sciencebridge

How Comedy Will Save Me From Scientology

California is a beautiful place.  The weather is beautiful.  The people are nice.  The car is a bummer, but hey you can ride it right up to the Pacific ocean.  So, that has got to be good, right?  Los Angeles benefits from all these things, but it is also a place where people come to start their careers (or end them) in the glamour business – the singing, acting, dancing, movie making, writing, wilderness that is Hollywood.  Now, that can be soul sucking.  How so?  Let me re-tell a little story that Wifesy used to illustrate the difference between the two coastal cities – New York and Los Angeles.

 

“I’m at the bus stop (in New York),” said Wifesy.

 

“Yeah,” I said.

 

“And this woman, well, there’s something wrong with her blouse and her tit is pretty much out.”

 

“Uh huh,” I nodded.

 

“Well, we all saw it sticking out, as we were standing around waiting for the bus.  Within a few minutes, a guy goes up to her and pretty much says — Excuse me, Miss, but your tit is out.”

 

I laughed, “Yeah.  So, what’s the big deal?”

 

“That would never happen in Los Angeles,” said Wifesy.

 

“Huh, why not?” I asked.

 

“Because in LA, no one tells you your tit is out.  They just whisper about it to each other.  It goes on and on like that, round and round, until the woman notices it herself and recoils in shame.”

 

“Jesus Christ,” I sighed.

 

Now, thank god  – once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker.  So, you could say that I, Sweet Mother, will always tell you when your tit is out.  It’s in my nature, part of my DNA.    But, that doesn’t mean that I get out of dealing with a-holes.  If my tit is out here, no one may tell me and I’m going to have to handle that.  And THAT is the soul-sucking part.

 

For god’s sake, let a girl know…

 

The soul-sucking angle of Los Angeles is a very real thing.  While, there are beautiful things in nature here – there is also a sprawling desert.  That’s something I didn’t picture about LA when I was back in NY.  I think that desert seeps into SOME people’s souls when they are drawn to a profession that can be as unscrupulous as the arts in Los Angeles.

 

To me, that’s why SCIENTOLOGY happens.  That’s how something like Scientology grows.  Let me explain, you’ve got some very severe conditions out here.  Weather-wise too.  When it’s sunny all the time, it fecks with your mind.  And when you’re in a business and a town that won’t always tell you when your tit is out, on a dime, because it’s the right thing to do – that also fecks with your mind.  When people feel confused, lost, desperate – where do they turn…

 

RELIGION.

 

I read this fascinating article in the New Yorker that I will link to below about Paul Haggis.  Paul Haggis is a Canadian writer who made it big in Hollywood.  He wrote Million Dollar Baby and Crash – the only two films to ever win Academy awards by the same writer in back to back years.  Haggis WAS a Scientologist.  For a long time, 35 years, to be exact.  He’s a big thinker, a person who questions and pushes often to the point of confrontation, and he’s a skeptic.

 

So, how does a person like that get drawn into Scientology?  Easy – the mix of Los Angeles’s desert-like soul suck and the desperation that comes from trying to break into a business that EVERYONE wants to be a part of.  Take that combination and WHAM-O, you’ve got even smart people who are ripe for a religion.

 

Couple with that, career success.  That’s right, in the article John Travolta says, “I joined Scientology and my career just took off…”  Paul Haggis’s first writing jobs came through Scientologists.

 

I mean…

 

If a big, pink bunny handed me the tv writing job of my dreams and then asked me to “attend his group,” I would seriously give that some considerable thought.  I’D FEEL LIKE I OWED THE BUNNY.  Scientology is the feckin’ bunny.  (Donnie Darko reference intended.)

 

Scary, yes, but can the bunny get me a tv gig?

 

Scientology also sounds good in some ways.  It’s heavily doused with self improvement ideas.  There’s the auditing, which is really similar to “talk therapy” – only you do it with someone who has no degree and really no idea of what they are actually doing from a psychology standpoint.  But, sometimes talking to someone, anyone, can help.  Then there’s the merit angle.  In Scientology, you actually graduate to different “levels.”  Everyone starts off as some sort of “Thetan” and if you can get past the alien-ish sound of the name (and the fact that L. Ron Hubbard was actually a science fiction writer) then you might want to try and achieve higher levels.  I mean, why not.  You’re in a profession – the arts – that doesn’t really reward on a merit basis.  But, here you go, in your spiritual life, you can progress up the ladder like a Private looking to make Captain in the military.  It’s enticing.

 

Until you start to think…

 

As Paul Haggis went through Scientology’s different levels, he started to doubt.  But, he pushed aside the doubt because for the most part – Scientology was working.  It helped him attain success.

 

But, that nagging brain of his was still there.  After achieving a certain, high, level in Scientology Haggis was supposed to read Hubbard’s own words on what to do next.  Here’s what Haggis had to say about that experience:

 

“Carrying an empty, locked briefcase, Haggis went to the Advanced Organization building in Los Angeles, where the material was held.  A supervisor then handed him a folder, which Haggis put in the briefcase.  He entered a study room where he finally got to examine the secret document – a couple of pages, in Hubbard’s bold scrawl.  After a few minutes, he returned to the supervisor.”

 

“I don’t understand,” Haggis said.

 

“Do you know the words?” the supervisor asked.

 

“I know the words, I just don’t understand.”

 

“Go back and read it again,” the supervisor suggested.

 

“Haggis did so.  In a moment, he returned.  Is this a metaphor?” he asked the supervisor.

 

“No,” the supervisor responded.  “It is what it is.  Do the actions that are required.”

 

“Maybe it’s an insanity test, Haggis thought – if you believe it, you’re automatically kicked out.”

 

“I sat with that for a while,” he says.  But, when he read it again, he decided, “This is madness.”*

 

Gibberish.  The written equivalent of a bucket full of feck-nuggets.  Nothingness and nonsense.  That’s what he was given to read.

 

Thank god, this is where my comedy background kicks in.  I’m immune – no, immune is not the right word – I have a violent reaction to bullshit.  It’s even a physical thing.  I start to shake.  First, inside, then externally, then I usually have to get up and walk away or shake a ficus plant – VIOLENTLY.

 

I don’t believe in ghosts or goblins or past lives or even that my Wifesy was a French resistance soldier once who climbed up a tree to hide from a Nazi.  (Something she firmly believes and that I have to choke down laughter about until it comes out of my a**hole in the form of a fart.  Thank god, she loves me anyway.  Thank god we can agree to disagree.)

 

The furthest I’ll go is that I believe all things have energy.  Now, can you will the energies of a free standing lamp to go and make you a turkey sandwich?  Probably feckin’ not.  Can you will a parking space to open up with your positive thoughts like some jack-hole suggested in The Secret movie.  No.  No.  No, you feckin’ can’t.  And if children believe in Santa Claus until they are 50 feckin’ years old, chances are you should’ve paid for that private counseling years ago.

 

The article is 26 pages long.  It’s brilliant.  It also talks about Haggis’s children, all of which were schooled in Scientology schools.  One of his daughter’s talks about “making contact” within that section.  Contacting is a process in which when a child gets hurt they are taught to go quiet and then direct their energy toward the wound.  The idea is that this will make the pain lessen and the injury heal faster.

 

OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD.  Sorry, but that’s the noise I make when I stuff my face with delicious, flaky biscuits of ignorance.

 

The contacting practice reminds me of those Amish-like religious morons who won’t take their kids to the doctor when they are truly sick because the lord forbids it.

 

Again, I don’t believe in airy fairy stuff, but I do think that if God were to come down and look upon your sick child, she would say:

 

TAKE HIM TO THE FECKIN’ DOCTOR, YOU IMBECILE!!!

 

As much as I complain about my comedy career and the constant poverty tight rope it has me walking on, it has saved me from this – bullsh*t.  It has saved me from bullsh*t and it has strengthened my inner skeptic and in this world, I think we could all use a decent one of those.

 

Otherwise, we’ll just sit here and believe that everything is perfectly fine with Tom Cruise.  I don’t think it is.

 

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  If you’d like to follow the fun, click the follow link at the top of this blog.

 

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You might also like:

Is There an Expiration Date on Success?

 

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Photo creds and article:

Paul Haggis vs. Scientology

cruise, feature, darko, boobpic

 

56 thoughts on “How Comedy Will Save Me From Scientology

    1. loooooooooollllllll. that’s like my wifesy and the “french resistance story.” in my head i’m always like, “wtf,” but i love. oh, how i love. and the scientology, they make it look so good, but it’s like plastic surgery…1 in a million it will work for, the other people come out looking like kenny rogers.

  1. I think it’s ridiculous that people in this day and age would allow a member of their family to get ill to the point that they risk their lives, to follow a religion that doesn’t “believe” in modern medicine. It’s just my opinion, but I think it’s absurd.

    1. i could not agree more, absurd. as far as scientology, i think they will go to the doctor, but this whole, “heal thyself,” to a point, yes, but i also think TELL CHILDREN MEDICAL ATTENTION IS A GOOD THING. otherwise, you’ve got a kid sitting there with a gunshot wound and he’s trying to wish it away… i mean, come on!

    1. ohdeargod. i will check out. there was a guy from the secret, the movie, which i was kind of into when it first came out who held this sort of ‘sweat lodge retreat’ to get your mind positive by somehow sweating out all the negativity in the sweat lodge… two people died. not kidding. have you heard about it?

  2. You get bonus points for the Donnie Darko reference, Sweet Momma! I will never ever understand Scientology. They really do make sure not only that you drink that Kool-Aid, but that you guzzle it several times a day.

    1. if you ever get a chance to read the longer article, it’s fascinating. they even enlist kids and take everything away from them – money, family, and outside contact… very cultish, if you ask me…

  3. “Contacting is a process in which when a child gets hurt they are taught to go quiet and then direct their energy toward the wound. The idea is that this will make the pain lessen and the injury heal faster.”…is this for real? whoa! freaky and crazy…
    when i hear Tom Cruise i cant go beyond TopGun and Few good men and Jerry Maguire…Because beyond that ther is a creepy Scientology guy who once looked cute…

  4. I think the line I draw is where religion gobbles up/ignores/denies critical thought. If there’s no room for critical thought, I’m more than skeptical.

    For instance, I like that Haggis was still in touch with his critical thinking skills when he decided what he was reading was madness.

    I think I also have this violent aversion to bullshit that you mention.

  5. First of all, what do you mean there is no Santa Claus?!

    At some point I was watching a Tom Cruise testament to scientology (please don’t ask me why), and it was like watching a train wreck. You want to look away but, you can’t look away and he seems to be pretty much foaming at the mouth and is that even english he is spouting. It is gibberish. Gibberish! “The written equivalent of a bucket full of feck-nuggets. Nothingness and nonsense.” So now the mystery is solved he was quoting the secret gibberish document.

    Really, no Santa Claus?

    1. ohhhhhhhh, the money, roller, the money. hundreds of thousands people spend on this nonsense. think of the kids that could feed, the animals it could save, the projects it could fund… ay yay yay

  6. Not many things really creep me out, but Scientology does. It’s like the mob but for religious wingnuts. I must admit that I WOULD like to see you jump on a couch.

  7. For the first time ever, I’m going to disagree with you. You implied that your life as a comedian enabled you to avoid bullshit. In my opinion, that’s not accurate. As a comedian, you’re required to look at bullshit even closer than the rest of us.

    It was a comedian who first yelled out that the emperor was not wearing any clothes. It’s comedians who constantly call our attention to bullshit all around us. Name the bullshit politician, war or ridiculous law which haven’t been brought first into the public consciousness as being pure bullshit by the likes of George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Richard Pryor, Phyllis Diller, Roseanne Barr or Becky Donahue.

    It’s just unfortunate that the career title “Comedian” is not held in a little higher esteem.

    “Bullshit” on the other hand, can go by any number of names.

      1. NO, NO, NO….. not ‘avoid bullshit’ – somewhat and only somewhat ‘PROTECTS ME FROM’. As in, i can smell bullshit a mile away… loool. but, sometimes i still get hit with it. it is the comedian gene though that helps me when it does. because truly that career has caused me to look at almost everything sideways – i think – in a good way. you speak well about my kind and that makes a girl happy. loool. okay, very tired now. ;) sm

  8. I was just having a conversation about that wackadoodle organization. I can appreciate and might even harbor a certain fondness toward wackadoodles, but not ones who lack a sense of humor about themselves.

    1. that is just IT. they take themselves soooooo seriously. all religions are taking themselves too seriously these days, but for god’s sake theirs is based on the crazed mind of a science fiction writer. no lies. i love stephen king, but i’m not goint to turn ‘the stand’ into my bible… loooll. xo, sm

  9. Unfortunately, telling someone there tit is out in DC just might get you knocked out! I’ e been cursed out for similar public services.

    Much love, Momma!

    1. what a bummer, i’d be so thankful if people informed me that my tit was out. what’s wrong with people??!!! and why did i think you were in canada. i’m so lost. anyhoo, hope all is well, 40. much love, sm (and i miss your blog)

  10. I always wondered why supposedly sane, rational people would deify a sci-fi writer, especially a /bad/ sci-fi writer. I mean why not someone like Ursula K LeGuin? Or Frank Herbert? I think the answer is that neither of those writers ever tried to scam anyone whereas Hubbard….

    I am so glad I’m a devout atheist!

  11. If I were to follow a sci-fi writer into the great beyond it would at least be one that knew about, well life and sex and other cool stuff. I would follow Robert Heinlein, yeah that would be me!

    I think you were looking for Christian Scientist, they are they ones that don’t believe in Doctors or Blood Transfusions, who cut off family members who leave the church as apostate. Ijits.

    So the question SM is do you have great tits? This would be a problem, if you have great tits why would anyone tell you they were out.

    1. i think you are right…those are definitely some of the wackaloons that do it. some orthodox jews may also…really orthodox though. sigh. what’s wrong with EVERYONE. okay, not everyone – you and i are fine. loool. xo, sm

  12. Great article… Completely agree.. I sometimes WANT to live in ignorant bliss and though I am NOT a comedian.. My sarcastic, reality dependent nature refuses to let me.. I do love a good laugh though and so sometimes I pretend ignorant bliss..

    1. “sarcastic, reality dependent nature” — ohhh, it’s so necessay, so necessary. and maybe it’s genetic, who knows. because i’d probably be this way without the comedy, but somehow i think the comedy helps…

  13. Reply to this comment so that I will get a notification and be reminded to come back and read this. Have to pick the kids up at school. :-)

  14. It’s all just a bullshit escape from reality nomatter what you name it. Personally, I prefer Jack Daniels. It’s real. I can hold the bottle in my hands and I sure as hell know when I’ve reached nirvana! HF

    1. ohhhhhh, i’ve preferred that me self for a looooooong time. it’s way more grounded. in oats and barley, perhaps, but grounded nonetheless. i guess that meant i was talking beer. what’s jack made out of wheat? anyway, that too. good to see you here, harper. i’m glad your blog is back. much love, sm

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