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The Church of Scientology's International Dissemination and Distribution Center
February 2, 2011 11:15 AM   Subscribe

The anchor of the printing plant is a custom-built 121-ton web press. ... It prints at a rate of 55,000 pages per hour. ... The mailing system is fully automated and is capable of addressing 150,000 pieces every eight hours. The entire shipping line is capable of shipping better than 500,000 boxes and individual items each week.

The organization boasts of its ability to keep 2,500 lectures in print for 50 languages.
posted by Joe Beese (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Xenu ♥s dead media.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:22 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It wouldn't be the first time that the church has been accused of buying a massive number of its books with the intent of creating a best seller and making it appear that church writings were immensely popular. In an article in 1991, 'The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,' Time magazine made the accusation. Time's cover article said Scientology director David Miscavige, described as 'cunning, ruthless and so paranoid about perceived enemies that he kept plastic wrap over his glass of water,' is obsessed with obtaining credibility for the church in the 1990s. Among the tactics Time listed were: 'Retains public relations powerhouse Hill and Knowlton to help shed the church's fringe-group image; buys massive quantities of its own books from retail stores to propel the titles onto best-seller lists; recruits wealthy and respected professionals through a web of consulting groups that typically hide their ties to Scientology.' The church promptly took Time to court, but Time won. Litigation, and training bullying publicity agents, is standard procedure, it seems, for the church. The tactics worked against the IRS, which agreed after a barrage of lawsuits against the agency and some of its employees to grant Scientology tax-exempt status.

Link.
posted by docgonzo at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2011


Well, that's one way to push a message worldwide... impressive technology.

Dr Goebbels would be proud to have such a facility.
posted by MikeWarot at 11:33 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm liking this related video:
Meet a Scientologist: Phra, Buddhist Monk

I don't know anything about either Buddhism or Scientology but does that make any sense?
posted by ofthestrait at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2011


It's really an impressive video.. I mean, it's scary how much fucking money they have to be able to produce this much and have all of those machines and all of this crap. Those machines are AWESOME.. just wish they weren't being used for alien religion.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:39 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


For all the tech that Scientology has, this is the most impressive.
posted by Drama Penguin at 11:43 AM on February 2, 2011


Link 2 has autoplaying verbal nonsense.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 11:50 AM on February 2, 2011


I don't know anything about either Buddhism or Scientology but does that make any sense?

At the lowest level Scientology does a good job separating Scientology the cult from Scientology the process. In my experience, Scientology heavily markets their processes (called "auditing") to other religions who would be amenable to their low-level teachings of focus, concentration, and introspection. I knew a couple Buddhists in LA who were also heavily in to Scientology. They also thought that through auditing they could access their pasts lives - I tell you, if past lives exist then there must have been hundreds of Egyptian queens named Cleopatra.

The crazy parts - Xenu, thetans, etc - doesn't come till much later. That's sort of how they hook people - if they start with the crazy stuff right off, then they turn everyone away.
posted by muddgirl at 11:53 AM on February 2, 2011


When your business is lading shit, you buy good shovels.
posted by cortex at 11:58 AM on February 2, 2011 [23 favorites]


Elaborating: This whole "Church of Scientology" thing is really odd - since the 1950s they have claimed to be a church for tax purposes, but Hubbard based Scientology on a previous psychotherapy scheme called Dianetics, and he initially called Scientology "a religious philosophy", and they continue to sell themselves more on the self-help side than on the religious-y side.
posted by muddgirl at 12:07 PM on February 2, 2011


It prints at a rate of 55,000 pages per hour. ... The mailing system is fully automated and is capable of addressing 150,000 pieces every eight hours.

Having poked around for a while in the world of high-volume offset printing, those numbers actually seem a bit low.

Printing/collating huge volumes of pages with constant content, and ramming them into envelopes at high speeds is nothing particularly new. It's 1940s technology.

Of course, variable content, and stuffing envelopes with variable numbers of pages (ie. phone bills) is a lot more difficult.
posted by schmod at 12:25 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, we ride our bikes past the Scientology compound every week on our way to the Farmer's Market (which is right across from the L. Ron museum). All the apartment buildings around there are full of Sea Org drones (we call 'em Sea Monkeys), and it's a weird sight to see. Maybe I should go around photographing them — the blank stares make them all look more like zombies than people.
posted by klangklangston at 12:44 PM on February 2, 2011


It would be less disturbing if the inspiration for the cinematography and music wasn't the tracking shot in LOTR: The Two Towers where Saruman is forging swords and building his army.
posted by scottjlowe at 12:52 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I especially like the comments for that first video.
posted by spasm at 12:59 PM on February 2, 2011


there must have been hundreds of Egyptian queens named Cleopatra.

Around six.
posted by Zed at 1:39 PM on February 2, 2011


Also, if Scientology gets to have one of those, it's totally reasonable for me to want my own Espresso Book Machine, right?
posted by Zed at 1:55 PM on February 2, 2011


if past lives exist then there must have been hundreds of Egyptian queens named Cleopatra.

Since she lived so long ago, assuming she had children (?), there is a pretty good chance that a large percentage of people alive today are her direct descendants. See "The Royal We". Of course, most people alive today are also direct descendants of Muamar, the 1st century unknown and untouchable night-soil collector from Cairo. Take your pick :)
posted by stbalbach at 2:05 PM on February 2, 2011


This comment has received too many negative votes
posted by fullerine at 2:06 PM on February 2, 2011


When I lived in Denmark in the late 80s, the Scientology building on a street near where I worked occupied about a half a block and you could hear presses running within at all hours.
posted by bz at 2:11 PM on February 2, 2011


Dammit fullerine, that was _my_ line.

(almost makes me want to trawl through the Scientology YouTube videos to how many more were "audited". almost.)
posted by djrock3k at 2:19 PM on February 2, 2011


The anchor of the printing plant is a custom-built 121-ton web press.

meh. these are probably short tons.
posted by rog at 2:44 PM on February 2, 2011


I was wondering why they would produce this video, as it mainly strikes me as anti-Scientology terrorism porn. "Here's this amazing target to strike at, all under one roof!"
posted by Menthol at 2:48 PM on February 2, 2011


Operation Clambake, undressing Scientology since 1996.
posted by elpapacito at 3:22 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If your curious how they keep all those webs tensioned correctly you can read about it here(pdf).

Goes back to programming servo's.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 3:33 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having poked around for a while in the world of high-volume offset printing, those numbers actually seem a bit low.

Printing/collating huge volumes of pages with constant content, and ramming them into envelopes at high speeds is nothing particularly new. It's 1940s technology.


I was going to say the same thing. I've seen web presses crank out the entire run of Victoria's Secret catalogs for all of North America in less than a day. And the multiple-language thing, I assume they're doing single (usually black) plate changes. Easy, done that many times.

It's new and shiny and they're obviously very proud of it, but there's hundreds of commercial printers in the US that can do that. But this way they can control every step, and that's obviously their primary goal.
posted by cRamsay at 8:01 PM on February 2, 2011


They have a similar facility in Copenhagen of all places. New Era Publications.

Scientology is one scary organization.
posted by rmmcclay at 8:14 PM on February 2, 2011


Those machines are AWESOME

yes, they are - i'm professionally involved with web presses frequently, (although i spend most of my time in the other department), and those web presses beat the shit out of what we have

yes, it's 1940s technology at the heart of it - and i could show you some 1940s presses to prove that

but did anyone notice how the floors in the first video were all blurry and shiny? - they've got a clean shop, much cleaner than ours - but there's no damn way there wouldn't be paper dust all over those floors during production runs

interesting what video technology can hide
posted by pyramid termite at 9:23 PM on February 2, 2011


Of course, most people alive today are also direct descendants of Muamar, the 1st century unknown and untouchable night-soil collector from Cairo.

he couldn't have been THAT untouchable
posted by pyramid termite at 9:31 PM on February 2, 2011


The equipment is beautiful. The actual printed material however, is horrid. Enough with the cheesy, movie poster style volcano already. Scientologist designers are worse than their actors.
posted by pmaxwell at 1:21 AM on February 5, 2011


"They have a similar facility in Copenhagen of all places. New Era Publications."

Yeah, that's the one I was referring to. It was on Store Kongensgade when I was living there. I see it is now out in Glostrup.
posted by bz at 5:43 PM on February 7, 2011


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