Tuesday, October 27, 2009

stuck in an electronic incident

If, in a scenario even more unlikely than the previous one, you decide to follow the flowchart path that leads you to Scientology, here's a couple of pieces of recent news that may be of interest.

Firstly, the high-profile defection of amusingly-named film director Paul Haggis (director of Crash and In The Valley Of Elah, and also writer of Million Dollar Baby and Quantum Of Solace, so it was presumably he who cooked up all that tosh about secret reservoirs in Bolivia). This was after a dispute over gay rights, and also about the Church of Scientology's policy of "disconnection" which Haggis had personal experience of, but the existence of which which was nonetheless denied outright on network TV by Scientology's chief public mentalist Tommy Davis. The full text of Haggis' letter can be found here.

You will of course remember Tommy Davis from this earlier post; his usual strategy is to turn up all clean-cut and suited as the friendly public face of Scientology, and then become weirdly hectoring and aggressive really quickly in a (usually successful) bid to freak everyone out and suppress any serious discussion. Full credit to Martin Bashir, then, for persisting with what should have been a totally innocuous line of questioning - one that CNN's John Roberts had a go at in the earlier clip but didn't pursue - what exactly is it that you believe? Davis' response is so peculiar it really has to be seen to be believed.

I suppose what Bashir could have done would have been to ask a couple of what you might call meta-questions on the same basic subject, like: one of the defining features of religions is that their adherents are keen to talk about them - scarcely surprisingly, since that's how they get converts. Sure, they might gloss over a few of the less palatable or more obviously ridiculous bits, but basically they'll be positively falling over themselves to tell you about how great it all is. What are we to make, then, of an organisation that claims religious status, with all the legal protections and tax breaks that go with it, but resolutely will not engage in any discussion of what the fundamentals of its belief system are? What possible motivation could there be for members of such an organisation to behave in such a way?

Secondly, if you missed the extraordinary Tom Cruise video, then I urge you to watch it; if you saw it, well, watch it again. It is mesmerisingly weird and awful. Then consider this story. The Cruise quote goes like this: "They're squirrels. Stuck in an electronic incident. It makes me so angry!". For the benefit of those not indoctrinated in the insane CoS jargon, a "squirrel" is someone who changes or subverts CoS founder, prescription drug addict and fat insane fraud L. Ron Hubbard's original texts, and an "incident" is some sort of pivotal event in human/thetan history trillions of years ago (that's right, thousands of times older than the known age of the universe), the lingering echoes of which cause psychological problems to this day. If you read the list on the Wikipedia page it sounds like Hubbard was either a) pissed or b) taking the piss when he dreamt them up. The Gorilla Goals? The Obscene Dog Incident?

Much more information is available from the in-depth investigation of Scientology done by the St. Petersburg Times. Almost inevitably, the best bit of all this is the magnificently mental response from the CoS to the allegations made by a couple of escapees, made by, you've guessed it, Tommy Davis. Two weird further things about Tommy Davis: firstly if you were listening carefully to the earlier CNN interview you'll notice his evasive response to the "what do you actually believe?" question (at about 5:10). Note the reference to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Here's where he got it from (at about 1:00). Secondly, I used to quite fancy his mother. That's that ruined then.

1 comment:

media_lush said...

re the electric squirrel Tom Cruise thing.... you might enjoy this video.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBKAEm9-YtU