Oh my god! They killed Chef! You bastards!
March 23, 2006 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Did Isaac Hayes really quit South Park? Last night's show roasted Hayes for his irate departure following the now-infamous Scientology episode (banned from the air in Tom Cruise's litigious wake, full episode here). In the latest episode, masters of subtlety Trey Parker and Matt Stone depict Chef as having fallen prey to an insidious cult, the "Super Adventure Club", subsequently killing him off in a manner that would make Kenny jealous. But today FoxNews reports that Isaac Hayes has been in the hospital since Jan. 17th, following a stroke, and never issued a statement. Apparently, the Scientology Center issued it "for" him. [via] [previously discussed here here and here]
posted by mowglisambo (81 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Apologies if this story has already been run into the ground, but it seemed like an interesting follow-up.
posted by mowglisambo at 11:17 AM on March 23, 2006


It is kind of interesting...it's certainly the kind of thing the Scientologists would do. And wasn't Hayes diagnosed with some sort of cancer (prostate, I think) over a year ago? It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the poor guy has no clue what's going on and is being unfairly reamed out. Who knows?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2006


It deserves a follow-up after last night's great, great show.

What a way to make a disgruntled employee go out. Should be textbook material for all MBA's.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2006


Interesting, but do you have a real news source?
posted by 2sheets at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2006


Be sure to mention the finale of the show where they say (let me pull out the summary quotes) "We love chef. We're not mad at him, we're mad at the fruity cult that scrambled his brains".
posted by team lowkey at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2006


One of the cable stations keeps showing a tape of Hayes as they talk about the issue. But I can't remember if he actually talks or if it's just old, file tape. This is very interesting. How weird.
Thanks for the post.
posted by etaoin at 11:29 AM on March 23, 2006


That's nuts. I'm wondering who is actually taking charge of his medical care.
posted by empath at 11:35 AM on March 23, 2006


Wait, I thought these people didn't really believe in medical care?
posted by Lusy P Hur at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2006


Last night's show was only okay up until the "We don't blame chef! We blame the crazy club that mixed up his mind!" quote. I laughed for about ten minutes.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2006


Or, Hayes has suddenly realized what a hypocrite he looks like and has decided to reverse gears
posted by poppo at 11:38 AM on March 23, 2006


This whole thing reads like some kind of futuristic William Gibson-esque media-darling drama, but with less simstim, perfectly nanotech engineered eyes and teeth, interestingly dangerous drugs or cybernetic boobies.

Tally, is that you? Angie? Oh, hell no! Children, do I look like I got no balls? Daaamn.
posted by loquacious at 11:40 AM on March 23, 2006


But today FoxNews reports that Isaac Hayes has been in the hospital since Jan. 17th, following a stroke, and never issued a statement. Apparently, the Scientology Center issued it "for" him.

The "article" does not report this at all. It certainly insinuates it. The sole piece of "news" here is that:

Friends in Memphis tell me that Hayes did not issue any statements on his own about South Park. They are mystified.

It does not specify whether these are friends of Isaac Hayes or Roger Friedman. Furthermore, it's rather unclear how these "friends" can be so informed about Isaac Hayes' day-to-day activities that they can categorically deny that he ever made a public statement—which Isaac Hayes does not deny making—but they are apparently not close enough to Isaac Hayes to simply ask him who did release the statement and why.

Mind you, it would not surprise me in the least to find that the Scientologists have applied great pressure to Isaac Hayes to make this statement, and probably even wrote it for him. But there is no news in this article. The claim that Isaac Hayes had a stroke three months ago is unsubstantiated and irrelevant.
posted by designbot at 11:40 AM on March 23, 2006


I want directors and producers and networks and studios to stop hiring crazy Scientologists. Maybe if they did, Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes and Kirstie Allen and all the rest of them would shut their ignorant mouths.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:40 AM on March 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


reverse gears backpedal

thats more appropriate
posted by poppo at 11:41 AM on March 23, 2006


There's a joke lurking somewhere in all this that I can't quite come up with. But the punch line is

"Shaft!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:44 AM on March 23, 2006


good work designbot
posted by poppo at 11:45 AM on March 23, 2006


As always, the new episode is available from Mr. Twig if you didn't get to see it.

Now all we need for a proper South Park thread is someone to tell us how stupid and retarded the show is, and that we are all brainless morons for watching and enjoying it.
posted by First Post at 11:48 AM on March 23, 2006


Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes and Kirstie Allen and all the rest of them would shut their ignorant mouths

lots of non-Scientologist celebrities are certainly ignorant, and God knows they don't shut their mouths.
what's your plan to silence them?
posted by matteo at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2006


designbot has shown himself to be an aberrated SP. Start a SC on all PTSs and prepare them for SRA in case they RS on their audits. We can't have anyone alter-is the tech.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2006


South Park?! Gimme a break! What a stupid and retarded show. And you're all a bunch of brainless morons for watching it!

Do I get a cookie?
posted by lodurr at 11:54 AM on March 23, 2006


and, the reason Cruise finds work in Hollywood may have something to do with how much his movies make at the box office.

I'm sure that all that cash might make discrimination against Scientology believers harder in any business, not just in Hollywood
Tom Cruise got a more immediate slice of the action for Mission Impossible 2 . In return for his producing, acting, guaranteeing against cost overruns, and paying other gross players their share—including Director John Woo's 7.5 percent—Cruise's production company got 30 percent of Paramount's adjusted gross receipts. Since the DVD royalty going into the MI:2 pool was calculated at 40 percent royalty, Cruise would end up getting 12 percent of the DVD revenue. As part of his unique deal, Cruise did not take up-front fixed compensation (other than the minimum required by the Screen Actor Guild), and, in return, his 30 percent contingent compensation was not deferred until a cash break-even threshold was met.
posted by matteo at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2006


Psychotonomy
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:58 AM on March 23, 2006


Do I get a cookie?

Yes. That was a very sincere reading :)
posted by First Post at 11:58 AM on March 23, 2006


lots of non-Scientologist celebrities are certainly ignorant, and God knows they don't shut their mouths.
what's your plan to silence them?


bullets
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:11 PM on March 23, 2006


RakDaddy is my hero. I think.
posted by lodurr at 12:13 PM on March 23, 2006


YouTube has the video, of course.

Maybe he's still okay. Really... they say the last thing you do before you die is... oh... nevermind.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:15 PM on March 23, 2006


Lusy P Hur writes "I thought these people didn't really believe in medical care?"

Just psychiatry and similar mental health stuff. They believe in physical health care, look at all the money Cruise spent on his pregnancy. It's those other whack jobs the Christian Scientists who think prayer will cure a bleeding head wound and meningitis.
posted by Mitheral at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2006


Dammit. I keep forgetting to watch South Park. Now I have to find the full episode somewhere.
posted by stavrogin at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2006


oh, duh. It's linked in the post.
posted by stavrogin at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2006


Or not.
posted by stavrogin at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2006


Wait, I thought these people didn't really believe in medical care?

Good one. Hopefully that was humor (and the question mark a reference to the earlier "uptalk" thread). If not, you have mistaken Scientology with Christian Scientists.
posted by spock at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2006


Could someone upload the whole thing to YouTube?
posted by Haarball at 1:20 PM on March 23, 2006


Now I have to find the full episode somewhere.

Again: torrents up at mrtwig.net. Realmedia and AVI.

They have a pretty good selection of past episodes and seasons, too.

Apparently Matt and Trey are pretty cool with that sort of thing.
posted by First Post at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2006


Could someone upload the whole thing to YouTube?

Jesus. Are people not even subtle about this anymore?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:28 PM on March 23, 2006


No, not really. I'm not in the US, so I couldn't watch it on the telly, and I don't (and can't have) a torrent app on this laptop I'm on.

I'll get it later on.

Matt and Trey have probably understood that prohibiting stuff from getting and spreading on the internet is bloody useless, and that it in fact makes their show more popular and reach out to a larger audience.
posted by Haarball at 1:39 PM on March 23, 2006


Wait, I thought these people didn't really believe in medical care?


Psychiatry, you mean. They call it a pseudoscience and lament the use of anti-depressants to treat post-partum depression, among other things.
posted by OpinioNate at 1:40 PM on March 23, 2006


Could someone upload the whole thing to YouTube?

Jesus fucking Christ, man! Catch a re-run! Set your goddamn VCR to record! Buy a TiVO. Or, barring that, hunt for it. It won't hurt to work, I promise. Why, back in my day we had to hunt for things we wanted all the time. We even had "stores" called "record shops" where we would "crate dig" for "vinyl" for "hours and hours." Now, son, I'm not mad: just disappointed in you.

YouTube. My God.
posted by ford and the prefects at 1:41 PM on March 23, 2006


Matt and Trey

don't own the show. Stop using this stupid argument. Agree with downloading episodes or not (and I do in a lot of cases, such as yours) but saying the creators don't have a problem with is is legally irrelevant. I care what Matt Haughey thinks, given that his site has now linked to illegal downloads several times in the last week.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:51 PM on March 23, 2006


Does anyone else find it strange that the episode in question aired way back in November but Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes and the rest of the Scientology yahoos didn't say a word about it for four months? You know - until a week before the new season started? Weird timing. Someone needs to get all parties involved hooked up to e-meters pronto.

/conspiracyfilter
posted by hypocritical ross at 1:53 PM on March 23, 2006


what's your plan to silence {stuipd non-Scientologist celebrities}?

Hmm, let me think about that and get back to you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:57 PM on March 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Correction: Tom Cruise was pissed about the episode back in December. Fine. Still weird timing though.
posted by hypocritical ross at 1:59 PM on March 23, 2006


New Church Idea: Christian Scientologists

I've got the name, but the belief system is up for grabs.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:16 PM on March 23, 2006


Stop using this stupid argument.

Very well. The site I posted (and with which I have no affiliation) has been up for years now, is very well known and publicized, and Comedy Central/Viacom ain't done shit about it. I would say, in absence of any defense whatsoever of their intellectual property after this amount of time, they consider it fairly benign.

It's nice that you care, but ultimately if Matt H. feels it necessary to delete it, that's his call, innit? And I don't have a problem with that at all.
posted by First Post at 2:24 PM on March 23, 2006


"lots of non-Scientologist celebrities are certainly ignorant, and God knows they don't shut their mouths. what's your plan to silence them?"

We treaten them with scientology Pamplets! and Taunt their inner THETANS
posted by Elim at 2:35 PM on March 23, 2006


Psychiatry, you mean. They call it a pseudoscience

That's pretty much the only position where Scientology is basically correct. If you've seen any of their propaganda videos (I was dragged into an open house here in SF last week), it's clear that their target audience is people whose lives have been wrecked by the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries -- and there are hundreds of thousands of them.
posted by bukharin at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2006


New Church Idea: Christian Scientologists

I've got the name, but the belief system is up for grabs.


I'm pretty sure it involved giving lots of money to me.

Seriously.
posted by pompomtom at 2:44 PM on March 23, 2006


I can't imagine that Parker and Stone (and their lawyers) would not have personally talked with Hayes himself--it's not possible--they've been burned before, and are very savvy--and careful.
posted by amberglow at 2:50 PM on March 23, 2006


I care what Matt Haughey thinks, given that his site has now linked to illegal downloads several times in the last week.

Matt Haughey's site also displays copyrighted lyrics!
posted by iamck at 2:51 PM on March 23, 2006


That's pretty much the only position where Scientology is basically correct.

It's about as correct as their views on body thetans and Xenu.

If you've seen any of their propaganda videos (I was dragged into an open house here in SF last week), it's clear that their target audience is people whose lives have been wrecked by the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries -- and there are hundreds of thousands of them.

Yeah, tell it to Lisa McPherson. Oh, wait a moment, you can't can you?

She's too dead.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:56 PM on March 23, 2006


That's pretty much the only position where Scientology is basically correct.

Tell that to Elli Perkins. Oh wait, you can't. Because she's dead, stabbed 77 times by her schizophrenic Scientologist son, who was being treated with vitamins instead of a nice anti-psychotic.
posted by fochsenhirt at 3:00 PM on March 23, 2006


Here's an update, from the same author:

Here’s the problem: Hayes is no longer managed by Bruce Garfield at Avenue Management. All of the communication from him comes through a woman named Christina "Kumi" Kimball, a fashion executive for designer Craig Taylor, another Scientologist.

Kimball herself is a devoted member of the Church of Scientology. She even maintains a Web site extolling its virtues. If any announcement was made about Hayes and "South Park," it came from her.


This is a rather confusing clarification, because this is the first time I've seen any mention of Bruce Garfield or Christina Kimball in relation to this. The initial reports of Isaac Hayes quitting the show all seem to refer to a "statement released to the press", but I can't seem to find any actual copies of the statement or attribution as to who released it, other than Isaac Hayes.

It seems like if Isaac Hayes didn't want to quit the show, and he didn't support the statement, he'd be saying so, and at the very least, Matt Stone & Trey Parker would know about it.
posted by designbot at 4:05 PM on March 23, 2006



YouTube has the video, of course.


Wait...they brought kenny back?! When did that happen? Didn't they replace him with that "Tweak" loser?
posted by juv3nal at 4:38 PM on March 23, 2006


Christian Scientologists

2000 years ago, an alien named Jesu came to Earth...
posted by kindall at 4:57 PM on March 23, 2006


Jesus fucking Christ, man! Catch a re-run! Set your goddamn VCR to record! Buy a TiVO.

You assume that everyone lives somewhere where this is an option. If I want to watch South Park (to pick one example of any number), I need to find it online. It's not hard to do, of course. YouTube? Well, whatever. But I hail that site's growth, if only because it's pushing the envelope of these kind of copyright issues.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:16 PM on March 23, 2006


I just wonder why Matt hates America?
posted by filchyboy at 6:00 PM on March 23, 2006



You assume that everyone lives somewhere where this is an option. If I want to watch South Park (to pick one example of any number), I need to find it online. It's not hard to do, of course. YouTube? Well, whatever. But I hail that site's growth, if only because it's pushing the envelope of these kind of copyright issues.


Entirely understood, which is why I qualified the above statement by saying "hunt for it." I do the same thing, so I can't cast aspersions. But a statement as simple and foolish as "Can someone post the full thing on YouTube?" raises my ire. There are ways to find these things, and I don't think YouTube should be one of them. It's fine for small clips (i.e. hard to find music videos) and the democritization of video-art (short films, fan-made music videos, etc.), but hosting full episodes of a highly popular TV show isn't good for anyone involved.

Also, though I'm not as active a MeFite as many here, I do care somewhat about the site's quality and sustainability. To that end, having it reduced to a halfway house for everyone looking for eps of popular TV shows isn't something I see as terribly constructive.
posted by ford and the prefects at 6:15 PM on March 23, 2006



Because she's dead, stabbed 77 times by her schizophrenic Scientologist son, who was being treated with vitamins instead of a nice anti-psychotic.

It's not quite that simple. The WHO has done repeated studies which find that there is much higher rate of successful outcomes with schizophrenia patients in third world countries where they do not rely on pharmaceuticals to "fix" people's brains. The psychiatric industry puts people in a deadly cycle of believing that they are "broken" and that the only way to fix them, if they'll ever be fixed, is through medication. This, I think, disregards the complexity of the personality. When anti-psychotics were first introduced in the 1960s, they were referred to by people in the industry as "chemical lobotomies" and "instant Parkinsons," because basically what they do is screw with the chemicals that the frontal lobe (which makes you human) uses to communicate with the rest of the brain. These chemicals include dopamine (the lack of which creates Parkinsons-like symptoms), histamine, adrenaline, and serotonin, each of which are used by the body to regulate myriad and complex systems. Rather than fixing the brain, they actually break it. Many of the symptoms typically associated with mental illness are actually the side effects of the drugs that people are routinely given for mental illness. If someone is taken off these medications after long-term use, the brain, which has altered itself chemically over time, can have a severely negative reaction, including violence and psychotic breaks. The pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries involve trillions of dollars in annual transactions. Justification of that paradigm - no matter how faulty or dangerous, at any cost - is the common interest of a lot of people.

For further reading, I strongly recommend Robert Whitaker's Mad in America, where a lot of the information given above is well-documented and sourced. My mother and my grandmother's lives were both wrecked by this nationwide scam -- they tried to lobotomize my grandmother for being a depressed housewife (she wanted to be an artist, how silly of her!) and inflicted many sessions of electroshock therapy on her, which has to be one of the most painful and traumatic experiences imaginable, and which weakened her bone structure so that she suffered from osteoporosis and eventual paralysis for the last twenty years of her life. My mother was given a series of ever-stronger anti-depressants, leading up to Effexir, which causes permanent nerve damage. The doctors thought she had Parkinsons disease until they realized it was just the side effects of one of the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants on the market today.
posted by bukharin at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2006


To that end, having it reduced to a halfway house for everyone looking for eps of popular TV shows isn't something I see as terribly constructive.

Agreed, absolutely.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:25 PM on March 23, 2006


On the other hand, bukharin, I personally know a woman who is completely not taken in by any of the psychiatric bullshit that she's been fed for years (she's 40 something). She's never taken any medication prescribed, and she's moved from doctor to doctor to find one who won't diagnose her with paranoid scizophrenia. She KNOWS that there is nothing wrong with her. The only reason she hasn't been able to hold down a job, finish any of three degrees, keep her house clean (free of cockroaches, rats and other animals in her kids beds, for instance), and stop the aliens following her from city to city, is because her family don't believe her when she tells them that the medical industry is conspiring against her with her university.

Wake the fuck up.
posted by jacalata at 6:43 PM on March 23, 2006


That came out kind of harsh, sorry. It's just something going on at the moment. While I think it is quite probable that there are some issues with the psychiatric industry, I think it utterly ridiculous to suggest that it is the cause of mental illness, and without their drugs the western world would be fine.

I also do not think it helps to talk about what happened to your grandmother: it's not like they lobotomize artists these days, is it?

I found an interesting discussion on the third world aspect here, although I have no idea about the validity of their claims.
posted by jacalata at 6:50 PM on March 23, 2006


bukharin has a point; there are plenty of reasons to doubt the effectiveness of heavily marketed psychiatric treatments, and plenty of sharp questions about the validity of much of the science behind the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. But there are even more reasons to doubt the motives of folks who sell a belief system that isolates people from friends and family, demands more and more money for "religious" teachings and threatens and sues critics at the drop of a hat. Looking to Scientologists for reasoned critiques of *anything* is dumb.

I hope Isaac Hayes is ok and clears this up soon.
posted by mediareport at 7:00 PM on March 23, 2006


I want directors and producers and networks and studios to stop hiring crazy Scientologists. Maybe if they did, Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes and Kirstie Allen and all the rest of them would shut their ignorant mouths.

That would be nice, but also illegal.
posted by delmoi at 7:11 PM on March 23, 2006


But there are even more reasons to doubt the motives of folks who sell a belief system that isolates people from friends and family, demands more and more money for "religious" teachings and threatens and sues critics at the drop of a hat.

Absolutely. I'm not advocating Scientology as a substitute for the abuses of the psychiatric industry.

While I think it is quite probable that there are some issues with the psychiatric industry, I think it utterly ridiculous to suggest that it is the cause of mental illness, and without their drugs the western world would be fine.

I'm not suggesting the psychiatric industry is the cause of mental illness. But it is an unfortunate paradigm, I think, that tends to exacerbate the very real problems people have as they struggle with who they are and their subjective conception of reality. My best friend was diagnosed with "schizophrenia" for what basically amounted to having bizarre thoughts. I have a niece whose father died when she was ten. She told her therapist that she could still hear his voice at night, and they gave her anti-psychotics. Where does it end? Another friend of mine has been on a cocktail of up to 9 pharmaceuticals since he was 12, including Effexir and Ritalin. These drugs have notoriously lax testing standards, as the companies hired by the pharmaceutical industry are paid millions to get positive results without lying. Is it right to experiment on people like this for the sake of profit? How can I put into words the tragedy that is this abuse of people's identity, inflicting on them the notion that they cannot fix themselves, that emotions and doubts and negative feelings and unorthodox thinking is some kind of illness? Yes, there are many legitimate cases of mental illness that need to be treated, but the existing paradigm is an all-consuming one, where the very diversity of human behavior that makes humans so fascinating in the first place is diagnosed and suppressed.
posted by bukharin at 8:29 PM on March 23, 2006


How can I put into words the tragedy that is this abuse of people's identity, inflicting on them the notion that they cannot fix themselves, that emotions and doubts and negative feelings and unorthodox thinking is some kind of illness?

I mean, the sad thing is that Scientology, while offering itself as an alternative to the psychiatric industry in a way, still comes from the position that all these things must be erased from the personality. Pick your evil.
posted by bukharin at 8:33 PM on March 23, 2006


Actually, they distrust medicine in general. It's not just psychiatry.
posted by jrossi4r at 8:37 PM on March 23, 2006



Actually, they distrust medicine in general. It's not just psychiatry.


Yeah but they're particularly against psychiatric practices. The introductory propaganda film I saw at their headquarters (I was whisked by a woman with a Russian accent to a dark room, where I found myself alone) explained the whole story of L Ron Hubbard and his attempt to get Dianetics approved by the AMA and such... then there's this Hollywood dramatisation of Walter Freeman performing his infamous ice-pick lobotomization in a dark room with a score of approving psychiatrists.
posted by bukharin at 8:44 PM on March 23, 2006


Aren't you the Jill Hennesey guy? At least we can all agree on that :)
posted by First Post at 8:46 PM on March 23, 2006


I don't know, man. Before they put my grandmother on lithium she was unable to summon the energy to get out of bed in the morning, for a stretch of about 10 years, because what was the point of it all? Ruined her marriage, not because my grandpa didn't love her but because she was mentally ill and nobody could figure out what the problem was. My early memories of her were that she was always sad, but I never knew what made her so upset.

After finally seeing a good doctor, they diagnosed her as bipolar. The meds fixed her up - she was a cheerful, happy person the rest of her life. Except for that time after my mom died, when she stopped taking the pills for a while - then she scared the almighty shit out of me, because she was batshit insane, saying I was God and my cousin was Jesus and speaking with the dead and building a secret habitat in her closet for the cat to live in, complete with moss and branches and leaves to make it "just like the outside."

After she started taking the pills again we all pretended it never happened, because she really didn't remember it. While I can agree that too many companies are just making pills to make money - and elevating minor irritations to the level of a chronic disease to justify the pills - there is an actual need for much of this, there is actual science behind it, and most people are helped by this.

Note: I am not a psychologist, but I am a neuroscientist. Of course there's probably a pill for that, isn't there?
posted by caution live frogs at 9:48 PM on March 23, 2006



Yeah, undoubtedly it's a complex picture. I'm coming from a position where almost everyone in my life has been abused by the system in some way. My grandmother also was given Lithium in the 1950s when she was pregnant with my mother. The anxiety of pregnancy was then considered a mental defect that could be easily fixed with a pill. My mother was born with birth defects, including a hole in her heart and one leg shorter than the other. Not making this up...

I just think we need to look outside the "problem? give pill" paradigm.
posted by bukharin at 9:57 PM on March 23, 2006



I just think we need to look outside the "problem? give pill" paradigm.

just because some or even a majority of psychiatrists are subscribe to a bad paradigm doesn't mean the profession as a whole necessarily does. it does your argument no good to suggest that this is the case when it plainly isn't.
posted by juv3nal at 10:34 PM on March 23, 2006


Is this an early photo of Issac? first link,"really"
posted by hortense at 10:39 PM on March 23, 2006


Apologies for my rather silly comment. There's actually quite a few full South Park episodes on YouTube, so I didn't really think any of it. In retrospect, I understand your reactions.

To that end, having it reduced to a halfway house for everyone looking for eps of popular TV shows isn't something I see as terribly constructive.

Agreed, of course.
posted by Haarball at 11:55 PM on March 23, 2006


It seems like if Isaac Hayes didn't want to quit the show, and he didn't support the statement, he'd be saying so, and at the very least, Matt Stone & Trey Parker would know about it.

Not if he's had a stroke and is lying somewhere in a hospital bed, and his family's too busy, I don't know, LOOKING AFTER HIM, to bother with some stupid fratboy television show controversy.

The world does not revolve around whackjob religion, fratboy television, and the arrogant whackjobs that support either, you know.
posted by watsondog at 2:50 AM on March 24, 2006


Does anyone else find it strange that the episode in question aired way back in November but Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes and the rest of the Scientology yahoos didn't say a word about it for four months?

Yeah, and the episode eventually screened for Isaac Hayes featured L. Ron Hubbard as a pig, which wasn't even in the actual show.
posted by dgaicun at 3:29 AM on March 24, 2006


I was taking a class in short-short fiction a few months back. One of the pieces was a brief dialog between a psychiatrist and a patient, and the teacher produced a critique (complete with prescriptive declarations) rooted in his own deep resentment of the mental health professions. "Psychology is bullshit," he declared, and meant it. Not psychiatry -- the entire panoply of mental health professions. Therapy was a racket. Drug treatments were charlatanism. It was all a big scam designed to make a category of people wealthier.

Come to discover that one of his parents and several of his siblings were psychologists, psychiatrists or psychiatric social workers.

Now, I can know from simple reflection that "psychology" is not "bullshit." Anyone can know that from simple reflection. But I can also know (as well as I -- or pretty much anyone else, for that matter -- can know anything that I don't practice myself) from my own readings in psychology that psychological therapy, in the broad sense, is a very reasonable concept. I can know from talking with therapists of various stripe, and from seeing the effect on people that I know, that psychological therapy can work -- if you are willing to do the work, of course.

As my old GF's shrink used to tell her: "The drugs just alleviate the biochemical depression. That doesn't mean you're not depressed anymore. It just means that you've got one less hurdle."

caution live frogs, if it's appropriate for your condition, lithium is indeed an amazing thing. There aren't a whole lot of drugs that can have that dramatic an effect on people with such a manageable profile of side-effects. I've also seen the effects on people close to me. Very dramatic. (Sounds like your grandma rebounded into mania. She probably remembers it -- most manics do -- but at some level, doesn't really understand it. Which is good, in a way, I suppose, because I always worry a little when I find myself understanding mental states that are truly out there....)

As for Scientology, their record is not so good, to say the least. The suicide rate of high-level (OT-III+) scientologists appears to be quite high, and if you read their "training" materials with a rudimentary understanding of psychology (a little knowledge of performance hypnotism helps, too) as a foundation*, you can quickly see that what they're doing is conditioning people to exist in an altered, abnormal, highly-suggestable state. It's brainwashing 101, really.

And it's not an accident. Hubbard was casting about for several years prior to "inventing" the "tech", looking for ways to influence people. Ultimately he cobbled together a set of techniques borrowed from such diverse sources as General Semantics, Sylvan Learning Theory (a.k.a. "Sylva Mind Control"), and stage hypnotism, heavily informed by the ethos of Left-Hand Path (Crowleyan) Satanism. It was never about the money, for him -- it was about being in control. The more bizarre aspects of the religion, like the Xenu story, the mind-bogglingly dangerous chemical "purification" rituals, & c., only came on later, and it's abundantly unclear whether he really bought into any of it. He took a lot of psychoactive drugs, that's for sure.
--
*Of course, this renders anything I have to say on the matter null and void, from the perspect of the CoS, in much the same way that, say, a "young earth creationist" would render anything I had to say about evolution null and void as soon as I looked for truth anywhere outside of scripture or my "heart."

posted by lodurr at 5:10 AM on March 24, 2006


For those interested, Thomas Szasz provides the intellectual foundation behind some of Scientology's positions on psychiatry being a "pseudoscience". They have combined their missions in the past but Szasz is not a Scientologist but a libertarian, and his views might be thought of as the counterpoint to Soviet Russia and Communist China's tendency to label those who didn't agree with the state's totalitarian goals as "mentally ill". Szasz's (ok, that's a fucking funny word) opposite extreme is that all "mental illness" is just people being oppressively singled-out simply for their nonconformity. His views also seem popular with Randians

I've been meaning to check out Szasz Under Fire, where critical scholars and Szasz take turns with eachother.
posted by dgaicun at 5:48 AM on March 24, 2006


Update: an interview with Hayes (mp3) reveals that he has no problem with Parker & Stone lambasting his Church. Admittedly, this doesn't necessarily prove anything-- maybe it's an interview from before his fellow parishoners gave him a "compelling" reason to change his mind. But either way, it does reveal Hayes' candid view.

If I can weigh in on the psychiatry derail: the main problem with clinical psychology is the "experts" claim to know more about mental health than they actually know. For one thing, there is no evidence that suggests talking to a therapist is any more beneficial than talking to someone who knows nothing about psychology. There is, furthermore, zero correlation between length of psychiatric training and ability to make people better. This does not mean that the concept of curing mental disease is bogus per se, but it does demonstrate that psychiatry, in its present incarnation, is seriously lacking and full of fraudulent advertising. For a compelling account of this view, see House of Cards, written by one of my favorite contemporary scholars, Robyn Dawes.

The Szasz issue is a subtlely different one-- he's arguing that to call someone "mentally ill" is a value judgment, not a medical fact (he's not arguing that therapy and pills can't "cure" someone of their supposed disease). This is an obvious point to anyone who has thought carefully about the nature of mental illness, evident from the arbitrary divisions we set up between someone who is diagnosably ill and someone who is just blue or an asshat. It's certainly a perspective worth taking when considering mental health policy, but Szasz's problem is he misses the finer details-- for example focusing on the abomination of involuntarily commitment, completely ignoring the fact that most "crazy" people themselves are seeking help. I also have little patience for the false dichotomy he sets up between "mental illness" (bogus) and "neurological illness" (which he regards as factually real and worth curing). Since all mental experiences are instantiated in the brain somehow, this is just silly. (Incidentally, the only way out of this conundrum is to recognize every type of illness as a value judgment-- it's just that, with obviously physical illness, everyone agrees that certain qualities make for a "good" kidney, so it seems less of a moral judgment.)
posted by mowglisambo at 8:02 AM on March 24, 2006


For one thing, there is no evidence that suggests talking to a therapist is any more beneficial than talking to someone who knows nothing about psychology.

That's an interesting sentence, and as stated, it's quite clearly not true.

What you should say -- what would not be nonsense (though might still be factually dubious) -- is something like: "There is no evidence that suggests talking to a credentialed mental health professional is any more beneficial than talking to someone who knows is not a credentialed mental health professional."
posted by lodurr at 9:50 AM on March 24, 2006


lodurr, I'm not sure I understand your objection.

In any case, there are a variety of well-known studies demonstrating the lack of relationship between training in psychology and ability to alleviate mental symptoms through therapy. The one that most comes to mind is one that randomly assigned distraught patients seeking help either to a top-notch psychiatrist or a professor. There was not much of a difference in outcomes for patients; if anything, professors actually had a higher success rate. I don't have the citation in front of me, but it goes without saying that the burden of proof should be on those who are trying to prove mental health professionals' efficacy, not those who are embracing the null hypothesis.
posted by mowglisambo at 10:12 AM on March 24, 2006


"knowledge of" != "training in"

I've seen summaries of several such studies. They generally say that there's small (not no) difference between people who go to a therapist and people who do x, where x is variously just taking drugs, talking to your priest, doing AA, meditating, etc.

One big problem I have with that is that it treats all trained practitioners as equal, and that's clearly not the case. It's also not clear to me that such studies make any effort to differentiate between the methods used.

How do you get subjects for such a study? You have to get their approval. Most people who participate in some form of mental health counseling will not give that approval. So, who's giving it? Either people who are big believers, or people who are big doubters.

Finally, there's the question of how you evaluate results. Methods vary; I've seen some that rely on self-reporting of things ranging from your personal satisfaction to how happy you are. I don't recall ever seeing one that looked at whether you're still exhibiting symptoms (probably because it would be really hard to get that information).

These are just a few quibbles I have with the data that you'd want to use to support your case. But I actually have a pretty heavy issue with the case itself. There's a strong anti-psychological thread in American life -- much as we psycho-analyze ourselves -- and experience teaches me that things are seldom negated by the expression of their opposite. ("Methinks the lady doth protest too much," to quote the bard.) It's of a piece with our anti-intellectualism. We don't like to self examine if we think that it might entail actual insight. We're happy to dump our confessions, sins, etc. into a neat bucket like a CoS auditing session or the black hole of a therapist's office, but we don't want to actually have to do anything about any of it.
posted by lodurr at 11:38 AM on March 24, 2006


Does anyone else find it strange that the episode in question aired way back in November but Tom Cruise, Isaac Hayes and the rest of the Scientology yahoos didn't say a word about it for four months? You know - until a week before the new season started? Weird timing.

+10
posted by birdsong at 1:32 PM on March 24, 2006


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