Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
I’ve read the Inside Scientology book, which Wright gleans lots of information from, so this wasn’t that surprising when it went over the explanations of the Scientology cult. Also, The Master does an amazing job at skewering “L. Ron Hubbard.” Living in California, especially in LA, Scientology is something is very much part of the culture. When you go to see shows at UCB Franklin, you’re right across from the massive Celebrity Centre.
Basically, this opens up the cult like nature of Scientology, a for-profit “religion” based on the teachings of an insane despot who cranked out shitty science fiction novels riddled with homophobia and purple prose. I remember reading Mission: Earth when I was twelve. It seemed about right for that bombastic age group.
So I knew about how vicious Scientology was in their attacks on their disputors. Now when the documentary based on this book is about to air, the nefarious Freedom Media Ethics group keeps spewing hateful blackmail and anti-truths about the people involved. It’s sinister and disgusting, and the entire scam is now fronted by David Miscavige who is quite possibly literally a psychotic asshole.
What Going Clear does is go into the lives and background of two very prominent Scientologists — namely John Travolta and Tom Cruise. Cruise comes off as a tiny, dissatisfied nutjob — some kind of enfant terrible emperor whose every demand is met because he looks handsome and charming on the silver screen. The book suggests that Scientology fostered the relationships it wanted for him, essentially finding him a suitable mate after breaking him and Nicole Kidman apart. Cruise benefits greatly from all the adoration and the funds given to him by a cult that operates on indentured servitude and torture.
What was most surprising was hearing about Travolta. There have been rumors of Travolta’s sexual proclivities — that he’s a closet homosexual or at the very least a bisexual. The book pretty much insinuates the truth. And that Scientology prevented Travolta from exploring this desire in order to make him a poster child. Travolta’s strange behaviors suddenly make sense. And now, after reading it, it’s kind of like you just want him to find a nice man and settle down. You want Ian McKellan to offer his healing touch and make Travolta embrace the gay.
I’m anxious to watch the documentary, and to see its effects in the industry. The curious part is, most people know Scientology is a scam and a cult with deep pockets, and yet they accept that. They don’t see it as any more dangerous than a fraternity or a monastery. Which is exactly what Scientology banks on.