Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Rich and Thick


I rarely take any interest at all in celebrity marriages, separations and divorces; they are just too, too boring.  So far as Hello and other celebrity fanzines are concerned I’m a hopeless cause.  However I’ve made an exception for Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, whose bust up is bursting out all over our national press.  I’ve made an exception because the rift is over Cruise’s scientology fad. 

People are strange but one would really have to be strange indeed to embrace this bizarre mishmash of bogus belief, to embrace a cult that is allowed to masquerade in the States as a religion.  In writing about scientology previously I said that I found out an awful lot about the movement from;

…watching South Park…an episode called Trapped in the Closet, which featured Tom Cruise, an aficionado of the cult. The actual beliefs of scientologists were touched on, accompanied by an onscreen caption saying “This is what Scientologists actually believe”. And, my goodness, it’s weird. It’s beyond me how any normal and reasonably intelligent person could be taken in by this claptrap…even Tom Cruise. 

Yes, even Tom Cruise!  But the occasion for his failing marriage is really not all that amusing, demonstrating, at least so far as I am concerned, the kind of moral depravity that these cults induce in their aficionados. 

Holmes is said to be divorcing Cruise because she believes that he was planning to send their six-year-old daughter Suri to a centre run by Sea Organisation or Sea Org, described in the reports I have read as scientology’s ‘hard core elite’, a cult within a cult which demands that followers sign up for (cue the drum roll)...a billion years.  Hey, that’s some contract, Tom.  I think you must be as loopy as, well, Poor Tom from King Lear. 

The base of this organisation in California gives the impression of being run like a kind of concentration camp.  Here a form of brainwashing is at work, with children as young as Suri being bombarded with over one hundred intrusive questions.  While they are answering they hold something referred to as an ‘e-meter’, a contraption which supposedly acts as a lie detector. 

Sea Org is clearly the scientology equivalent of the Jesuits.  Members are subjected to the strictest standards of discipline. One former ‘brother’ claims that he was locked for eighteen hours a day with no food in a punishment block called ‘the Hole.’  Beatings, apparently, are commonplace. 

The centre itself, known as Gold Base, some ninety miles from Los Angeles, has the kind of security that one might have found around Hitler’s Bunker, with razor-wire fences and what looks like a camouflaged sniper’s nest.  Yes, a real home from home, just the sort of place where one wants one’s daughter to be schooled.   

Details of the brutal regime were revealed by, amongst others, Paul Haggis, the movie director and himself a former cult member.  In an interview with the New Yorker he compares the billion year pledge made by children as young as ten to the treatment of child slaves in HaitiHaiti, that’s clearly a pertinent parallel in more ways than one, as scientology seems to me to be a form of voodou and the members, like Cruise, little better than zombies. 

Alas, Poor Tom, except he is not poor Tom, is he?  No, he is rich Tom, rich and thick, the real cream of Hollywood.  


16 comments:

  1. It's a shame because Tom Cruise always strikes me as being one of the few celebrities who is actually "a nice guy" - but then he has to go and believe in all this tripe!

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    1. I agree, Seymour. He seems a lot more affable than, say, Russell Crowe or Mel Gibson. I used to quite like him. Now I simply can't take him seriously.

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  2. Tommy is really fruity, California the land of fruits and nuts. In reality all religions are basically cults, it is just that some are more bizarre than others.

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  3. Tom Cruise has all the luck in the world, even though he and Katie are divorce he will still get lovely ladies.

    Zero Dramas

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    1. Ah, Adel, the lovely ladies best know what they are getting. :-)

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  4. Its ard not to be reactionary here, I mean the Scientologists (Jesus - an oxymoron if ever there was one) are an easy target here - they're all over the popular press and have high profile members. Ordinarily i would urge somem cation, but I can't think of a single redeeming feature to recommend restraint.

    Their so-called beliefs stretch the boundaries of common sense and credulity in so many directions that its hard to believe that any sentient being could get involved except for a cheap laugh.

    The only explanation that I can think of is that their financial/political clout extends so far that it is considered a necessary career move by the likes of Cruis, Kidman, Travolta, Smith etc...

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    1. CWB, that's what really puzzles me. Why are actors prone to this claptrap? Perhaps you are right; perhaps it's a bit like the masons and the police. :-)

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    2. It's a good question. I honestly think it's just because they have nothing else to do with their time. And also, having so much money, and such easy and pleasurable lives, must make people feel a void - Scientology, with its ludicrous complexity and constant demands on the suspension of disbelief, fills that void precisely because it is such obvious drivel. It demands commitment, in short.

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    3. Yes, Seymour, I expect that you're right.

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  5. I have read that L Ron decided to create a religion after meeting Aleister Crowley - the Great Beast - just after WW2 in LA. This may be apocryphal, but strange things occur quite frequently where wealth and fantasy mix in SoCal. A quick google turned up this:

    http://www.mt.net/~watcher/crowleyhubbard.html

    There is no doubt that some of Hollywood's denizens have dabbled, if not drenched themselves, in the occult.

    I remember there used to be a Scientology 'boutique' on Tottenham Court Road in the 1970s. A sign outside offered 'free personality tests' and there was always a pretty girl with a clipboard in the door who would attempt to engage passersby in conversation. I was never invited; I suppose, even in my youth I was clearly irredeemable!

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    1. Oh, Calvin, just think of the wonders you missed!

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  6. Actors are drawn to lives of illusion.

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    1. Yes, they are such stuff as dreams, and nightmares, are made on.

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  7. Some friends of mine in Miami made the mistake of allowing themselves to be 'audited' back in the halcyon day of the hippie, after which the formerly affable scientologists pursued them with the obsessive singlemindedness of an Inspector Javert (or Lt. Girard, for fans of "The Fugitive"). Not even the IRS could have gotten away with the tactics used by the disciples of L. Ron when it came to separating a 'pre-clear' from his wallet. Charlie Manson was also one who used a number of L. Ron's 'techniques', and supposedly had an E-meter at the Spahn Ranch, although to be fair, the mind-control program Charlie used on his 'Family' had many, many sleazoid inputs.

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    1. Interesting point about Manson, Bob, something worth looking in to.

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