Who are these idiots?
What makes them topical?
Well, a man called John Dixon, who is a Councillor in Cardiff, described them as “stupid” on his twitter page. He is facing disciplinary action. Perhaps inevitably, a group of heroes (or troublemakers, or supressive personalities, depending on your perspective) picked up on this. For a while, #stupidscientology was a top trending topic on twitter. Aggressive responses in the face of criticism are par for the course with Scientologists, but we do have a real grass roots movement to encourage freedom of speech, so they may face more of a fight than usual. With any luck.
Is he wrong to call them stupid?
If he’s looking for a quiet life, it was probably a strategic error. In general terms, though, I’d say he’s bang on. They are stupid. They believe stupid things.
Well, Thetans, for one thing. Basically, they believe that the human soul is an immortal being. Only we’re trapped on Earth. Which is a pisser.
That’s quite funny. Any more?
Oh, loads. Take your pick. They recommend some seriously stupid medical practices, like taking an overdose of niacin. Auditing is another good one. You’ll be unsurprised to hear that it is bloody expensive to get very much help. Still, at least your money goes on highly advanced kit.
To be honest, though, it is far funnier to let them explain things themselves.
Clear: a highly desirable state for the individual, achieved through auditing, which was never attainable before Dianetics. A Clear is a person who no longer has his own reactive mind and therefore suffers none of the ill effects that the reactive mind can cause. The Clear has no engrams which, when restimulated, throw out the correctness of his computations by entering hidden and false data. See Chapter 13.
Need I remind you that these jokers were founded by a science fiction writer?
So they’re a wacky cult. What about the vicious bit?
Okay. I have to warn you, though. There aren’t many laughs. One story that should be more widely known is that of Kathyrn. I’m not going to quote from it, it is worth reading in its entireity. I challenge you not to be sickened by her story. This is a vicious, brainwashing cult. Let there be no doubt of that. Kathryn’s story is only one among many.
Yuck. What about the press? Can’t they do something?
There is a pretty advanced system in place to minimise the press’ criticism. Still, there have been attempts to breach this wall before. BBC’s Panorama ran a programme which featured John Sweeney losing his temper. This was featured in various places (including on Have I Got News For You) as a funny incident. It gives me the creeps. He’s a good journalist and a rational man, and he is totally ape shit, in the face of that dead-eyed monster. It isn’t funny. It’s incredibly depressing.
Aren’t you supposed to play this for laughs, and leave the serious stuff to the competent bloggers?
Yeah. Some things, though, just aren’t funny. Sorry.
How can I find out more?
I’d start with xenu. That’s a very good site, which will also link you to the full text of A Piece of Blue Sky, which is extremely illuminating. Of course, if you’re worried that you might start slitting your wrists after too much of that, you can always watch the infamous South Park episode.