Scientology Infusion: Commenters of the Week!
"This Will guy is so cool! I can't wait to tell Dave."
We're still taking your votes for Scientology Story of the Year, and in general, things here in the underground bunker are frenetic as we prepare for year-end festivities. We also managed to keep the beat going this week with some interesting tidbits.
On Sunday, we started things off with our weekly feature, Sunday Funnies, which looks at recent Scientology mailers and come-ons.
On Monday, we posted some highlights from a video leaked to us of the big October gala of the International Association of Scientologists, which was essentially a three-hour infomercial featuring church leader David Miscavige. Yes, we watched the entire thing, and somehow remained awake and sane.
On Tuesday, we opened voting for Scientology Story of the Year, and that gave us an excuse to summarize which stories, videos, and shoops we thought captured this year's news the best. There's still time to vote, so get over there!
Thursday morning, we did our usual Thursday Stats roundup, with items about Martin Bashir and Ricky Gervais.
That afternoon something pretty crazy happened. I noticed that Jason Lee, the actor and a Twitter newbie, had talked smack to a Twitter user with only 6 followers who had mentioned (not specifically to Lee) that he was disappointed to learn that Lee was a Scientologist. When I called Lee on his boorish behavior, he answered me, and we had a short Twitter conversation before he suggested we sit down together after the new year. Wow. I hope it happens.
And yesterday, we once again sailed the high seas with L. Ron Hubbard, as he explored OT VIII and kicked someone off the ship for smoking dope. Fun times!
So now let's get to the awards!
Our Sunday Funnies this week included a Sea Org promotional mailer that featured a church member with, um, some globe-clearing problems of his own. We had to chuckle at this reaction by MarkStark:
"I am my own man."
Right, more like, "I am my own bowling ball."
Building up Freeloader debt in the Sea Org, but still hasn't found the elusive no-hair engram, or a man, so he has to be his own.
That Sea Org slogan also inspired Old OT7 to pen this:
"I am my own man!"
Disclaimer: As long as I worship David Miscavage, take members' every last dollar, never complain about working 100 hour weeks 52 weeks a year, demand that families disband if one member wakes up and realizes that it's all a global scam, never talk about the beatings I've seen or participated in, never talk about Ideal Orgs going out of business, never doubt Hubbard, never allow my wife to get pregnant -- or if she does demand she get an abortion because it for the greater good, and always remember that Lisa McPherson died from her own overts & crimes.
But beyond that, I AM MY OWN MAN!
Meanwhile, Sid turned the thought of Scientology offering PR classes into a whole series of offerings...
Following the amazing success of the Freewinds Convention on Public Relations, the Church of Scientology announces further courses:-
How To Run A Successful Wealth Management Business - B. Madoff
Easy Steps To Accurate Financial Reporting - J. Skilling
Gaining The Trust Of Your Patients - C. Murray
Better Employee Relations - R. Fowler
Appearing Sane While The World Falls Apart - T. Cruise
How To Win Friends And Influence People - D. Miscavige
Please send any suggestions for other courses you would like to see run on the Freewinds to "youmustbekidding.meright? at thesheercheekofit dotorg"
After we posted excerpts from the IAS gala, which featured church leader David Miscavige describing the lavish interiors of the new (but unopened) "Ideal Org" in Jaffa, Israel, loyal commenter MarkStark caught something that we ourselves had meant to point out...
In the last 20 seconds of the first video he sounds like he's saying "LRH tech repairing the buns of brotherhood." See, I told you only Sciloontology could fix all the problems in the Middle East.
Also reacting to that video presentation of the new org, Skwerl King called attention to Scientology's continual claim to have special weekend worship, just like mainstream religions...
I nearly lost my breakfast when Stubby called the auditorium a place for Sunday services.
But clearly, it was Miscavige's praise for Black culture that got the most howls from readers, and we appreciated this reaction from Chocolate Velvet:
"The west coast capitol of African-American culture; Inglewood CA!".
As a member of the culture so highly esteemed by this puzzling mini-man, I sing with joy at such profound understanding of what defines us as a whole - rappin' gangstas in the hood.
Oh yeah black people, this tiny white dude thinks we're cool. We can all relax now. It's not the same old pandering bullshit we've been hearing from folks forever, this guy really means it. Look! He has a black friend! And he's come to bring us "freedom"? Wow! Never heard that one before. Sign me up! Hey, is that Louis Farrakhan over there?Jackpot!!!!
We also appreciated this wake-up call from MarthaWiggins:
It was events like this one that finally woke us up. We could hardly sit still and listen to this droning, ridiculously-written drivel. he clincher was the stat graphs. My husband, who is extremely logical and thinks like a mathematician, started noticing how the graphs indicated growth but never with the correct information, i.e., 10x compared to what? In what period of time? We knew there was something very wrong, especially since all we had to do was look around us and we could clearly see that Scientology was NOT being used or talked about favorably or invited into people's lives or solving ANY of the world's problems. All the promises of the IAS were empty and the scare tactics were over the top. We were tired of hearing the hype and seeing no results. We confronted Howard Becker, our IAS reg (who traveled around with Micheal Roberts), asking him where was some evidence of all the great work the IAS was doing. Show me the results! There was nothing he could say, except to pull out that tired bulls*it about "the fate of every man, woman and child on the planet blah blah blah". We got out and haven't looked back.
On Tuesday, we opened voting for Scientology Story of the Year, and commenters gave us great insights into how they were going to cast their ballot. We enjoyed this reaction from sketto, who was moved by the story of Valeska Paris, held on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds against her will:
For most powerful story, I had to pick Valeska. I've gotten pretty jaded and am quite used to seeing greed at the bottom of every Scientology story. But Valeska's story really affected me because it was pure evil - just fucking with someone, endlessly, because you can. Nothing to be gained. Nothing to learn or benefit from. Just pure punishment to satisfy Miscavige's whims, kinda like how Ol' Daddy Hubbard would've done it.
And this endorsement for Video of the Year by Myriam Breitman moved us...
I hope Dede from Phoenix wins. She didn't have an expensive production company behind her, no catchy song, no tight leather outfits. Just pure unprecedented enthusiam of a misguided Scilon in service of planetary salvage team. Go Dede. Every time you get a vote, we'll go crazy for you.
We enjoyed it every time someone spelled out their ballot choices and why. A good example was this rationale by Sandy4077...
- 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.
And church defender Mark Miglio also sent in his ballot (by e-mail)...
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."
Miglio is developing quite the sense of humor. There may be hope for him yet!
Martin Bashir's comparison of Newt Gingrich and L. Ron Hubbard turned into quiet a political battle in our comments, which I stayed out of. I welcome voters of all persuasions to join us in our Scientology watching activities. I did, however, get a chuckle out of this comment by DC enturbulator Radio Paul:
Martin Bashir is a hate monger! Just like Anderson Cooper, Mark Bunker, Paulette Cooper, Nathan Baca, Diane Sawyer, Janet Reitman, Richard Behar, Trey Parker/Matt Stone, Wolf Blitzer, Lawrence Wright, the people at Inside Edition, ABC Lateline, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, and every major newspaper! In case I forgot anyone, just know they are all bigots unless they tell you how Scientology is saving the planet.
My Twitter conversation with Jason Lee produced a lot of different reactions, but many of us were impressed by Natalie's attempt to explain Lee's behavior when he was questioned about Scientology...
Many Scientologist are so accustomed to having to defend Scientology, that they see any question as an attack. Because there is so much bad PR about the Church of Scientology (self created), Scientologist are encouraged to attack and not engage in a simple conversation.
There is no agree to disagree. From the viewpoint of the Church of Scientology and the 23 parishioners they have left, you are with them or against them. It's very sad. Many of the few remaining members once yearned to be better communicators, and desired to have an exchange of opinions. Our differences are what often make us interesting to one another. The Church of Scientology has all but destroyed that type of thinking.
What's left is a robot who only knows to attack, and disconnect from anyone not towing the line. For a group that claims to be able to get a person to a point where he can communicate about anything, with anyone, there sure are a large number of Scientologist who are incapable of communicating.
It was also good to hear from Barbara Graham, who took issue with Lee's defense that he was the same person before and after joining Scientology...
He may be "the same person he ever was," but that's not the point. It's like meeting a nice person who is fun to hang out with. Then after a couple of months they start talking about lizard people living inside Mount Whitney. Or raving about weird white power stuff in Idaho.
Suddenly, your estimation of that person changes. And so it is here; Jason Lee the actor is also Jason Lee, the 'guy covered in body thetans who believes a mediocre sci-fi pulp fiction hack held the Secrets to Life, The Universe and Everything.
So Jason, it's like this. He liked you until he found out you're a dwerpy Ronbot. You got Hubbard stank all over you and people do not respect that.
Most readers seemed to think that Lee's offer to sit down with me will never happen. Synthia Fagen explained why...
Yeah, the Celebrity Centre President's Office will be doing a big smack down on that interview as in ...No Freakin' Way. If he actually asserts his own independence and grants such an interview, I will be impressed. Let's see if he can pull himself up to Chill EB status.
And SFF knew just where to hit our funny bone...
I wonder if he'll actually talk to Tony or if he will be warned that the column is weird and has squirrel stuff in it.
And finally, yesterday, we dived again into L. Ron Hubbard's "Orders of the Day," finding him this time hard at work researching and writing OT VIII. We enjoyed this reaction from sketto...
I really wonder how hard it is on those Hubbard worshippers to read this kind of absurd, fantasy-world blather and still try to keep up the pretense that Hubbard was brilliant. That dude was a loon.
Oh, just you wait until next week. I have a special treat from the Apollo just in time for your Christmas stockings.
And don't forget to vote for Scientology Story 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.
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE
[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]
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 | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu
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
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]
[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]
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.