Important Programming Note
Stay tuned for a major scoop tomorrow. This weekend, Supermodel #1 and I hosted a guest who was in town from her idyllic rural home in the frozen northern part of the US (no, she’s not from Canada, but close enough). This guest, a much-loved commenter on Tony Ortega’s blog who hasn’t been seen in a while, was in town for a girl’s weekend out while the males in her family were busy on opening day of deer season. I had to spend some time in the office in the morning, so our guest accompanied Supermodel #1 to the pre-Black Friday sales at Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.
Later, while Supermodel #1 was fixing tea, the super-secret Analysis Hotline in the penthouse apartment rang. Since I started the blog just over 10 days ago, I’ve been deluged with calls and e-mails, even though the phone number isn’t yet public. The voice at the other end claimed to be very, very close to the festivities taking place in Clearwater and offered a unique perspective on David Miscavige and on the content of the events. Since Supermodel #1 was busy making hospitality happen, our guest decided to conduct the interview, and had a transcript prepared for me when I got home. After a careful review of this source’s bona fides, I realized that we might have a unique look at the Most. Important. Events. Ever. Stay tuned sometime around mid-day tomorrow (US Eastern time).
In the meantime, here’s the Daily Digest. I’ve mixed in a couple comments and stories from yesterday that remain relevant, even though they’re 24 hours off the crest of the wave of breaking news.
The Big Picture
Obviously, today is all about the Super Power opening event. We’re starting to get some data points trickling in from various sources, including some photos leaking out to Facebook. Mike Rinder’s blog put up the first confirmed look at GAT 2, confirming no surprise at all — it seems to be a retread of prior “tech,” bringing back a bunch of stuff that Miscavige previously cancelled almost 20 years ago. The forum sites have other interesting details. The problem with this, of course, is that if gung-ho auditors realize the sleight-of-hand Miscavige has engaged in, they’ll realize that he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing and are at risk to bolt. I would suspect some number of long-time loyal cult members who have been frustrated with their progress “up the Bridge” and who have believed promises that GAT 2 would fix everything, are going to wake up on this one. Defections are likely to increase.
Surprisingly, there are a number of pictures that are making their way to Facebook, perhaps from culties who are there attempting to impress their friends who remain stuck back home, or from leakers trying to expose the craziness to the outside world.
As you continue to read coverage about the events, it would be helpful to try and look at anything substantive that turns up regarding whether the new facility actually has anything new and different for new member recruitment, as implied by Tobin & Childs in their Tampa Bay Times article of Thursday night. Any evidence we can find for what’s on the first floor, particularly if there are any changes from the architectural drawings Tony published at the Voice in early 2012, would be extremely helpful in helping us determine whether this is just reporting what the cult claims, or whether it is deeper insight into a signifcant change in strategy — the cult clearly has not been interested in new member recruitment in many, many years. Bring any data points you find to light in the comments section here!
Tony Ortega’s Blog
The regular Saturday series with “A Piece of Blue Sky” author Jon Atack continues, this time with the startling assertion that Mary Sue Hubbard may have doubted the validity of “the tech,” refusing to pursue an endless series of auditing sessions in the 1970s to enable her to “go exterior.” Atack says she was overheard on at least one occasion calling Hubbard a fraud and a charlatan.
Tony also featured numerous pictures from the event, including some posted on the Internet by a Scientologist in good standing who apparently couldn’t resist the urge to share all the theta.
My take: One of the pictures was a pool party at the Fort Harrison, appearing remarkably under-attended. It would be useful to get a sense of what this event was and whether the photo was taken early or late in the event to try and figure out if the event was really as dead as this one picture with no context might make it appear.
Another picture featured a scene in the lobby of the Fort Harrison, where two of the columns were festooned with banners reading “New Universe” and “Big Push.” I’m a big fan of non-sequitur marketing, and these two banners are great examples of the genre. It goes to show that fancy artwork doesn’t rescue bad copy, and even good copy can’t rescue an incoherent marketing strategy. Non-sequitur words on the walls were put to great use in the legendary Talking Heads concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” In this video, check out the effects starting at around 31:15, during the song “Making Flippy Floppy.”
- Marc Headley outlines a less-exensive alternative that Scientologists can use to get all of the same value as “Super Power” at a fraction of the price.
- RMycroft posts a picture of the Toronto Org during the event, with the building enshrouded in Stygian gloom. Apparently, all that theta emanating from Clearwater stops cold at the 49th Parallel and doesn’t penetrate far into Canada and people are not putting down their dinner plates heaping with back bacon, donning their toques and spontaneously flocking to downtown Toronto to get free personality tests.
- Once_Born found a record of a nifty, simple experiment that would demolish the notion of out-of-body experiences being accurate descriptions of the actual environment, if only the sample size were large enough. But this certainly points the way.
- Once_Born also suggests that bringing back the “Board Technical Bulletins” that Miscavige outlawed in 1996 may be a way for Miscavige to make stuff up when he needs to evolve the product strategy in the future. These BTB’s were written by staff either based on something Hubbard said or something they found in his archives that pointed to the possibility of what they were trying to do. It was a fairly low-level way to have a committee evolve the product to keep things current, though it clearly was purged when Miscavige came to power.
- MonkeyKnickers says well in her unique style what many have long wondered: how did Hubbard manage to score with the ladies, with his physical and mental attributes?
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- The first post in the series gives details, heavy on the cult-speak, about what is at the heart of GAT 2. Apparently, the key to this is un-cancelling some stuff that he cancelled almost 20 years ago. It will be interesting to see stories developing of long-time auditors who aren’t fooled by this move and who blow as a result of these changes.
- Mike’s second post features lots of Facebook comments by loyal culties who are long on enthusiasm and short on details.
- The third post, which appeared just before press time for tonight’s Daily Digest, goes into mocking detail on a lot of the new courses, and how Miscavige will profit, probably at the expense of the orgs and missions. Mike even obtained a picture of the new (old, warehoused for a decade or more) e-meter, which has a candy apple red housing and a new, higher price: $5,000 apiece, minimum order of two. Interestingly, he says that the new e-meter puts the readings on a memory stick, so it could be possible that this is a new device, not the ancient one that has been moldering in a warehouse for a decade, since memory sticks weren’t all that common back in the day, and (IIRC) the original meters interfaced with PC’s via an RS-232 serial port rather than the now-ubiquitous USB.
Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)
Thanks again to eagle-eyed reader Aeger Primo, who once again helped out immensely by staying on top of the avalanche of comments on these sites.
As expected, much of the day’s discussion centers around “joking and degrading” of the new building and the new “tech.”
- WWP talks about the Super Power opening.
- Black Rob is at it again! This ongoing thread of screenshots of Scientologists’ Facebook posts lists numerous entries all related to the Gat 2 release. The thread also includes recent shoops and real photos of Flag’s weekend events.
- OCMB notes that there is actually a real card-carrying capitalist in the cult: Robert Duggan is now officially a billionaire after his company’s shares have soared in the last year. I am sure Miscavige is lavishing even more attention on him than usual at the event. It would be interesting to see if Duggan shows up at the IAS event in a couple weeks; it might be very interesting if he does not.
- OCMB has another great thread of squirrel-related shoops.