Scientology Story of the Year: Cast Your Vote Now!

Categories: Scientology

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This has been some year of Scientology reporting and commenting here at the Village Voice, and with the calendar about to flip, we wanted to hand out some awards.

But first, we need your help.

We're asking our many loyal readers to help us choose three major year-end awards for Best Scientology Story, Best Scientology Video, and Best Scientology Shoop (photoshopped image). After the jump, we'll reveal the URL for the poll itself...

We're going to say something here in this blog post about the candidates in our poll questions. After you've looked them over and have formed your opinions, head on over to the poll site itself and punch in your answers.

We plan to hand out several other awards that we're choosing ourselves (Commenter of the Year, for example), but we wanted your help to choose three big categories...


Scientology Story of the Year

We covered a lot of big developments this year, but we think these five rose above the rest for importance, impact, and lasting value.

1. Marty Rathbun besieged by the Squirrel Busters

In April, the sudden appearance of John Allender and his fellow Squirrel Busters, with matching sky blue T-shirts and video cameras strapped to their heads, was a powerful image that made for one of our most popular blog posts of the year. The goon squad had showed up at Marty Rathbun's front door in little Ingleside on the Bay, Texas, where the former high-level Church of Scientology executive, several years after defecting, was now involved in an independent Scientology movement and inviting people not only to leave the official church with announcements on his blog, but also by coming to his house for unsanctioned auditing. To Scientology, people who conduct such out-of-church activity are "squirrels," and the goons sent down to intimidate Rathbun called themselves the "Squirrel Busters." The Busters rented a nearby home and set up all-day surveillance of Rathbun and his wife Monique for the next five months, until they finally managed to get Rathbun arrested on what turned out to be spurious charges. Keeping an eye on this ongoing siege is what, in part, inspired us to go from occasional Scientology writing to a daily blog that covers all things Scientology around the world, so this story was important to us personally. But it also is one of the most remarkable operations of Scientology's retaliatory "fair game" that we've ever seen or heard about.

2. Janet Reitman and Hugh Urban release major books on Scientology (UPDATED)

Plenty of books have been written exposing Scientology's secrets over the years, but for one reason and another, none of them was a mainstream success, and some are downright difficult to find physical copies of. This year, that all changed with not one but two excellent histories of Scientology hitting bookshelves within weeks of each other. Ohio State religious studies professor Hugh Urban put together excellent original documents for his academic study of the church, The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion. In particular, he did a great job putting L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology in a historical context that explains a lot about the group's secrecy and paranoia. Rolling Stone writer Janet Reitman used her great journalistic skills to write a best-selling history of the church, Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. Her book combined deep research with a snappy narrative and particularly great storytelling for several chapters on the life and death of Lisa McPherson. Both books got plenty of press -- particularly Reitman's, which continues to make news -- and both brought a sense of fairness that Scientology really couldn't complain about (but did anyway). Never has there been such an opportunity for the basics of Scientology's history to reach so many people and so easily. (Hey, there's still time to give both books to loved ones for Christmas!) ADDENDUM: I have been reminded that Lawrence Wright's excellent profile of Paul Haggis appeared in the New Yorker in February. Like Reitman and Urban, Wright presented a history of the church in a brilliant new telling, and I should have listed it with these other two narratives. Please consider it a part of this entry as you vote.


3. "The Money Machine," an investigative series from the St. Petersburg Times

Tom Tobin and Joe Childs outdid themselves this year. Their 2009 blockbuster "The Truth Rundown" forever changed the way Scientology is talked about when they revealed that high-level executives were leaving the church and complaining that Scientology leader David Miscavige got violent with them. The St. Pete Times duo then turned their attention from Scientology's upper echelons to more average members, and the incredible pressure they are under to donate money. Highlights of the new series include Hy Levy, a former "registrar" who almost never took time off while hitting his quota of talking $250,000 a week out of fellow church members; Synthia Fagen talking about the high-pressure tactics of the International Association of Scientologists; Luis Garcia talking about the money he gave and gave for Orange County, California's "Ideal Org," and the Super Power building in Clearwater, Florida, and how it was used as a fundraising cash cow for the last decade.

4. Valeska Paris held against her will on the Freewinds

Steve Cannane, an Australian journalist with the ABC network's Lateline show broke this story a few weeks ago: that a former Sea Org member named Valeska Paris says she was sent to the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds in 1996, when she was 18, so church leader David Miscavige could keep her away from her mother, who had sued Scientology. It was a way of enforcing the church's policy of "disconnection," but Paris says that in effect, she was held on the ship from 1996 to 2007 against her will. We picked up the story with a lengthy interview of Valeska, as well as interviews with her sister Melissa Paris and another Sea Org member who had known Valeska on the ship, Ramana Dienes-Browning. This story is still unfolding -- Valeska has received two threat letters from Scientology's attorneys for speaking out, in defiance of confidentiality agreements she signed when she was still in the church.

5. Scientology investigation of South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone revealed

In October, Marty Rathbun made public at his blog an internal Scientology document which showed that the church retaliated against South Park for an embarrassing 2005 episode by investigating the show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. We quickly followed with documents of our own showing that the retaliatory investigation also looked at Parker and Stone's employees and friends, which included digging through their trash. The documents also suggested that filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman was hit up for information abut the South Park guys, and Kaufman confirmed to us that he had been asked about Parker and Stone. We also talked to a private eye who worked for Scientology at that time, who told us what investigators would have been looking for in the garbage of the targets. We're still hoping to publish additional documents which reveal Tom Cruise's specific role in the retaliation against the animated show.



Scientology (new or rediscovered) Video of the Year

We saw quite a few interesting and diverting videos this year. These five in particular had us watching and rewatching for the laughs.

1. Birmingham in the House

An astute Scientology researcher in the UK found that the Birmingham "org" had left its server open to the public. Of the things that were smuggled to the outside world were photos and a song from a fundraising event to convince members to donate for a new "Ideal Org" building. An enterprising member of Anonymous put the song and photos together in this video, which is something to behold.


2. We are the IAS -- Chill EB's track and the IAS members of Copenhagen

After ending his music career in 1994, Bay Area rapper Chill EB came out of retirement in 2005 as he began a relationship with Scientology. Now well known in the church as its in-house hip hop performer, Chill earlier this year produced a single for the International Association of Scientologists using its slogan as a title: "Dauntless, Defiant, Resolute." The IAS in Copenhagen then used that track with images of its own activities -- including a young member aping Chill EB's lyrics -- and the result was pure gold. This one got a lot of attention from other news organizations after we publicized it, and also eventually got us an interview with Chill EB himself.


3. We Stand Tall

This video from 1990 resurfaced in June and became an instant hit. Probably the best thing about it is the lineup of Scientology executives surrounding diminutive David Miscavige during the chorus -- some of whom, like former chief church spokesman Mike Rinder and former #2 in the church, Marty Rathbun, are now out of the organization. Others, like Miscavige's wife, Shelly, have vanished.


4. Dede from Phoenix, raising money for an Ideal Org

This one leaked in July, and may be one of the best examples of what Scientology is really like, cutting through the church's celebrity facade. Across the country (and around the world) church members are under intense pressure to raise money to build new "Ideal orgs" even though their current facilities are not full, and membership is actually low and contracting. If the real estate expansion makes no sense, rank-and-file members ask no questions, and just plow ahead, begging for donations.


5. The angels of the Melrose Mission

A late addition to the slate, this video surfaced recently after a boutique org, one on Melrose Boulevard in Los Angeles, closed its doors. Angry Gay Pope sent this over to us, telling us that he figures the small org only existed because of a celebrity donation. Well, now that it's gone, at least we have this promotional video and its leather-clad angels.



Scientology Shoop of the Year

We love the Photoshopped images that pop up at places like WhyWeProtest.net. They help put stories in context, advance memes, and generally turn outrage into healthy laughs. These five in particular kept us in stitches. (Click on them to embiggen, in some cases.)

1. A civilization without insanity

SHOOPSquirrelBusters.jpg

The Squirrel Busters made for lots of Photoshopping, but this one seems to have captured their importance best.


2. Y'all Busted

SHOOPYallBusted.jpg

Someone was paying attention when we wrote that Chill EB's first single under his new Scientology tutelage was "Y'all Busted," an anti-psychiatry screed released in 2010. And we're always a sucker for Oompa Loompas.


3. Squirrel stuff

SHOOPSquirrelStuff.jpg

Our friends at 96.5 The Buzz in Kansas City, after one of our appearances on the Church of Lazlo show, were sent complaint letters and other materials from the local Scientology org. Accidentally left in those documents was the internal letter asking that the complaint be written, but also cautioning the church member preparing them not to actually listen to Lazlo's show, with the handwritten admonition: "Do not listen to show as its [sic] weird and has squirrel stuff on it." (Lazlo and I had been talking about secret Scientology teachings that low level grunts are not supposed to hear. Hence, the warning about squirrel -- non-church-approved -- stuff.)


4. David Miscavige, Scientology's Pope

SHOOPMiscavigePope.jpg

We don't know what story prompted this, but does it really matter? A masterful shoop job that captures the diminutive leader's sense of self-importance.


5. Gur Finkelstein and the Jaffa Org

SHOOPJaffaOrg.jpg

After we returned from Israel and wrote up our visit of Scientology's new but unopened "Ideal Org" in Jaffa, the Photoshoppers over at WWP got busy and threw together this image of the building with all sorts of fun faces and recent memes. Do you recognize them all?


OK, you've seen all the finalists. Now get over to the voting site and make your choices!

We'll reveal these winners -- and several more -- during the last week of the year.


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] [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park] | [This Week Aboard the Apollo]
[Sunday Funnies]

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?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
[Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship]
[Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room]
[Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation]
[More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole]
[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
[Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement]
[Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

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]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!]
[Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds]
[X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
["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]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

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

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation]
[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 in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!]
[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?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB]
[Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper]
[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]
[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]

My Voice Nation Help
160 comments
Truthrevealed
Truthrevealed

This is an AWESOME post. TRUTH REVEALED on how cheesy this cult is.  Thank you!

Too Much
Too Much

So much awesome screaming insanity to choose from! It's hard to decide.

Peter
Peter

Point in case: Ramana's carefully detailed story is ignored here in lieu of jokes.

A year from now there will be more sad stories, more jokes and either this blog will be here or it won't, but the machine will go on. Welcome!

sketto
sketto

The destruction of tyranny takes time. Miscavige is mortal. He will either be exposed and prosecuted or he will run and hide like a coward and eventually die. But either way, his influence is finite. Someday, he'll be gone and healthier ideas will reign. And no one will even remember what an asshole he was. This will be his legacy.

Tick tock, Davey boy. Tick tock.

Lol
Lol

Mhh boring side

MarkStark
MarkStark

According to MSNBC's Martin Bashir, Newt Gingrich "is a perfect combination of religiosity and insanity," a "peddler of myths and fantasies" who "is the modern incarnation of the late L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology."

LOL, this is going to be all over.

Kim O'Brien
Kim O'Brien

I just saw it !! OMG ..TONY ..is it too late to add it to the list ?? I am LOL right now !

Stat
Stat

I woke up today from the lack of enturbulation, so I decided to do something about it, while thinking for myself, while being my own man.

So I went on the Internet, to overcome all the theta feelings, hoping I will see something really disturbing, like titties and their merchants of chaos, confusing me back into my dwindling spiralof not being clear or OT again!

And what did I get instead? A sophisticated poll created by a Russian sikrit agent, Anton Orteganov (aka Tony Ortega, aka Tortega, aka EveryTimeIsmileSomeAbusiveCultCries), long-time infiltrator pretending to be a Mexican-born NYer, raking cash from porn ads andtrue reports (edit that out later)...

I decided to to vote, just to confuse the enemy:

Story Of The Year: ALL OF THEM are lies and we gonna sue everyone for the breach of the confidentiality agreement, that you all biatches are signed while we intimidated the fuck out of you wimps. (Yes you - Valeska, Marty, Janet, SP Times with all the lame people first-account reports, South stupid Park, IRS, US Government, Planet Earth, This Sector Of The Galaxy). Yeah.

Video Of The Year: WE STAND TALL was made by Freezone/Ron's Orgs of Russia and it actually never happened. What really occured is some squirrels from Hungary, hacked a NASA music software (that's what criminal Anons do) and manipulated it like that to implant the youtube portals. Well, guess what Hungarian squirrels, check your tax-free status again!

Shoop Of The Year: "OT VIII's ARE HERE "A Civilization without insanity." by El Elron pretty much covers it all. OT VIII's with head cams "handling" former RTC, 2nd in command.

I go back, to wog hibernating now.

 

 

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

To Tony all I can say is that all of these stories are stories of the year, because any story where Scientology is shown up is tops in my book. For too long, whatever crazy stuff reporters dug out of Hubbard's secretive trainwreck society, was few and far between. With this blog, public knowledge of the misdeeds and insanity of the Co$ will grow, and people will see it for what it truly is: a criminal conspiracy masquerading as a religion.

BTW, didn't the Wehrmacht saucer come from "Fortean Times?" Or was it from one of those Montauk Project paperbacks?

MarkStark
MarkStark

Just a heads up for anyone who is interested, I followed a link on ESMB and there's a bronze bust of L. Ron on EBAY for only $375, regular $5700. Only been used a couple of times.  Probably didn't give very good theta.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

It's only desk sized - I'd want the huge one where Ron has hairy, lumpy shoulders of Carl Brutananadilewski from Aqua Teen Hunger Force (now Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1.)

ZangVoo
ZangVoo

Dude, UFO's really are jsut cool like that. Amazing.www.Total-Privacy (dot) US

feettothefire
feettothefire

Most important story unfolding- The petition to Obama with the knowledge that Holder plays golf frequently with a scientologist. Holder sits on a precipice where if he is not careful he will be the new Penn St coach given that he knew about the abuse unfolding both through the petition and in the complaints generated. 

Kim O'Brien
Kim O'Brien

who is the scientologist Holder plays golf with ?

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

@ Kim 'O'Brien

I was thinking Will Smith or maybe any one of these fools mentioned below.

Monique Yingling scieno lawyer and wife of Gerald Feffer - of Washington DC law firm Williams & Connolly and Miscavages personal attorney and Holders many connections and favors for Williams & Connolly.

Williams & Connolly is big into doing scientologys bidding, and big into doing the Clinton/Obama crowds bidding.

Greg Craig the first Obama White House counsel came from Williams & Connolly.

Williams & Conolly also represented Holder in some legal matters.

Its all the same crowd, Clinton, Obama, and scientology.

Obamas lawyer, Holders Lawyer, Miscavages lawyer, Monique Yingling, the cos, all represented and deeply connected.

mjm
mjm

I'm thinking Holder will be out of the Obama cabinet soon...

found this comment on Nikki Finke's website, which I replied to:"Poor C.A.A. His Scientology lunacy has boxed them into a corner and it would do so at any agency. It has ruined his ability to play real characters. It has ruined his ability to be perceived as a real actor by audiences. Here are the performance apps : facial tics; over-the-top; “General Hospital” intensity; stunts; and running. He used to be so great before Scientology set him up to exploit him and he took the bait. Compare his choices at his age to people who he might call mentors or inspirations like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen at the same age. Clooney, Damon, Day Lewis, DiCaprio, Penn, Nicholson, Streep…these are movie stars who are actors; they use what clout they have to BE movie stars who play parts that explore the human condition and they’re all magnificent. And save Day Lewis (so far) they all try to exhibit a playful side too. Look at all of the actors in town who wish to do the same, who only dream of the clout that Cruise squandered, in order to please David Miscavige. Cruise’s once considerable talent has been reduced by his “best friend” to the acting vocabulary of a circus animal. (See : Oprah Winfrey in “Beloved.”) Shankman’s fun. My guess is the movie will make money maybe lots of it. But it will be for the nostalgia, the musicality, and Shankman’s execution as well as a fun cast particularly Catherine Zeta-Jones. And the “curiosity factor” of seeing Glazed Doughnut Eyes emoting in song. The studio’s being smart. I would guess that they’re gonna be pimping that (his C.F.) more than Cruise himself.Thank you Bert Fields. Scientology Humanity Enabler of the Millennium. Now THAT’S what wiretapping is for. To grow the business. Like, for instance…as in politics…Plus, you know, Fast and Furious Mexican drug kingpins…I’ll bet they love Journey and “Don’t Stop Believin’” just like all the other foreign tourists who flock to Broadway musicals.

Comment by Mark Kelley — Tuesday December 13, 2011"

mjm
mjm

replied to Mr. Kelley saying that he should talk to Tony O. about Bert Fields (who is a pal of Anthony Pellicano's)

feettothefire
feettothefire

Best Story- the Clearwater Movie theatre saying nuts to scientology. It proves we are making headway with the general public.Gutsiest story- Valessa ParisClosest to going mainstream- Janet ReitmanBest change in tactics- Tony Ortega turning tragedy into humor. Scientology is now a laughing stock and that will take its toll with the celebs.  

Peter
Peter

Another missed news story is the fact that mental health services are turning away ex-Scientologists due to CCHR's bad PR.

Hari Ankman
Hari Ankman

Tony, How about a thorough analysis of the Fowler case.  Maybe someone can give us an idea about what Rex was getting for that quarter mil that he embezzled. And what was in that briefcase that his wife was sweating the cops over?  Please God let it be the OT VIII materials...

Peter
Peter

Story of the Year: The Fact that the Cult will go on and won't be stopped.

MarkStark
MarkStark

One idea gives me hope. Sciloontology does not have the allure of being ancient, and its newness -- especially any validity as a "science" -- is wearing thin by the year.

It will eventually have all the respect and legitimacy of the Nigerian email scam. It was a clever con, for its time, but died from over exposure.

Peter
Peter

It will take law enforcement which will never happen. They won.

All we can do is joke about it, when it's really not that funny.

MarkStark
MarkStark

I really like your first sentence about the dark side of the American dream, and it being a loophole.

Event though the Internet is 19 years old (started in 1992), it is still in its infancy in the way this technology will transform society. It will have a transformational effect akin to agriculture and industrialization, maybe even greater. It's potential can't be full accessed, categorized or boxed yet, including its potential to dismantle Sciloontology.

The growth of Internet use is exponential, and for lots of people, high speed connections made it really viable, so the first 10 years, when people were mostly on dial-up, are not all that significant.

Anonymous may have chosen to be hyperbolic about the destruction of Sciloontology, as counter-propaganda to the Scilon's own all-the-answers save-the-planet hyperbole. Many were optimistic that it would just crumble in a heap of laughter, and some lost interest protesting when that didn't happen.

Still, I see it as more of a harbinger or direction of the cult's future, than an accurate prediction. The direction is one of increased exposure.

People are still learning and growing, in their abilities to find information on the web. The cult is going to be hard-pressed to find a market in people who have money but don't don't use the web to research things.

Their market is going to move from one in a thousand, to one in 50,000. Granted, having more money than ever gives them power and reach, but I still feel they could be one incident or story, or one book (Wright's book?), or one celebrity from a major collapse.

Peter
Peter

Scientology is the dark side of the American dream. The loophole.

The internet has been around for 15 years but they still operate tax-free, above the law, in the lap of luxury.

An empty building is a better asset than a new public who probably doesn't have much to spend anyways and they can be liabilities. The buildings are being paid for by existing public and then owned by the church--genius! That's why we see the main activity has been acquiring more properties. It's the best investment for their future, whether or not blind sheep are roaming within.

Goliath still stands in spite of Anonymous' blind optimism. Drama on the internet has been of little consequence to their elite. They remain untouchable. What's worse than a Scientology lawyer? um...

MarkStark
MarkStark

Here's the problem for the cult with the empty new buildings, in places like Seattle and all over really. There's no fever to get into Sciloontology. People aren't elbow-to-elbow in the course rooms, and when they aren't, they end up doubting, and going on the web. I believe there's going to be a sharp downturn in time spent. The same person who would have been stuck for 5 years pre-web, will be stuck for a year, and they will speak out.

The other problem for the cult is exes in the media and on the web, and their new freedom to speak out. There's a new generation of people like Valeska, who got trapped in the Sea Org, because their parents were into the cult, and that's going to form a powerful group. Tom Cruise wasn't there. He doesn't "know." These kids, now adults, do know.

Whether it is funny ha ha or funny (abusive/weird/scam), either of those will work to keep newbies out of the cult, and spread the word that Scientology is a trap.

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

I have to say it:  the only thing crazier than the xenu story is leaving the "church" of $cientology but still "practicing" the mindf**k.  How is that even possible?  Everything hubbard wrote is pulp fiction.  People who trained to be "auditors" think their sh*t doesn't stink and they can walk on water.  Pshaw!  There are NO clears, NO OTs, NO abilities gained (per the grade chart).  I know it takes a while to get completely out.  We're here to help.

Peter
Peter

Clearing the planet is the goal the lemmings follow.

The church's actual goal of amassing money and properties is going quite nicely.

sizzle8
sizzle8

Nobody 's won. 

For the rank and file the goal is to "clear the planet" and  "to go up the Bridge".Neither goal is achievable thanks to the horrible PR and the alteration of the materials by Miscavige.

The only ones that seem to be winning are the Indies as their numbers have significantly increased and they seem to be reasonably happy regardless of the hostility from the Cof$ and the hard core critics..

StabbyMcStoo
StabbyMcStoo

I voted for the story/shoop/video that had the most impact on messaging and audience reach.  For me, the story of the year for me is the Valeska Paris story, however I voted for Reitman's book mainly because it had/has a bigger audience and impact.  Not too many people know about the SP Times or VV (which I'm personally trying to change), but Janet & Hugh's books reach audiences in far reaching places.  I personally bought five copies of Reitman's book and sent to family members.  

I also voted for the Squirrel Busters shoop (although I've seen far better on WWP from Sponge than these 5 choices) because it speaks for itself.  Anyone seeing that shoop that knew nothing about the Squirrel Busters controversy could at least see some humor.  The other shoops don't make a lot of sense to the general public.

As for the video.....well....."We Stand Tall" is just fucking retarded.  If I were Rathbun, Rinder, or anyone shown in that video (that is still alive) I would be extremely embarrassed.  Like the 2008 Tom Cruise crazy video, I cannot watch this enough times.  When I'm feeling stressed or down, I watch this video.  Because I know that at least I'm NOT ONE OF THESE FOOLS.   

Barbara Snow
Barbara Snow

I too voted for the Reitman book for the reasons you cite.   And I voted for the Squirrel Busters for the same reason -- anyone looking at it could see how nuts the whole thing is-- going around calling each other Squirrels and thinking anyone cares.  

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

MARK MIGLIO JUST E-MAILED IN HIS VOTES:

BEST INSPIRING VIDEO: We are the IAS -- Chill EB's track and the IAS members of Copenhagen

BEST SEXY VIDEO: The angels of the Melrose Mission

BEST MUSIC:  "We Stand Tall"

BEST ARTICLE:  A Scientologist's Open Letter to the Village Voice and its Readers

BEST SHOOP:  Gur Finkelstein and the Jaffa Org

BEST COMMENT:  "You all -- the children of anonymous -- are, well, nuts OR clinically disturbed OR something that I can't quite put my finger on."

Jgg
Jgg

  How can we be clinically disturbed if there is no such thing as mental illness?

MarkStark
MarkStark

In Dianutty, on page 171, we are told that what a normal is to an institutionalized person, a "clear" is to a normal person. A clear, with his perfect memory can do computations, such as those done by a chess player, "120 to 180 times as fast as a normal."

Clears don't get colds, and pregnant clears never get morning sickness, because they aren't assaulting the fetus, with knitting needles or washing machine-like out-2D copulation.

How can we make our memories Xemu or Xenu sharp? Seventy-five million years ago, the streets and houses looked pretty much the same as they do today. What can create a memory so vivid in detail and scope? Only Dianutty has the answers.

The science of Dianutty "will extend human life." One man was reported to have lived to the age of 74 years old! However, he was not of this planet.

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

Oh you joker and degrader!! You make me laugh til tears run down my face.Jason Beghe had it right:  "SHOW ME A F***ING CLEAR!!"There aren't any, never have been.  

Sid
Sid

Do I detect some humor in there???

Good on you Mark for sending in your votes. Maybe there's hope for you yet.

I really look forward to hearing your story when you wake up.

Kim O'Brien
Kim O'Brien

poor Mark . according to the rules, he can't even masturbate to make himself feel better . 

Peter
Peter

No wonder L Ron Hubbard declared the brain irrelevant, considering his was dysfunctional.

Yeppir
Yeppir

Shoop, for me, was the "oh, and don't listen, it's weird and has squirrel stuff." As a never-in, this was incredibly bizarre to me. Guess that's WHY I was never in, because all I would have done after that was LOOKED!

Story. Hmmm. I liked the Israel story alot, because it seemed to really reveal the truly mafia-like, criminal aspect of the cult. (Was that a choice?). Okay, if not, SP Times, for the gritty appeal that hits. But, wait, Valeska's story is too gruesome for words! Crap! I don't know!

Vid? We Stand Tall. ... Wait, Dede..... Wait... SBs - cause you cannot make that up... Shit, I don't know!!!!

Totally an unfair poll. Not playing.

candace6
candace6

Story: Have to go with "Money Machine", although Valeska was a close 2nd.

Video:  David Miscavige in a ridiculous shirt singing, of all things, We Stand Tall?  Nothing could top that.

Shoop:  Squirrel Busters

What a year!

Peter
Peter

On Stern, Sharon Osbourne explained that Leah Remini was fired from The Talk for not having an authentic personality.

Sandy4077
Sandy4077

Easy.

- best story: Valeska Paris.  This is not going to have a happy ending for the cult; comes from a direction that hasn't appeared to have generated much bad publicity for them lately; follows on a long and honoured scio tradition of shipboard abuse out of reach of the authorities; and best of all, resulted in that oh-so-classic-response "she's lying and we'll sue for breaching her confidentality agreement". 

- best video: "We Stand Tall - David Miscavige...".  This gift starts giving at the title and just doesn't stop.   Just cannot get me enough of that delicious, delicious irony.

- best shoop: A civilization without insanity.  Because it's not actually a shoop - simply a picture of some scientology adherents and a LRH quote.  Face it, there are some things that scientology just does better than anyone else.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

For the video, I say 'We Stand Tall' - David Miscavige, top Scientology Execs Singing (Super-Secret, Original Edit!)

Its gotten nearly 433,000 hits since coming out in late June!

Singer, songwriter & Scientologist David Pomerance may have lost the battle to play for that co-sponsored Ruth Eckard Hall fundraiser in Clearwater, but here his song is flourishing

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

I think there are very good reasons to vote for any of those five stories -- and readers are giving some great justifications here. It's tough. Tobin and Childs once again moved the story down the field with hard data and amazing details. Will it have a lasting impact? Definitely. Valeska, on the other hand, brought a drama and connection that I think a wider audience can really feel. Her story is only beginning, I think. The Squirrel Busters was some of the most unwise church strategy in a long time, and will, I predict, be a significant episode in Lawrence Wright's book (but don't quote me, prognosticating about what other journalists are going to do is not my long suit). Parker and Stone, meanwhile, get points for sheer visibility. That story got picked up so widely, I saw a reference to it in a TAXI television! And for sheer longevity, the books (and book-length) stories by Reitman, Urban, and Wright are going to be with us a long time. Years from now, people will be picking up and talking about those books. All in all, a momentous year, and I can't wait to see how you all vote!

MarthaWiggins
MarthaWiggins

Thank you for all you are doing in this fight.  I appreciate it and I know thousands more do too.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

"Best" is kind of subjective...if we go by stats alone, Valeska Paris story comes in a close 2nd to the Scientology investigation of south Park'sTrey Parker and Matt Stone story on the internet.  But Village Voice Runnin Scared readership "best" may be completely unrelated to the overall stats.  How will the VV determine "Best", Tony?

Old OT7
Old OT7

For story of the year, Tony, I'm going with "The Money Machine" by Tobin and Childs.  The article shows how blatant the cult has become in fleecing their members.   The St. Petersburg Times is one of the biggest thorns in the cult's side.

I will admit, it was tough choosing that story over all the other revealing stories on your blog.

Tony, thanks for all you do and you posters for all you do too!  Wishing everyone a very blessed Holiday Season!  May 2012, for everyone, be your best year yet!  I can't wait to see what the tiny, psychotic dwarf does next year that we can ridicule!

And, Anonymous, big props to all of you folks!  Since January of 2008, your presence is now known across the planet.  Keep up the great work!

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

Old OT7 -- I'll be thrilled if Tobin and Childs win this vote. For me, it's really not about who broke what. As you can see in my descriptions, I am very much into giving credit to Cannane, Rathbun, Reitman, and the rest for bringing us these stories. For me, this blog is as much about creating a sense of community for Scientology watchers (of all persuasions) as it is about breaking news with my own stories.

Jerry
Jerry

Funny to hear you say that, Tony.

Just earlier today I looked back at some old reports of yours, and the thought hit me:  there are a lot of fresh faces around here in the comments, new names- many ex-scienos, new blood, contributing new and interesting opinions, with the old guard doing keeping the fire burning.  Congrats, and thanks. 

Old OT7
Old OT7

And you have achieved that magnificently,  Tony!  The community is alive and well and awaiting your next story!  When you sit back and reflect, do you sometimes just think, "Man, writing this blog is just so much fun!"  Well, reading it is that for us.  We truly are a community.

Thanks for bringing us all together...

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

OK, maybe I'll turn on the webcam in the underground bunker and you can all gather near while I feed catnip to Xenu, Mary Sue, and ElRonito*. Should be a blast.

*Not my cats' real names, unfortunately.

Old OT7
Old OT7

Event though we all are scattered around this country and others, a Christmas party for the posters here is a terrific idea!  

Sid
Sid

When/where are we having our Christmas Party?

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