Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book Review / Recap (cont.)

Chapter 11:
Sofia Vergara. Remember her? Yeah, didn't think so. She dated Tom ever so briefly in 2005 - only a few months before the Katie Holmes fascination began. Sofia got spooked (by the sci's), and ended up standing Tom up for a little trip they were to go on. She actually went in to hiding. LOL. Tom then meets Katie (requests meeting her through their agents, supposedly for a film role) and they magically fall in love. True love. Lasting love. Happily Ever After love. The kind of love that requires a prenup and a $19 million dollar trust fund... you know, just in case. Supposedly Katie was vibrant and outgoing before she was captured by scientologists started dating Tom. Then, after they started dating, this is a description given by a journalist, "Katie's natural animation seemed replaced by a sort of deadpan elation as she recited the liturgy of love." During interviews, when he couldn't actually be present to watch over what was going on and display his virile comportment (because he is NOT gay, right?) he would call her cell phone or send a gift that just happened to arrive during the interview. Chapter 11 is also when they talk about him going off the deep end (more literally following Sci's off the deep end like a lemming, but I digress) on the psychiatry stuff. Brook Shields, drugs used in psychological treatments, it all comes to the surface and people start thinking he is the one who is maniacal. And, isn't maniacal really a better reason to think badly of someone than possible homosexuality? I wonder if it bothers him as badly? Just in case being called out as a crazy doesn't bother him as much as speculation as his being gay, let's stick with gay. Better to push the buttons you know work. Katie also signed up with Scientology. It is a contract that fundamentally changed Katie's human rights. (page 278). She agreed that she must never use psychiatric care or psychiatric drugs. If she were to ever suffer from mental or terminal illness she must turn only to Sci's treatments. (all from page 278) But it's not a cult?

Chapter 12:
Matt Lauer interview. Craziness confirmed. The gloves come off and he begins full fledged battle for the views of sci's on the profession of psychiatry. Things get ugly.
Katie turns up pregnant. Out of wedlock. Which is against the tenants of Sci's... luckily they find the heart to turn the other cheek and support the pregnancy, as it is Tom's baby. (Proof that Tom was not only straight, but fertile. Manly. Copiously sexual.) Where others had been punished in the past for such behavior (along with homosexuality, premarital relations are frowned upon) and sent for re-education and such. Not Tom and Katie. They were celebrated. Katie has a silent birth (because LRon knew what is best for a woman during childbirth, as men usually do). Baby born. Celebrate!

Chapter 13: As Katie and baby Suri recover from birth, Tom continues to parade the message of Sci. Using movies as his platform, and selling the religion instead of promoting his acting in the productions. I have to admit, I'm a bit over him now. The rest of this chapter is really more of the same. He appears to be one thing, and is another. He wants Sci's to have world domination, and is now basically second in command. Look for his company, United Artists, to do more movies in countries that Sci wants to gain a foothold - things like that.

Wrap Up thoughts:
I know I ended that last chapter's recap faster than even John Grisham would have, but I had just tired of him and them. Him = Tom. Them = Scis. He is a very strange man, wrapped up in a cult of personality. He has become his own god, and wants more power. His relationships are all very carefully planned to either advance his personal goals or the goals of scientology. Although, now they are all but one and the same. I think the most interesting thing about the book was the manipulation Morton discussed. Not that I didn't know it was there, but I didn't really realize the depth. Remember how he said he was a functional illiterate in high school? Well, when he was trying to convince Anne Rice that he was perfect for the part of Lestat in "Interview with the Vampire" he claimed he "had read Rice's 352-page tome when he was a teenager - no mean feat for a young man who described himself as a 'functional illiterate' when he left high school". (page 175) It's like his whole life has been manipulating history to fit the story he wants to tell.

I'm all for religious freedom, but I am wary of cults. I do think Scientology is a made up religion, and I don't think it will ever obtain the mainstream acceptance that other religions have obtained. It's not about spirituality, it doesn't bring comfort, it is about power. I feel like a real religion doesn't want power over it's believers - it wants to walk side by side with them towards a relationship with God. A real religion wouldn't want it's members to sign away their freedoms or free will. ASKING them to follow certain rules that would qualify them for church membership is one thing. Demanding it is certainly another. There are some Christian religions that prove to be hateful to those who are excommunicated or dis-fellow shipped. Asking followers to shun family members and former friends who do not follow the orders. (I used to work with a former JW who had been dis-fellow shipped, and it was not pretty.) Is this cultlike? I'm not sure. I think so... but do I have all the answers? Certainly not.

Andrew Morton's book was composed of two things that really draw me in. My almost morbid curiosity of the strangeness of celebrity (it's like driving by a car accident - I can't not look!), and a curious religion. I love religions, I love the culture of religions, I love the good that religions can bring and the hopefulness they support. I also love reading about quirky "religions" and cultures. I would recommend this book to anyone who shares my morbid curiosity of the strangeness of celebrity life, and the want of knowledge regarding a religion I don't know much about. (I also discovered that I have a problem using the word "religion" in regards to Scientology. To me, it just isn't.) Now that I know that, I can move on. Turns out it probably was worth the $11.00 I paid on (I just checked, and the price has gone up to $14.27.) If any of you want to read the book, just let me know and I'll get it to you. I'd feel so much better if someone else got some use out of it. If not, it is going to end up in my (I swear I will be having it this May) garage sale that I have been talking about for 2 years!

I'm off to NY Monday - Wednesday. If there are any other unauthorized biographies you'd like me to review / recap let me know! I'm not interested in anything "authorized", as "unauthorized" is always more fun!


Martha said...

Many thanks for your most excellent book review.
What's with NYC? A little romantic get away with the spousal unit? Birthday is coming it an early celebration? Details know we look to you for all the detail!

Jennifer McKenzie said...

That was an awesome recap. NYC? Doing anything special?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Sitting in Silence said...

Awesome recap....and yes we want all the "Unauthorized" details of your time away ha ha....

tz said...

omg i saw the matt interview and i wanted to crawl through the tv and slap tom!

Deborah said...

Hi Dodi,
I really enjoyed your review, and I agree with you in that I also think Scientology is a cult. But who am I to judge? I certainly don't have all the answers either. What people's involvement in Scientology, and other like "religions" does tell me is that most everyone is searching for something, be it the meaning of life or just companionship. In that respect we're all pretty much alike.