please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Monday, December 05, 2005

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Let's begin with this delightful clip of Tom Cruise electrocuting Oprah Winfrey.

Gringa Alta Prima and I took the Scientology Personality Test, the other evening. We tried to portray ourselves as easily-led sociopaths who eagerly seek the approval of others and had no taste for scandal. They ask several questions about how one deals with loose talk, presumably about pseudo-religious organizations we might be considering joining.
Not terribly surprisingly, they found us to be in the "Unacceptable" range for most of it, with a minor spike into "Normal" (but not "Desirable"), in the under-ten-percentile, for our level of "Aggression".
So we'd be perfect candidates for brainwash-er, I mean counselling from this benign org. Just to be scientificated about it, I went back the next day and took the test again, this time answering "Maybe" for all 200 questions.
I may very well go back tomorrow and just answer "yes" or "no" to all of the questions, which would make me look really fucked up, and therefore a good candidate for forking over my hard-earned to these guys.
I was waiting for a bus one evening as a teenager. I was dressed entirely in black, and was sneering at all who came my way. Smoking a smoke. Along comes two middle aged people also in dark colors, also smoking, and also with a tired/bitter aspect to them.
They engaged me with their shared dislike of religion and psychiatry. Matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that had I professed a deep loathing of milkshakes (for instance), they would have been right there with me. Nonetheless, when I heard that they were Scientologists, I terminated the discussion. Besides, my bus was there.
They're an organization that claims to be there to liberate you from the twin mind-prisons of religion and psychiatry by being a little of both. As "South Park" pointed out recently, how not-religious can you be when you refer to yourself as a "Church"?
A few years after the above encounter, I was a jobless hippie, bopping down the street, looking for a job. I was approached by a beautiful hippie girl with hypnotic eyes. She pointed out that she worked for "a bunch of really cool people" who were hiring, and lost as I was in those eyes, I followed her...
Right to the Scientology center. I quickly assessed the situation: I would end up spending x amount on books and training programs...Leading to a situation where I wouldn't even be making less than minimum wage, but would be paying to have a job with them.
So I left, a little disappointed that a kind sister wasn't just interested in my devilish good looks. But I'd learned an important lesson.
A few years ago, somebody did a drive-by shooting on the Celebrity Center for Scientology, here in Portland. One of the victims didn't even realize he'd been shot in the ass until he pulled out his wallet next door, to pay for coffee, and found it covered in blood. I imagine that the shooter was one of the many people who have been fleeced of their limited funds, due to their gullibility. I have witnessed this organization sue the Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy, then purchase them, only to put them out of business. All this, due to a bet.
The bet was between two science fiction writers; Harlan Ellison and L. Ron Hubbard. The bet ran along the lines of; I bet a person couldn't start a religion in latter day America, this being the 1960's or something. Now, if Ellison really said that, he wasn't paying attention. We're cult-happy and easy-answer happy in this country, and if I was planning on starting a cult, this is where I'd do it.
Well, Hubbard won the bet, to put it shortly. He capitalized on the alienation of modern humanity, its inherent distrust of the institutions that got us to where we are now, mixed with a thrilling sci-fi creation myth. Plenty of dumb shits bought it, especially famous ones.
Famous people are who they are most actively seeking as adherents, by the way. I found a briefcase in a parking lot in 1989 that contained a very primitive laptop (or perhaps just a word processor), and a bunch of mailings attributed to one Murray Marvin of Wilsonville, Oregon.
he spoke of the need to recruit famous people ("our largest client base", he called them), and the need to "wear our hats", and use "white PR", and how he was "on The Bridge", and how he was "flipped at the oppurtunity" to be a part of such a clearly wonderful undertaking as this.
It goes on and on. It has been noted that their website leaves a lot to be desired in terms of recruitment potential. They'd rather brainwash you in person, see, and figure that any old nut can get on the internet and fuck with them, as I have. Seems like a waste of money, though, for an org. that doesn't even do door to door.
1993: I am sitting in the house my girlfriend and I are sharing. Fresh out of bed, I don't feel like dressing, and so have put on one of her dresses, and am watching television. I hear a knock at the door.
Looking out the window, I see what must be two Jehovah's Witnesses: one tall lady, pinched mouth, looking very stern and humorless. Another lady, shorter, smiling that same smile that the girl with the hypnotic eyes had had. She would be doing the talking, then.
I answered the door in a dress. "Yes?" I said, as if everything was just perfectly normal.
"Well!", the shorter one said. "It's ...A beautiful day!"
"It certainly is," I said, "and you didn't come here to talk about the weather."
We stood there and debated scripture for a while, until they left. I wondered why, considering that they had come to force their belief system down my throat, I was not equally empowered to force them down to the basement to partake of my sacrament of that time, which was marijuana. Seems only fair.
Other personality assessments along the lines of the Stanford-Binet or the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory also have problems rooted in them. It has to do with that thing I was writing about recently: studies can't help but bear the fingerprints of those who pay for them, and wish to ascertain certain data from them. Indeed, just to get a job at Target as a security guard, you must complete a personality assessment with "true or false" questions like,
"I am fascinated by fire."
(Yes, yes I am. No, no I don't feel like burning down your store. So...'False'.)
Or the similar test I took online when I was applying for a job with AT&T. One of the 'true or falses' there was, "I feel that most people would steal if they felt there was no chance of getting caught."
(Actually, I do think that's true. 'False'.)
"I know why the stars twinkle at night."
('True'. We are seeing them not only from many millions of miles away, but also looking up through an atmosphere with curious refractive qualities plus a great deal of pollution. No wonder they look that way. The question I have is: why did you ask me that?)
Why is the lie always so obvious? Why don't more people see through it? Why?...Why won't Tom Cruise come out of the closet?
"South Park", again.
P.S.: I originally had a chart of my test results from the official Scientology site. It wouldn't let me put it on here. It barely let me download it. I tell ya': they control the spheres and the planes.



Blogger Jacq said...

Was it your intense curiosity that drove your interest in them?

Seeing that Tom Cruise is a party to them, that's one organization I'd steer clear from. The man is a nutball. And no, I don't give two shits that he and Katie Baby Carriage are getting married/having a baby/living on planet Mars. Why she's with him, I don't know. Maybe the Scientologists have brainwashed her.


6:31 AM  
Blogger George said...

Hey there, Greatly admiring your work here in this blog. Though I have only read this post and the previous one recounting the 'big lip' story in much more detail than I heard it before. Laughing very loud in my little space in this back bay townhouse that passes for the dept. of Religion @ BU.
Apparently Jacq, the commetator above, dosen't know you well. If he did, he'd know that your interest in the Scientologists is like many people's occasional interest in NASCAR: flaming sociological car wrecks are interesting, albeit in a less flames and schrapnel kind of way. I can tell you, monsieur jacq, that the rich bachelor engages these odd ball corners of our quirky culture only for the purpose of filing a more thourough report, and not on account of a deep abiding thirst for spiritual fulfillment. At least not a thirst for the kind of fulfillment that comes from star fucking tele-meta-psycho-relgionists (special secret rel. stud. lingo). Anyway, fine and lovely work, Bach, I have forwarded your link to innocent bystanders.

12:39 PM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Jacqueline, I'd like you to meet my friend George.
Ah, I only know Jacq from the internet. You two currently reside on the same coast, however, and may one day encounter each other...Having no idea who the other is, or what each other looks like. Good luck.

12:59 PM  
Blogger disco boy said...

while tom cruise and john travolta and the rest of the power scientologywood playa's make for desirable faces for the money cult, i have to admit that a few of it's other members once held my acclaim. it really hurt to find out that former pro skateboard king jason lee audits. so do fantastic musicians such as chick corea, isaac hayes, chaka khan... at least gabor szabo had the good sense to know he was being fleeced, sued, and probably lost.

aw hell, even bart simpson worships xenu.

they can have juliette lewis though, i think she's awful.

1:35 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oh, and as an after thought, you are aware that 'The girl with kaleidoscope eyes...' occasioned the famous mondagreen 'the girl with colitis goes by...'

Oh, and sorry bout' the gender assumption jacq.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Jacq said...

Oh, yea, I was wondering who the "monsieur" was until I realized you were referring to me. Given the pink background and the shortened spelling of my name, I suppose that wasn't a huge indicator of my gender. Then again, these days, it's difficult to tell!

Thanks for the info on RB, though, George. It's much appreciated.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

Harlan Ellison is from, like, here. I like Ray Bradbury. I'm a Star Trek original fan, and like Next Gen, but not the rest. ... I've never read Ellison. Should I? (I reasd maybe two or three fiction books a year, and probably around 50 nonfictions or more. I am very picky with the fiction I do read.)

7:01 PM  

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