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Scientology Strikes Back!
September 1, 2011 10:18 AM   Subscribe

"The New Yorker": Tabloid of Record

"Freedom," the journalistic side-arm of the "Church of Scientology," publishes and distributes a parody to refute/deny the "24,000 word odyssey" by Lawrence Wright profiling "apostate" Paul Haggis. previously, and previously.
posted by emhutchinson (64 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, you do not want to piss these people off.
posted by zzazazz at 10:25 AM on September 1, 2011


I know, they might mumble a cuttingly wry quip to polite laughter at a dinner party
posted by The Whelk at 10:26 AM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


and then you're not invited to the Hamptons and you have to go upstate
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, it's like the dude editing the video was paid per motionPath.
posted by hellojed at 10:29 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scientologists suck. But we knew that...

I know what you're trying to say, but it's just not true. Scientologists themselves put up with so much crap. They are good people in search of truth, meaning and sanity in their lives. Read interviews with current Scientologists, and you won't hear hateful people. You hear people who feel hurt and persecuted by criticism of their religion, but who also have their own doubts and personal opinions about Scientology which they might not be free to express.

The mentality that produces a video like this is not "Scientologists" per se, it's David Miscavige, who IS a hateful person and rules the entire religion with an iron fist. The people who work at the paramilitary base/movie studio where this thing was probably produced are compelled to make this material under penalty of imprisonment and slavery.

Saying "Scientologists suck" is like saying "Catholics suck" in response to an abuse by the higher-ups in the Vatican.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:35 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


For some reason this is linking to the second of three clips on this (the first one, I guess, smearing the New Yorker itself). That's over 30 minutes of this thing. Not only is that a lot of effort to put into making a dis track, but who the fuck is going to watch 30 minutes of this?

*hears a knock at the door*

Ooops.
posted by CharlesV42 at 10:36 AM on September 1, 2011


Do Beck or Tom Cruise show up? If not, I'm out.
posted by Theta States at 10:42 AM on September 1, 2011


Remember that part in the Haggis vs. Scientology New Yorker piece where he tells the author to expect something to befall him in a few years?

This is THAT? This is the best they could do?

Wow.
posted by basicchannel at 10:44 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


You hear people who feel hurt and persecuted by criticism of their religion, but who also have their own doubts and personal opinions about Scientology which they might not be free to express.

That they are not free to express those doubts is why their religion is criticized.

I submit that this is their problem.
posted by Trurl at 10:54 AM on September 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't understand what is so remarkable about this piece. It is toxic trash that isn't really suitable for MetaFilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:58 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


[early threadshitting considered harmful to MetaFilter - changed the link in the post to go where the OP wanted, carry on.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:59 AM on September 1, 2011


Wait wait wait, you're asking me to pick sides between The New Yorker and Scientology?
posted by reductiondesign at 11:10 AM on September 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


I love this.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:11 AM on September 1, 2011


Wait wait wait, you're asking me to pick sides between The New Yorker and Scientology

One provides lots of puzzling laughs on a regular basis, the other is The New Yorker.
posted by found missing at 11:19 AM on September 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


One is cultish, cliquish and insiderish, the other is Scientology.
posted by verstegan at 11:27 AM on September 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Saying "Scientologists suck" is like saying "Catholics suck" in response to an abuse by the higher-ups in the Vatican.

Catholicism is a religion and cult but Scientology is just a cult. And it sucks from any sane point of view. That's not to say people don't have a right to join it and live under it's twisted rules. But it does suck, objectively speaking, to most moral people, because it's based on fraud and ripping people off basically.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:35 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Plus, Clams.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:36 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The thing that pisses me off about Scientology is that they use science in their name.
posted by srboisvert at 11:44 AM on September 1, 2011 [8 favorites]


Yeah, but with a fakety root that anyone who got better than 1000 on their SATs should be able to recognize as made-up bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 11:47 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm more pissed off by the "ology" part.
posted by steambadger at 11:50 AM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait wait wait, you're asking me to pick sides between The New Yorker and Scientology.

Is this sarcasm? I seriously can't tell.
posted by diogenes at 11:51 AM on September 1, 2011


I've always figured "Scientology" is like when frozen food has Chickin' instead of Chicken - a misspelling that flags it as bullshit. "Yeah, we're all about Scients!"
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was going to save this until the series completed but what the hell. By the Village Voice's Tony Ortega,

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
25 Xenu
24 David Touretzky (and other academics)
23 Ken Dandar (and other attorneys litigating against the church)
22 Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
21 Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
20 Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
19 The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
18 Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
17 Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
16 Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
15 Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
14 Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
posted by scalefree at 11:52 AM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Three brief things:

—Scientology and their loose relationship with the truth, persecution of defectors and constant dissembling really reminds me of the general mien of Stalinism. Comparing this essay to those against Trotskyites shows a lot of rhetorical similarity, at least to me. It's one of those things that put me in the moralfag camp.

—One of the things that really bothers me about Scientology is how they deal with sexuality. While I was canvassing for gay marriage, I was in the same spaces as a lot of canvassers (or proselytizers or solicitors) for Scientology, and I got to talking to both folks inside the cult and some that had left. They really do use a methodology designed to use shame as a means of control, and peddle a pseudo-scientific (natch) "cure" for gays and bisexuals who are already vulnerable to being told that there's something wrong with them and being gulled into spending money to be accepted. It's predatory and disgusting in a way that seems really visceral to me.

—The Seaorg folks are fucking weird. They live in a bunch of (beautiful) buildings not far from here (self-link to a photo of their building that I took that is my best-selling card), and go to the same farmer's market as my girlfriend and I. They always look perpetually paranoid and inhibited, and will look right through you if you attempt to make any sort of conversation beyond asking for directions or the time. (Also, when I took that shot, the security guards followed me for 15 minutes.) Apparently, they sign MILLION YEAR contracts — I ran into a guy who had gotten out of Scientology and they'd sued him for breach of contract, and extracted a pretty weird settlement where he's just not supposed to reveal any of his experiences. It's total barratry, but I think it illustrates just how weirdly committed they are to image control.
posted by klangklangston at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Theologically, the significance of Scientology calling its breakaway group a "cult" is really worth an article in itself. I stand by the argument that this religion is so secretive because it is so new and unsure if its scripture will stand the test of time.
posted by parmanparman at 12:04 PM on September 1, 2011



Saying "Scientologists suck" is like saying "Catholics suck" in response to an abuse by the higher-ups in the Vatican.


Who pays their salary, ultimately?
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:05 PM on September 1, 2011


overeducated_alligator, the people who have fallen for the scientology con may be really nice people, but they're dupes. Mocking scientology does more than just annoy scientologists; it makes it that much more unlikely that people will fall for their con in the future.
posted by MrVisible at 12:08 PM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I had some experience with Scientology and I found the "rank and file" Scientologists to be not very nice people. They were cynical, hypocritical, aggressive, contemptuous, and relentlessly deceitful. The first thing a Scientologist ever said to me was a blatant lie: "This free personality test will only take a minute!" And it never got any better.

I talked to a couple of them about the religious aspect of Scientology - the idea of it being a "church" - and both of them actually snickered. They didn't consider it a religion, rather they told me Hubbard had brilliantly disguised it as a religion to immunize "the org" from state persecution.

I asked them why they charged people for the knowledge if they believed it was the true history of humanity and would make the world better, and they said they had as much right to make money as anybody else.

One day when I showed up a little early for my lesson, I found myself waiting outside the main room listening to a meeting of the "church" staff. It was all about "moving product" and one of the top guys yelling at everybody to get out their list of "drop-outs" and start making phone calls. When I finished my "course" and stopped going they called for months and one of them finally showed up on my doorstep one evening, expecting to be invited in.

They only got $40 out of me, and it was worth it. Now when people talk about Scientology I feel like I've had a glimpse inside. There was nothing impressive about the people, the "church" or the information.
posted by Max Udargo at 12:09 PM on September 1, 2011 [19 favorites]


I came to this thread without having logged in and there was a nice big exploding Hubbard-volcano at the bottom of the page...
Ha. I'm watching the video. That is one dense, layered, deluge of DIS.

What a joke.
posted by JBennett at 12:12 PM on September 1, 2011


I know, they might mumble a cuttingly wry quip to polite laughter at a dinner party

And then the internet will replace that quip with "Christ, what an asshole", and all will agree it was a dramatic improvement.
posted by mhoye at 12:17 PM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


... a fakety root that anyone who got better than 1000 on their SATs should be able to recognize as made-up bullshit.

Calling in from the Philology Bunker-- To give the -ologists their due, scient- is the correct root for the Latin word "scientia," from which we get (through French) our word "science." Hence scientism, scientist, etc., and not sciencism, etc.
posted by homerica at 12:17 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That New Yorker article came out half a year ago. Perhaps publishing is not their strong suit.
posted by ejoey at 12:18 PM on September 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:20 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Scientology is a complete load of shit. Simple, short and true fact. If you get involved with them your life is going to change for the worse.
posted by analogtom at 12:21 PM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I stand by the argument that this religion is so secretive because it is so new and unsure if its scripture will stand the test of time.

In a word, no. Secrecy is intrinsic to the belief system (I won't call it a religion), it is a hermetic, gnostic system that relies on the surprise of not knowing the inner secrets until you study them at the approved time & in the approved manner, with the "church" charging a hefty fee for each step on the path to your salvation. Personal insight & revelation are key aspects of the system, or as they say "what's true is what's true for you".

On the flip side of the coin, LRH was from childhood on a congenital liar always paranoid about being caught out until he conned himself into megalomania, so any organization designed & built by him reflected his sociopathic personality. In any event secrecy & paranoia aren't something Scientology will ever be rid of.
posted by scalefree at 12:27 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like Allan Shore's take best.
posted by timsteil at 12:40 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do scientologists exist online? Usually with any contentious issue you will be able to find boards filled with ardent defenders of whatever the topic is. Even paid sock-puppet comments, perhaps.
But I've never seen anyone online defend Scientology beyond a "hey guys, stop picking on them..." kind of way.

Are they told to stay off the internet? Or is there some newspaper site out there that I have just missed where Scientology articles are all chock full of support for Scientologists and condemnation of the naysayers?
posted by Theta States at 12:43 PM on September 1, 2011


Apparently, they sign MILLION YEAR contracts

Those are the temps.

The standard SeaOrg contract is for a billion years.
posted by Trurl at 12:43 PM on September 1, 2011


"Calling in from the Philology Bunker-- To give the -ologists their due, scient- is the correct root for the Latin word "scientia," from which we get (through French) our word "science." Hence scientism, scientist, etc., and not sciencism, etc."

And it's mixed with a Greek root for "speaking of" (basically). I'm no "television" prude, but Scientology is pretty clearly a made-up word designed to impress people without the discerning philological sense of your average middle-school sci-fi nerd.
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are they told to stay off the internet?

I think they are told to avoid non-Scientologists. I have this impression based on something I read about kids growing up in Scientology -- particularly if they go to Scientology schools (which exist and are apparently worthless), a lot of them reach adulthood having never really interacted with any non-Scientologists (as well as being functionally illiterate). I'll see if I can track down a link or two.
posted by devinemissk at 12:48 PM on September 1, 2011


One is cultish, cliquish and insiderish, the other is Scientology.

If only Mr. Shawn had replied to Hubbard's letters, history might have been so much different.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:00 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do scientologists exist online? Usually with any contentious issue you will be able to find boards filled with ardent defenders of whatever the topic is. Even paid sock-puppet comments, perhaps.
But I've never seen anyone online defend Scientology beyond a "hey guys, stop picking on them..." kind of way.


There's a recent amphibian contributor who could elucidate on this.
posted by Steakfrites at 1:09 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do scientologists exist online? Are they told to stay off the internet? Or is there some newspaper site out there that I have just missed where Scientology articles are all chock full of support for Scientologists and condemnation of the naysayers?

For the most part they're told to stay off the Internet, which is reinforced with severe penalties for reading "entheta" (negative information, with an implicit undertone of lies) that could be damaging to their "case" (personal progress within Scn.) They could be ordered to take (and be charged for) a remedial course designed to stifle dissent or otherwise have their progress "across the Bridge" delayed (& social status within the organization lowered). Full-time staff & Sea Org don't even have the choice available to them; TVs, radios & Internet are pretty much forbidden to them.

Sometimes you'll see someone shilling the party line on a forum or comments page anyway. Typically these people turn out to be either staff of the Orwellian "Office of Special Affairs", the combined internal & external intelligence arm of the cult, or members who've already slipped up & earned a "lower condition" they need to work their way out of by performing a series of steps called "A to E" that includes "striking an effective blow to the enemies" of the cult.

While he was still alive Hubbard was a master at creating a mazelike structure of commands, imperatives & mental knots for his followers to wrap themselves up in. His successor, David Miscavige, has added a layer of brutal sadism to it that's only recently being uncovered. Together they've made a system more dedicated to evil than anything I've ever encountered. It's hard for civilized people to wrap their minds around, which is one of its greatest defenses. As Kayser Soze said, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
posted by scalefree at 1:09 PM on September 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


The thing that pisses me off about Scientology is that they use science in their name.

Well, there is the part about claiming to be a religion for the tax write off.
posted by y2karl at 1:34 PM on September 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's up with all the weird jargon Scientologists come up with? Is there some sort of reason they do this like enforcing some kind of us/them dichotomy? Every time I see another article about the church, I learn a new word or phrase.
posted by Mcable at 3:52 PM on September 1, 2011


People say they're watching a video...

In my browser, the main link of this FPP was to an 11-page long text article.

What am I missing? Was the link changed? I'm so confused! Maybe I need to get clear.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on September 1, 2011


Mcable-
L. Ron was a crafty, crafty guy. He knew that having an exclusive vocabulary would really help to push his group along. The further along he got, the more words he invented, and he did it for a very specific purpose.

Exclusive vocabularies can have quite a few purposes.

Doctors and lawyers have their own exclusive vocabularies to some extent. In some cases, it's necessary (doctors, lawyers). The effect is that it becomes very difficult for the average joe to talk to people from these groups about their professional work in any detail. Of course, that's fine... would we understand the complexities of what they're discussing anyway without the education they have? Probably not. We ask them to put it in "layman's terms," they give us a simpler explanation, and we're all good.

In other cases, exclusive vocabulary is purely to sound fancy and important. An example would be the ridiculous lingo out there in the education field- edspeak.

Normal person: "I'm taking a look at my state's standards for what I have to teach in my class. I'm looking carefully so I can make a good plan for all of my students, even the ones that have special needs."

Edspeak-infested teacher: "I'm unpacking frameworks and drilling down in order to discover a scaffolded scope and sequence for my normative students and my ELL and 504 learners."

Annoying, right? The effect is that the edspeaker gets to feel fancy, and you get to feel like they must be smarter than you or something because of all this exclusionary lingo they know.

The Scientologist is a whole level beyond that. L. Ron wrote a vocabulary that is so wacky, so pervasive, and so unnecessary that it is completely and utterly exclusionary. When their brain starts to see the world in terms of enturbulations, thetans, comm-evs, squirrels, aberrated matter, and entheta, you can't communicate with them and they can't communicate with you. The effect here is that they stay isolated, and they thus fork over more money and stay in the group longer.
posted by Old Man McKay at 4:33 PM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


One is cultish, cliquish and insiderish, the other is Scientology.

THOU SHALT SPELL IT COÖPERATE
posted by JHarris at 5:14 PM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


FWIW, I have an anecdote about a rank'n'file Scientologist I encountered when I was at Berklee (in Boston), many years ago. We were used to the guys with clipboards pestering new classmates at the corner of Mass. Ave. & Boylston, asking if they wanted to take a personality test; their "church" was not far away in Back Bay. (A friend of mine was walking by there one day and saw a woman emerging from the doorway, screaming back into it, "I WANT MY TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS BACK!" Another friend's approach to the clipboard minions was Dadaist: quote Frank Zappa lyrics back to them in response to their initial hails: "Is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?", etc.) But one evening at dinner in the cafeteria in the basement of the Mass. Ave. building we were pestered by a fellow student, apparently a recent convert, eager to tout the many benefits of Scientology, all the allegedly practical ways it could improve our lives. He dogged us all the way up the stairs to the dorm floors' entrance, where there was a security guard to whom you had to show your Berklee ID. As we approached, he said, earnestly, now here's a way you can make sure someone remembers you, and proceeded to get just centimetres from the guy and held the card right in front of the guy's face.

Yeah, he'll remember you, alright….!

(BTW, as a lifelong reader of The New Yorker, I can only say, yeah, yeah, elitist, grammar Nazis, whatever, but who published Sy Hersh's exposé of Abu Ghraib? Or Frances Fitzgerald's devastating 1986 piece on the Rajneeshi's in Oregon, for that matter?)
posted by Philofacts at 5:28 PM on September 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


I guess if you must pick on scientologists you should call them "dupes" or "shills" or something.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:07 PM on September 1, 2011


Scientology is pretty clearly a made-up word

What other kinds of words are there--ones that are less clearly made-up?
posted by layceepee at 8:34 PM on September 1, 2011


The thing that pisses me off about Scientology is that they use science in their name.

But that's the only place they use it!
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:45 PM on September 1, 2011


"And then there's Paul Haggis. He's a shitty person no one likes his movies he sucks so much and so does that stupid writer fuck him no one likes them. Losers right? I bet they smell gross even after taking a shower."

I know there's more to this article but DEAR LORD THAT TONE IS FITFUL.

Oh Scientology. When the best you can do is appeal to group-hate, the rest of us are laughing.
posted by Taft at 9:11 PM on September 1, 2011


Started watching, but that fake "I'm just asking questions" style got under my skin in about 10 seconds.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:28 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


So all the Scientology barbs sound like middle school insults am I correct on that?
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old Man Mckay- Anyone who thinks that 'Ed-speak' makes them sound smarter is sorely misinformed. (I would say there's actually an inverse correlation in there). Can't wait 'til Tuesday!

I also got the free personality test many years ago in CA as a visiting teenager. I wanted to stay and talk to the interviewer about L Ron Hubbard and Science Fiction and how it all works but they actually ushered me out of their office. Teens with too much to say and too little to spend are obviously not high on the recruiting list. Fortunately for me.
posted by bquarters at 8:08 AM on September 2, 2011


What other kinds of words are there--ones that are less clearly made-up?

The word "Boom!" is very clearly not made-up. It's about as not-made-up as words get. Also it is fun.

Boom!
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:20 AM on September 2, 2011


Wait a minute! "enturbulations" is used seriously by Scientologists? It sounds like such a hurble-gurble word to me. I'd just assume anyone using it was making fun of someone else's pretentions.

The debate about the philological legitimacy of the word 'scientology' misses the core point. It's not a good description of what they claim to do: science of mental health. Maybe 'mentology' would work (as 'psychology' and 'phrenology' are already taken).

Anyone know what 'dianetics' is supposed to mean? Sounds like dia- (through) + kinetics (motion). "Moving through things"? I actually thing 'dianetics' is a pretty cool sounding coinage, but again not a good description of what they do. Better applied to the practice of breaking boards with your karate fist of power.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:23 AM on September 2, 2011


Boom.

Boom Boom.

By Jove, it is fun!
posted by benito.strauss at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2011


Wait a minute! "enturbulations" is used seriously by Scientologists?

It's actually one of their key concepts, in practice at least. For instance when a Scn starts expressing doubts they're issued a "non-enturbulation order" which is basically a Scn equivalent of a restraining order warning other Scns that the offender is a PTS (Potential Trouble Source) who should be avoided as a source of enturbulation. If the PTS persists in their CI (Counter Intention) they're at risk of becoming a full-fledged SP (Suppressive Person). Any Scn MIGS (Member In Good Standing) who remains in Comm (communication) with an SP risks being labelled a PTS themselves unless they file a formal Disconnection Notice stating to the SP that they're severing all ties with them until they come to their senses, repent & perform a series of acts of contrition (Steps A to E).

I've simplified things a good bit but you get the gist of it. If you think I'm kidding or exaggerating & want to read it in the original language, here's a taste of it. It's a psychological maze of sheer brilliant evil.
posted by scalefree at 7:58 PM on September 2, 2011


Shee-it. I used to think that I could never become a Scientologist because I'm too much of a free thinker, wouldn't give up my independence, etc. etc. etc.

Now I know I could never become a Scientologist because they would kick me out for not being able to stop giggling.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:48 PM on September 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


@benito.strauss:

An ounce of ridicule is worth a pound of sober analysis.
posted by Philofacts at 9:59 PM on September 3, 2011


Do not listen to this show as its weird and has squirrel stuff on it.
posted by scalefree at 1:04 AM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute! "enturbulations" is used seriously by Scientologists? It sounds like such a hurble-gurble word to me. I'd just assume anyone using it was making fun of someone else's pretentions.

It's a little-known fact that L. Ron Hubbard, in addition to being a science fiction author, war hero and founder of a religion that provides the One Real Truth of the world due to his extensive adventures in past lives, also invented a handy device called the turbo encabulator. Work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a machine that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters.
posted by JHarris at 5:59 AM on September 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


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