A Summary of Outstanding Comments for Sunday, January 25, 2015
There’s nothing like a suppressive person with a blog, another suppressive person with an HBO production deal, and a bunch of bitter, defrocked apostates on the fringes of the internet to stir things up in the Underground Bunker. The Church of Scientology’s use of names for its critics like “suppressive person” and “bitter, defrocked apostate” says a lot about its mindset; it’s a primary reason why we critics have embraced these supposedly derogatory terms. If Tony Ortega is a “suppressive person”, then I’m the queen’s uncle. (For the record, I’m not the queen’s uncle.) Such irresponsible name-calling gives “suppressive person” the same amount of impact as “luge enthusiast”.
Sunday was the biggest day ever in the Bunker’s still-young yet increasingly illustrious history of hard-nosed investigative journalism balanced with fascinating histories, personal stories, and astute analysis focused on the subject of Scientology, all courtesy of Tony Ortega, who somehow finds the time to do all of this in addition to his actual job as the editor of top news site Raw Story.
Sunday was the world premiere of the documentary film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by noted documentarian Alex Gibney, fans of the Bunker (and, as you will see, a whole lot of other people) have been waiting for its premiere with, shall we say, a certain degree of anticipation.
The other important part of the Underground Bunker is its active commenting community – by far the most active internet community I have ever participated in. After taking a self-enforced mini-vacation from my obsessive Scientology watching, I returned to the Bunker two days ago to find some 1,500 comments on the Marty Rathbun deposition video. Now, when there are that many comments, I just sort them by “best”, read the top dozen or so, and then get on with my life.
Friday’s comments felt different, though, imbued with a sense of shared anticipation for the upcoming documentary – precisely the reason I had returned to the Bunker in the first place – and I found myself drawn in. Yes, there were YouTube links to songs that should have stayed in the 80s (thanks, YouTube!). Yes, there were literally hundreds of comments that said some form of “I’m so excited about the upcoming documentary!” (I, of course, never share anything frivolous). But there was also a lot of great writing with deep insights, personal stories both uplifting and tragic, behind-the-scenes histories, and – my favorite – sarcastic zingers. These top comments so enriched my Bunker experience and helped me understand the significance of Rathbun’s cat-and-mouse game with Scientology lawyer Bert Deixler that I realized a lot of people were going to miss out on all the elucidatory goodness. So, I summarized the comments. For the record: yes, it’s a lot of work, and, no, I don’t have the time (or, to be honest, the inclination) to do it every day – but I felt this special weekend in January really deserved the extra attention.
And now: Sunday’s Summary!
⭐ 7:02 AM: 1 comment (all times are EST)
The first post of the day is from Miss Tia who wrote some haikus – with hash tags! (There’s nothing like an ancient art form lovingly updated for Web 2.0.) It’s so appropriate that the day would start off with poetry. It established the overarching theme of poetic justice that would follow. (And Dodo gave us a picture of just how pretty Cosmic Justice can be.)
THDNE win the most upvotes of the day with heartfelt – and heart breaking – reminiscence, touching gratitude and a call for a new order.
Stacy reminds us the Church still clings to Hubbard’s laughably outdated chauvinism.
Richard Grant helps us remember that it’s also a Sunday Funnies day by dissecting a recruitment flyer that reveals Scientology is the whole package of corruption.
J. Swift expands on Richard’s point: “Scientology is surreal, and, the axle upon which Scientology turns is its language of dishonesty.”
As an aspiring screenwriter, I took especial note of Zana’s ten years of experience (distilled into one paragraph!).
Panopea Abrupta nails the conflicting emotions engendered by the Sunday Funnies: “a curious mix of sadness and smiles”. Plus bonus Red-X shoop!
A Guest shares tweets from Alex Gibney. (And, seriously, $100 for Sundance parking? Good grief.)
BabySmurfette establishes the day’s tradition of lurkers de-lurking: “I finally decided to poke my head out and post because my excitement about today can’t be contained!” Bromo also pipes up, “As one who reads here nearly every day but never posts, I am too excited about today to lurk quietly in the shadows.” You said it, BabySmurfette and Bromo! And we love you for it. There were so many lurkers who popped up today that I made the conscious decision not to link their posts because that would have turned this summary into a novella, especially since BabySmurfette and Bromo capture the essence of their excitement. Be assured, however, that we LOVED seeing you and LOVED that you lent your voice to this historic day. I totally understand the satisfaction of lurking, that is, reading up on an interesting subject without the need to talk constantly about it, but please do feel free to pipe up whenever you feel like it! We don’t bite! Well, okay, we do bite, but usually not too hard!
Chee Chalker explains why Bunkeroos will sometimes joke that there are only 70 commenters at the Bunker (hint: it’s a pathetic attempt by OSA to minimize our voices).
New Bunkeroo Deep notes that Scientology has the gall to proclaim Michael Wisner as a toxicology expert when his own son probably overdosed. (Aeger Primo and Mary McConnell have links to this old news.) But Deep’s more important point is that an “eejit with a computer” can spend “1 minute googling” to find “countless links on this story that will never be erased, even as [much] as COB wishes it would”. That’s a pretty Deep insight for a self-described “eejit with a computer.” Another newish Bunkeroo Ben Franklin (good heavens, these people are popping out of the woodwork! Yay!) notes that with an example like L. Ron Hubbard, it’s no wonder Scientologists don’t care that a supposed toxicology expert apparently has no problem promoting the very same niacin and sauna program that may have contributed to his own child’s death.
⭐ 10:33 AM: 500 comments
Douglas D. Douglas has revealing photographs and delicious commentary on the Ideal Org in Pasadena, California. (In case you’re confused by the “Frozen” picture, Douglas explains the rogue Disney phenomenon.
Stacy amps up the excitement with fireworks and Ortega-tech.
Ben Franklin on Scientology’s opposite world.
Shelly Britt Corrias shows us that Alex Gibney gets it.
Tony tells us it’s a beautiful day in Park City.
A Jimmy3 one-liner: “I’ve never been this excited about someone else seeing a movie. In fact it’s never happened before.”
Ruh Roh! Troll Alert! A brutally efficient Scientology OSA operative crashes our party and… Oh, who I am I kidding? This troll was lame. There were too many zingers to link here in response to the troll’s various and absurd claims of the documentary’s unreliable sources and the Church’s unstoppable expansion, not to mention the “60 or 70” Bunker commenters “who vote each other up”, but the best responses consisted of analysis of the troll’s spelling skills from, for example, Nat-lificent, who shared a helpful illustratiion explaining the difference between lose and loose; Robert Eckert: “They loosed their chance for a decent education?”; Jimmy3: “I think it was a metaphor, not a typo. He meant HBO will loose its credibility like one looses an arrow. [where] it will soar into the air like a majestic bird”; and Skip Press: “ ‘for the infos I have’? English much?” Seriously, this toll only lasted half an hour before it was scared away. Poor troll. Too much entheta today on the Bunker!
Chukicita manages to be realistic and inspirational at the same time.
Peter wrote a letter to the President of Gannett Newspapers wondering about USA Today’s journalistic standards.
AutOmatic points out we may be in the middle of an important paradigm shift in the public’s perception of Scientology.
Dutch Bunkeroo Scam of Scientology hopes Going Clear will inspire the government of Denmark to look into the Freewinds human rights violations occurring in its Caribbean protectorates.
⭐ 1:32 PM: 900 comments
This is about when the Bunker starts going absolutely nuts! Lurkers de-lurking! Disgruntled apostates apostating! A whole lot of welcomes!. Have caek! Friendly chit chat! Excitement!
⭐ 1:49 PM: 1,000 comments
Trying to do household chores while compulsively checking the Bunker every two minutes for updates! (Which brings us to another Jimmy3 zinger: “Honey, why are our clothes in the dishwasher?”)
At least five comments explaining or lamenting the use of “refresh” tech, or the magic key of “F5”. Don’t wear out your F5 finger!
Hopefully Disqus won’t break today! (Fortunately, it didn’t. We all like to complain about the peculiarities of using Disqus (and they are annoying), but, overall, I would say Disqus provides a robust commenting platform.)
AegerPrimo saw The Interview and thought it was stupid. Other people liked it, some precisely because it was stupid and others because James Franco is hot. Your mileage may vary.
Bunker consensus: Grant Cardone is a douchebag.
Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack’s wife is having a baby! Update: Please welcome the first Bunker baby of 2015, a healthy girl!
Tony Ortega tells us he is walking to the theater and gets 153 upvotes and 100 comments. We ❤ Tony Ortega.
Many food suggestions. Stop it! You’re making me hungry and I just ate. (Although I wasn’t sure about the lavendar honey bacon.)
Lurkers de-lurking! Hello and welcome! Have caek!
There is much discussion of what the heck time it is compared to where the heck you are in the world. Most people are able to figure out what time 3:00 pm MST is in their time zone. It’s obvious that the Bunker community is staggering in its international scope. The following countries are mentioned: United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, South Africa, Philippines, Australia.
Fantastic off-topic story of when the Queen of England drove the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia around in her Land Rover, much to his dismay.
⭐ 2:48 PM: 1,500 comments
THDNE reminds us of Robert Redford’s vision for the Sundance Film Festival.
Bunker consensus: Kirstie Alley is an idiot.
THDNE posts a touching tribute to Denise Brennan (RIP) who was so instrumental in exposing the Church’s byzantine and illegitimate corporate structure. With bonus photo of Denise and Kate Bornstein!
Tony posts a photo of him in front of the theater and gets 124 upvotes.
Patricia Curtis (yes, a lurker de-lurking) shares her dismaying experience protesting at the International Base Plus, a video of the “sound weaponry”.
i-Betty has a case of the adrenalins.
⭐ 4:00 PM: 1,600 comments
Bunker consensus: the film hasn’t even started yet and it’s two hours long and this waiting is killing me!
Nottrue posts a picture of Scientology’s attempt to discredit Alex Gibney via Freedumb Magazine.
Tony says “One of the Battlefield Earth producers tried to lie her way into the screening!” Which inspires an assortment of snort-worthy responses: Robert Eckert: “Rat-brain man-animals!” Michael Leonard Tilse: “What gave her away? The dreadlocks or the nose tubes?” And the winner, Kim O’Brien: “Cod piece. Pretty sure it was the cod piece.”
So many comments are appearing so quickly that people are posting the same pictures and updates two or even three times because it’s becoming impossible to keep up! Disqus is groaning under the strain.
Bare-Faced Messiah lets us know he just made a donation to the Underground Bunker and encourages anybody else who can to do so. Tony ain’t doing this for the money, that’s for sure. And since Google won’t allow advertising on his site anymore, due to unexplained “complaints” (I’m sure we can imagine where those “complaints” came from), the Bunker operates exclusively from donations. Do it if you can!
⭐ 4:32 PM: 1,800 comments
Tony posts a photo with Morgan Spurlock. Plus a photo with Access Hollywood. “No way I’m making the cut.” Plus a photo of him and Gibney working the media. Plus a photo with Gibney and Wright. “These guys rock.”
Scream Nevermore posts a photo of Marc Headley with Morgan Spurlock.
Which leads to much frenzied speculation that the Church somehow engineered this oversell in an effort to sabotage the premiere. But, the consensus eventually becomes “probably not”. BigMcLargeHuge explains how film festivals typically work. In a nutshell, Going Clear has too many pass holders showing up who take precedence over mere ticket holders, i.e., the theater doesn’t have enough seats to contain all the interest and excitement people have for the documentary!
The premiere is underway and Bunkeroos are snarking David Miscaviage to the max! Walter Mitty: “This is the moment DM starts to cry.” Simi Valley: “That’s what Macallans and copper rods are for.” NOLAGirl: “Do you think he’s in full Greta Garbo mode? Feather robe, collapsed on a chaise lounge, sobbing?”
Tony says, “Film being introduced by Sundance guy who said, I’ve waited a long time for this film to be made, and I think a lot of you have, too.” Understatement much?
Hansje Brinker shares some hilarious tweets including the keeper: “Crowd frenzy at Premiere of Scientology doc Going Clear kinda like Black Friday at the Mall of America.”
A Guest shares another tweet: “First time I’ve seen people with tickets not allowed into a movie” at the festival. Whoo hoo! Going Clear is thus far the most anticipated and popular showing of Sundance!
Heather Graceful shares another tweet that Maureen O’Dowd is in the audience. Maybe she’ll write about it at the New York Times.
⭐ 4:56 PM: 2,000 comments
The film is playing and us poor Bunkeroos have to wait until it’s over. The amount of comments is staggering. The excitement is bubbling over!
And here, my dear Bunkeroos, I am taking a rest because I just read 2,000 comments and I can’t read anymore. The film was excellent and got a standing ovation. The Twitterverse exploded. And hundreds of Bunkeroos both old and new were all together chatting wildly while we presided over the precise moment of a sea change in the world’s perception of Scientology. With hope in our hearts and fire in our fingertips we all madly typed away on keyboards both actual and virtual and racked up so many comments it was impossible to read two of them before ten more appeared.
It was quite a moment, and one that will always stay with me.
I’m so grateful I was able to share it with all of you.
As a person born into and raised by Scientology for the first thirty years of my life, and now out of the cult long enough to start having a clear mind about things, I can honestly say that the sense of camaraderie I experienced today was more spiritually satisfying than all of my thirty years of “case gain” in the cult. Thank you.
The remaining 2,000+ comments are all very exciting – and let’s just pause here for a moment at the ridiculous number of 4,160 comments (and counting) – but I think I’ve captured the essence (and more) of this very exciting day.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the other document with the play updates and the snark! Here’s some more then:
⭐ Disconnection: The Play
SatansThetan offers a pithy review. Skip Press is no longer concerned that never-ins won’t get it. Mary McConnell has the link to Larry Anderson’s terrific review. Lurkness summarizes the evening of the performance, with photos! Lurkness covers all bases of the play. Tory’s comments on the play.
⭐ I ❤ THE SNARK
Note: Sunday Funnies always have a higher snark content than the other days’ posts (because what other healthy response can there be to Scientology’s unbelievably crass demands for money?). The one-two punch of the Funnies and the Going Clear premiere amped up the snark level to 11. So much crunchy goodness, in chronological order:
Shasha40 knows how to rhyme.
L. Ron Hubbard had the hubris to proclaim himself “Man’s Best Friend”, a line constantly repeated by Scientologists. The number of commenters with snarky thoughts on this are, tragically, too numerous to include, but here’s a couple of highly representative samples: Stacy: puppy eyes or warty cyst? Just Dee has loyal, good looking and smart German Shepherds.
Panopea Abrupta’s weather report.
Elendira offers a Big Pharma welcome to all the new SPs at the Bunker.
Madame Duran: Good Friday Just Got Better.
The ridiculous photo of $100 parking at the festival (or is it $10,000?) deserves snark and Snake Plissken rises to the occasion.
Robert Eckert on the Church’s
MaxSpaceman: Another One Blows for Good, with apologies to Queen.
I resist linking every Panopea Abrupta comment (because then this would become a summary of Panopea Abrupta’s comments) but four zingers in a row is irresistible.
Skip Press on Scientology continuing a grand tradition of “graft, greed and ghoulishness.”
Mark visualizes The Gibney Effect.
I’ve never seen this clever photo of Anonymous (the hacker collective not the commenter) at the Tick Tock Café, so, yes, Panopea Abrupta earns another link.
Mark suspects Fearless Leader is feeling a wee bit chilly today.
Walter Mitty: “In the auditing room, no one can hear you scream.”
Poison Ivy Herself: Davey just wants to be one of the popular kids.