Tuesday, July 03, 2012

No Mother Hubbard

While we're on the subject of celebrity pseudo-science around here today, I feel like it's been a dereliction of duty on my part that I haven't even bothered bringing up the impending divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. It's not like I care much about Hollywood marriages, but ones that involve Scientology are both fascinating and revolting to me -- no way around that.

Since I've written quite a bit about Scientology before -- the truly conspiracy-minded have even suggested that it was my 2008 column in the Huffington Post about Anonymous's war on the "religion" that got me fired from CNN -- I've been paying some attention to all the little Scientology-related details that have emerged in the wake of last week's Tom-and-Katie split announcement. Obviously, there's the rumor that Holmes bailed when Cruise decided that he wanted to enroll their young daughter in either the "Sea Org" or one of L. Ron's other strict indoctrination programs; the spooky black SUVs that have mysteriously appeared outside Holmes's place in New York City and which have seemed to follow her everywhere since the split; the claim that Holmes said being married to Cruise was like being Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby; the list goes on and on.

While I could easily publish another acerbic, long-winded diatribe about the dangerous lunacy that is Scientology, my favorite thing about this particular topic is that I don't have to. Nobody does. Yes, Paul Haggis's extended and revealing takedown of the group, its ridiculous cosmology, and its cult-like tactics, from the inside out, was excellent -- and there's been plenty of other terrific stuff written about the insanity of Scientology. But in the end, nothing tells you everything you need to know about Scientology like ten minutes of Tom Cruise talking about it himself. I've said it before but it bears repeating yet again: I go back and watch this video clip every once in a while simply because it's just that fucking crazy. It's rare to see a movie star -- someone whose every move is generally reduced to inoffensive homogenization by an army of publicists -- allowing himself to go this far off the rails. This image of Cruise, the one we were never meant to see but which millions of us now have, should never at any point be separated from the carefully crafted, entirely bullshit image his Hollywood handlers would have us believe. The next time you see Tom Cruise acting demure and humble and otherwise behaving seemingly normal during a press junket for one of his movies, remember, this is the real him: all bukkaked with crazy via the jet-fuel semen of L. Ron Hubbard; an entire dictionary of silly, official-sounding acronymic lingo blared through an amp cranked to 11.

This is what he's momentarily tamping down for public consumption. This is what he's dying to unleash.


JohnF said...

It's Tom's birthday today.

brite said...

Watching this again, it occurs (again) that perhaps Tom is just not the brightest bulb in the array. Religions do tend to appeal and cater to the stupid.

Chez said...

Yeah, WWTDD made that point, saying that Cruise probably isn't really gay or a monster or anything. He's just dumb and naive.

Drew said...

Wow...the Hubbard Brainwashing Machine spins all night long with Tommy Boy, eh?

Reminds me of the members in the Thulsa Doom snake cult in Conan the Barbarian (Arnie version).

Anonymous said...

“all bukkaked with crazy via the jet-fuel semen of L. Ron Hubbard“
I love you in a non-travolta way Chez.

bafreeman said...

Dumb and naive and batshit loony. brite's right that religion preys on idiots (the Texas GOP's platform opposing the teaching of "higher order thinking skills" and critical thinking because they "focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority," make this point forcefully--if you teach them to think, they'll stop being conservative and christian), but Tom's maniacal laughter creeps me out much more than anything he says. Well, that and his apparent belief that he has superpowers.

namron said...

A Bill Maher line from the 2008 GOP primary campign when commenting on the Romney campaign's squawk about the press treatment of Romney's religion: "Mormons, just be happy that Scientology came along and made you the second wierdest religion in America."

slouchmonkey said...

Even though he crazy, I still like him.

Marc McKenzie said...


There's a great audio file on YouTube with Harlan Ellison telling Robin Williams how and why Hubbard started Scientology.


As for the whole Cruise thing...well, I don't give a shit. Sorry, but (and this is just my POV) everyone's entitled to believe or not believe. On the other hand though, if such a belief leads to dangerous things, then....

And to hell with Anonymous. Used to think they were okay, now they're just carrying on antics on the level of a baby showing his pee-pee.

LK said...

I feel the same way you do about his video. There is no better word than batshit. I cannot imagine the amount of handlers it takes to keep this reigned in. It was clear when he fired his publicist a while back and replaced with his sister - that he had some excellent PR for many years. He must have been on a tight leash.
I wanted to also say, thanks for bringing back some of your old stuff. I was reminded of how I found your site a few years back (through Bob) and I spent hours reading your blog. The VA tech was one of the ones that drew me in. You write how I would wish to write. Your honesty, intelligence, sense of reality/realness and your wit make for a compelling and beautiful read. Even on the very few occasions I may disagree, I can always see your point and am affected by your writing.
And I realize I do not "know" you but your writing truly allows for that to happen in some way and while I would never claim to be more than a reader and facebook "friend", it truly puts a smile on my face to know you are happy. I do hope your mom is doing well too.

Anonymous said...

Scientology is a cult that exploits its members...read more at Huffington Post.

That is fucking hilarious on so many levels.

JohnF said...

He's a good actor, if nothing else. Yeah, his religion's a bunch of bullcrap. No denying that.
For what it's worth, I know a couple people who've worked with him and they say he's absolutely the nicest guy you'll ever meet. Maybe it's all just an act, but if everyone who works with you says it, and you've been that way for 25 years, maybe it's not an act anymore. For someone as rich as him to treat underlings like actual human beings, that's kind of rare. It shouldn't be, but it is.

Chez said...

Yeah, I've heard he's a good guy. I don't doubt that, but when he gets all hopped up on the power of Scientology, well, you see the results.

Nathan said...

Spooky black SUV's are so cliche'd. Katie's stalkers are driving spooky white SUV's.

(Just to set the record straight.)

CNNfan said...

"someone whose every move is generally
reduced to inoffensive homogenization
by an army of publicists", said Chez...

Isn't that what you do to me here?

Anonymouse said...

I really don't care. Pretty much every single aspect of this story fills me with such..."Who gives a shit?"

I've shared this view with friends who will accuse me of somehow being a supporter of cults but frankly, I fail to see how Scientology is any more batshit crazy or evil than every other made up religion or spiritual belief.

I don't get how folks who believe in a magical boat that could hold all the animals of the world or a zombie Jew carpenter is going to save the world have any right to mock Xenu worship or the fucking tooth fairy.

Similarly, even if the absolute worse rumors on the internet about Scientology were true, they have nothing on the other religions. Judaism (if we view the bible as literal) is based completely on genocide. Eastern Orthodox and Islam has committed some of the worst culture destruction outside of China in the name of their god. Hindu used to have well established death cults (where our term "thug" comes from). Finally, Mormonism is at least as financially driven as Scientology.

And like I alluded to, its not just organized religions that are crazy and dangerous. The Huffington Post has an established history of not only advertising, but supporting cults...er I mean, "spiritualists". James Arthur Ray was prominently displayed on the site until a bunch of people got killed in his sweat lodge. I guess it makes sense that Arianna would use her site as a sounding board for cults as she is a prominent member of one. In 1978, she was ordained as a minister for John-Roger. That dude has a long history of ripping off followers and sexually abusing them.

Does that mean her site shouldn't be read or ever used? No because the fact that it exploits journalists is more than enough reason not to.

I just don't get how people have the nerve to judge Scientologists as if they are the biggest morons on the planet.

JohnF said...

Well, Anonymouse, we judge things because we're adults with opinions. We're capable of making judgments, so we make them.
All those things you listed? They all suck. Some just suck more than others. Fundamentalist Christianity. Fundie Islam, Scientology, dopey spiritualism. It's all BS.
There. That's my judgment.

Anonymouse said...

Well lets get some perspective John. A faith near and dear to my upbringing, Catholicism is, in my humble opinion, far...FAR worse than Scientology.

As a group, the Catholic Church has passed down an order that any member of the hierarchy is not allowed to assist in any active investigation into child sex abuse until the statute of limitation is up. Why? Cause its a hell of a lot easier to defend a civil lawsuit without the criminal charges on record. Its similar to the bullshit about not letting priests marry. There is no liturgical basis for the rule. It came about because the church was losing to much land and money to the dependents of priests so they outlawed it in the middle ages.

The same thing is driving the church to fight against providing healthcare to their employees. If they actually wanted to take a meaningful stand, they would not offer any healthcare to their employees. But if they did that, they would have to significantly raise the pay to compete with other jobs. What they want is less to do with religious reasons and more about the bottom line. They want to pay their employees as little as possible.

Add in the terrible role the church has had in facilitating the spread of AIDS around the world and frankly, I am hard pressed to be shocked by anything Scientology does.

I come from a deeply Catholic family. I have three current priests as uncles and a cousin. They aren't dumb and my one uncle has a PhD in astrophysics. But they happily shut their brain down when it comes to criticism of the Church or the simple fact that ITS ALL MADE UP BULLSHIT!

I have long ago realized that there is no point in trying to save people from themselves. And targeting just one group or even all religion for the fact that its bullshit does nothing to convince followers that they are wasting their lives for nothing. So yeah... I guess I really don't care anymore as long as these self deluded folks don't affect me as much as possible. That of course is nearly impossible in America.