Is Lisa Marie Presley Telling Off Scientology in a Song?


For a couple of days now, our excellent tipsters have been alerting us to this new song from Lisa Marie Presley.

It’s not that they’re big Lisa Marie fans — although this song really isn’t bad, I must say. No, the reason Scientology Watchers are fascinated by Lisa Marie’s new single, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” released ahead of her new album Storm and Grace, is that the lyrics of this song sure read like a big middle finger to the Church of Scientology.

Give it a listen, and then let’s go over the lyrics together.

In recent weeks, we’d heard rumblings that Presley, a longtime member, had grown disaffected with Scientology and had quietly walked away from it. (Similar rumors have been heard for years, so that’s nothing new.)

If she has left, it won’t be the first time a big-name celebrity ditched the church. As we reported earlier, even Tom Cruise spent a full decade all but out of Scientology while he was with Nicole Kidman, but both Cruise and the church managed to keep it quiet at the time.

Other celebrities, like actor Jason Beghe, have made their exits in a more noisy way.

So has Lisa Marie “blown,” as they say in Scientology? Well, let’s look at the lyrics…

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

Lay down the law, don’t make a sound
Just critical, just going down
I don’t belong, I’ve lost the plot
Not gullible, can’t be what I’m not

You can think that I’m evil and I’m off the rails
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

If I don’t get with your system then I’m sure to fail
Well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Lay down the truth, don’t make a sound
Just a piece of fruit who’s hit the ground
I don’t respond, I’ve lost the plot
Unethical, not what I thought

You can think that I’m evil and I’m off the rails
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

I’m a bit transgressive and suppressive as well
Well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Am I a disruption to your corruption?
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

You can think that I’m evil and I’m off the rails
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

If I don’t get with your system then I’m sure to fail
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

No longer elated, now you’re frustrated
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

You can think that I’m evil and I’m off the rails
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

If I don’t get with your system then I’m sure to fail
Well you ain’t seen nothin’ yet

You can think that I’m evil and I’m off the rails
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

I’m a bit transgressive and suppressive as well
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

For some thoughts about the song, I turned to Jefferson Hawkins, a man who at one time was in charge of marketing Dianetics to the world, and someone with a lot of expertise about both Scientology and messages in media. I asked Jeff, is Lisa Marie telling the church not so subtly to keep away from her?

Wow, it sure looks like it. I think the key is the use of the terms “unethical” and “suppressive,” which are definitely Scientology-speak. It sounds to me like they are putting pressure on her and calling her out-ethics and suppressive, and this is her response — you ain’t seen nothing yet. Love it.

When Scientology excommunicates someone, it declares them a “suppressive person” or “SP,” and instructs other Scientologists to “disconnect” from the SP — even the members of the SP’s own family. Church members live in fear of being “declared,” and will do almost anything to stay in the good graces of the church so they can remain in contact with other family members.

No Scientologist of good standing would describe themselves (even jokingly) “a bit suppressive,” as Lisa Marie labels herself here.

I also showed the lyrics to Chuck Beatty, a longtime former Scientologist with deep expertise in the church’s arcane “technology” and lingo. Here’s what he had to say…

Clearly it’s way beyond what would be acceptable for a Scientologist in the fold to be implying, so it sounds to me like it’s her declaration of “fuck you” to Scientology. Her use of the words suppressive, transgressive, critical, truth, and system all clearly would be taken as bad indicators at Scientology celebrity headquarters. The attitude sure sounds reminiscent of Elvis’s “fuck you” comments to Scientology. Good for her!

I’ve put in an interview request to Lisa Marie’s publicist, and let’s hope that she wants to share with us her thoughts on the song.

I’m struck not only with the word “suppressive,” which seems a dead giveaway, but also with the general thrust of the song. I mean, your typical pop song isn’t likely to have this kind of sentiment in it…

“If I don’t get with your system then I’m sure to fail”

Former Scientologists — and I’ve talked to quite a few — all tell me that one of the scariest things that faced them when they dropped out of the Scientology “system” was that they had been warned by church officials that they were ill-equipped to survive the “wog” (non-Scientology) world outside the organization, and that they would surely fail if they left the Sea Org, for example.

Also, for someone coming to the realization that they no longer belong in Scientology (and will suffer from “ethics” officers on the way out), there is hardly a more fitting characterization than…

“I don’t respond, I’ve lost the plot
Unethical, not what I thought”

And with the church mired in controversy, with allegations of shocking abuse appearing in court testimony and in new press revelations, her words of warning to church leadership seem especially ominous…

“Am I a disruption to your corruption?
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet”

Well, we’re obviously reading a lot of things into these lyrics that Lisa Marie may not have intended, but at the minimum this is an extremely unusual statement for a longtime Scientologist to make, and we hope she speaks publicly about it soon. (And hopefully, to us!)


Nancy Cartwright Going Godlike in Ohio

Last week, we pointed out how unusual it was that Nancy Cartwright — the voice of Bart Simpson and one of the biggest personal funders of the Church of Scientology — had agreed to show up at this year’s Writers of the Future gala, an event the church, in the past, has tried to hold at arm’s length from Scientology itself.

An alert tipster pointed out to us that Cartwright is also making another public appearance soon — she’ll be the commencement speaker at Ohio University’s graduation ceremony on June 9.

Hey, kids, when you’re getting your diplomas, you might ask Cartwright about the interesting statement she made to Australian journalist Bryan Seymour during an episode of Today Tonight

You’ll hear Cartwright say the following…

I believe that there is a power that I am striving for. I think the best way to describe that would be to name that “God,” you know? And ideally I would have to say that I am striving to be that God.

Cowabunga! Well, Nancy, we suppose that after a donation like $10 million, Scientology is happy to call you God. Or anything else!


Orange County Represents!

After the kind of cringeworthy music videos we’ve seen from Scientologists in Melbourne, Denmark, Birmingham, and Phoenix, this latest promo from the folks in Orange County seems almost hip by comparison.

Almost makes you want to join staff, doesn’t it?


Gerry Armstrong Knocks ‘Em Dead in Moscow

Gerry’s looking dapper in this apparently new video from a talk he gave in Russia. As we’ve written before, few have gone through such legal harassment at the hand of Scientology as Gerry Armstrong. And in this video, he appears to give a compelling talk about his experiences — but is it just us, or does this Russian audience look like it’s barely awake? What gives?

Next time, Gerry, maybe some visual aids?


Mike Wallace and Scientology

I met Mike Wallace one time. It was in 2001, and I had gone to Howard University to do some recruiting for our company. At the time I was a staff writer for New Times Los Angeles, a newspaper that no longer exists. Wallace was there to give a presentation, and by pure chance I had the opportunity to introduce myself before his talk.

And I had something to talk to him about. Some months earlier, he had done a hard-hitting piece for 60 Minutes about some secret LAPD documents that had been smuggled out, showing that the department had a shameful record of covering up domestic violence assaults by its own officers. At that time, the source of those documents was still secret. Now, some months later, that whistleblower, Bob Mullaly, was facing prison time for getting those shameful records out to the public. I was fortunate enough to tell Bob’s story, and I happened to have a copy with me. I showed it to Wallace, and he gave me a big smile — he was happy to see that Mullaly, a brave man who had risked so much so that the victims of assault would not remain silent, was getting his story told. We chatted about Mullally for a while, and Wallace was keen to learn how his legal case was going.

In other words, Mike Wallace was as gracious and encouraging to a fellow journalist as you would imagine — even to a guy from a small Los Angeles paper he’d probably never heard of.

Anyway, after the news of Wallace’s death this weekend, Xenubarb reminded me of this great clip, when 60 Minutes profiled Paulette Cooper. Enjoy it, and remember what a lion of the craft Wallace was…

We’ll finish up with a couple of links. In Canada, Narconon gets another black eye, courtesy of the ever-vigilant David Love: a mother in Toronto tells the CBC that she’s out $10,000 after sending her drug addict son to the Trois-Rivières Narconon center that Love has been exposing for years.

Perhaps some day even distraught parents will learn to put the word “Narconon” in a Google search before writing checks for tens of thousands of dollars, and we can stop reading these stories about people having no idea that the places are a front for Scientology. Sigh.

Also, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad publication, The Daily, returns with yet another piece of its own on Scientology’s front groups. After fine pieces about Scientology’s premier high school, Delphi, and its strange Hubbard College of Administration, the Daily is back with a piece about Scientology’s “study tech” and its infiltration of school districts through tutoring. Taking advantage of the No Child Left Behind law, Scientology’s Applied Scholastics has managed to worm its way into districts around the country, writes the Daily’s Noreen O’Donnell.

Between the Daily’s vigilance on Scientology’s education front groups, more bad news for Narconon in Canada, and our interest in the writers contest, the church’s secular wings have been under some intense scrutiny lately, haven’t they?

Please remember to check our Facebook author page for announcements about our Scientology Watching schedule and other behind-the-scenes reports.

Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, 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 is now being 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.