Scientology Spectacular: Commenters of the Year!
Here on this final day of 2011, we're replacing our usual Saturday morning celebration of the week's best comments with a special announcement.
"M-A-R-C-O-T-A-I. They'll never figure out it's me with this fake Italian accent!"
Our IT department has done the math, we've run those numbers through our analyzers here in the underground bunker, and now we're ready to hand out awards for our Commenters of the Year!
To briefly recap our week of end-of-year celebrations, here's what we've done so far.
On Monday, we announced that "We Stand Tall" was chosen as the Video of the Year in our readers poll.
Tuesday, we revealed the poll's winner for Shoop of the Year: "Civilization Without Insanity," a tribute to the wackiness of the Squirrel Busters.
On Wednesday, poll results showed that you had chosen "The Money Machine," the new project by Tom Tobin and Joe Childs at the St. Petersburg Times as the Scientology Story of the Year.
On Friday, we revealed our 25 most-read Scientology stories of the year, and announced that the most popular story of all was our lengthy interview with Valeska Paris about being held against her will aboard Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds.
In that post, we mentioned that our stories here at the Voice's Runnin' Scared blog on Scientology alone have generated more than 20,000 comments, and we are grateful to our readers for helping us build a commenting community that is so sharp and well spoken. And a kick in the pants.
And now, on to the awards...
For bringing her good humor to our comments section without fail, even when dealing with her less-than-photographic memories of a past spent in the Sea Org, we bestow this award on Kate Bornstein.
The E.F. Hutton Memorial Award
When Jefferson Hawkins talks, people listen. The man whose "volcano" television commercials and other brainstorms helped propel Scientology to its greatest heights in the 1980s is now the wisest of former Scientologists. Read his book, people.
We're calling a tie in this category. We really couldn't remember who made us chuckle more with their satirical barbs, so we're recognizing both OTVIIIisGrrr8! and Miles Biondo. Now, in the comments, if they don't both call us names and turn down their awards, we're taking them back!
Our Favorite Grouch
The cantankerous Dennis Erlich more than once tried to stop a commenting stream in its tracks with his harrumphs. But none was better than the day the big South Park story broke, a series of posts that proved to be among our most-read of the entire year. Dennis's reaction? "Duh. This is news to anybody?" We loved it, of course.
The 'No Way, Did You See Who Commented?' Award
Juliette says, "Hey, look at all those SPs!"
Besides the aforementioned Jeff Hawkins and Kate Bornstein, we were repeatedly stunned to see who showed up in our comments, joining in our conversation. Just a thanks to these big names, and hoping to see more of you in the future: Andre Taboyoyon, Amy Scobee, Mat Pesch, Chuck Beatty, Patty Moher, Synthia Fagen, Mark Fisher, Barbara Graham, Alanzo, Patricia Curtis, Hartley Patterson, Geir Isene, Tory Christman, Marc Headley, Michael Fairman, Nancy Many, Skip Press, Brian Culkin, Mark Ebner, and more.
The Pardon Me While I Get My Lawyer on the Phone Award
Every time attorney Scott Pilutik shows up in our comments, I feel smarter. Honorable mention to Frolix8, former prosecutor, for his thoughts on the Lisa McPherson prosecution.
The Declaration of Independence Award
There were plenty of fierce Indies taking part in our comments and defending LRH from you infidels. But the fiercest was no doubt Margaret, and we hope she comes back soon.
This turns out to be something of a dog of an award. As regular readers know, few of the usual OSA bots bothered with us, and we were stuck with two church defenders most of the time, one of whom is most likely just a troll and not a Scientologist at all. And that leaves us with only Mark Miglio, who earnestly e-mails me just about every day with his words of wisdom. Can't we get Tommy Davis or something on a sock puppet at this site?
The Frankness Award
Not that anyone holds back in our comments, but there was something about LeeAnne Clark's utterances that fed our deep-seated alt-weekly cut-through-the-bullshit jones. And for that we are thankful.
We're giving this award to Scientia for not only being one of the most perceptive commenters at our site, but for also tipping us to a pretty major story this summer -- that a man running the Squirrel Busters operation in South Texas and calling himself "Dave Statter" was none other than Dave Lubow, church private eye. That checked out, and proved a devastating blow to the goon squad.
There are so many other great commenters who made our posts come alive, and I wish I had awards for all of them. I'll be looking for your bylines in 2012: Aa, Andie, Anon A, Anonamazing, AnonLady, Arthur, Barbara Snow, Been There, BennyShackleford, Bob Peterson, bobx, Brainslugged, candace6, ChaosConsumer, Chocolate Velvet, Claireswazey, CofS Exit Zone, Davescomm, Dean Fox, DeckardCain, DMSTCC, dodobird, DuckBenway, Endscientologynow, Freespirit, Gertrude, H. Jentzsch, Heather Grace, Helen7, hgc, I'drathernot, Jgg, juliusstahl, JustCallMeMary, KeeponLearning, Kris, Le Unc, LoyalOfficer, MarcAbian, MarthaWiggins, Michael Barger, Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack, Mimi the Great, Mirele, MissCabbage, Myriam Breitman, Natalie, NCSP, Old OT7, Old Timer, PamEllis, Paolo, Paul Jay Salerno, PodPeople, Radio Paul, Ron, Rpontopix, Sanddancer, Sandy4077, Schockenawd, scilonschools, SFF, ShellyMiscavige, Sid, sketto, Skwerl King, SP 'Onage, subsilentio, Suzanne, SuzyQ, The Scientologist, skydog, Theoracle, Thetan-X, TrueScientol, Tye Solaris, V for Vacation, Vistaril, wannabeclear, Warrior, WOLFNSHEEPSKIN, Xenu, xoxoxoxoxoxox, and many others.
Jason says, "I can't pick a favorite!"
Well, enough of the subjective. We now turn to our last two awards, which are based on hard data. It is time to congratulate the most frequent commenter of all here at Runnin' Scared, and the commenter who garnered the most "Likes"...