Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I am irrationally fascinated with Scientology.

It started with the Southpark episode, which you can watch here. Then I met my friend Paco and read his absurdly charming story about identity issues, "Growing up Hispy," which includes this:

"In all, I’d say I’m a fairly standard American pseudo-intellectual. Oh, and I’m Hispanic. No, no… don’t worry; keep your wallet. All that means is that I’m perennially tanned. ...I was born under the glow of the Hollywood sign in a hospital on Sunset Blvd across the street from the Church of Scientology and the L. Ron Hubbard Center for Dianetics. Let the adventure begin."

Paco lives in California, and I visited him a few months ago. We went to LA for a day, and where was the first place he took me? The L. Ron Hubbard Center for Dianetics. It's a shame we didn't
go inside; I so would have been up for getting my thetan levels measured. But seeing it from the outside was enough to make me giggle for half an hour.

I like reading about Scientology because it has so much comedic potential. I'm not a naturally funny person, but I can't help but think of all the ways Scientology could be mocked and parodied. Yeah yeah, it's not nice to mock another religion. But this one was started by a science fiction writer and includes aliens; in my head, it's fair game.

Michael Crowley has a piece in Slate today on the life of L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard's biography includes witchcraft, science fiction, living in the desert and many legal problems. Despite all this, he was able to enlist millions of people for his "religion." That's frightening testimony to the power that charismatic people have.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on L. Ron Hubbard. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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