Nov. 7th, 2011

I've been sick for a week and since I'm over the so-sick-I-sleep-all-the-time phase, I might get out and about today. I have to get my Environmental Geology homework caught up for one thing, and I suck at doing homework at home. 

I'm reading Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, the book that was excerpted in The New Yorker earlier this year. It's very well written, very readable.

Parts that I particularly like and relate to --
Page 68:
          But Jeff was bored. He was searching for something; he didn't know what.  The Summer of Love had come and gone, along with its haze of promise. The war in Vietnam continued to kill thousands of young Americans. Many who made it back alive wore the dead-eyed stares of the walking wounded. Active in the anti-war movement, Jeff was haunted by the memory of one large demonstration outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, where he's seen a twelve-year-old girl beaten up by the Los Angeles police. Drugs, Jeff knew, weren't the answer -- a bad acid trip a few months earlier had cured him of that interest. He spent most of his spare time poring over books on meditation, yoga, cybernetics, hypnosis. 
...
Page 70:
          And so Jeff Hawkins, a shy, somewhat awkward young man usually dressed in jeans, sandals, a blue work shirt and tinted granny glasses, got into Scientology, as did his friend Jerry and thousands of other young people all across the United State. For those like Jeff, who were smart, curious, and searching, Scientology provided its own form of rebellion, which was perfectly timed, as it turned out.
          Had the sixties never happened - which is to say, had a tremendous  number of young people not become convinced of the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of their parents, the church, the Republican Party, and other people and institutions collectively known as the establishment -- Scientology might have gone the way of other fringe movements and died a quiet death. Instead, repositioned as a mystical quest rather than an alternative mental health therapy or religious movement, Scientology rode the countercultural wave, and by the late 1960s, a whole new generation of spiritual seekers had caught on to the renegade vision of L. Ron Hubbard.

Page 71
         In Kenmore Square or Washington Square, on Shattuck Avenue or Sunset Blvd, in the Haight or Golden Gate Park, pretty young girls dressed in hot pants or mini-skirts [hey, it was the fashion of the day], smiling radiantly as if they'd discovered a secret they were bursting to share, would approach young, mostly male college students or hippies and invite them to come with them. And, like lemmings, men would follow, said Nancy Many, who worked for the Scientology organization in Boston.  It was unwritten policy that the church would deploy its most attractive staff to recruit people off the street.  "No one had any idea where they were being taken," she said, chuckling, "but these girls were gorgeous and so the guys would go." 

I did that! That was my job!  I had NO idea that I was lovely with youthfulness though. Once again, youth  wasted on the young.
---
I didn't know that Neil Gaiman's father David was the PR director of England. I wonder if he knows Gillian Christie, one of my sister's former roommates when she was in the SF Scn. Org.  Gillian is one of the top people in the Guardian's Office now, has been for a long time. It's kind of the FBI/CIA of Scn. I think the offices are in the same estate.  Perhaps I'll find out as the book goes along.

I'm really grateful I was only involved to the extent that I was. It was a lucky fluke that I was around a lot of power players in the org, and being young, was accepted as a helpful mascot without having to dump a lot of money into the org. And then I had a regular Scientologist boyfriend, and boy howdy did I see how differently he and his family were treated than the people I normally hung out with.  

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