Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Well, I am not sure what to make of it, but the idea certainly has potential, and the story moving:
There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning
Thanks to Graham for pointing it.

Valkyrie and Scientologists

In this blog, a Scientologist, after having watched the film "Valkyrie", is furious against the German government for its discrimination towards Scientologists, as compared to Cruise now defending the "Good German" image.

This is one of the things I find remarkable in Cruise's choice.

As I blogged already, I declared his choice a winner already before the release of the film, on the sole ground that he did it out of the depth of his soul, no matter the concrete outcome. That these outcomes are now turning out to be good, very good even, there was no way of knowing that at the time, so this remains admirable.

The second thing I find admirable in Cruise's choice, is that he pushed through with this idea in spite of all the wrong (and I hope in time they really will be looked upon as serious wrong) Germany does in its discrimination towards Scientologists. That Cruise could put all this aside and push through with an idea in which he believed in, in spite of all that wrong, is truly commendable.

I invite Scientologists to share the same spirit. Obviously, discrimination is ugly, very ugly even, and when it translates in actual mass killing, abominable. But the two issues really are separate. The noble way is the Cruise way, at least in this case, and eventually it may do more to change pre-conceived and prejudiced idea than any angry and accusatory reaction. Or not. This just does not change the beauty of the act by itself.

Three Types of People - Those That Are Good at Math and Those That Aren't

I just blogged:
Castaneda reported at that time that he has sentenced 11 individuals to the Second Chance Center since late last year. He said seven have completed the program and five were currently in the residential drug rehab program that takes six months to complete.
Seven and five would of course make 12, not 11, but let's assume this is just a typo somewhere.

The reason I find it worth blogging about it separately is because it reminds me of what I once webbed about Kathy Waddell's comment on a similar joke:
There are three types of people in the world... Those that are good at math and those that aren't.

And although it is amusing, it can also be an invitation to explore. While on the surface many things look like there are only two oposing sides, in reality there is a third, a neutral or more balanced "side" also.

Second Chance Therapy Working

I only followed the Second Chance issue, a drug rehabilitation center for inmates, from afar.

Apparently, Scientology critics have been blasting the center because "Some of its training manuals are based on research by L. Ron Hubbard" - irrespective of whether the program is effective or not.

It seems the center will now have to close because it built a sauna within its premises, for which it did not have a permit, and also for housing inmates from other counties who may not have been eligible for the rehabilitation program. Abruptly shuttling people from the facility on Christmas Eve, caught on camera by police officers watching the facility after they had been tipped off, did not help.

This being said, Carlsbad Magistrate Judge Henry Castaneda who assigned inmate to the center finds it a pity that the center would have to close, because, as he reports, the results have been very positive:
"They have been successful on coming out. They have learned from the program. I see them on the street and they look healthy," he added. [...]

Castaneda reported at that time that he has sentenced 11 individuals to the Second Chance Center since late last year. He said seven have completed the program and five were currently in the residential drug rehab program that takes six months to complete.

Castaneda said the individuals he has sent to the program through the court's alternative sentencing program had been habitual drug offenders. Since their completion of the program, he noted, he sees them on the street but has not seen them back in court.

"They are holding down jobs and they look healthy," he said Monday.
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chaves, himself, though he terminated the city's lease with Second Chance (who has until Jan. 31 to vacate the facility), qualifies the abrupt termination of the center as "an unfortunate end to what could have been an alternative drug treatment center".

Anonymous' Video on Washington Post's Most Viral of 2008

Tom Cruise and Anonymous

Way back in January, before he made nice with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise was still Creepy Tom -- a state of being exemplified nowhere better than this leaked Scientology promo video. Cruise rambles, he cackles, he avoids proper nouns and he proclaims himself an "the only one who can really help" at car accident scenes.

It was classic unhinged celebrity voyeurism, but the story got really interesting when a group calling itself "Anonymous" posted a response video, in which it vowed to bring down the Church of Scientology. The two minutes of eerie digital voice-over eventually led to real-life protests in more than 100 cities.

Somebody Pass Me the Oxygen Mask

Germany, which had gone into hysterics when word of the film first broke, has gotten around to seeing Tom Cruise's portrayal of national hero Claus von Stauffenberg in Valkyrie. And the German critics have warmed to the picture, which ennobles the men who finally got around to taking their shot at killing Adolph in the days just after D-Day.

I found it serious, smart, a real straight no chaser thriller. The nasty buzz on it, predictions of "Razzie" nominations based on a seething hatred of all things Cruise, seems on firmer footing with those who haven't actually seen the film.

Fox News' Roger Friedman's nasty dust-up with getting banned from seeing the film in a preview has led to him calling it a "Nazi apologia." Well, somebody pass me the oxygen mask. I love it when anybody working for Seig Heil on your dial uses "Nazi" in a sentence-- be he Bill O'Reilly or Roger Friedman.

In any event, reviews on the movie are mixed to positive, over all. And I found a few Cruise-crushing sites spinning the German reaction to the film as "negative." I'm not sure if "lightning rod for criticism" translates into box office for anybody other than Michael Moore.

Fox News Roger Friedman - Not a Man at Peace

I was wondering why Fox News commentator and film critic Roger Friedman would slam Valkyrie with such absurd arguments as he threw in an article entitled "Is Horrible 'Valkyrie' Tom Cruise's Nazi Apologia?", at odd and against the overall positive reception of the film.

Things are a bit clearer now.

Indeed, I have seen titles in the past about a journalist being "banned" from Valkyrie's premiere (actually just not invited), but I did not pay attention to who it was. Now I learn that it was none other than ... Roger Friedman himself!

Check out this review, in which he complains about being banned but goes ahead assessing the film nevertheless.

Things indeed make a bit more sense now...

Roger has in the past delighted at slamming Cruise and Scientology, and that may have been the reason he was not considered objective enough to be invited at the premiere.

Now I don't support banning anybody from anything, but is taking a petty revenge slamming the film with absurd arguments something a dignified reporter should engage into?

Friedman should heed Cruise's example, who, in spite of ugly discrimination Germany has been throwing at Scientology, has nevertheless made a film putting them (and no, NOT Nazis) in a good light.

Dur Dur d'Etre Bebe

There was a French clip quite a few years ago entitled "C'est dur dur d'etre bebe" (It's Hard Being a Baby) which was an utter hit and was utter cute.

Now how about being a celebrity baby? Tom said he does not mind Paparazzi but all the flashes must take a toll on baby's eyes...

Germany's Hope Is Called Tom Cruise

This title does not come from me but from German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, whose "The Lives of Others" won a foreign language film Oscar!

Would you believe it?

Indeed, ahead of its release in Germany, media commentators, so keen at other time to burst a flame against Scientology, have praised Bryan Singer's film.

Such prominent media outlets as public broadcaster ZDF and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have given it a serious thumb up.

The ZDF was heard saying it was a "well-made and serious film" and Cruise's part "a solid performance".

Frank Schirrmacher of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung echoed praise saying the Mission Impossible star's performance as Stauffenberg would alter the global perception of Germans.

Koelner Stadt Anzeiger added: "[The fear that] the myth of the German resistance would be put through a Hollywood filter has turned out to be wrong and prejudicial. On the contrary, the American origin of this film is its biggest advantage."

To be fair, not all reviews were uniformly positive. Such is the case, for example, of the Badische Zeitung, who wrote: "The film is well-crafted, no explosive, loud war drama but a calm, chronological tale ... the main weakness is Cruise himself, who appears in almost every scene but is stiff".

This trend among German film critics was already visible back on Dec 12., in spite of claims by the gossip tabloid Daily Mail (whose unsubstantiated rumor about Cruise "living in fear" is still being echoed by many fact checking deficient news outlets) that "the movie was given a roasting by German critics".

Yeah... roasting indeed.

In fact, not only did Cruise win an incredibly risky bet making that film, but he seems to have achieved something exceptional in Germany, totally at odd with what the Church of Scientology would do out of revenge for being considered by Germany a money-grabbing cult rather than a religion. This is worth to be commented on in future blog entries.

Now is the film a "Nazi apologia", as Fox News' Roger Friedman wrote and as Barbara Schwarz claims? Does it seek to depict a "good Nazi"? No way, quite on the contrary it seeks to show that not all Germans were Nazi-alike, and this is why German media are so supportive.

Hopefully they will also realize that, in the same way, not all Scientologists are as depicted by fanatical anti-Scientologists, and ease off on their disgraceful discrimination.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Cute Letter to Ron

I am currently sorting out old papers and found a draft of an unfinished letter to Ron which I wrote, well, I don't know because there's no date. I was already in the GO WW (or maybe already out) so it must have been somewhere around 1978-1980

I think the letter is cute and also amusing, while at the same time reflecting the absurdity of the ever increasing prices.

Here it is :

(Note: my English wasn't that good at the time):

Dear Ron,

I write you about the the prices of admin courses (in GO WW).

By my opinion, they are much too high and unreal.

For example, the "Telex Writer" checksheet is a very little checksheet of about one page and with very few issues. Just a matter on how to write a telex. This course was at £25 a few years ago and with the price increase is now at more than £400!!! This is the amount of one month wage of a full time work in Belgium, which means that one has to work full time for a month before he can afford to learn how to write a telex.

If it can be argued that the technical courses and auditing "have no prices", I don't think that it is the same as regard some admin courses.

As the price increase continue on those courses, they will be more and more expensive and, for me, more and more at an unreal price.

I also saw that the DSEC (?) was, at the moment, at around £16,000 (probably more now). Although one could argue that this is the value of the data contained in it, it is however a fact that it would take a freeloader around four years of hard work before completing the payment at this price (since they usually don't have money to start with an have to start at zero in the wog).

That's all. Duh... Cute, I think, and already reflecting a nonsensical situation back then.

PS - Boy, am I happy not to be slave of this absurd system anymore...

Valkyrie Online

Anti-Scientologist Paul Horner is linking to a video upload site streaming Valkyrie from his largely ignored and bigoted "Boycott Valkyrie" call.

The stream works rather well, and apparently you can even save the file (provided you have the add-in to do it).

As for me, I interrupted the video shortly after the first few pics, because I like to see it on a big screen with full effect. So I'll just wait.

The streaming is not going to make any significant difference to the film gross income, except possibly bring Paul Horner in trouble with the law.

Alternatively, maybe you'll get enticed and find it interesting enough to go and see the movie in a real theater... Sometimes these kind of things backfire in surprising ways...

Tom Stunning OT Powerz

The craze around tabloid Daily Mail claims of Cruise supposedly "living in fear" continues. In the meantime, Android Cat of ARS caught a nice one! :
I was just wading through the tabloid twaddle about Tom's claimed death threats.

"In August this year, Cruise received a security threat that spores of anthrax bacteria could be pumped into the air conditioning system at his Los Angeles office.

"He was so shaken by the threat that he had a $10.6 million underground bunker built at his Colorado estate."

Amazing! He was so shaken by a claimed death threat in August of this year that he started on Der KruiseBunker back in September of 2007!

David Miscavige Missing in Action

Mark Bunker reports that David Miscavige was all but totally absent from the New Year’s Event this year:
"my guess is he is either sick, incapacitated or handling a huge monstrous flap that only he can deal with. It would take something HUGE for him to miss an event like this!"
I agree!


Update: Just Bill reports that in fact none of the top management were present. No Marc Yager, no Mark Rathbun in view. The event was run by Tommy Davis, a second-string PR flack. Unconfirmed reports about Guillaume Lesevre and Heber Jentzsch being speaker at the event, but neither are part of International Management anymore.

Hippies, WIFI, and Orgone Generators has a funny article about hippies complaining in Glastonbury that Wifi are destroying the spiritual energy of the place.

Even more funny, they apparently deployed "orgone generators" to counter wifi waves!

The news outlet then asks "this sound like Scientology to anyone?".

No, it doesn't. Orgone is a typical Wilhelm Reich's concept, and, according to him, is a sort universal bioenergetic force based on sexual energy.

I remember reading a book about it a few years ago. I even drove to beautiful Belgium's Ardennes to visit a group that was practicing orgone therapy, that basically consisted of making love!

I think that was real fun and I would have continued the "therapy", except for the fact that the group was totally against the use of condoms.

What a pity...

Cute Among the Craze

The news is full of Cruise. Not really about his latest movie (whereas they should now that it's going strong, but, eh, that's not newsworthy enough...) but about silly gossips, like him supposedly living in fear and separately from Katie (yeah, right...), or about him wanting ten TomKittens (yawn). It gets boring and am not even going to blog about it.

On the other hand, I found that one cute:
"I go to the children’s groups like other daddies.

"At first people look at me like, 'My God, it's him!' and they treat me a little differently.

"But then they realize I'm just a father with my kids. It's up to me to make everybody else feel okay about the fact that I'm there, and then everything just goes on."

Valkyrie - The Big Surprise
The big surprise of the holidays was "Valkyrie," which did much better than anticipated thanks to being the only thriller and the most macho offering. The Tom Cruise film overcame some negative buzz to earn a solid $21.5 million over the weekend and $30 million total.
NY Times:
Still, the weekend’s most significant victory may have been scored by Tom Cruise, the director Bryan Singer and the distributor MGM with their “Valkyrie,” which for the last year has been chewed over as one of the most difficult bets in the movie marketplace.
Associated Press:
"This totally robs the nay-sayers of their ability to deem it a flop, because it's not," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. "It does show the renewed star power of Tom Cruise."
That's just a sample. More at

Four to six times $21.5 million is expected for Valkyrie's domestic total. Say five times 20 is $100 on domestic market alone, which should represent $200-250 world-wide.

Something telling me Cruise will save enough to build a few more bunkers under his mansions.

And take into account he really took risks with that film, and that the Christmas opening was filled with competing super stars (biggest of which is the dog), and the X factor...

It's a safe bet to say at this stage that the film, from that perspective, is a resounding success.

My only problem, when the movies arrive here, is that I will want to see all four of them. Valkyrie of course, but also Marley, with its attractive dog pull; Bed Time, for Adam Sandler; and also Brad Pitt's movie because I think a plot where one ages in reverse is an interesting idea...

Normally I only go to the movies twice a month. Will have to put in extra time to keep up with these.

In the meantime, user ratings continue to raise (thanks mostly to the fact that A ratings now overcome F ratings by a greater factor):

Metacritic: 6.5 to 6.6 for 29 votes
RottenTomatoes: 75 to 77 for 233 votes
IMDB: 7.1 to 7.4 for 2799 votes (671 A, 275 F)
Mojo: B- for 216 votes (114 A, 52 F)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Thoughtful - Post 2

Thoughful has answered to my post in which I was pondering whether what he wrote was a cut and paste or not. It turns out to be original writing and none of the known persons I thought it might be, so I am going to create a separate category to host his posts, which I will call (for now) "Reform". I may add them to other catogies too as the case may be.

I am going to quickly comment on some parts of his last post. Not for it to be a debate, nor even much of a discussion matter, but simply because, since it is posted on my blog. it is difficult for me not to read it, and once I read it, it is difficult for me not to comment on it through the same blog. Obviously, anybody who is not interested in my comments can skip them, haha :-)

Here are Thoughtful original posts so far:
Below are my comments. I only quote some excerpts, either because I answer them or because I find them of some interest for some reasons (not that I don't find what I snipped out uninteresting). check the reference above for the full text.

The comment was indeed from someone new (me) and I chose your blog because, of all the many excellent websites and blogs I've seen on the subject of Scientology and its criticism, yours is the best in my opinion.

Well, what can I say? Thanks! Strangely it evolved from (and still is in some extent) something I did only for me being able to follow up news and retrace articles afterward.

This being said, it may not be the best place for you to have a wide audience. Critics usually avoid my pages and try to convince others not to visit either, because I am critical of critics. Scientologists do likewise, because I am critical of Scientology, and also because I openly speak about Xenu. However, I do have the odd critic and the odd Scientologist peaking in here and there, and I even made a friend or two through this blog. Anyway, I am honored that you chose it to express yourself, and you are certainly welcome. If you some day feel you found a better outlet, no problem either.

My comment on your Scientology 1 & 2 blog was my first. I put the comment on two websites simultaneously.

As you essentially pointed out, nothing on this earth is ALL good or ALL bad. Scientology is a blend of both. The bad needs to be abolished. That’s all. [...]

Critics of Scientology continually ask, “If it’s so bad, why do people stay in it?” The answer is because Scientology also contains some powerfully good things that really can help people.

There’s an old phrase, “There’s good even in the worst of us” and it’s true. [...]

My point isn’t to make excuses for Scientology, it is just to point out that only condemning things is illogical [...]

Your position, as I understand it in this blog, is that both the critics who deny all rightness, and Scientologists who deny all wrongness, are alike both members of the same cult. That cult is: “I will only see what I want to see!”

Yes, though I don't see Scientology 1 and 2 as quite as something in which you can simply split out the good from the bad, but I won't get much into that, because I don't think it is the place here to open a debate on this issue. I am just doing it to clarify my position somewhat. This may be clearer through later comments I would make.

There are no WDC members today. One by one they were wiped out by Miscavige. [...]
I’m not a member of Anonymous. I’m not a member of the Church. Yet I have life-long friends on both sides. [...]

I found the primary “out ethics” (Scientology lingo for unethical practices) blocking Scientology's expansion is internal. Most of it traces back to David Miscavige. Some of it traces back to LRH.
That's where we may differ somewhat, but again I don't want to enter in a debate here, just clarify somewhat what I mean by Scientology 1 and 2. In my view, LRH himself is the "who", as he "added" concepts to his own initial tech that eventually made it cultish. You could say that Miscavige is "only" following in that delusion, but that would mean excusing the wrong he is doing. Obviously, Scientology would have taken a very different path if David Mayo would have taken command, but it appears that he too was brutally discarded by Miscavige's struggle to get in power. I believe it indeed was a definitely bad turn for Scientology.

So they would work for weeks and weeks writing their scripts as Miscavige insisted, finally sending them up to Miscavige for approval, who would then sit on them for 6-8 months without looking at them, then finally send them back as “stale” or “rejected.”
This reminds me of an incident that happened to my while I was on the GO WW. One day I was called to sit in a sort of Committee of Evidence. Well, it was not a Committee of Evidence as such, something of a much lower order but I just don't remember the name. It was the first (and only) I ever done. Together with my companions, we looked at what was presented to us and decided that the guy was not guilty. That must have been a novelty because in a typical Stalinist-like regime, if you sit in such a committee, the guy is automatically guilty and you are only supposed to "rationalize" the reason why (is my guess). Anyway, some time later we received an angry missive from Jane Kember herself canceling our findings because we did not look at classified information about the guy. Of course we were never presented with such information, nor did we have the right to access it! I found the incident completely absurd.

To save himself, he finally faked a suicide by scratching his wrists with a pocket knife. He didn’t cut himself, he just scratched himself. But knowing the rules, that got him automatically kicked off staff. And he saved his health.[...]
I am not sure why people have to resort to that, really. There I was in the middle of GO WW in the old Saint Hill Castle, and I simply told my boss that I wanted to route out. It only took persistence in my views to finally be routed out.

I must admit I had some advantage, because I had access to critical material (being in part night watch in the castle and could avail of critical information with impunity). So when people were coming to me to try and convince me that I should stay, it wouldn't take long before they started doubting themselves. That prompted the hierarchy, I guess, to promptly get rid of me.

But to get back to the point, I really don't see why people would need to fake suicide (of course most of them just blow). Persistence in wanting to be routed out should be enough.

What’s missing is integrity: a word Miscavige, being a high-school drop out, has never known the meaning of.

If a group wants to be a religion, they have to not just talk the talk, they have to walk the walk. And Scientology never really has.
What you write prompts me to envision the future of Scientology. I wrote earlier that the CoS really should reform, but they just can't because LRH has embedded Scientology 2 within the system in such a way that it is virtually inextricable from Scientology 1. The solution I now see is through a change in the leadership. Miscavige being replaced by a new management, a new approach, that would at least make an attempt at discarding the most damaging policies. I don't think this would be totally possible but at least they could reach a point where it would be acceptable by society at large, a bit like Christianity and Islam themselves did. They would be sort of the Turkey of Muslim countries rather than the Iran or Saudis of this world. Just a thought...

Other parts of Scientology amount to some of the most valuable discoveries this world has to offer. I use Scientology today in every part of my life. I use the good parts of Scientology. The parts that work. Just like I can back up the conclusion that some parts of Scientology are bad, I can back up the conclusion that some parts are incredibly good. To see those parts lost would be in my opinion the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. [...]
That would be the Freezoner approach, of sort. Again I differ somewhat personally because, even though I think the tech does indeed have many positive aspects, and I understand why Scientologists and Freezoners would swear by it, I personally do not use it anymore as such. Again let's not get in a debate on this.

Scientology has enabled me to rebuild my life from complete and utter scratch in just a few years.
I seem to observe many high ranking (and non high ranking) staff, even those who spent most of their life in the movement), relatively easily being able to re-build their life. That was my case too. Even though I dropped Universtity to join staff in which I spent five years, and thus had no job or job qualifications when I left, I was able to relatively easily make up for it and gain a position in society many would envy.

I am not sure what is the exact incidence of Scientology in that, but it certainly does not harm.

For example as I took the exams in a subject on which I had no formal studies, and in which maybe 100 on a million would be received, I mostly concentrated on clearing up technical words to prepare for it. On a technical subject, jargon makes up for at least 80% of the field. If you clear them up, not only you can fairly quickly master the field itself, you end up expressing yourself in the jargon, and sometimes it's all that is needed to pass some exams. At the end, people ended up calling me to "reserve" me before I even got the official end result myself. And yet, I don't believe I was better than anyone else, but I did know the jargon top down. I wouldn't have had the idea on my own if it wasn't from what I learned through Scientology.

I believe others may have similar stories. It also shows that although I am not really using the tech as such, some things remain. For example, I am very keen that people answer my questions in real life, and not answer aside of it. I believe this too I got from Scientology. I also posted recently about other things I found of value in Scientology. Scientology 1, that is.

And in the coming months, I intend to reveal more. Good and bad. I intend to bring insight to both sides. [...]

If I am guilty of anything, I am guilty of following LRH’s own words (which would qualify in your analogy as “Scientology 1”):
Yes - that's true, but don't forget that what I call Scientology 2 also come from LRH ;-)

I am sometimes amused to read Barbara Schwarz claiming that LRH was impostored, but, in some remote way, you could say it's true. It's as if there was one LRH who came up with the tech and all the good stuff, then there was another LRH that came up and added all kind of things on top of it with no other apparent purpose to make it impracticable and make for himself loads of enemies.

This particular blog strikes me as the best example of not necessarily maintaining a skeptical attitude, a critical attitude, or an open mind. You, Bernie, seem to have maintained sufficient personal integrity and sufficient personal belief and confidence in yourself and courage to observe and say what you see.

That’s what being a human being is really all about. Personal integrity.
Thanks again. Words can be tricky. I consider myself as skeptical, critical and open minded, but in a good way, not in the negative sense of these words. At the same time, I do take position, and not always popular ones. It does take a lot of guts to keep your views when subjected to massive abuses for daring to dissent. I especially took care not to stop being critical of Scientology too, which is sometimes a temptation when you get subjected to said abuses. I guess, you could call that integrity. At the end, I learned to let flow out all this kind of reactions, that are mostly childish and immature, and quietly concentrate on the content instead, and maybe also learn to see the truth of each side rather than were they go wrong.

For me, maintaining my personal integrity has meant giving up my marriage -- since my (now “ex”) spouse is still inside the Church; giving up my Bridge, since anyone who routes out from Int Management is automatically declared “suppressive” and barred from services; giving up my many friends since Scientologists are required to disconnect from anyone who has been so declared.

That was a high cost. I was married for the better part of two decades. Being forced to divorce my spouse while still in love because of suppressive policies (Scientology 2) was difficult. Like a baptism by fire, internal suppression within Scientology stripped me of everything I owned but two things: My observations and my personal integrity.

And so, I have “everything” whereas those without have already “lost everything.” [...]
Yes, I think this is absolutely true. That's a bit what I wrote about Cruise winning his internal bet already, no matter how well the movie would fare, because he pushed through with a film which he deeply believed in, rather than taking into account how well it may be received. Now he seems to win his external bet too, because the movie is doing pretty well, but this is only of secondary importance. There are certain things that should take priority, and when these things are things deeply felt, they will enrich us from inside, no matter what the concrete out come might be.

This I got from Eckhart Tolle, not Scientology :-) But of course they come from deep inside myself too, as I always "knew" it somehow and applied it intuitively, and as you say they can be found in Scientology 1 too, in another form.

To allow Miscavige to go on destroying the Church of Scientology is to turn my back on everything I stand for as a human being and as a Scientologist. He has single-handedly done more to poison the environment for Scientology than anyone or any agency in history. [...]

In other words, Miscavige, in his delusory state, is so surrounded by "suppressives" that he sees ALL of the most dedicated Scientologists on earth, people who have devoted their entire lives to the movement, as hostile enemies. [...]
This is what stroke me when I was able to meet Jane Kember in a private party. Of course she was the "star" of the party and would hold the bar. I think she was a relatively fine woman and in her own way quite exceptional, but she would have no other word in her mouth than "SP", and, in turn, nearly every nations got qualified as "the greatest SPs in the world". There's something about being in power and ending up corrupting your view of the world...

Don’t forget, this is the guy who kicked Mary Sue Hubbard (LRH’s wife) out of the Church... and got away with it.

And for that matter, Diana Hubbard, Ron’s eldest daughter, despises David Miscavige with all her soul. She is a virtual prisoner. There are no cell phones, no outside lines, no internet access. As far as I know, you can’t even call 911. She writes scripts and speeches for events.
Scientology was born in desperate times by a good man. He was not a perfect man. He was just a man, with as many flaws as you. [...]

Hubbard ran into problems when people tried to alter Scientology, since it doesn’t work if altered. In 1965, in a knee-jerk reaction, Hubbard froze everything with a policy letter called, “Keeping Scientology Working.” That policy made it unlawful (in Scientology) to change anything or to even to criticize Scientology.
I think this is what happened. He tried to find "solutions" to problems he was encountering, and came up with inappropriate ones that may have been seen at first to be a solution but ended up creating more problems than resolve them. And so was Scientology 2 created. That Keeping Scientology Working policy, that people read at the start of each course, is one of the most powerful indoctrination tool in Scientology. They should get rid of it, and change the mentality altogether.

When he took over, Miscavige made it 1,000 times worse, broadening the range of the policy to include virtually anything Hubbard ever wrote as inviolate. Even including things like the asinine “Team Share System.”

And so, as the culture itself actually progressed and improved, Scientology froze in a cold-war condition that no longer exists. [...]

In the 1950s, our culture was considerably more barbaric.
Senator Joseph McCarthy used innuendo to blacklist people. We tend to forget how bad things really were.
Yes and no. Look at what Bush did. He was able to lead a whole nation on the wrong path through gross lies, innuendos, blatant civil right abuses, illegal invasions and massive killings, all in spite of our modern times and the Internet at the peak of its free speech power!

I am not sure things have changed that much, and technology alone is not going to do it either. People have the fight the "beast" within themselves, and this beast is what i refer to as the cultic mindset, something that allows the Bushes of this world to have a grab on people, not speaking of cult leaders, of course... And the beast manifests itself in unpredictable way, which is why some anti-cultists can be worst than three cult members combined.

While the culture progressed, Scientology not only froze in time, starting in 1986, it began to go in reverse.

It is incredibly ironic that the philosophy that revealed what Eckhart Tolle later described as the “power of now” has itself become profoundly stuck in the past. [...]

Then we need someone sensible, to sort out the good from the bad. If Scientology is to be a church, then it has to BE a church. That means knock off the secret wars and the hostilities. It means cease dolling out $400,000 a month to degraded lawyers and private investigators hired as attack dogs. It means stop declaring as suppressive decent people who left Int Management because they did not want to receive a concussion from David Miscavige on top of all the other physical, mental and spiritual abuse. [...]
Duh... lemme see... huh, I give 25 years of dedicated service, working 110 to 120 hours a week, 7 days a week, with two vacations in 20 years... wait a second... one was for a funeral not a vacation. [...]
Haha. This reminds me of my top-model girl friend I was lucky to have for a short while, starting to count jokingly all the hours she spent with me in order to charge me high fee in response to my own joke I would charge her my high fee for some work I was doing for her as a service. I promptly made it for free :-) Off topic? Hmm... Maybe, maybe not...

Oh, by the way, the entire time I was a member of Int Management, I didn’t advance one step on the Bridge we Scientologists care so much about.
But why not? I know that as staff we had impossible targets to reach and always wanted to do more to save the world, but really, that's a mistake. If you had said that you want to get your 2 and 1/2 hours that are your daily right, even if you would not get it every day, nobody could stop you. That's what I did, even though I did not do it every day by far, but at least did something and now can say I have first hand experience in auditing and the tech, which is a very important part of being on staff or in Scientology in general.

Of course I also did have a boss in Saint Hill who wanted us to advance on the bridge and so arranged auditing hours for staff. This no doubt will be written as a positive deed on his plate in heaven, but if you never asked for it or insisted that you are entitled to it, of courses very few are going to impose it to you. I thing this is something you can't really blame on the organization.

But he left out something... he was not “a full-time staffer at Scientology’s centre on Sunset Boulevard.” For more than 15 years, he was IG MAA RTC (Inspector General Master at Arms) at Scientology’s Int Base headquarters in Gilman Hot Springs, 90 miles east on Highway 60. Chris Guider was Miscavige’s main pit bull.

He was instrumental in forcing my spouse and I to get divorced. He wrote the issue officially declaring me and dozens of others “anti-social” people; spinning, spinning, spinning phony justifications on goldenrod paper like a little spider with beady eyes. Now he’s back in Australia but still quite the tool for Miscavige, voicing the party line about Ideal Orgs -- the latest program to cheat millions from Scientologists. He’s one of the ones who redefines the phrase, “how low can you go?” [...]
Funny, I reported that article on my blog here.Maybe I am going to add that part to the article.

Then again, maybe he’s just another Miscavige victim. I don’t know. Miscavige is the correct target.
People do stupid things. Most of the time it is not because they are bad but quite on the contrary because they are good. They want to do good and don't realize the wrong they do. It does not excuse what they do, of course, but that's what humans do.

Miscavige would be the right target indeed. Not because he is Miscavige, but because he is the one at the top and responsible for the broad direction the CoS takes. Beating up people and engaging in other abuses certainly is not the way to go.

I indeed don't see a future for Scientology other than through a change of leadership, a new Obama that would bring a new direction (eh, it's still too early to say this for Obama but at least we can always dream). IMO, It has to be done with the CoS itself, because the Freezone has shown already that it is impossible to achieve this trying to build a parallel organization on the outside.

Cruise Threat - an Unreliable Source

I now read the Valkyrie article of the (trying to find, to no avail, the article where they claim Cruise called in the FBI to protect him from death threats).

If anything, it certainly confirms my first impression that this news outlet is little more than a low-level tabloid rag.

Indeed, the article falls right along the one I analyzed on Dec. 26, and the one reported by John Brown on his blog. It unilaterally covers negative to ultra negative comments, completely ignoring the fact that in reality the reviews are mixed, with some very positive ones.

It also claims that
Last week the movie was given a roasting by German critics.
It just is, likewise, not true either, as I commented on my blog back in Dec. 12, and as this excellent piece by The National details.

To me, it's really journalism of the worst kind.

I guess some people delight in this kind of reporting, but I don't think anybody who really wants to be informed should take whatever they write seriously, or at least, be extremely skeptical and cross-check the news with more serious outlets.

Update: The Tom Cruise threat article is here. Why it did not come out on a search for "Cruise", I don't know.

Threats Against Cruise - Cautions Required

The major news today is an article by the, largely reposted by other newspapers (without linking to the original article if it's online at all), about death threats supposedly made against Tom Cruise and his family, that prompted him to alert the FBI.

I really don't know what to make of this news, because so far it is only actually reported by one newspaper, and one that looks to me to be mostly a gossip rag. Furthermore, why would such a typical US news be reported by a UK newspaper? What are its sources and references?

Of course celebrities routinely receive loads of threats from all kinds of cranks, including most probably from some of the original Anonymous pranksters (not the branch that opposes Scientology), but I don't see why they should be taken more seriously than at other times.

The threats that have been made, if any, would probably be along the line of the ones I reported already on Dec. 18, and that were posted in the comments of an anti-Anonymous blog, threatening to blow a church building "on New Years Day at 12:01am GMT".

By all means, until more information become available, I think this news has to be taken with cautions.

OT: Lame Defense for the Worst Ever President in US History

I can't even start to fathom the depth of total and utter idiocy the "two most influential women in President George W. Bush's White House" (Mrs Bush and Rice?!) get into in trying to defend Bush presidency.

Mrs Bush about the shoe:
He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete and ducked it.

??? a natural athlete, ducking a shoe???
"As bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves," she said.
??? because this is something people allowed him to do???


Condoleezza Rice:
Rice noted that while Germany was reunified in 1990, the work that made it possible was done in the 1940s
Duh?? No way. Germany was eventually re-unified because the high principles the US followed, together with inevitable results of prosperity it brought about, made the contrast intolerable.

Somebody should tell Condoleezza (that name is the only good thing I see in her), that the separation of Germany by the wall was precisely created in the 1940s. What Bush did is also not comparable to the Marshall Plan that happened after the war, because Bush was the aggressor, not the other way around, and is widely seen as such.

Or does Condoleeza really mean to say that the reunification was made possible because it was separated in the first place???

Mrs Bush:
She said her husband responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the nation safe.
No. He fell right into Ben Laden's trap, right where he wanted him to be - to bring about a general distrust of the US and a general rally against what was until then the first power in the world, not just because of its military might, but most of all because of its abeyance to fundamental principles. Ben Laden is the winner here.

By lying to the world and engaging in sheer aggression against a sovereign nation without a shred of evidence for his lies, bombing thousands upon thousands of innocents in full view of a powerless world, Bush trashed the trust people had in that nation for ever. And that makes the world a much less safer place than it ever was.

So no, he definitely not responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the nation safe.

It would take many Obamas to try and restore that trust, but OTOH, I think somewhere it's irreversible. Things will never be the same again, and other nations will raise to take the lead

Bush was the President who made the giant stumble.

Rice took a similar view in a separate interview, saying that claims that the Bush administration has been one of the worst ever are "ridiculous."
Yes, it's ridiculous - it's not one of the worst President ever, it definitely is the worst ever recorded in history.

Not only that. If I ever saw a world leader who deserves sentencing for crimes against Humanity, that would be the one. By very very far. I sincerely hope that once he loses his immunity, he will be held accountable for his crimes.

This lame attempt at defending Bush just makes him look even worst. They can't bring up a single thing that would actually speak for him apart for insipid and unmeasurable, almost irrelevant, generalities (supposedly fighting aids and corruption).

He "liberated millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive governments"? Yes, that's true, but, while nobody is blaming him for Afghanistan (after 911, there really was little other choices), the Iraq one was a major goof.

My guess is that he saw that what he did in Afghanistan was good, and thought he had an opportunity to do the same with every other oppressive governments, and so write his name in history as the great liberator of the world.

The problem is that he had to turn the US into an oppressive government itself in order to "achieve" that. He should have had the intelligence to yield to the massive protests around the world (and in the US) against the war. By then it was probably too late for him to go back, so he had to push through in spite of everything.

The consequences of this are immeasurable. It made of him indeed, together with other heartless and aggressive policy decisions he took, one of the worst President in history, and this is to put it very very mildly. I think that the title of worst President ever is fully deserved.

Related blog entries - R-Bushoe-

Sunday, December 28, 2008

High-Ranking Defector Speaks Out

I received a long comment on my post Scientology 1 and Scientology 2 yesterday, that stands out a bit by the length but also by the content.

Indeed, it claims to be from a high-ranking defector and is quite detailed.

I thought maybe that's a cut and paste from another page but by searching samples through Google I could not find another page or post forum containing the words.

I just do not know what to think of it, so if anybody has an idea, speak out.

Why it was posted as a comment to my blog and not on some open forum I don't know. I still suspect it to be pasted from somewhere else, even though the first paragraph directly addresses the post I made.

I guess this kind of things would be posted on OCMB, but it's virtually impossible for new people to post there as they'll have to wait for month before receiving news (if ever) of their registration.

Update - I did find the same text on another page, but it seems to have been posted around the same time as the comment was posted here. What is more, the same page carries a prior text dated Aug 2008, which is almost for sure from the same author.

Update 2 - A quick look through the net comes up with three names of high-ranking defectors speaking out and who maybe could have written this text. The text is either from one of them, or from someone else. This someone else either is already known as a defector or not. The three name I came up with are Jeff Hawkins, Marc Headley, and Larry Brennan. As I said, there may be more that are already known. If not, then it's somebody new.

You will find the comment here.

And here are a few excerpts I picked up from the text:
There definitely is a Scientology 1 and 2. Scientology, like all things, is neither all good, nor all bad. It is a blend of very, very good and very, very bad. The bad needs to be weeded out and ended. And the good, preserved. [...]

I speak from personal experience, having worked shoulder to shoulder with Scientology’s top executives as a high-ranking member of International Management.

I spent 25 years on staff, including a span of approximately 20 years in Scientology's secret headquarters in Gilman Hot Springs.

Recently, I decided to route out. The last straw came when David Miscavige physically assaulted and violently battered 3 individuals in my presence: Mark Yager, Guillaume Leserve and Mike Rinder (three of the highest ranking Scientologists on earth). I was not only in the same room, in one case I was standing right next to the victim when Miscavige attacked. All this transpired within a few weeks. I had endured incredible suppression in the hopes it might get better, but when Miscavige sweetened the deal by meting out potential concussions, I finally said enough. [...]

Many of us stayed on for years hoping it would get better under the delusion that “it couldn’t get worse.” We were wrong. Scientology’s Int Management has been decimated. It literally doesn’t exist. It went from some 1,400 staff in 1988, down to about 300 people today -- and true enough, all those with any kind of spine or spark of independence are long gone. [...]

And where are those staff now? All over the world, uniformly doing well, but having to rebuild their lives from scratch. Those of us who routed out standardly from Int Management were given $500 and a declare order which which to start over. Many of us have spent our whole adult lives in the Church. Which means when you leave, you also leave behind any family and every friend you know. Those of us who started with the Church at an early age, had no college degree. So just imagine starting over in your 40s or 50s, with $500, no friends, no place to live, no car, no credit, nothing. It keeps one busy for a few years.

But besides the challenge of starting over, those of us now on the outside all share something else, an abiding hatred for this total failure named David Miscavige. And one by one, we are starting to do something about it. [...]

All the leaders of the Church of Scientology are officially declared (suppressives) and have been for years. Like Mark Yager. And Ray Mithoff. And dozens more. Guillaume Leserve (Executive Director International, Janet Light (President of the IAS), top staff from OSA -- they’re all in the “SP Hall” -- two office trailers which once housed CMO Int. (“SP” means suppressive person or “anti-social”).

Even the term “International Management” is an oxymoron (“international mob” is more truthful since they have lacked any org board for years. There is no WDC, no Exec Strata, no CMO Int, and not even any RTC anymore. It’s all been dismantled by David Miscavige). There is only “COB’s Office.” Even Miscavige’s own wife, Shelley, a person whom he wiped his feet on constantly is, last I heard, “under watch” in New Mexico -- at the secret Archives location -- the Church of Spiritual Technology -- because apparently she suggested Miscavige was having an affair with his assistant.

When you send a report to Tech Reports Off RTC, there is no one there to read it.

Of course there’s much more. Did you know how Miscavige got IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg to grant tax exempt status to the Church of Scientology? Miscavige personally collared the IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg in the hallway outside his IRS office and threatened to expose him. Miscavige had his people in OSA (Office of Special Affairs) hire private investigators to trail and video Fred and they had caught him in some unethical activity. Miscavige told Fred if he didn’t cooperate, he’d immediately expose him in full-page ads in USA Today. That is what Miscavige told us at Int Management one night in 1993. He bragged about it.
A friend of mine who used to work in RTC told me that when she started, she received a Christmas bonus of $9,000. She felt guilty about it since regular Sea Org members only make $2,300 a year if they are lucky. When she tried to return it, she was told it had to be that big or else Miscavige’s bonus would look "out of proportion to the IRS." She was told, if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for Miscavige. [...]

He himself built a gigantic building “for RTC” costing millions that today stands empty in Gilman Hot Springs.

Financial crimes are old hand to Miscavige. In the early 1980s when L. Ron Hubbard was still alive, Miscavige secretly took over the management of LRH assets and promptly lost $30,000,000 on bad investments in the oil industry. LRH never knew. Miscavige’s solution was to invent a series of “collectible prints” -- paintings by Frank Frazetta, etc., of semi-nude women with huge breasts -- and he had Author Services Inc. (ASI) sell these to Scientologists.[...]

When LRH was around, the Church sold services to generate money. Now it simply demands donations from Scientologists. In other words, there’s no exchange any more. It’s just outright extortion.

It’s time for Scientologists to open their eyes and confront. [...]

From the start his only real skill was intimidation. He developed it to a high art, as did others of his kind: Al Capone for example.

Choosing Heroes Carefully

You know, though I scan them, I usually skip Barbara Schwarz's messages in ARS as soon as I read something about Chattanooga, ear implant, LRH being impostered, or "German psych case officers", because I personally think that's crazy (which, apart for that craziness, does not prevent her from being a rather nice character overall).

Sometimes, though, you'll read surprising things, and I must admit that her analysis of Valkyrie made me think.

Not that I think Cruise was wrong in doing the film. He wanted to show that not all Germans were Nazi think-alike, and that's a very fine point.

But indeed, how do we know that the script he read initially was not romanticized and biased? How did Stauffenberg arrive at the position he was in the first place? (Though the same could be said of Gorbachev who turned out to be a history-turning genius.)

And it is true that the Germans changed their mind about the film, in spite of their hate for Scientology and Tom Cruise. That is telling something! Not that I agree with B. that this was to portray a "Good Nazi", but to portray precisely that not all were truly Nazi.

What got me tikking in B.'s message was in particular what she said about Schindler. I was indeed always wondering why Spielberg (who of course is a Jew himself, as I am, BTW), choose to make the film on Schindler instead of Raoul Wallenberg, who, for his part, was truly a real and awe inspiring courageous hero who saved the life of countless Jews, whereas Schindler may be a bit of a controversial figure indeed.

Nevertheless, I don't agree with the qualification of Cruise's film as "Nazi apologia". He certainly did not intent to apologise for any of the horror Nazis did, nor does he do it, quite on the contrary. I agree with Hartley patterson's assessment that Friedman's article is "total and utter nonsense". However, some of the questions B. raises are worth spending a bit of time mulling about and pondering upon.

UPDATE: Two additional food for thought brought up by Schwarz:

1) "Stauffenberg supported Hitler's insane system and ideology for many years and just turned around when he noticed that Germany will be defeated. "

Personally I don't believe that was the reason, but the events did take place in June 1944, not in 1934, when it would make more sense.

2) "it is possible that the Germany decided not to outlaw Scientology because of this Nazi-friendly Tom Cruise movie"

I think that's just a coincidence of date but it is interesting to note that in spite of the antagonism of Germany towards Scientology, Tom did push true to rehabilitate the picture of the possibly good no-Nazi-like German (and not "Nazi-friendly", for God sake). It may have been a factor in softening up German agencies, but is very unlikely to have been a result on its own. It takes much much more work on evidences no-evidences than that to arrive at such a conclusion.

Valkyrie Maintaining Well and Catching Up

The best web site to follow the box office evolution of Valkyrie is Mojo.

We can see here that with $8.12, not only Valkyrie maintains its position well, but it has lost only 2.7% compared to the preceding day. Of the four leaders, it is the one who lost public interest less, which means it is catching up a bit. Compare this with Brad Pitt losing 13.6% (but still remaining 2nd).

PS - With 2,758 theaters showing Valkyrie, it only comes in 7th position. This is 923 theaters less than Adam Sandler, and 722 less than Aniston. Counted by theater, Cruise would be 3rd rather than 4th.

The Not So SO-SO and the X Factor Combined

User ratings on Mojo are interesting, because the breakdown shows what I was writing about the fact that the film was no so so-so after all, and what I was writing about the "X factor".

Indeed, the breakdown after 157 votes is as follows:

As: 82 52.2%
Bs: 21 13.4%
Cs: 6 3.8%
Ds: 5 3.2%
Fs: 43 27.4%

See? The votes in the so-so (B) category are a minority. Most of the votes go in the A class , but because of important votes in the F category, the overall rating gets pulled down to B.

I have little doubt that part of the reasons for the F vote are due to the X factor.

In reality, the real film value would probably be around 8 rather than 7, where it currently is.

Users Reviews - a Solid 7

Users reviews continue on the trend predicted..

Though Metacritic went from 7 to 6.5 after 8 more votes (for a lowly total of 20), Rotten Tomatoes has it at 7.5 with 160 reviews, and IMDB at 7.1 after 1,424 votes.

It could be said, thus that user reviews are a solit 7 so far.

A Dog Beats Hitler

How come nobody told me that Marley was A DOG?

They were only talking about Jennifer Aniston. Is that fair? I think not... I didn't even know Owen Wilson was in the cast!

I love dogs (and animals in general). See? My logo is a dog...

I now saw the trailer and I must admit I too would have gone rushing to that film, leaving Cruise and Hitler far behind in a split second with no hesitation.

Anyway, I'll have to wait a while to see either before it gets to this part of the world.

Tom Cruise's Leaked Video 7th on 2008 YouTube Chart

The Huffington Post has compiled what it thinks is "YouTube's Best Of 2008: Top Ten (VIDEO)", arrived at "by combining the number of times viewed, newsworthiness and hilarity".

The leaked Tom Cruise video is 7th.

All the other videos I don't know about, which shows how truly lost in space a Belgian I am...

The leaked video is also part of the Top 10 viral video time wasters of, together with... rickrolling!
but the best use – and another sign of the crossing lines between the web and the real world – was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which had a real-life "Rick Roll," with a surprise appearance by the English crooner himself, atop a float, breaking into his own song.
Other potentially interesting tops:

Beck Youthless lists what is apparently a new release from Beck today. It is unclear whether this is a new CD entirely or if its the single release of one of the music critics' favorite track of Modern Guilt:
BECK YOUTHLESS Slacker hero Beck - despite reportedly having turned to Scientology - releases a typically funk-filled affair. Offbeat handclaps and simple guitar arrangements make this one of his most sparse sounding offerings in years. All the better for it too.
PS - Beck have not "turned to Scientology". He "grew up in and around it".

Beck on Best-of Charts for 2008

Beck, second generation Scientologist and 2009 Grammy Award nominee for "Best Alternative Music Album", had his album "Modern Guilt" listed on several best-of 2008 charts this month, including the Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums Of 2008, where he holds the number 8 spot:

MTV News Staff Favorites Of 2008: Sabrina Rojas Weiss’ Top 10
4. Beck, Modern Guilt: I love the retro, melodic sound of this album. Booty-shaking Beck is so much better than experimental or mopey Beck.
Capecodonline: The year's best pop music
8. "Modern Guilt," Beck (Interscope): Lyrically dark, but juiced by the lighthearted touch of producer Danger Mouse, Beck's latest gets off to a great start (the five opening tracks add up to the best first half of any of the year's releases), but fizzles after that. iPod pick: "Chemtrails"
Joan Anderman's top CD picks of 2008
BECK, "Modern Guilt" (Interscope) Maybe we've become a little too accustomed to great Beck records, because the artist's latest - a shimmering and uncharacteristically emotional collection - came out to little fanfare this summer. It's worth a spin or 10, if only for the heady collision of technology and humanity.
USA Today: Our critics' picks of 2008
4. Modern Guilt, Beck. Dizzying Beck-fest of retro pop, folk, electronica and surf rock. Critic’s picks: Top 10 albums of 2008
1. “Modern Guilt,” Beck: Beck and producer Brian “Dangermouse” Burton team up for a lean 33 minutes that celebrates their love of both ’60s pop and hip-hop. Now middle-age and obviously reflecting on his own mortality, the normally quirky Beckster delivers some of his darkest lyrics to date – darker even than 2002’s melancholy masterpiece “Sea Change.”

He channels new millennial dread on the title track, a bluesy nod to the Doors’ “People Are Strange.” He makes global climatic catastrophe sound like a rowdy go-go party on the infectious “Gamma Ray” and even briefly ponders suicide on weepy album closer “Volcano.”

But the haunting high point is psych-rock epic “Chemtrails,” with Beck donning an eerie falsetto as he sings about seas of humanity “swallowed by evil.” Long-time collaborator Joey Waronker puts on one hell of a drum clinic.

This was a killer walk-off number when Beck headlined at Bumbershoot this year.
The Glide 20: Our Top Albums of 2008
Its been awhile since Beck’s name made it onto any ‘best of’ lists, but his latest, Modern Guilt (co-produced with Danger Mouse) puts him back in the limelight with more solid production, novel beats and interesting lyrics. Traveling down some diverse sound avenues, his latest effort gains low-end strength in the bass heavy rhythms of "Orphans," "Gamma Ray" and "Youthless,” but shifts all the way to ethereal madness in “Chemtrails.” If this was Beck’s debut record, he’d be the wet spot of the blogosphere, but seeing as it’s his eighth, this veteran gem could easily be overlooked. The Top 25 Albums of 2008
17. Modern Guilt - Beck
At just 10 tracks, Modern Guilt - Beck's tenth album - certainly left listeners wanting more. But with Dangermouse behind him, he came up with some of his most eloquent tunes in years.
Will Amacher: The Ten Best Albums of 2008
6. Beck: Modern Guilt – This alternative renaissance man cannot be caged by any particular genre, and Beck continues to impress with each new venture. That mellow voice, along with the golden touch of producer Danger Mouse, makes for an album that those involved should be proud of.
ADAM KISPERT: Best Albums of the Year
8.) "Modern Guilt" by Beck — Combining with Danger Mouse, Beck finds the perfect hybrid of his previous guises to create something new. 2008's top albums
7) Beck: 'Modern Guilt' (DGC Records)
Long one of rock's most creative songwriters, Beck turns out one of the most tuneful CDs of his career with "Modern Guilt."
Sound Check: Rewinding the musical year
Beck, “Modern Guilt” (DGC): A continuation of the stirring-but-laid-back vibe Beck created with his finest album, “Sea Change.”
NZ Herald Best Of The Year List
30. Beck - Modern guilt "While he's dealt with everything from the big guy in the sky to war, it was never heavy going because of the off-kilter beats, laid-back grooves, and cunning instrumentation"
Update Jan 1, 2009: "Beck: 'Modern Guilt' After nearly a decade of creative sloth, in which Beck seemed to be desperately chasing the ghost of his previous work, he unexpectedly turned out this fantastic set of psychedelic electrofolk. With luminary producer Danger Mouse on board, Beck puts the Scientology self-help lingo and instantly-dated pop culture references aside in favor of an affecting album that still swings. "

Pageant Not Doing Well

A "Very Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" does not seem to do well in theaters, at least not on the one reported by
I don’t envy the folks at TOTS who had to try to sell tickets to this straight-faced, kid-cast, multi-level satire of L. Ron Hubbard and company. But anyone who did find their way to the show experienced something strange and wonderful. Credit Ron Spencer in guiding his tiny company to just the right balance of innocence and knowledge, hilarity and creepiness. A shame it didn’t find the audience it deserved.

John Holdren and Scientology

At first I thought, reading this article, that Obama appointed a Scientologist as the White House Science adviser, but then I found out that the author uses "Scientology" with the meaning of pseudo-science, or approximate science, not as a reference to the actual movement.

You can see this in these two other articles of his:
PS - In another article today, an other author also use "Scientology" in a similar, albeit more political, manner:
"The political right, however, calls Kwanzaa a pseudo-Marxist phoney holiday which has been adopted by public institutions as part of a politically correct assault on the standing of Christmas. "It's the Scientology of holidays," says Erick Erickson, who writes the influential conservative blog"

LA Times Interviews Makers of Valkyrie

The LA Times features a long and detailed interview with Cruise, Singer, and McQuarrie, makers of Valkyrie.

In it, among many other things, they talk about Cruise being misunderstood:
When Cruise is asked if he feels misunderstood, Singer and McQuarrie jump in with the passion. [...]

"He's totally misunderstood. [...]

"You spend the first two weeks waiting for the . . . that you think Tom is to manifest itself. And after a year and half, you realize that is not who he is. . . . He gets a bad rap."

"He is a really great guy," chimes in McQuarrie. "He's a generous person. He works very hard. He is exceedingly professional. There is no hierarchy of any kind on the set. We would have . . . somebody's mother came to visit the set and Tom would spend the afternoon having lunch with that person's mother."

Cruise is more subdued about the vagaries of being Cruise. "I can't spend my time worrying about it," he says. As a kid, he moved constantly. "I was always the new kid. I went to different schools and I would hear back rumors about where I came from."

Now it's the same phenomenon, but "on a world stage, and sometimes it gets even very extreme and you've got to laugh about it. And some of it you kind of go, OK. OK, as in breathe, be Zen, ignore what you cannot control."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Christmas

I posted yesterday about a Scientology Christmas message that was quite typical of Scientology 2, with L. Ron Hubbard setting off on a tangent about Scientology being "the only hope" for Humanity...

The following message is much better, and I would tend to agree with it.

It's about the meaning of Christmas for Scientologists, and the fact that Scientology is a sort of non-denominational religion, a bit like Buddhism, something hitherto unknown to the West.

The poster is obviously more moderate in his approach than the Founder himself.

Quite ironically... but maybe not that surprisingly. I have seen, for example, some Muslims who managed the remarkable feat of interpreting the Koran in a moderate way and live a more gentle life than many people who call themselves Christians.

Changing Title

I renamed my blog from "Another Look at Scientology 2" to "Another Look at Scientology" because I now made a post about "Scientology 1 and Scientology 2" and thus the title would lean to confusion.

The historical reason for the title was that I already had a blog named "Another Look at Scientology" but which I wanted to keep for important news only, whereas on the "Scientology 2" one I would just post my day-to-day ramblings.

In practice, though, that does not work so well so I will transfer the posts from my old blog to this one and get rid of it.

The URL will stay as it is, though, because I can't change that. Though I own the one without the "2" too, it would be too much of a burden to transfer everything to the old blog, just to align the URL address with the title. It's not because it's an "Uniform Resource Locator" that it really needs to be uniform. It only is an address after all, i.e. a series of meaningless series of electrical impulses with the sole purpose of locating where in the World Wide Web is that particular blather.

Jerry Seinfeld on Scientology

"It's extremely intellectual and clinical in its approach to problem-solving, which really appealed to me."
That's the initial post that prompted me to write about Scientology 1 and Scientology 2.

This is pure Scientology 1, and is one of the things that people find attractive in Scientology i.e. a new, quasi-technological, way to approach old concepts, with some new and original ones injected in the process. It's not faith-based...

More here:
“You would just understand that there’s this kind of voice, and then there’s this kind of voice, and then there’s this kind of voice. I wasn’t a natural performer at all, so I learned. I was always a pretty good writer in the beginning, but I really had to learn how to perform. Just a little thing like that, understanding that really helped me on stage to understand how you have to invade the space of the audience a little bit. I learned that early on. It was a very helpful thing to learn. You have to invade them just a little bit. Not too much, because then it’s obnoxious. But you can’t be short of them either, or you won’t control them."

"They have a lot of very good technology. That’s what really appealed to me about it. It’s not faith-based."

Scientology 1 and Scientology 2

The key to understand the Scientology controversy is to realize that there are TWO Scientology.

Scientology 1 is a rather cogent, original, and far-reaching system.

Scientology 2 is a cultish trap, a network of us-vs-them concepts that actually prevents Scientology 1 of ever becoming potent.

The two Scientology are separate but closely inter-linked. One reason for this is because both come from the same source, namely, L. Ron Hubbard.

In effect, what Hubbard did was to "squirrel" his own tech. First he came up with something remarkable, then "added" things like "the only hope for humanity", and "SPs", that made it in effect impracticable in society.

Of course Scientologists do not usually see the other Scientology (Scientology 2), just Scientology 1, and if they do they dismiss its meaning.

Critics do the reverse, they focus on the Scientology 2 and don't really see Scientology 1. If they do, they will likewise dismiss its meaning.

Both are wrong and right at the same time. They just get a partial view of what is in fact a complex reality.

It's a little bit (though not quite) like the optical trick in the picture above.

People will either see a beautiful young girl or an old ugly woman. Usually, if they see the young girl, they will have a very hard time to see the old woman, and reversely. If they finally succeed to see the other face, they may not get to see the first face again...

Then take into account that mental illusions are considerably more difficult to see and get rid of than optical ones...

What Motivates Tom has an interesting article that provides us with more insights on Cruise's motivation to push through with such a film:
Cruise said he was struck by Von Stauffenberg's elaborate plot, even to the point that he believed the script doctored history for the sake of suspense. "When I put it down, I thought, this can't be true," he said at the film's press day in New York.

Cruise felt compelled to share the story. "It's important to know that it wasn't everybody — not everybody felt the way [Hitler did] or fell into the Nazi ideology," he said. "I grew up wanting to kill Nazis and wanting to kill Hitler, and remember thinking as a child, 'Why didn't someone just shoot him?' So it's an important story to tell.
Another sign showing how Cruise was personally motivated to do the film was Singer comments:
"As a director you always feel that nobody cares about the movie as much as you do," Singer said. "With Tom, you get the rare honor of having a partnership with someone who cares about this movie as much as I do. We experimented, and it was phenomenal because anything I'd ask he'd be like, 'Let's do it.' There was never a lack of wanting to try and never a lack of trust."
There is, however, another aspect I found of interest through this interview.

On top of the story itself, and Cruise's own background as a child, I think that what also motivated him was the parallel of someone standing against the prevailing mob propaganda of the time, and his own standing regarding Scientology:
"The thing that stood out to me was Stauffenburg himself and the amount of desperation and pain for him," Cruise said. "He wanted a moral country that participated in the world, not one of annihilation and Holocausts and world domination. He was a man who was able to see through all the propaganda and see how utterly insane Hitler was, and ultimately he was the one to say, 'Somebody's got to shoot that bastard.'"
The two situations are of course not comparable, because at the time it would have cost you your life to stand against the wave (not speaking of attempting to kill Hitler!), but it does take some courage and insight to be able to stand up to any form of ignorance and prejudice when they are being echoed and perpetrated by the masses, and I believe his own experience being a Scientologist in today's world may have been one of the reasons Cruise found the scrip to be admirable.

Not that I agree with him on Scientology. I think it would take more insight even to quit the movement, but I place myself on his perspective, and from his perspective his stand is quite admirable, because he holds it against the world as, for him this is what he believes in.

It would take more than the stupid bashing fanatical critics call "criticism" to get Cruise out of Scientology, and in the meantime this kind of "criticism" is no better than mob hysteria indeed.

Updates Jan 1, 2009:

"I've had lots of luck and earned much money during my career. Now I don't do movies for the money. I pick the projects that I feel like doing, and lots of people earn a lot of money with me."

"... and the certainty of being branded a traitor to his country - because he knew it was the right thing to do [...] As he elaborates, it's apparent that he identifies with von Stauffenberg on some personal level that he can't quite verbalise. And it strikes me that what he's saying about the man's character is very similar to what he wrote in his eulogy for his friend Paul Newman [...] When I point this out and the conversation shifts to Newman[...] "Paul lived with such dignity and left such a legacy - as an actor and a philanthropist - that words can't do justice to his accomplishment." [...] "Now that I think about it," he says with a smile, "this idea is probably one of the reasons that made me want to make Valkyrie. Like Paul, von Stauffenberg is a good role model. So I guess you could say that both men have been a gift to me."