Thursday, January 31, 2008

"One Of The Most Dangerous Celebrities In The World"

Jennifer McKeown has an excellent review of Andrew Morton's new unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise up over at pajiba. It's genuinely disturbing stuff, and it's worth quoting:
It’s easy to mock Scientology: these fucking morons actually believe that we are inhabited by the souls of dead aliens. Members must dedicate their entire lives to Scientology, even having abortions and cutting off family members when the organization commands it. But while it’s easy (and fun!) to mock them, underestimating them is deadly. As Morton proves, Scientology is an extremely dangerous organization that is, without a single ounce of exaggeration, hell-bent on taking over the world. No wonder Germany balked at Tom playing the role of Claus von Stauffenberg, one of its champions of democracy: Germany considers Scientologists a fascist organization akin to the Nazis.

A close inspection of Tom’s close friends lends credence to the belief that Scientology is planning world domination. Consider Tom’s last few girlfriends before marrying his “one and only,” Katie. First, there was Penelope Cruz, so chosen to pave the way for Scientology in Spain. Then there was Sofia Vergara — whom he dated just two weeks before falling head over heels in love with Katie Holmes — who was chosen to start a recruitment drive in Latin America. Then there’s Tom’s choice of friends: the Beckhams, who can bring Scientology to England and Europe. Will and Jada Smith, who can open the African-American market. J-Lo and Marc Antony for the Hispanic market. Like I said, these crazy bastards are dangerous.

The danger is intensified when one considers that the highly-revered Operating Thetan VII (that’s big-time important, just so you know) has used his celebrity status to gain access to top officials like Scooter Libby to lobby for bills that support his nutjob beliefs. To date, “Some twenty-eight Scientology bills have been introduced by members of the Arizona state legislature aimed at limiting access to treatment and medication for children with mental health disorders.” For this reason, one defector from Scientology has labeled him “one of the most dangerous celebrities in the world.”


Seb said...

A lot of this stuff is scary, and I do not confine that judgment to the subject of Scientology itself.

In reading the comments beneath the article, I notice the continued perpetration of the dreadful misconception among contemporary adults that myths are to be taken literally. This is frightening enough coming from Christians who don't understand their own symbolism, but coming from internet atheists it most often comes off as Just Plain Sad: LOL THE EARTH IS ONLY 5,000 YEARS OLD LMAO XTIANS.

So, to take a cue from Stellan SkarsgÄrd's character Gregor in Ronin, "what could've been conducted in a collegial atmosphere is now fucked into a cocked hat."

Yes, fundamentalists of any religion are dangerous, regardless of their flavor; yes, organized religion is long overdue to be called to account for the things it has said and done. No, Scientology's ridiculous precepts are not merely as ridiculous as those of older religions; they are considerably more ridiculous, not least because they attempt to lean on science more than myth.

Myth is symbolic. Most educated practitioners of religion realize this. What about symbolism is hard to understand? I recently loaned Bryan Jon Winokur's Big Book of Irony (a small book, of course), which contains an appropriate quote: "The only people who take the Bible literally are atheists and fundamentalists." The question is not whether a myth is "false," but whether it has anything important to say.

Most of them do, and in some cases, as I have argued before, they contain keen insights into the evolving psychology of human beings.

So, back to Scientology: that these people are crooks and terrorists is a matter of public record, and I don't really understand how they have been allowed to continue to operate in the US. No, I am not pleased with the ongoing triumph of dogma in public schools, in the stem-cell debate, or in the matter of contraception, but I think any clear-thinking person understands the significant difference between the delusional behavior of fundamentalists and the systematic, malicious behavior of the Scientologists.

Seb said...

You may be interested in the New York Times review found here.

JMW said...

Seb, that was a great comment, and I love the Winokur quote. Thanks.

dre said...

I don't really know that much about Scientology. From everything I've heard, though, it sounds like a combination of science fiction, self-help program, and dangerous cult. As a religion, I suppose people have the right to practice it regardless of how crazy it is as long as they don't break any laws. However, it does seem apparent that laws are being broken. It certainly seems like the government should be investigating them and going after them the same way they did with Warren Jeffs.