We return to action following a Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Fortunately, the news from the world of Scientology watching was fairly light and fluffy, and easily digestible, unlike the gluttonous feast most of us in the US consumed.
Chez moi, the supermodels behaved themselves, and the fights that broke out at some of the emporia where the rural riff-raff shop (the camouflage fishing tackle department at the local Wal-Mart) were not in evidence at the Vera Wang dress shop at Bergdorf’s or the Christian Louboutin shoe shop on upper Madison Avenue. Whatever the supermodels did, it didn’t involve my credit cards and the drama quotient was low when Supermodel #1 and I returned from our vacation to my parental units’ waterfront estate.
The other major American holiday of “Black Friday,” an ode to materialism the way that Thanksgiving was an ode to gluttony, appeared to be pretty solid. We’ll be interested to see who has a take on how the various retailers fared on the biggest shopping day of the year. Our biggest find: we checked with some sources in the retail electronics business and it appears that Apple may have underestimated demand, since a number of outlets we checked with were out of various iPads. Retailers seemed to have fewer units in stock than they wanted. But it appears that the folks at Samsung were anticipating this, as the stores we talked to had plenty of Samsung tablets in stock, and many frustrated consumers who walked in looking for an Apple product left with a Samsung unit instead. There are no Sony Playstation 4’s to be found anywhere, and lots of begging and whining from parents desperate to get one.
In Scientology news, more photos ratchet around Teh Intertubes from the IAS event, including a bunch posted on Tony’s blog. Mike Rinder captures the incredible gulf between the breathless hype around Golden Age of Dreck 2 launch and the reality of what’s been happening inside the cult, contrasting people saying it’s the biggest thing since Dianetics versus stats giving a peek at the plummeting membership roster.
The best Orwellian disclaimer comes from the bottom of a cult flyer from the land Down Under, where it says “Joining Scientology staff is a religious commitment and all activities are entirely voluntary. Scientology is a religious philosophy and offers total freedom.” The fact that they feel compelled to append this disclaimer actually calls negative attention to their cause, especially since the ad had absolutely nothing to do with being on staff. It reminds me of a Karin Pouw statement about the RPF which stresses its entirely voluntary nature.
Also, don’t miss Mike Rinder & Mike Bennitt’s aerial stunt at the IAS event, having a plane tow a banner asking “Where is Shelly Miscavige?” Fun, but not quite as epic as the helicopter over the Super Power building opening.
Tony Ortega’s Blog
Sunday’s story featured the usual Sunday Funnies. As always, there’s something to laugh at. I still can’t quite help feeling that the staff is so stressed that the creativity level has been on a bit of a slide lately. A lot of the Photoshop gurus on Tony’s site are turning out higher quality art in less time than the cult’s marketing department can generate with a lot more effort. In particular, they’re reaching down even deeper to get the Hubbard quotes than they have in the past, and they’re coming up with ever more inane stuff.
The bigger news was the IAS event held Saturday night in the big tent in Clearwater. The best comment ever on Tony’s blog, both in one-liner puckishness and especially when considered against the backdrop of the author, is Paulette Cooper’s comment with a suggestion for a slightly different banner that could have been flown over the event by Rinder & Bennitt. I did love the picture of the knight on the horse.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- A great data point: Mike takes apart some breathless assertions of success in Pasadena, where they have had one Golden Age of Knowledge completion in six years, and walks through the numbers to estimate the Pasadena public at about 300, no more than 500, in the greatest concentration of Scientologists on Earth (Glendale, next door to Pasadena, is home to tons of Scientologist-owned businesses). That’s got to be embarrassing.
- Further evidence that grammatical standards inside the cult are plummeting: Mike happened on a fund-raising letter which says that “The next MASSIVE, ULTRA MAJOR BOMBASTIC blow against psychiatry to date is being released at the [IAS] event.” Someone needs to word clear “bombastic.”
- An article dredging up an old e-mail about the expansion of the Seattle Ideal Org gives a real insight into Hubbard-style management insanity as practiced by Miscavige. Apparently the reason that the Ideal Org strategy is failing is that the cult is not doing enough of it. If the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” what is the word beyond insanity when you do more of something that doesn’t work and expect success?
Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)
Aeger Primo comes through once again with summaries of interesting discussion threads. Thanks!
- Two threads about the Ideal Org in Taiwan opening on December 7th at ESMB and WWP. News is that the COB himself will be there for the opening ceremony. If true, that’s pretty remarkable, because DM is rumored to be chartering a Boeing Business Jet these days. Those charter for about $15,000 per hour wet, which means that round trip airfare from Hemet to Taipei is over $400,000. That’s probably more than the total revenue of the Kaohsiung Ideal Org over the next two to three years. Wonder if Dave is billing them back the cost of the jet charter or if he’s paying that out of Int Management’s budget.
- An interesting indie group called the “True Source Scientology Foundation” is apparently making Scientology material available in a central location over the internet. ESMB is discussing what that might mean in terms of legal action by the cult.
- Narconon Arrowhead is apparently offering voluntary Bible study as part of its treatment program. It’s just another ploy to stay under the radar.
- Bruce Wiseman, former president of CCHR (Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights) is apparently hiding cash for the cult in the Cayman Islands. Does this thread confirm it because of a change in Cayman law?