! I'm really eager to read number 1, but I have to make a tiny quibble before I do. I'm pretty sure that the "musical chairs" incident happened in a doublewide trailer/makeshift conference room at Int Base rather than in an office building in L.A.

Nevertheless, fantastic stuff.

MarcAbian
MarcAbian

This article would be among the most powerfully written denunciations of Scientology's criminally abusive CEO if it were not for starting and ending with making fun of him over and over for something that has nothing to do with the article.

1. "I've poked fun at the relatively short stature of Scientology leader David Miscavige."2. "The dude is not tall."3, 4. " Tom Cruise, his bosom buddy and not a man known for his own vertical displacement, has a good couple of inches over the diminutive church leader."5. "What Miscavige may lack in stature"6. "And with that pile of money under him, who needs lifts?"7. "Miscavige was the source (small "s" intended)"8. "portrays David Miscavige as a tiny terror"9. "At this point, it appears the church leader is short on ideas, short on patience, and increasingly short on followers."10. "Given all those problems, can David Miscavige stand tall?"

If the Scientology corporation's CEO were say Black, Arab, Jewish, Chinese, or in a wheelchair, or gay, or a woman, or blind, or a stutterer, would you be poking fun at that instead?Here's what it would sound like:

1. "I've poked fun at the relatively dark skin of Scientology leader David Miscavige."

2. "The dude has no vision."

3, 4. " Tom Cruise, his bosom buddy and a man known for his own speech impediment, is still easier to listen to than the stuttering church leader."

5. "What Miscavige may lack in walking ability"

6. "And with that pile of money under him, it's no wonder he wears a beanie on his head"

7. "Miscavige was the source (slanty "s" intended, just like his eyes)"

8. "portrays David Miscavige as a towel-headed terror"

9. "At this point, it appears the church leader's ideas are gay, his clothes are gay, and his followers are gay."

10. "Given all those problems, can David Miscavige stand tall in his wheelchair?"

R. Hill
R. Hill

A few observations.

Re. "who reportedly also must salute his beagles"

There too, David Miscavige might have been inspired by his predecessors. From Ann Rosenblum's affidavit (circa 1980):

"Mary Sue had two little dogs on the ranch. There was a story about these dogs, that they were "special dogs". First, they were "clear". Second, they could tell if people had overts and withholds -- especially overts on LRH or Mary Sue. The dogs barked at anyone who had the overts or withholds."

Re. "his sadistic streak was already on the record"

Yep, you can even go back to 1987, in a BBC Panorama excellent documentary, Don Larson went on the record with:

"The old management was discharged, the new management was put in its place. And its motto was, 'We make no deals with anybody. We’re tough, we’re ruthless, no deals' ... David Miscavige comes up, grabs him by the tie and starts bashing him into the filing cabinet. And he's thrown out in the street; his tie is ripped off."

His violent behavior was further supported by many affidavits, declarations, accounts in the 90s. The St. Petersburg Times series however was the first time the subject of David Miscavige's violence was given such prominence in the media.

Re. "This thunderous announcement is met -- I kid you not -- with a standing ovation from Scientologists"

You will notice though that the same few applause/ovation shots are reused throughout the DVD, including the shot where one can see Tom Cruise/Kathie Holmes. It's a montage. I wonder how the audience really reacted to his silly "world shattering" announcements.

Hunter S. Dogs
Hunter S. Dogs

Seriously Tony, you have done the world a service. Thank you and hip, hip, hooray.

ShellyMiscavige
ShellyMiscavige

Will he hate it more than he hates himself?

When was the last time anyone saw Shelly Miscavige alive?

Mad Dog
Mad Dog

Finally!  I thought only a few others and I over at Topix referred to D Miscarriage as Slappy Squirrel.  As far as the PC police coming down at short jokes aimed at the Pocket Psycho (TM), I truly believe that no one here disparages little people.  Slappy is too big to qualify as one, yet too short to qualify as average.  He and Cruise would make great bookends!

Theoracle
Theoracle

Too f%*&#%g  funny!!!!!!!!!!!!   Now, how about the 10 most shocking moments in Scientology list?  O.K. make it 15.

Stellarlogic
Stellarlogic

This is an important point--because I very clearly (no pun intended!!!) remember reading John Peeler's (Bts2free) and Marc Headley's (blownforgood) accounts of this soap operatic madness at least 2 years before the Truth Rundown.  On the f*cking internet (yay!).

t1kk
t1kk

Can you cite someone for it taking place at INT rather than an LA office building? Tobin and Chlids wrote it as having taken place in an LA office building.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Hey face it Marc—short people really have no reason to live.

In any case, slightness of stature seems to be Miss Cavige's most easily identifiable trait. And on top of that he's also short.

Heather Grace
Heather Grace

Hey, Tony has worked hard. Let him have his fun! :)

veritas
veritas

don't agree at all with these comparisons you make...............ever hear of napoleon complex?

scifibandit
scifibandit

Ultimately, I agree. In one way I look at those comments as no better than the comments that the official Scientology Freedom Magazine makes about its apostates. I am less offended by it, however, because I think Tony might be making a point to the the Church by giving them a taste of their own medicine, at least with some humor attached to it. I wasn't really taking Tony seriously with his jabs. They are more creatively funny... and thematic a la 'Saturday Night Live" skit than serious. I am not defending insults, but I am not certain that Tony's point was to actually insult, but to show any Scientologist readers that such comments are, in fact, distasteful. I look at it as satire... It is the perfect way to illustrate a man who consistently paints such pictures of others. I guess some people thought that Swift was serious about the Irish eating babies as a solution to famine in his "Modest Proposal," but it was still a brilliant way to get the British to open their eyes to how they themselves were behaving. (shrug)

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

I understand your point...however, I personally feel that Miscavige deserves all the derision he gets. And sorry, but the digs on his stature simply do not hold the same emotional punch as digs on someone's race, or disability. The fact that most of us AREN'T as horrified by them, the way we would be by your examples, makes that very clear.

Miscavige is a monster. Too freakin' bad if he doesn't like being teased about being short. And in truth, I see the weaving of his shortness into the article as being a source of illumination: short egomaniacs are often influenced to become despotic tyrants BECAUSE they are short. It gives a window into his pathology.

Jonathon Barbera
Jonathon Barbera

MarcAbian, you make an excellent point. Who cares how short the guy is? It's his alleged abuses and criminal activities that concern the FBI.

I am dreading how Tony will lambast LRH at #1. He hasn't studied the right lectures to understand where LRH was coming from.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Miscavige cannot afford the luxury of self hate. He's too proud, self righteous and dedicated for that. We all want to know where Shelly is but as long as DM thinks he's right, he will do everything he can to prevent that information from getting out. Helping Shelly become free is where requests for divine intervention may be most helpful and I certainly pray for her freedom and that of others DM is abusing.  

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Didn't Marc Headley describe it as happening at INT in his book Blown for Good? I have that book around here someplace...I'll try to dig it out.

R. Hill
R. Hill

Marc Headley said "CIC [Control Information Center] conference room in CMO Int" in his account of the musical chair incident, and as per his glossary, "CMO Int" is located at "Int Base in Gilman Hot Springs"

NCSP
NCSP

No, T&C have it at The Hole, "small offices and a conference room tucked into two double-wide trailers" on the base in Hemet. I can't link to it, but if you Google "scientology musical chairs" and go to the first result ("Ecclesiastical Justice, Part Three of Three"), scroll down to the section headed, "Is this the real life?" you'll see it.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

On the other hand, I doubt that Swift was joking when he wrote that Horses, or Houyhnhnms,  were superior in every regard to Humans, otherwise known as Yahoos. And I do believe that the man was right.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Hmmm...hadn't thought of that. But it's an interesting theory. I'd love to hear what Tony has to say about it. Not sure if he'll ever have a chance to read these comments and reply - he's set Disqus on fire today with his three epic entries! But Tony, if you happen across these comments, do give us your perspective.

One other thing about all the "short" stuff - I think there's another aspect that makes all the digs valid:  for all his astronomically inflated self-admiration and power-mad egomania, he really is a small, small man. And I mean that metaphorically. The fact that he is a small man in stature, only serves to amplify and physicalize the trait.

And it makes a great punch line.

Jgg
Jgg

JB, the more you hear of him, the sillier and more retarded this "D" average college dropout sounds.  Tony gave you 5 quotes.  He could also have added LRH's "smoking is good for you", "radiation cannot penetrate the human body" ,and a society that lets women work "is on its way out" as well as his praise for Apartheid, support for animal cruelty...get it?

sketto
sketto

I would like to see the lecture that can convince me that a man who treated his own family like shit, denied one of his wives even existed, and invented the ideas of Fair Game and disconnnection is also a man who can teach me how to live a good and proper life.

I really would like to see that because it would have to be one amazing fucking lecture to make me forget all the ways that Hubbard's systems have hurt so many people.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

There ARE no "right lectures". The man was a paranoid delusional madman. NONE of his writings have any validity. The moment you finally see that truth, is the moment you will be set free.

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

ROFLMAO!!!The "right" lectures??  Oh, you mean the ones where he doesn't sound like a raving lunatic??  Oh, thoooose lectures.  Riiiiight.  We'll get right on that.I'll tell you where lrh was coming from:  some very dark corner of a very disturbed mind.

scifibandit
scifibandit

LOL! Brilliant.

Big-Endian or Little-Endian? 

;)

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

It's because the short and short-tempered Dictator is a cultural archetype. DM is an archetype of evil, his lust to STAND TALL is but one of many factors that determined Miss Cavige's road to perdition.

SFF
SFF

Miscavige is a bully who uses his power to humiliate others. He is also clearly insecure about his height -- look at the set construction at his events and the picture of Lee Baca standing behind the podium built to make Miscavige look taller.

I see it as taking a bully down a peg by exploiting their insecurities.

ShellyMiscavige
ShellyMiscavige

Dude have you not seen that Lord of the Rings movie?

Maybe you should read the book. Tolkein was a better writer than LRH ever dreamed of being.

Xenu
Xenu

I'm going to guess that it's because people have been methodically hunted down and exterminated for almost all of those things, but not for being 5'4".  

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Thanks for chiming in, Tony. I'm sure you know I agree with you 100%. One thing that sets your reporting apart from so many others is, in fact, the irreverent humor. I see the short jokes in that light, far more than anything nefarious or discriminatory.

MarcAbian
MarcAbian

The article was the most powerful, literate, and intelligent condemnation of Miscavige I've seen by any journalist.  The proof is that commenters have had little to add, with a few small exceptions, other than to nod their head in furtive agreement.  Why water that down?

I honestly don't understand why the author and most people commenting here think it is harmless to publicly poke fun at someone for being a little person, but harmful to poke fun at their culture, race, sex, sexual orientation, or disability, I don't understand the difference, or why it is PC bullshit.

Regardless, the author of course has the right to say what he likes, and I appreciate the opportunity he affords here to offer up my small constructive criticism.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

LeeAnne, the only reason I decided to open this piece the way I did was someone -- it may have been MarcAbian -- complained earlier about the way I poked fun at DM's height. So I decided to own up that, yes, I had poked fun at him. The guy is small, after all. But I used that to introduce the idea that he may be short in stature, but he's the leader of a worldwide organization and for 30 years! Yes, I was poking a little fun at myself for not previously giving him his due. As for MarcAbian's PC bullshit, I'm not going there.

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