Welp, I think it’s safe to say that executives at HBO have been added to the Church of Scientology’s lengthy suppressive persons list, as the cable network is poised to turn Going Clear into a documentary. Due out in 2015, the documentary will be directed by Alex Gibney and be based on Lawrence Wright’s impeccably researched book about the cult (yeah, I’m just calling it a cult from now on, because I’m done playing nice) and its ties to Hollywood. But given CoS’s well-known litigiousness, HBO isn’t taking any chances and has apparently hired a whopping 160 lawyers in anticipation of a lawsuit. Hey, as far as I’m concerned, if CoS is mad at you, you must be doing something right. Bring on the epic entheta! I wonder if “Elaine” will be seeing it? [Defamer]
The lifestyle website Refinery 29 is in a bit of hot water after writer Kelsey Miller published a profile of a young, female Scientologist called “Elaine” (not her real name) that, frankly, could have been ripped from the pages of Freedom magazine. (Freedom is the Church of Scientology’s propaganda magazine.) Former Scientologists — including a number of ex members who have been excommunicated from the Church — descended upon the post’s comments section accusing Miller of essentially penning an endorsement for the controversial faith, while others implied that Miller might be a Scientologist herself. Miller defended herself in the comments, writing, “I’d only heard the story from an outsider’s perspective, and I was curious about what an average, active member might have to say. The piece was meant to present — not endorse — her opinions and experience to the reader.” While I believe Miller’s intentions were good (and I don’t believe she’s a member herself), I’d like to join those ex members in calling bullshit on her methods. Her “profile” of “Elaine” reads very much like straight up propaganda, not journalism. Keep reading »
File this one under “ Extremely Mixed Feelings”: Olfactory artist Peter de Cupere has a one-day exhibit happening in which a Madonna figure made of holy water and “vaginal smell” will melt and fill the gallery with “the scent of passion.” :-/
The vaginal smell is authentic and sourced from a variety of women, but is hygienic – it was created by an olfactory lab, so no, say, hazardous elements remain in the sculpture. Gallery attendees will be invited to touch the liquid after the sculpture has melted but have been warned that it’s a pretty strong scent and will stick. Keep reading »
Sam Harris and Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins all want really badly for me to criticize Islam. They claim I’m scared to do so because Islamic extremists bully people into silence. They consider it a liberal failing that people like me have deferred to that bullying. They say it’s not “phobic” to criticize Islam, nor is it racist.
Then, of course, they say that we should profile Muslims, and their self-defense starts to fall apart. They fail to recognize that I do not live in a majority Muslim country, and that especially since 2001 but even before that, white Americans have exhibited incredible fear of Muslims (demonstrated by a call to profile them, coincidentally) and committed hate crimes against people who even “look” like they might be Muslim. They fail to see their own criticisms as so sweeping that they amount to a judgment on anyone with brown skin.
I won’t do it. I won’t take the bait of a patronizing call for feminists to set aside their goals in America to address problems in Muslim theocracies, and I won’t take the bait of an anti-intellectual call for atheists to denounce an entire religion simply because a handful of atheist leaders prescribe it. I will exhibit more caution and conservatism in my judgment, and here’s why: Keep reading »
When I was very young — eight, maybe — I remember walking out the back door of my family’s house with my mom. I had probably just asked for a cookie or something, and my mom’s response was this: “You know, if you keep eating sweets so much, people are going to think you’ll be an alcoholic one day.”
She contends this never happened, but I remember it clear as day. That was when I decided not to drink. It seemed expedient: I could keep eating sweets, and it wouldn’t matter what people thought about my future drinking habits, because I’d know that I wasn’t going to drink and therefore wasn’t going to become an alcoholic.
So the scene in the CW’s new show, “Jane the Virgin” (which premiered on Monday night), in which the heroine’s grandmother tells a pre-adolescent Jane not to lose her virginity, speaks to me. I know that feeling. That is Catholic guilt. Apparently, I don’t even know the half of it — my mom is good at guilt-tripping, but my aunt tells me that my grandmother’s ability to discipline via shame was downright masterful. In fact, my mother even harnessed some residual power from her mother’s guilt-tripping expertise by telling me a few times over my childhood, “Your grandmother would be so disappointed.” Keep reading »
Just last week, Carrie Underwood released her new single “Something In The Water,” but unlike most of her newly-released tunes, it wasn’t exactly met with open arms. Carrie’s song, which affirms her belief in God, conversion and baptism, focuses on the strength she found from Christianity, which has left some of her atheist fans less than thrilled. But despite the criticism, Carrie told Glamour that she’s not sorry for singing about her personal faith, and she’s certainly not planning on changing her tune.
“Country music is different. You have that Bible Belt-ness about it. I’m not the first person to sing about God, Jesus, faith [or] any of that, and I won’t be the last. And it won’t be the last for me, either. If you don’t like it, change the channel.”
Keep reading »