Today’s news seems to be focused on the new Mark VIII e-meter, with some commenters noting that it bears more than a passing resemblance to the recently redesigned Kenner Easy-Bake Oven. Some say that this is because Ideo, the legendary design firm that did tons of iconic products over the years including many for Apple, did both products. In a comment on Mike Rinder’s blog, not yet moderated by press time, I said that the design of the new e-meter isn’t half bad, and could well have been done by Ideo. And I’m actually serious. The good design doesn’t excuse the stupidity of leaving this thing in a warehouse for a decade or a lot of other mistakes in the GAT2 rollout, but it’s not bad design by itself.
Also, life seems to have dealt Mr. Thomas C. Mapother IV a mixed bag today.
I normally don’t like to do something that looks like I might be tooting my own horn, but there were a couple comments on my blog in the last 24 hours that I thought were worth calling your attention to.
- Eclipse-girl wondered how I got an estimate of 500 to 700 Scientologists in Germany when the German government’s official count was about 4,000. I went through a detailed discussion in my reply. This might be a useful read as we start to go through and build up an estimate of membership.
- OrangySky takes umbrage with a commenter in another forum who says they’re too clever not to get involved in a cult. I share the experience of several very smart people who still managed to get tangled up a cult (one Scientology, one not), because that cult was able, whether by intent or by accident, to target their Achilles’ heel.
Tony Ortega’s Blog
Tony’s blog post today contained the regular Tuesday feature with Claire Headley (recently joined by longtime top ranked auditor Bruce Hines) taking us “up the bridge,” going through all the materials for each level. Today’s OT 2 stuff basically sounds like pages and pages of Orwellian “word salad” that sure looks like the goal is to scramble any remaining critical thinking skills.
There’s also a status update on the depositions in the Monique Rathbun case. The next court date is December 11. They’ve gotten depositions from cult execs Warren McShane and Allen Cartwright, plus defendants Monty Drake and Steven Sloat. Tommy Davis is scheduled for December 4 in Austin and Leah Remini is still not scheduled.
My take: Some of these statements, including the first few, which read:
1. To Die is To Live
2. To Live is to Die
3. To Surrender is to Victimize
4. To Victimize is to Surrender
5. To Lose is to Win
… all suggest that somebody was reading a little too much George Orwell when they wrote all this stuff. Perhaps one could envision these chiseled on the wall at the Super Power building, which, given its foreboding footprint on its lot, resembles the immense
Ministry of Truth building in 1984 but with a pseudo-Mediterranean Disney-esque paint job. Even skimming this list without holding the cans, I can see my synapses frying like an egg on a hot griddle.
Regarding the depositions in Monique Rathbun case, it would be delightful fun to read Warren McShane’s deposition, given that I seem to recall a quote from Miscavige to the effect of how he loved it when Warren testified because he is the best liar on the management team. And I would certainly pay money (though I wouldn’t go so far as to hock the Global Capitalism HQ jet) to see the video of Tommy Davis’s deposition, just to watch him get “really angry!”
Some of the comments that riff on other trending topics are the best payload of Tony’s story today.
- iCandy notices that the new e-meter looks like the redesigned Easy-Bake oven, a discovery that ratchets around Teh Intertubes at a pretty rapid clip.
- Tony points out that the inventor of the Easy-Bake oven was an early and fairly ardent admirer of Hubbard’s.
- NeverIn has a nice comeback response after getting into a debate with one of those atheists who says “all religions are crazy; Scientology is no worse than any other.” OrangySky also shares her thoughts on the same issue. And Derek B. contributes a few ideas as well.
- “Anonymous” gives some fairly pithy perspective on the impact Scientology members have made on the world, compared to people who have spent approximately the same amount on Ivy league undergrad and graduate educations.
- New commenter HolyCash responds with some vivid imagery in a similar vein.
- Ze Moo also points out that the current org structure gives no one any real stake for bringing in “fresh meat.” Since everyone is fixated on being “upstat” on whatever job is in front of them, nobody even has a reason to tell management that something needs to change.
- Metaphor of the day award: Snake Plissken says “The OT levels are kind of like Sarah Palin giving a lecture on Jung, Freud, and Nietzsche at a Star Trek convention.”
- Derek summarizes some of the insanity of life in the cult in a withering blast, and concludes that a Cheech and Chong-approved technique for stress reduction might help some recently departed ex’s to adapt to the real world.
- TruthIWant has an OT 2 success story that reveals amazing potential wins.
- Kemist starts up an interesting discussion about the e-meter and whether it actually “works,” and is engaged by “Peter,” an ex who makes some interesting points when he argues for some positive value. The whole discussion is worth reading.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
Mike picked up on the commenter from Tony’s blog who noticed the resemblance between the new Mark VIII Super-De-Duper and the recently restyled Easy-Bake Oven. One commenter claims that these two products were done by the same design firm, the one that has done a lot of work for Apple.
I contend that this is eminently possible, and in a long comment on Rinder’s site, I deconstructed the design elements of the new e-meter that make me believe this. I also tracked down an interesting tidbit on the history of the redsign of the Easy-Bake Oven.
Mike also published an interesting Valley Ideal Org flyer (which a tipster originally sent me a couple of days ago). The first thing you see is the word “Command” at the top. It’s all about how DM is commanding you to get the Valley Org done. Not about how great it will be for those about to throng the doorway to learn about Scientology, nor what it will do for existing public. It’s all about how you can obey him.
Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)
- WWP discusses new “rules” for owning an e-meter, including a clause that says you can only own one if you remain in good standing. Not sure how enforceable that is, but nice try… Also, it might be interesting to see if the requirement that you have a current annual or lifetime IAS membership before being allowed to buy a meter constitutes “tying” under anti-trust law.
- A WWP thread discusses the software update for your PC that connects to the new Mark VIII E-meter, wondering if it is entirely about the E-meter or wondering if there might be other secret capabilities involved, like a new “net nanny” package. Worth monitoring in case some clever Anon manages to disassemble part of the executable to see what it really does.
- Some celebrity press are running a story “linking” Tom Cruise to Scientologist actress Laura Prepon. Unfortunately, she’s already 33, the age at which Cruise divorced all three of his wives. Apparently, they have had two or three dates. No word yet on whether the set decorators at Harpo Studios, Oprah’s production company, have reinforced the internal structure of whatever couch her guests are sitting on at the moment.
- The Australian ABC ran a story about Larry Wright almost winning the National Book Award for “Going Clear.” It prominently features the hate site the cult set up to smear him.
- Some press reports are coming in that Tom Cruise’s lawyers in the Bauer Media libel suit failed in their bid to admit “evidence” that Bauer Media has Nazi connections. Sounds like a fairly clumsy attempt to try to increase the heat on the defendant at home. The judge said this was completely irrelevant to the case, though the order is appealable; no word on whether Cruise’s attorneys will do so.
- Last week, Cracked magazine published an article on different ways one can leave Scientology. They’ve certainly done a lot of cult-related material in the last year or so.