How You Can Help a Film About Kate Bornstein Happen (Plus: Scientology Sunday Funnies!)
As Sam says, it's kind of amazing that a film about Kate hasn't already been made.
Scientology Sunday Funnies!
Just about every day, we receive the latest wacky and tacky fundraising mailers put out by Scientology orgs around the world. Thank you, tipsters, for forwarding them to us! On Sundays, we love to reveal them to you.
Folks, it looks like Scientology has finally cracked the math on expansion. We can soon expect Ideal Orgs opening up all over the world every few days. (On the other hand, it looks like spelling will continue to be an issue as the church continues its planetry goals.)
Imagine how many stacks of the new RON Encyclopedia are piled up at your local org. They need to move this baby, and now!
Another seminar that's sure to turn you into a money-making machine! (Or, um, sell you a ride on the boat.)
Bruce Wiseman and CCHR work a spooky vibe to restimulate your engrams. Go wipe out some psychs!
And here's a bit of nostalgia for those days when John Travolta was known for pulling back on the stick -- so he could make an airplane go up in the air. At a Qantas celebration in 1985 -- thank you, tipsters!
Remember, keep those fliers and mailers coming! Our readers love them.
Commenters of the Week!
Last Sunday we kicked off the week with a look at a documentary about Scientology that aired in France and Germany. Even better -- we featured it by interviewing Hamburg politician Ursula Caberta, who advocates government vigilance of David Miscavige's minions.
To that suggestion, Paulette Cooper pointed out the flip side...
Re Ursula's comment that "you have to always be watching them..." add to that "and they will always be watching you." When I first considered settling and ending the "fight," one of my knowledgeable friends warned me that even if I tried to move on, "accept the fact that they will always have somebody that you know and trust checking in on what you know and what you are doing..." I recently found out who that person is, am more cautious with them, and finally free! For this week.
Heather Grace, meanwhile, liked seeing officials other than Caberta speaking out...
I thought it was useful to see the range of people in the German governments who spoke out about Scientology. While Ursula is clearly the expert, seeing a number of people speak up builds a sense that she's not an outlier, but that there's a decent body of consensus that Scientology is totalitarian and anti-constitutional.
And justASK pulled out these two amusing moments...
My favorite quotes from the German doc, because they are so pointed:
1."And indeed it is a totalitarian psycho cult, with definite political ambitions in a Scientology system"
2. "Berlin's mayor with Scientology advertising vehicle Tom Cruise"
On Tuesday, we carved out a couple more excerpts from this year's epic LRH Birthday Event -- in this case, a couple of L. Ron Hubbard lectures brought to life by the wizards at Golden Era Productions.
Here's a portion of a lengthy and effective analysis of the videos by John P....
Virtually all of Hubbard's humor in these videos has to do with the stupidity or limitations of others. Nothing comes from situations that are truly funny. In other words, listening to jokes about the unsophisticated Iowans in the Navy (odd coming from a Nebraska boy), or any of the rest of it, all you see is contempt for the fellow man. This certainly echoes the contempt that Scientologists have for those in the "wog" world. Interesting to see how this became such an institutional feature of the cult. And it's not like his comments were actually funny or novel -- just echoing the broadest stereotypes imaginable rather than conveying a clever take on a familiar situation, which is the hallmark of good comedy. All I see here is somebody who has to put others down to feel good about himself.
As to my question about Hubbard's charisma, Deckard Cain provided this answer...
I suppose that people saw what they wanted in Hubbard. Kate saw a daddy figure and others saw an intelligent and interesting person. I see a fat and most unattractive charlatan with obvious insecurity and deep psychological problems.
And Ivy Mapother always manages to make us crack up. In this case, she noticed a resemblance in a video about Hubbard as a cop...
In the LAPD segment, Ron's pistol appears to be a modern version semi-auto .45 cal. Colt 1911, not the standard police issue .38 Special revolver. Facts and accuracy aren't a strong suit with Golden Era or Scientology but it was good to see Vin Diesel find work outside the Fast and the Furious franchise.
On Friday, we served up a couple of happy, upstat videos from this year's Dianetics Day celebrations. We learned that there are still newbies in Scientology "remembering" what was being said in the room as they were born -- how entertaining!
Commenters tried to come up with their own testimonials to Dianetics in the style of the videos, and this one, by Stoic-1, really had us howling...
"When I came in to session I just...'BAM!' And then my auditor was like...'POW!' Then It just...'OH NELLY!' We rode my case hard, banging out those engrams and then...'BANG!' I blew my charge. It was like 'KA-BLEWEY!' I know right?!! We were on top of my checkbook like "Whose your daddy?!!!" And now? I'm a patron in the IAS...I have 3 pallets of Basics in my garage...2 Sets of LRH Biographies...I'm having as many wins as I can finance! If this isn't clearing the planet I don't know what is!!!!!" - S.O. - Clearwater, FL
In our weekly visit to the yacht Apollo, the Commodore made a rather startling statement about authoritarian rule, which CofS Exit Zone seized on...
May 22, 1969 OOD Hubbard says "I don't think anybody fully understands the antipathy I have to authoritarian rule."
Chilling, considering he was in the midst of setting up the Sea Org, an authoritarian religious order that is destroying lives to this very day.
And finally, we noted that a volcano is erupting in the background to the Dianetics testimonials, an (unstated) reference to the Xenu story. We got confirmation of that from Jefferson Hawkins...
The volcano, yes. This is part of the notorious "Incident Two" - the Xenu story as dramatized on South Park. Xenu supposedly put all his prisoner thetans into volcanoes. Hubbard's idea was that if you were to flash a picture of a volcano at them, it would "key them in" unknowingly to Incident Two and they would be compelled, on a hypnotic, stimulus-response basis, to get the book or come into the Org. Same reason he put all those bizarre pictures on the book covers in the 1970s. Hubbard was really very manipulative in his approach to promotion and advertising. He considered that "wogs" were in a hypnotic daze and had to be compelled to come in with hidden triggers and commands. All in the name of the "greater good" of Clearing the Planet.
I love his protestation that other people were forcing him into the role of dictator - a role he "did not want." Yet he systematically got rid of anyone who got too popular or influential or challenged his leadership role - a practice Miscavige continues. Scientology never was and never will be "democratic" in any sense. It's a top-down authoritarianism.
Another great week of comments! We're on the road this week, so we're not sure when the next post will be. Please check our Facebook author page for updates.
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.