Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Today’s news seems to be focused on the new Mark VIII e-meter, with some commenters noting that it bears more than a passing resemblance to the recently redesigned Kenner Easy-Bake Oven.  Some say that this is because Ideo, the legendary design firm that did tons of iconic products over the years including many for Apple, did both products. In a comment on Mike Rinder’s blog, not yet moderated by press time, I said that the design of the new e-meter isn’t half bad, and could well have been done by Ideo.  And I’m actually serious. The good design doesn’t excuse the stupidity of leaving this thing in a warehouse for a decade or a lot of other mistakes in the GAT2 rollout, but it’s not bad design by itself.

Also, life seems to have dealt Mr. Thomas C. Mapother IV a mixed bag today.

My Blog

I normally don’t like to do something that looks like I might be tooting my own horn, but there were a couple comments on my blog in the last 24 hours that I thought were worth calling your attention to.

  • Eclipse-girl wondered how I got an estimate of 500 to 700 Scientologists in Germany when the German government’s official count was about 4,000.  I went through a detailed discussion in my reply.  This might be a useful read as we start to go through and build up an estimate of membership.
  • OrangySky takes umbrage with a commenter in another forum who says they’re too clever not to get involved in a cult.  I share the experience of several very smart people who still managed to get tangled up a cult (one Scientology, one not), because that cult was able, whether by intent or by accident, to target their Achilles’ heel.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s blog post today contained the regular Tuesday feature with Claire Headley (recently joined by longtime top ranked auditor Bruce Hines) taking us “up the bridge,” going through all the materials for each level.  Today’s OT 2 stuff basically sounds like pages and pages of Orwellian “word salad” that sure looks like the goal is to scramble any remaining critical thinking skills.

There’s also a status update on the depositions in the Monique Rathbun case. The next court date is December 11.  They’ve gotten depositions from cult execs Warren McShane and Allen Cartwright, plus defendants Monty Drake and Steven Sloat. Tommy Davis is scheduled for December 4 in Austin and Leah Remini is still not scheduled.


Senate House at the University of London, considered to be the model for the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell's 1984.

Senate House at the University of London, considered to be the model for the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell’s 1984.

My take:  Some of these statements, including the first few, which read:

1. To Die is To Live
2. To Live is to Die
3. To Surrender is to Victimize
4. To Victimize is to Surrender
5. To Lose is to Win

… all suggest that somebody was reading a little too much George Orwell when they wrote all this stuff. Perhaps one could envision these chiseled on the wall at the Super Power building, which, given its foreboding footprint on its lot, resembles the immense

Super Power Building. If you imagine this in gray, you can kind of see a resemblance.

Super Power Building. If you imagine this in gray, you can kind of see a resemblance.

Ministry of Truth building in 1984 but with a pseudo-Mediterranean Disney-esque paint job. Even skimming this list without holding the cans, I can see my synapses frying like an egg on a hot griddle.

Regarding the depositions in Monique Rathbun case, it would be delightful fun to read Warren McShane’s deposition, given that I seem to recall a quote from Miscavige to the effect of how he loved it when Warren testified because he is the best liar on the management team. And I would certainly pay money (though I wouldn’t go so far as to hock the Global Capitalism HQ jet) to see the video of Tommy Davis’s deposition, just to watch him get “really angry!”

Some of the comments that riff on other trending topics are the best payload of Tony’s story today.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Exhibit 1: The Mark VIII E-Meter

    Exhibit 1: The Mark VIII E-Meter

    Mike picked up on the commenter from Tony’s blog who noticed the resemblance between the new Mark VIII Super-De-Duper and the recently restyled Easy-Bake Oven.  One commenter claims that these two products were done by the same design firm, the one that has done a lot of work for Apple.

    Easy-Bake Oven... Separated at birth?

    Easy-Bake Oven… Separated at birth?

    I contend that this is eminently possible, and in a long comment on Rinder’s site, I deconstructed the design elements of the new e-meter that make me believe this. I also tracked down an interesting tidbit on the history of the redsign of the Easy-Bake Oven.

  • New Valley Org solicitation.  I "command" you to reach for your wallets, since asking politely didn't work too well.

    New Valley Org solicitation. I “command” you to reach for your wallets, since asking politely didn’t work too well.

    Mike also published an interesting Valley Ideal Org flyer (which a tipster originally sent me a couple of days ago).  The first thing you see is the word “Command” at the top. It’s all about how DM is commanding you to get the Valley Org done. Not about how great it will be for those about to throng the doorway to learn about Scientology, nor what it will do for existing public. It’s all about how you can obey him.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

  • WWP discusses new “rules” for owning an e-meter, including a clause that says you can only own one if you remain in good standing. Not sure how enforceable that is, but nice try… Also, it might be interesting to see if the requirement that you have a current annual or lifetime IAS membership before being allowed to buy a meter constitutes “tying” under anti-trust law.
  • A WWP thread discusses the software update for your PC that connects to the new Mark VIII E-meter, wondering if it is entirely about the E-meter or wondering if there might be other secret capabilities involved, like a new “net nanny” package.  Worth monitoring in case some clever Anon manages to disassemble part of the executable to see what it really does.

General News

  • OrangySky

    More great stuff, JP!

    The whole E-Z bake/E-meter/Apple connection is so damn interesting! But what strikes me the most about the “Warehouse VIII” Is how outdated it is already. Look at the shape, size, and design of today’s technology. It’s solid state, and it’s moving to something between the size of an iPhone and a large tablet.

    If Miscavige hadn’t wasted all that time letting these pieces of plastic rot away in a warehouse for nearly a decade, he’d have become aware that a honking big Jetson’s-style device doesn’t resemble any piece of technology that people call ‘home’ these days. He should’ve designed an iPad-sized device with a touch screen digital display, direct connection to the internet, and wireless bluetooth “cans” (which should be tiny – the size of an electrode you can place over your thumb, for example.)

    He could save the big ugly Lost in Space console panels for the Sooper Powerz auditing rooms, where they will be right at home with the inside-of-the-Enterprise-meets-1980’s-bachelor-pad decor.

    PS – I think “Peter” who engaged with Kemist has removed his comments.

    I hope Mike’s right; that Davey will flip out at the E-Z Bake/E-Meter comparisons. That’s what you get for being more than a decade behind the times at all times (personally I think Davey peaked in 1989 and it’s been Groundhog Day for him every since.)

    • Echo_Effect

      I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that thought pictures of Super Power hallways looked like the Star Trek Enterprise NG.

      • aegerprimo

        And the late 80’s man-cave decor.

    • NeverIn

      I learned a new word yesterday: Googie. It refers to that retrofuturistic (paleomodern?) architectural style from the Jetsons and Disney’s Tomorrowland. Because I’m sure it will annoy DM, I suggest we all start calling the Mark VIII the Googie-meter.

      Incidentally, I confess I learned this phrase from the SYFY show Naked Vegas, which proves that body painting requires surprising analytical and problem solving skills in addition to creativity, artistic talent, technical skill, and ability to not giggle.

      • They talk about Googie-style buildings in Los Angeles, apparently that’s where it started:

        The iconic Theme Building at LAX, which houses the Encounter Restaurant, is a popular example of the Space Age look of Googie architecture. The whimsical design style, popular in Southern California in the 1950s and named after an L.A. coffee shop, features bright colors, eye-catching signs and futuristic designs. Though many Googie buildings are gone, a few examples remain in Southern California.,0,4985265.photogallery

        • Missionary Kid

          From Wikipedia: The origin of the name Googie dates to 1949, when architect John Lautner designed the West Hollywood coffee shop Googies, which had distinct architectural characteristics. The name “Googie” had been a family nickname of Lillian K. Burton, the wife of the original owner, Mortimer C. Burton. Googies was located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles but was demolished in 1989. The name Googie became a rubric for the architectural style when editor Douglas Haskell of House and Home magazine and architectural photographer Julius Shulman
          were driving through Los Angeles one day. Haskell insisted on stopping
          the car upon seeing Googies and proclaimed “This is Googie

          I remember the restaurant, but I can’t remember what it looked like, other than it had a supposedly futuristic (for the period) of what a restaurant would look like. I’ve probably driven past it 50 times. Later people would consider it, and other buildints like it, as something that would appear on the Jetsons cartoon show.

      • Jon Hendry

        Ha, I had a feeling that’s where you’d heard the word. I was watching too. I’d heard of Googie before, though.

  • Sidney18511

    JP…I just want to give you kudos for the wonderful way you pull together all the “Today in Scientology” blog news. You ARE good….real good.

  • Truthiwant

    People oven bake a point that is incorrect, but this emeter story is not cooked up. It is 100 degrees right. The temperature will certainly be rising in DM’s office. Probably gas mark 8 by now. I just hope he cools it down before taking it out on the cook or roasting someone’s meat body or before he gives a grilling to some poor sole.

    • aegerprimo

      You cooked up some bun with that post! DM is toast.

  • Echo_Effect

    JP, I enjoyed your numbers analysis in Germany. Only one possible addition, or definition of data, comes to mind, which I possibly missed.

    To give weight to your bottom numbers, could you define some criteria for being considered a Scientologist. This may be more difficult than it sounds, & I think other, more knowledgable church watchers would be of value, to give their own opinion here.

    Personally, I was thinking along the lines of paid service, item purchase or donation with in the previous year, defining a member, but this may be too black & white. Possibly the belief system in any form constitutes membership.

    • John P.

      Thanks for the comment. Your proposed definition is fairly close to what I have been using. My focus is on people who currently identify themselves as official COS-affiliated Scientologists and support the official Church of Scientology in some way. Certainly, the gung-ho Kool-Aid drinkers will be giving money to the church actively and would meet your proposed definition.

      But I also specifically want to include the “under the radar” crowd who remain members due to their fear of the effects of disconnection on their families or businesses. These folks may not have donated within a year but they are still essentially pretending to be members. And even if they aren’t giving cash or doing “the tech,” they are using it as a social network that they derive benefit from (whether customers or friends/family).

      Attempting to understand how many of those “in” are “under the radar” (I think it is a substantial portion of the older LA crowd) is critical to understanding what happens to the cult. If they start to pull away, that is very bad for the cult because it means that disconnection is no longer effective as a way to keep people in.

      I am very specifically excluding the various types of Independent Scientologists because I’m trying to predict how long the COS will last before it implodes, and those folks are not providing economic support to the COS and most likely have nothing but ill will towards it as well. I want to get a sense of the size of the “Indies” for a different project — figuring out whether there is enough of them to gain critical mass as a counterweight to the cult, but that’s a different project entirely and they don’t actually seem to have a lot of linkage between them in the data.

      So I’m measuring the actual or potential economic power base of the COS not the number of people who believe in “the tech.”

      • Echo_Effect

        Thanks for the detailed reply. I was thinking along the same lines. Money is important, but active members make for a viable entity.

      • Penny

        I received a call from an old friend this week defining their current
        status as under the radar. I asked this person how many of their
        current friends (still in) were under the radar. The answer was 4 or 5 and I
        was surprised to hear about one in particular that was still making A/P’s to
        account. Advanced payments for those unfamiliar with the term. Why? Child in
        the SO, loss of all biz connections, etc. What I gathered from our conversation
        is that there are many more “under the radar” than we suspect. Additionally,
        this individual has been reading Mike’s blog and had read much on Marty’s blog
        when it was a bit more active. I believe we met 30 years ago at CC.

        • tetloj

          This is really encouraging new Penny. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    John P,

    Good stuff…your blog is serving a valuable function.

    It’s great to have some clear-headed (no pun there) thinking about the issues from someone who does that sort of thing for a living.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • NeverIn

    Some good lulz in here. The Easy Bake Oven thing is killing me!

  • Sandy

    Spiffy new format, my internet friend. I am pretty darn computer illiterate, but I found my way around quite easily. At first, I went to the comments section listed in the upper right corner – obviously not right, so I sat back for a sec & decided Mr. Capitalist would not have his comment section look like that. So, I came back, and it only took me a sec on my second try to get here. This is always my second “click” of the day. I see what Tony’s headline is, then, before I read the article, I come over here to see your take on the day before. Hope you are not taxing yourself overmuch, and, selfishly, hope you can continue this blog.

  • aegerprimo

    For a moment, I thought I was at the wrong place – then I remembered. I was one of the ones who mentioned…

  • Sidney18511

    Wishing you and your super model a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

    Love the new look you gave your blog!

  • Bella Legosi

    Me loves Cracked! It’s a nice place to go when you can’t sleep and just read!

  • Kim O’Brien

    JP…Thanks for doing this . I get your updates but like a tool …it never crossed my mind that i could comment here ( dunno why ..) I am now , officially ….a chick who is addicted to the demise of scientology . I was told to get a hobby ….voila 😉