Perhaps the biggest catch of the day is on ESMB, where a guy identifying himself as the former Director of Special Affairs (OSA boss) in several different locations has popped up on the radar screen and declared himself an Indie.
There are a couple epic advertising fails and some bad news for the Ideal Org building that the cult bought in Philadelphia six years ago, and which is now apparently causing neighborhood blight.
Tony Ortega’s Blog
A fairly light day, with a couple photos of the really tawdry Way to Happiness Foundation float in the really tawdry Hollywood Christmas parade, which has been in a steady decline to irrelevance for decades. Apparently, the Dianetics Bookstore building at 6253 Hollywood Blvd. is for lease. Straight up and vertical expansion, baby!
- “Great White Clam” found an article from some cult pub showing “straight up and vertical” expansion graphs that, strangely enough, lack vertical axes to show what the actual numbers are. And the text claims that the Milan org gets 450 new people to start Scientology services per week. I call bullshit on that; if the cult gets 450 people per year globally, that would seem about right.
- Sunny Sands, she of the Tent Patrol, has a great suggestion to get Christmas Cards to Shelly Miscavige: make the return address equal to the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Then when the cult in LA sends them back to sender, the Ft. Harrison staff doesn’t know what to do but sees “Miscavige” on the address, and takes them across the street to DM’s Florida office.
- V4Vacation finds it odd that a friend got a direct mail flyer from the Renaissance restaurant at Celebrity Centre right after tabloid stories erupted about Tom Cruise having a date with fellow cultie Laura Prepon at one of the cult sites. Apparently, the source for this is not and has never been a Scientologist. Coincidence or a marketing campaign someone thinks is utterly brilliant? Incidentally, the flyer doesn’t mention Scientology at all, and refers to Celebrity Centre as the “Manor Hotel,” which is either its former or alternate name.
- “Anonymous” provides an interesting look at the history of the cult in one page or less. Worth reading.
- MonkeyKnickers provides her usual uniquely funny take on the key lessons from The Way to Happiness booklets.
- TruthIWant gives a great look at one of the surprises about taking responsibility for and clearing up the effects of “overts” in the real world versus how the cult teaches you to handle it.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- Today’s post contains a reg e-mail full of unctuous, smarmy praise for David Miscavige, the hero who apparently knows better than Hubbard just how to fix all those courses that kept people from bounding up their Bridge to Total Freedom like a couple of gazelles on meth. The nauseating praise is a fun read. My favorite: “You can tell a lot of thought and care went into this by someone intelligent and who understands grammar well.” Yeah, when you’re telling me that this is the best thing to happen to Scientology since the invention of Dianetics in 1950, it makes me really want to sign up and buy when the best testimonial you’ve got is that the guy who pulled off this feat of “research” understands grammar really well. It’s like how one actress, when asked in an interview about another, will say “well, he is really punctual.” If the best you can say about someone is that they show up to work on time, that’s not exactly high praise.
Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)
- Pix from the IAS event are on ESMB here, and on WWP here.
- A 14 year old Russian is apparently the first public Scientologist to complete – YES, THE FIRST HUMAN IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF PLANET EARTH TO COMPLETE – the Cause Resurgence Rundown at Flag. Is this a real success story, a cult fabrication, or a spoof?
- An ex-Scientologist with a history of working on staff in OSA starts to speak out and tell his story on ESMB.
- A couple days ago, ESMB’s BlackRob found a Facebook ad from a cultie who claims to be able to “cure” autism through a “study tech” process in six weeks. Apparently, it’s an engram or something, not organic brain dysfunction. I pointed out how absurd this is. If someone can cure autism in weeks, every insurance company in the US would require Scientology processing for autistic kids, before they would permit any money to be spent on actual evidence-based medicine. Amusingly, I gots a hater on that one; my response to him is a good example of the one-shot-ton-of-bricks anti-troll technique.
- Dressing up as Knights and promoting Scientology: Camelot Castle in Tintagel, Cornwall UK is at it again with a children’s literacy campaign. From what I’ve read elsewhere, these guys make Fawlty Towers look like the Waldorf-Astoria. Except with slave labor.
- I missed this a couple of days ago, but the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about the urban blight of the new Ideal Org building in Center City. Apparently, in the six years it has lain abandoned after purchase, it now has too many boarded up windows and is breaking an anti-blight ordinance. Surprise, surprise. The money quote is from an ex who says that there are only about 100 active Scientologists in Philadelphia. Wish I knew who that was so I could try to understand the basis of that figure; while it’s possible that the number is that small, I don’t want to use that in anything I write until I know how it was derived.
- A new low: in Israel, apparently, the cult is running ads inside of web-based kids video games on the local version of the site Webkinz. Scientology is apparently blaming Google, claiming it has no control over ad placement.
- The increasingly important “BackInComm” blog of South African independent Scientologists has a great document leak, with a nasty memo from the Executive Director of Johannesburg upbraiding the staff back in 2008, saying that in the 14 months since the release of “The Basics,” they have only graduated 4 people on the course sequence. Apparently, 50 people have quit part-way through and the staff was so inept that they weren’t able to get them back on track; sounds like they blew the cult entirely.