Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This is Your Brain On L. Ron Hubbard

Hey, maybe you just didn't know. Maybe you didn't realize that the guy who started the creepycute little Scientology "religion" so beloved by manic and terminally annoying Tom Cruise was actually not a refined erudite globe-trotting super-genius who was a master of everything from nuclear physics to yachting to writing elaborate space operas (as is so often trotted out by his devout eye-glazed true believers), and instead was, in fact, a huckster nutball who had funny connections to Aleister Crowley and who wrote a silly pulpy sci-fi Earth creation myth involving evil 75-million-year-old alien overlords, and who died with large amounts of the psychiatric drug Vistaril in his system. Whoops.

Maybe you didn't realize that L. Ron Hubbard's greatest genius may have been not merely inventing a whole pseudo-religion from of the scraps of a philosophical notion he found in a 25-cent sci-fi magazine (yes, literally) in order to rake in mountains of cash, but in marshalling armies of lawyers to attack anyone who dared question it and engage in a long, drawn-out battle to have his "church" declared tax-exempt in the U.S. even after barely avoiding being indicted on charges of skimming millions from all the lost '60s souls who gave him all their money because they were brainwashed into seeing him as a visionary and not as, you know, your creepy Uncle Roy who smells like day-old bacon and leers at trees.

So now, as the itchy TomKat PR miasma blessedly sinks back into the rank pop culture tar pits, you can at last find out more about where it all comes from and read Michael Crowley's superlative Slate piece all about the oddball Hubbard himself and maybe find a hint as to why Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Beck, Jenna Elfman and that woman who does the voice of Bart Simpson are so fabulously deluded and pretty much anything they say about anything related to psychospiritual analysis should be taken out back and put in a large kiln and baked at 4,000 degrees and then cooled overnight and tossed against a large brick wall to see how easily it shatters into tiny cute little bits.

But only if you want.

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