Last June, we told you about how proudly Scientology crowed in its press releases that it had won “Telly Awards” for some of its DVDs.
We went on to explain that it’s kind of difficult not to win a Telly, which gives away thousands of awards to up to about a quarter of the businesses that bother to enter.
Well, now Scientology is crowing again, this time about its latest Writers of the Future anthology (about which we’ve been writing an awful lot lately), which has won the coveted 2012 International Book Award! Praise the skies!
Um, you probably know where we’re going with this. After the jump: just how prestigious is the International Book Award?
Looking around at what has been said about the contest, we weren’t too surprised to see this, from Writer Beware, a website attached to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, which bills itself as an industry watchdog…
There are any number of moneymaking contests that focus on published books. Their M.O.: a huge entry fee, dozens or scores or even hundreds of entry categories, and the sale of additional merchandise to winners and honorees. Prizes are typically things that cost the sponsors little or nothing (website features, electronic press releases, vague promises of publicity campaigns). Judges are never named — and may not exist — and, although commercially published books are sometimes declared winners, the contests are marketed mainly to small press and self-published authors.
For instance, the USA Best Book Awards and the International Book Awards, both sponsored by JPX Media. Each contest has a $69 entry fee, over 150 categories, a prize that basically consists of a feature on one of JPX Media’s websites, and the “opportunity” to purchase award stickers and certificates. If just 500 people enter each contest (and I’m guessing that’s an extremely conservative estimate), JPX grosses $69,000 — and that doesn’t even include the extra income from sticker and certificate sales.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at this year’s winners, shall we? The website of the International Book Awards lists winners in 150 separate categories, with an additional 270 finalists.
There’s a winner for “Animal/Pets: Novelty,” for example, and another for “Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit.” There’s also a winner for “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Fiction w/ Audio CD” and “New Age: Non-Fiction.” And so many more.
Meanwhile, the Church of Scientology’s Galaxy Press entered the contest liberally, and garnered all sorts of prizes for reprints of L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp fiction! Let’s take a look at his laurels…
In the category “Audiobook: Fiction: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense,” Hubbard won for On Blazing Wings and placed as a finalist for The Phantom Pearl.
In the category “Audiobook: Narration: Best Group Performance,” Hubbard snagged the win with Tomb of the Ten Thousand Dead and had a finalist in Hurricane.
No doubt Scientology leader David Miscavige will be boasting at the next Birthday Event that Hubbard’s Death Waits at Sundown was a winner in “Fiction: Western,” and Shadows from Booth Hill was also a finalist. (See how Miscavige used the International Book Award in this past year’s celebration at the 3-minute mark in this video we previously posted.)
But Hubbard also was named as a finalist several more times (which has to hurt, really, in this kind of contest, when you think about it).
In “Best Cover Design: Non-Fiction,” his book The Problems of Work was a finalist, and in “Best Interior Design: Non-Fiction,” he had another finalist in Success Through Communication.
We also noticed that Hubbard was a finalist in two more categories: for Dead Men Kill in “Fiction: Mystery/Suspense” and for The Trail of the Red Diamonds in “Fiction: Thriller/Adventure.”
In each of these last two categories, Hubbard lost out to the same winner: Joshua Graham’s novel, Darkroom.
And if you think it sounds unfair that Graham won in two categories for the same book (and denied LRH the gold medal in each), what’s even stranger is that Graham is a legit author with a legit publishing house (Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster), and seems to have a pretty strong presence on Amazon.
What the heck is he doing in this contest?
Anyway, the one award that the church is really bragging about was in the category “Fiction: Short Story,” and was won by the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 28, the anthology coming out of this year’s contest.
Here’s what a big deal they’re making about it, forwarded to us by one of our tipsters…
You will not be surprised to hear that the rest of the e-mail encourages its recipient to purchase the anthology — and six other volumes as well.
Fox 25 in Oklahoma City Keeps the Heat on Narconon
Reporter Marisa Mendelson at the Fox Affiliate in Oklahoma City has done a third program on Narconon Arrowhead, the company’s chief facility.
Recent deaths there are bringing the kind of mainstream media scrutiny that Scientology’s quack drug treatment has long deserved. In this program, Mendelson consults an expert about the danger of denying prescription drugs to patients in rehab…
As former patients David Love and Colin Henderson increasingly garner media attention, Scientology’s most sketchy front group may find itself in serious trouble.
It’s one thing for people to hand over years of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars because they become convinced that a former pulp-era science fiction author actually did some “research” that unlocked the secret to immortal life in an impossibly old universe — a secret which turns out to include talking to ashtrays and repeating mundane sentences in mind-numbing interrogations while hooked up to a half-assed lie detector machine. If you want to mortgage your future for that “modern science of mental health,” despite all the information that’s available online about Hubbard and his organization, well, good luck with that.
But it’s another thing entirely for some of the most vulnerable members of our society — people with serious drug addictions — to be handed over to a Scientology front group that bases its “treatment” on Hubbard’s completely fallacious understanding of drug abuse. In fact, his unscientific guesses about drugs being stored in fat cells for years, and a treatment that involves weeks in a sauna while megadosed with niacin, is not only unscientific, it’s dangerous. And as long as Narconon pretends that it is not simply another recruitment tool for Scientology, then why should it enjoy the same kind of hands-off attitude from our local and national governments that always get squeamish about Scientology’s religious claims?
There’s no excuse for governments not to be concerned about what patients are subjected to in Narconon facilities. And it’s time that the state of Oklahoma in particular followed the lead of health officials in Quebec, which shut down a Narconon center there once it became clear that lives are in danger.
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.
Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Scientology was claiming California was its first “Ideal State”? Now the entire Western U.S. is the first “Ideal Continent”? At this rate, this planet will be cleared in no time!
Poetry by LRH? That’s what the e-mail that sent out this mailer claimed. I look forward to some scans of its verse qualities from our commenters.
Another tipster forward on this e-mail, and we found its unbounded enthusiasm to be infectious. Talk about theta power!
I’m at Flag getting totally blown out!! My life has utterly changed about 20 times since I’ve been here for two weeks!
The word “refresher” just doesn’t do it justice! : )
And one huge sub products of that is that I’m just getting more and more excited about helping get people up the bridge!
If you didn’t get the news….and it’s great news. I’m now posted as a Registrar!
LA Day! (of course)
I love to help people move up the bridge.
Let me know how I can help you or your friends and I will whatever it takes to really help you get a product.
I love new and seasoned Scientologists!!
You just call….out my name……!!!!……
OT, Staff, Cool
Well, that only whets our attitude for an oily dose of Super Power. Are we really only a few weeks away from the big opening? We’ll see.
Commenters of the Week!
We started things off last week with a look at a new film about Kate Bornstein looking for Kickstarter funding, and a roundup of our Sunday Funnies.
John P. was one who has been affected by Kate’s charms…
Count me in on a donation to finish the film. I am looking forward to meeting Kate at one of her events later this summer. I have a feeling it will be sort of like an audience with Elizabeth Taylor, or something.
Jefferson Hawkins seized on something in one of the Sunday Funnies mailers we posted, which made some claims about how future Ideal Orgs are going to be financed…
Wow, they dropped a bombshell here — I wonder if Scientologists will notice: “When an org becomes Ideal, a percentage of that org’s income goes into a Building Fund for new buildings per LRH Policy…By calculations of the amounts that build up in this Building Fund from just the existing Ideal Orgs, when all orgs are completed, those funds will be capable of producing a new Ideal Org from scratch…per month.”
First — yes, there is such a thing as a Building Fund. It is the ONLY way, per their own Policy, that an Org can fund a new building. Fundraising of Scientologists for a new building is forbidden by their own Policy.
Second, funds in the Building Fund are for THAT ORG ONLY. There is no general international Building Fund pool per their own Policy. Except now there is – apparently they have rigged it so that once an Org is “Ideal,” the International Finance people now can rip off their local Building Fund amounts.
So get this — the local Scientologists fund the new building by donating millions of dollars. Once the building is purchased, the title is transferred to the International Landlord Office, which is a part of the Church of Scientology’s International Finance Office. So the local people paid for it, and the International Church owns it. In addition, the local Church pays for all renovations, utilities, and property taxes.
And now we hear that all future building monies have to be paid to the International Church. This is a con of massive proportions, yet Scientologists will never catch on to it. They’ve got the blinders on.
I bet the Church is sorry now that they put me through an Organization Executive Course, where you study all Church Policy.
On Tuesday, we noted that Amanda Palmer had quite dramatically answered her critics, who wondered if her Kickstarter campaign had anything to do with Scientology.
Patty Moher nearly knocked us flat with this response…
There’s a bazillion unwritten rules in Scn. One of them is you don’t take a picture of yourself with your tits covered in Smurfs saying you’d be dumb to give your funds to Scn. If you’re a Scientologist it just would just never happen.
And obviously you would never show up at gala for Kate Bornstein and sing for her.. Scn hates Kate with a passion.
MarkStark encouraged Amanda Palmer to go even further…
Next time AFP makes her body talk, I wish she would put the F before Scientology. That would make me get physical and jump up and down. But it’s a unique way of responding to the rumors, and we appreciate her effort to not fund the cult, in that way at least. Now come on Amanda, get your ukelele out and sing us a song about Sea Org slave children.
We also posted an e-mail from our old friend Mark Miglio, who notified us that he was going to Los Angeles to join the Sea Org. JustCallMeMary put that in some perspective…
This is very sad but, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. As some of us know, Mark Miglio is not qualified for the Sea Org. Despite what the recruiter told him. These people promise many things which are mostly lies. SOP. So what will happen after all that planning and work to get there? He will spend a week or two doing his SO basics and the usual physical labor given to newbies while his folders are reviewed, his Life History gone over with a fine tooth comb. Then his senior will call him in and order him off the base, or where ever he is, because he’s illegal. Just like that. And such a rude awakening might well bring Mark not only back to posting here but to walking out the exit door forever.
Friday, we marveled at the calm stylings of David Edgar Love as he recorded a near-mugging by a Scientology operative outside the Montreal Org. “Do me a favor. Be a man. Touch me” the man said repeatedly, trying to goad Love into a confrontation. Love didn’t take the bait, and secretly recorded the incident for our listening pleasure.
Marc Abian had the same thought we did when we heard the recording…
“Touch Me – I Want to Feel Dirty” goes the song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Apparently someone’s been watching that film a few too many times. Sorry dude, no one will ever replace Susan Sarandon!
Many readers were impressed by David Love’s fortitude, which was on full display in his recording. Said Smalltowngirl580…
David Love…the more I read, hear & see of you the faster you’re becoming a hero of mine! You couldn’t have done a better job of keeping your cool while this out of control scientology monster prodded & provoked you. I’m impressed! I can’t hardly wait for you to get to Oklahoma & help us shut down Arrowhead Narconon! I’m ready to help as soon you arrive!
And Heather Grace added…
I love David Love. And a huge congratulations to Colin Henderson for getting Fox to investigate NN Arrowhead. Sensational!
Also on Friday, we noted an interesting small detail in the wild story of Luka Rocco Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor who is wanted for allegedly killing and dismembering a man and the mailing some of his victim’s body parts to political parties. According to some of this Internet postings, Magnotta got involved in Scientology around the year 2007.
John P. was one of many who urged caution, saying that Magnotta’s monstrosity probably had little to do with Scientology, even if he did become a member…
My guess is that this guy may have checked out Scientology briefly but was not actually a member working his way up the “Bridge,” donating at IAS events and all the rest of it. And the statements quoted here are so generic they could easily have been a cut-and-paste job; there’s no actual Scientology “jargon” in them. In other words, Magnotta may have been a Scientologist “wanna-be.” Can you imagine anything sadder than feeling the need to pretend to be in this cult because they won’t actually take your money?
Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack was another who recommended a wait-and-see attitude…
As the story in Canada develops, the Scientology connection should not be made more than it is. I suspect that Scientology did not create Magnotta or even add significantly to his crazed make up. It will probably turn out that Scientology was just another bit of insanity along the line.I suppose focusing on his Scientology connection is our own version of fair game. I play it myself, telling people occasionally, that the most famous Scientologist is not Tom Cruise but Charles Manson. Still, I am, at this moment listening to stories of dismembered bodies being mailed to our Federal political parties. With all the horrible things L.Ron Hubbard wanted people to do, he never advocated that.
Well, that’s certainly true, and it’s a sign of what reasonable people comment here at this blog. I think it was worth pointing out that Magnotta left behind some statements about Scientology, but it’s also true that his monstrosity is his alone.
Hey, it’s good to be back in the underground bunker after a week out of town. We have plenty more things working, so please check our Facebook author page for schedules and 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 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 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.