Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Ever Sinister Church of Scientology: South Park Edition

A sinister account indeed. These are some serious motherfuckers, little wonder Germany wants to outlaw them as a cult. And the Belgiques. And the Francos. Unlike America of course, where they enjoy tax free status as a bona fide religion. Only in Ameriki folks, only in Ameriki.

But I do have a second, not so sinister Scientology story below. More shall we say, a batshit crazy Scientology story. Now who could that possibly feature I wonder?

A couple of clips before we start? Yes why not?

Scientology Targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in Investigation
By Tony Ortega
Oct 23 2011

Yesterday, we reported that former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun had revealed at his blog that in 2006, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs -- the church's intelligence and covert operations wing -- was actively investigating South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone by looking for vulnerabilities among their close friends.

Today, we have more leaked OSA documents which give some idea of the extent of the spying operation on the South Park offices and the people who worked there.

They suggest that after traditional approaches with private investigators had stalled, OSA turned to film consultant Eric Sherman, a Scientologist, to help them find a young filmmaker who would make an effective mole at the South Park offices.

For decades, Scientology has earned a reputation for severe retaliation against perceived enemies and carrying on "noisy investigations" that involve private investigators and intimidation squads. We've been documenting many examples of that this year as Scientology goes through perhaps its most difficult period.

The defection of former high ranking officials Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder has been a nightmare for the church. As Scientology expends enormous resources to surveill and harass each of them, Rathbun continues to leak formerly secret OSA documents at his blog.

Not on his blog, however, is a document which he supplied to Marc Headley, a man we have written about frequently here at the Voice, and who was subject to his own retaliation and spying operations by the church. Rathbun gave Headley extensive OSA documents which showed how the church attempted to turn his Scientologist friends into spies.

These documents are in the forms of reports made by operatives to OSA executives. Rathbun and Rinder say these reports would also have been read by church leader David Miscavige who, they say, watches carefully over all of Scientology's covert operations.

For some reason, in a document about Headley's Internet activity, there's also a portion about South Park. The document is dated April 24, 2006: For more story with links, clicky.
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This is just one of 'The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology' that can be found in the sidebar by following the link above.

Related clips below the article.

On August 5, we started a countdown that will give credit -- or blame -- to the people who have contributed most to the sad current state of Scientology. From its greatest expansion in the 1980s, the church is a shell of what it once was and is mired in countless controversies around the world. Some of that was self-inflicted, and some of it has come from outside. Join us now as we continue on our investigation of those people most responsible...

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#4: Tom Cruise

In 2005, actor Tom Cruise fell in love. Like, hopelessly, famously, insanely in love. We know this because he expressed himself by jumping on furniture to show just how crazy in love he was with Katie Holmes.

You remember. It was an arresting moment. Why? Well, for a short time at least, this top-of-the-heap super-celebrity seemed to be coming apart at the seams.

He was jumping on Oprah's couch about Katie, but then, he was also getting into a strange debate about psych drugs with Matt Lauer, practically daring this country's mainstream media to debate him about his Scientology beliefs.

Even at the time, those of us in the Scientology watching community knew this was a huge moment.

For decades, celebrities like Cruise had made the mysterious church seem more intriguing, but it was something that the celebrities themselves seemed reluctant to discuss. Now, suddenly, Scientology was fair game.

If Tom's 2005 freakout opened a window onto Scientology, three years later, a 9-minute video of the actor really tore down the gates. The video had actually been made for a 2004 Scientology event in which Cruise was awarded the coveted International Association of Scientologists' Freedom Medal of Valor. If you've seen such events, you know that church leader David Miscavige likes to have video segments to show the audience. In this case, that took the form of a video interview with Tom which was clearly intended to pump up the audience with what a gung-ho, hardcore Scientologist he is.

But out of context, and shown to non-Scientologists, Tom's performance is simply bizarre.

Recently, for the first time, in this very countdown ex-Scientologist Patty Moher revealed that she was one of the people responsible for getting that video out to the world. Mark Bunker was another key part of that operation, as was Xenubarb. But after the video made it to YouTube, it was yanked down as Scientology tried to stuff a genie back in a bottle. Journalist Mark Ebner, however, delivered a copy of the video to Gawker's Nick Denton, and Denton would not back down to Scientology's threats as the video became a monster traffic success for the website.

But there's more to the reason Tom Cruise is on this list than his weird behavior on Oprah or the strange things he says on the IAS video.

As Amy Scobee explained recently to Mark Bunker for his upcoming documentary, Knowledge Report, that video had a very different effect on longtime, hardcore members of Scientology (which Scobee was at the time the video was first shown, in 2004).

Scobee described how hard it was to understand why Miscavige was treating Cruise, a pampered celebrity, like he was the ultimate, most loyal, and most effective example of a Scientologist. That felt like a slap in the face, she explained, to longtime executives who had not been pampered, who had endured years of meager pay, spartan conditions, and seemingly endless emergency orders. After all that hard work, it's a movie star who turns out to be the best example of a church member?

But Cruise seemed to relish that role. And that's what in part is so extremely strange about the man. There are other Scientologist celebrities who are gung-ho for the church, and who aren't afraid to speak out (a particularly humorless and unhinged actress comes to mind, but I'm not going to name her or she'll think she made the countdown). But Cruise is the only one who actually gives the appearance that, on some level at least, he's actually helping to run the everloving enterprise with his diminutive motorcycle buddy, Miscavige.

I think that sense has actually seeped into the larger culture, as well. If a certain Grease star, especially after the death of his son, seems more and more a pathetic victim, and if other celebrities, like an actress whose weight yo-yos, just seem clueless, Cruise actually has begun to scare people with how much he and Miscavige are joined at the hip.

I thought something Jane Lynch said the other night while she hosted the Emmy Awards was particularly telling:

"Katie Holmes is in the audience. I'd love to say something funny about her but I'm scared of her husband."

Was there even a single person watching who didn't get the implication of that joke? And that, to me, is about the best evidence you're going to get that Tom Cruise -- with his front-row cheering of David Miscavige, with his custom bike fashioned by penniless Sea Org members, and his willingness to, however briefly, become the aggressive, argumentative face for Scientology -- has badly damaged a brand that already had a creepy vibe.

But don't take it just from me. I asked Mark Bunker for his thoughts on the actor, and also Mark Ebner. First, some words from Wise Beard Man:

I like Tom Cruise. I'm a fan. I've been defending him far longer than I've been a critic of Scientology. He's a big, old fashioned movie star and I'm a big, old fashioned movie lover. I see no reason to stop liking the guy just because I don't like the organization he supports. So how do I feel about his career having been possibly harmed by the infamous Scientology tape which I had a hand in releasing to the net? Well, I'm OK with it. I'm not happy about it. I mean, I'm not a schmuck. But I take Cruise at his word that he loves Scientology. And I know Scientology loves Cruise. I think both parties should be proud of the tape and should want it to be seen. And now it is.

With Scientology crumbling, it is possible we actually may see Cruise leave Scientology someday. I think it would be good for him. He feels Scientology has helped his career but Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise because he's Tom Cruise. He has a charisma that comes through on film. He has star power. That's not something Scientology gave him. If they could do that, then everyone at the Celebrity Center would be a Tom Cruise megastar. Yes, even Frank Stallone. Tom Cruise doesn't need Scientology but Scientology desperately needs to hold on to Tom Cruise.

As I said, I also made the (journalistically questionable) decision to ask Mark Ebner to write up something on Cruise. Naturally, he sent over something very Ebneresque. You have been forewarned.

I've been making a cottage industry out of exposing Scientology since my Spy magazine story dropped in '96, and still, the number one question I get to this day is, "Is Tom Cruise Gay?" I really don't know, but his workout buddy (Scientology boss) David Miscavige tells me Tom's dick tastes like shit. I jest. Will Smith told me that. I kid. It was Travolta. Just joking. Ask his former wife Mimi Rogers, who, while discussing their split with Playboy in '93, said, ''Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk...he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument.'' Her own instrument, she complained, ''needed tuning.''

I don't really care if Cruise gobbles knob. In fact, I championed his he-manlihood in Hollywood, Interrupted by referring to him as "the heterosexual Tom Cruise" no less than a dozen times. Still, if Cruise really did come out of the closet as urged in the Emmy-nominated "Trapped In The Closet" episode of South Park I consulted on, he'd really be my hero. Instead, I just think he's an asshole for constantly, shamelessly shilling for the criminal mind control cult of Scientology and their various front groups.

Marty Rathbun recently revealed that in 2003 the movie star plotted with former President Bill Clinton to lobby Tony Blair for tax breaks in the UK.

Not long after the 9-11 tragedy, Cruise landed like a vulture on Ground Zero to promote his New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project urging first responders to eschew traditional medicine in favor of his hero Hubbard's sham of a "purification" program.

The actor also tried to convert the cast and crew of War of The Worlds by bringing Scientology "ministers" onto the set, and as part of his "get 'em while they're young" campaign, convinced his pal Will Smith to open a Scientology-based elementary school in California.

So yeah, I think Cruise is a prick, but I still wouldn't fuck him with yours. Me? I may be glib, but as I write this I'm beginning to feel bad about the name-calling. I mean, it's kind of like picking on a retard, because Tom Cruise, as evidenced by the infamous Tom Cruise "crazy tape" that I delivered to a giddy Nick Denton of Gawker in January of '08, is, for all appearances, batshit insane. Cruise's maniacal giggling and gibberish-spewing on that tape transcends the kind of crazy evidenced by his couch-jumping episode on Oprah, and if I had a dollar for every hit (3 million and counting) Gawker got off the video I gave them for fun and for free, I'd be a wealthy man. Who's crazy now?

Thank you, Ebner. Thank you very much. I really can't think of anything to add after that onslaught, so I'll just finish with a plea directed to the Mission Impossible man himself.

Tom, you can leave. Just do it, pardner. Village Voice

The original few minutes of South Park - Cruise in the closet, is a very rare animal. I did find a source, so I grabbed it and uploaded it to Youtube, but they were having none of it due to copyright. So if you wish to watch the thing, it can be viewed here.

Tom Cruise; iconic batshit crazy in nine minutes, is first up. But if you only watch the one clip, make it the last one. Bill Maher has it in a nutshell. Well, in ninety seconds to be exact.

The Rolling Stone article referred to in the clip, and a decent read as well as I remember, can be found here.

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