Monday, February 07, 2011

"The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology"

You may recall mention last month of a Lawrence Wright book and New Yorker article on Scientology, "to be 'told through the eyes of director and apostate Paul Haggis.'"

I don't know if he's found a book publisher yet, but at least the New Yorker piece is now available, and it looks like a detailed one.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so, note to self, etc. But I thought some of you might like to know right away.

(h/t: @johnmcquaid)

[Added] Follow-up post.


Don McArthur said...

In the race for 'bat-shit crazy creation mythology' the Scientologists are neck and neck with the Mormons.

I'll be back in a moment, that's the Angel Moroni at the door with my hyperdimensional spectacles and magic underwear.

Brendan said...


But I have to say, if only the craziest thing about them were their creation mythology …

Substance McGravitas said...

Thanks. A good read.

Brendan said...

You're welcome. Thanks for letting me know you saw the post and enjoyed the article.

I just finished it myself. In general, a nice piece of understated reporting, I thought.

But I am going to remember this one bit of hilarity:

“How dare you compare Dave Miscavige with Martin Luther King!” one of the officials shouted.

Emphyrio said...

It's excellent, as you'd expect from the author of the masterpiece The Looming Tower.

What's funny is that about three quarters of the way through there's horror story following on horror story, with the last sentence of each paragraph a parenthetical (the church denies this ever took place).

It becomes a droll mantra, like Vonnegut's "so it goes" in Slaughterhouse Five.

The piece feels like it's been fact-checked as thoroughly as Colin Powell's UN speech was not.

Brendan said...

I liked that aspect of the mantra-like parenthetical denials, too. A good way of showing how the reporter has made an effort to hear out both sides and if not willing to come to a definite conclusion, has at least developed a sense of what's what. A good lesson for the more lazy types who just uncritically type up he-said/she-said dreck.

When I read articles like this about the CoS, I am always amazed by how flaky the senior members are -- ducking the reporter trying to arrange an interview, and then when they finally do show up, bringing four lawyers and "nearly seven linear feet" worth of loose-leaf binders.

In this sense, they come off less like a cult than they do a more run-of-the-mill slimy corporation.

I expect you're right about the fact-checking. LOL @ your simile.

Substance McGravitas said...

The writer of the article interviewed here.

Brendan said...

Thanks. Interesting to hear him talk out loud about some of the stuff he wrote about.

Jon said...

Article video here: