Monday, February 7, 2011

Tom Cruise and the Slaves

Via Brendan an article about Scientology. There are incidents detailed that are new to me, but most of the material on the CoS itself is typical stuff from an investigative article on Scientology: abuse, money, egomania, and a wall of silence around what the church actually does and believes. The most interesting thing about the article to me is that many of the defectors are believers in the good that Scientology can do, they just don't like how the hierarchy works. A standard religious conundrum I guess. I wound up having a little pity for Tommy Davis, who comes across there and elsewhere and elsewhere and elsewhere and elswhere as a tightly-wound shitbag and obvious liar, yet a pawn of an organization that can't let go of any power it conceives it has. I kind of hope he's able to wear an old shirt with paint on it and some cutoffs down to the 7-11 to get a Slurpee once in a while.

On to juicy celebrity news!
Brousseau also says that he helped customize a Ford Excursion S.U.V. that Cruise owned, installing features such as handmade eucalyptus panelling. The customization job was presented to Tom Cruise as a gift from David Miscavige, he said. “I was getting paid fifty dollars a week,” he recalls. “And I’m supposed to be working for the betterment of mankind.” Several years ago, Brousseau says, he worked on the renovation of an airport hangar that Cruise maintains in Burbank. Sea Org members installed faux scaffolding, giant banners bearing the emblems of aircraft manufacturers, and a luxurious office that was fabricated at church facilities, then reassembled inside the hangar. Brousseau showed me dozens of photographs documenting his work for Cruise.

Both Cruise’s attorney and the church deny Brousseau’s account. Cruise’s attorney says that “the Church of Scientology has never expended any funds to the personal benefit of Mr. Cruise or provided him with free services.” Tommy Davis says that these projects were done by contractors, and that Brousseau acted merely as an adviser. He also says, “None of the Church staff involved were coerced in any way to assist Mr. Cruise. Church staff, and indeed Church members, hold Mr. Cruise in very high regard and are honored to assist him. Whatever small economic benefit Mr. Cruise may have received from the assistance of Church staff pales in comparison to the benefits the Church has received from Mr. Cruise’s many years of volunteer efforts for the Church.” Yet this assistance may have involved many hours of unpaid labor on the part of Sea Org members.
Rich people love free stuff.

UPDATATRON!

Author Lawrence Wright interviewed here. Thank the manqué.

13 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

People love being scammed.

It explains the last 30 years, at least.
~

Brendan said...

The most interesting thing about the article to me is that many of the defectors are believers in the good that Scientology can do, they just don't like how the hierarchy works. A standard religious conundrum I guess.

Yes, I have been bothered by this before, most particularly in the series the St. Petersburg Times did. I guess I explain it to myself by realizing (1) that generally speaking, people like easy answers and comprehensive frameworks, (2) that lost souls (i.e., targets for recruiting in any cult) are particularly susceptible to this, and (3) that given that most of the "apostates" have spent most or all of their every waking hour, for decades, immersed in a particular environment, one cannot reasonably expect them to have any other way of talking about matters.

Smut Clyde said...

1. Two of your links are to the same BoingBoing post.

2. In that post, Cory Doctorow suffers major Fail about the history of scientology when he says
I'm pretty convinced that the volcano/galactic tyrant business is the basis for the Scientological faith.

AFAIK the whole galactic tyrant / captive Thetans / volcano business was retconned into scientology at quite a late date, to explain why none of the converts had yet achieved the promised status of "Clear" despite years spent resolving every imaginable engram from infancy and from immediately-previous incarnations. 'Genesis' it isn't. Putting it at the centre of Scientology is like saying that the Great Race -- “enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter" -- are central to the Cthulhu mythos.

It isn't essential to the theology, is what I'm trying to say. At any time the church hierarchy could announce that they'd contacted the disembodied spirit of LRH and received a new posthumous revelation that replaced the volcano with some other back-story, and it wouldn't make any difference.

3. many of the defectors are believers in the good that Scientology can do

Sometimes I think that the human race really isn't very intelligent.

Substance McGravitas said...

I remember the introduction of the volcano into public Scientological iconography: it was a huge deal.

As for the "good" it can do things like EST and the even-more-watered down Landmark Forum seem to do similar things without the aliens, and one occasional commenter on this blog thinks it helped, so there is, at the least, something that a lotta people think helps them confront their demons and conquer them. It's hard to, say, endorse acid as I have and refuse different ways of fucking with your head. I will say my workplace was awfully annoying after some people seemed to find results with Landmark: the emphasis on recruitment was huge and unpleasant.

Jennifer said...

I will say my workplace was awfully annoying after some people seemed to find results with Landmark: the emphasis on recruitment was huge and unpleasant.

I would second this.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Putting it at the centre of Scientology is like saying that the Great Race -- “enormous, iridescent cones, about ten feet high and ten feet wide at the base, and made up of some ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic matter" -- are central to the Cthulhu mythos.

Heretic!!! We of the "Rugose Righteousness" sect welcome the thought of personality displacement, and the subsequent Triassic adventure.

The funniest thing about Scientology is that it really seems like an update of Mormonism.

vacuumslayer said...

Tom Cruise and the Slaves

Worst band name ever.

fish said...

Heretic!!! We of the "Rugose Righteousness" sect welcome the thought of personality displacement, and the subsequent Triassic adventure.

SPLITTER!!!!!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

SPLITTER!!!!!

Says the Deacon of Devil Reef!

Your fishy ways may be okay in Innsmouth, but not here!

guitarist manqué said...

While I find Terry Gross (US NPR for all you furriners) nearly unendurable she's interviewing the author of this article now and he's remarkably good. Belay that, it was just the first half hour. I'm sure it's out there in the toobz somewhere.

Substance McGravitas said...

Oh good, I'll have a podcast of that by this evening.

fish said...

Your fishy ways may be okay in Innsmouth, but not here!

Look this is the People's Front of Innsmouth, not the Innsmouth People's Front.

Brendan said...

@guitarist manqué:

Why do you find Terry Gross nearly unendurable? I've sort of fallen out of the habit of listening to Fresh Air now that it's not part of my commute, but back when I was listening regularly, I thought she was one of the best interviewers I'd ever heard.

(Not looking to argue. Just curious.)