The email being published in this entry is a response to a story I posted yesterday, entitled OTIII Action Figure. I’m posting the email, and the two emails that followed as sort of “A Letter to the Editor”. The emails are unedited, but I have removed the name to protect this persons privacy.
Please feel free to comment on the story that follows. However, if you choose to do so, I do ask two things. (1) Read the original post. (2) Read the entire dialogue that followed.
Please, do not comment on the subject matter itself, if you have not read the emails. Legitimate comments will be accepted. Comments made for the sole purpose of name calling or bashing will be removed, at my discretion.
Here is the original email I received:
You know I like you and your site, and I really appreciate your take on things, generally, and your taste in design and tech, specifically. We’ve gotten along pretty well, actually, I think.
So, I have to say I’m really disappointed that you chose to spotlight this alien Jesus piece of anti-Scientology ridicule. I know you’re not a Scientologist and you don’t really have a horse in this race, but I am – have been for about fifteen years now – and it’s rather upsetting to see people so gleefully hold up to ridicule something I know from direct, personal experience is a strongly pro-survival influence for so many people, myself included. Scientology stands for personal integrity and responsibility, for helping people take control of their own lives, waking people up to injustices and criminality and providing tools for overcoming these. From the basic tenets have developed the world’s most effective drug rehab program in Narconon, the most effective literacy program in ABLE, the most effective criminality rehab program in Criminon, and so many other programs, all effective in their own right, that I won’t burden you with detailing them. All of this is easily available at Scientology.org and related sites so I will leave it to your own scholarship.
Which really leads me to a salient point, here. It’s just as easy to link to actual information from the source itself as to some contrived bit of hyper-critical propaganda. If a person were sincerely curious about a subject, he would go to the subject itself – someone wanting to find out about architecture studies architecture, he asks an architect, he does not even consider taking the word of someone who hates architecture or flunked out of architecture school. It would be bad scholarship and you would never approach the subject in this manner, even if you had no intention of actually becoming an architect.
I know it’s become terribly, terribly hip to be cynical, critical, ironic, to make fun of people who mean well, etc., especially where any kind of religion is involved. So there’s a lot of this sort of thing, especially on the Net, where anyone can try to be funny at anyone’s expense. And I think the ones trying to do the most good are often made the biggest targets. It’s SO out of fashion. But tell that to the kids in Los Angeles who can read now because the literacy program is there. Or the people who are off drugs completely since graduating from Narconon. The fact is, out of fashion or not, this stuff works, and it works quite well – and from my own observation over a respectable span of time. It’s the only test I have personally ever made of the subject: how well does it work? It’s the only valid test there is for any subject, in my opinion, and not everything passes it well, but Scientology has never once, in fifteen years, failed to deliver what it promises to me or to anyone I know.
There’s a lot of irresponsible bullshit out on the Internet that tries to cloud the issue, but good scholarship and observation of real statistics and production win out. This is the Scientology that I know: the one that works and helps solve real problems for real people, problems that are otherwise really destroying their lives. I’ve met these people, I know some of them quite well. I know what it’s done for me, how my life is better because of it. It’s a subjective gain, I know, and it’s not always easy to get it across. But, trust me, I would never involve myself in anything that didn’t work as advertised or that turned out to increase the craziness in my life. And certainly not for fifteen years. I have better things to do than waste my time like that. :-)
Or yours, for that matter. So I’ll end off here before this gets any longer. I’ve said my piece as clearly and succintly as I know how. There are a lot of Scientologists in the world, and every single one of them has the best of intentions. In fact it’s WHY they’re Scientologists and they do a lot of good, in real life. If anything I think the world and the Internet could use more of that and less ridicule and ignorance.
[ name removed ]
This was my response:
Hi [ name removed ],
I agree. You seem like a pretty nice guy, and we have gotten along really well.
I’m sorry you took offense to the story. Believe me, It really wasn’t intended as an attack on Scientology, It was simply a joke about a goofed up action figure. Please try to treat it as such, and not read too much into it.
I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another about Scientology. Although to be completely honest, I’ve heard some things that sounded a little odd to me. But, that’s true about all religions and belief structures, don’t you think? It’s nothing unique to Scientology. That’s why I prefer to judge people on the quality of their character, and not by what they have labeled themselves, because you never really know what that means. It’s my opinion that people can believe whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.
It’s also my opinion that there is very little in the world that should be immune to humor. The world we live in is often a far too serious place, we have to be allowed to poke a little fun at it from time to time.
I don’t normally do this, but if you like, I could give you “equal time” so to speak… and publish your email as a post. It wouldn’t be biased in any way. I would treat it like an anonymous “letter to the editor” type feature. I didn’t want to do this without your permission, so I’ll let you decide. Let me know if it’s OK to post.
Also, I hope this email comes across with the light tone that I intended. It definitely wasn’t written with any anger. I like to think that we could have just as easily been sitting around a table having a beer while talking about this. There is no hard feelings :)
This is the final response:
Hey Paul, thanks for the response.
Yeah, I know it’s just a goofy action figure gag, and I’m not even saying it’s not funny. I’m a big believer in humor and having a good laugh about just about anything and really the last person to advocate any kind of political correctness. In no way did I mean to imply that I thought you were being mean-spirited. But I do think the people promoting this toy are, and it’s in bad taste regardless. Imagine them taking a similar shot at Jews or Muslims. I don’t think humor should be a universal get-out-of-responsibility-free card.
I like you and your site because of the continually high standard of taste and discerning palate you exhibit. I just think this particular bit was in poor taste.
But that’s MY point of view and I don’t expect everyone to see it the same way. What a boring world that would be. :-)
So, yeah, I’d love it if you posted my letter – I’d appreciate that. I don’t want to turn your site into a thread for this, but I think what I said is worth saying.
Thanks, [ name removed ]
6 thoughts on “A Letter to the Editor”
As just one example, in a typical Hubbardian fashion the correspondent claims that Narconon is the world’s most successful drug rehab program. Others disagree (see http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/ for one example).
It should be well known by now that you cannot please everyone. People will always be angered or annoyed by certain things. This is what we have come to expect in our multicultural / accepting world. Just look at Toronto, they can’t even call the big Christmas tree a Christmas tree! Its the freakin holiday tree!
When I read the original article I never took it as a shot towards Scientology. I just thought it was a funny spoof on a vinyl figure. And knowing how the owner of this site reports on products and events, I know he does not put down others beliefs.
People need to lighten up and take the article for what it is – a comical story about a toy.
So many people these days seem to get offended or annoyed by the littlest of things. I personally don’t find the humor in blogs to be ‘out of fashion’ as the person wrote… it’s part of what makes it fun to read blogs and what prevents me from falling asleep on my keyboard.
*Please* do not adjust your content due to one person’s response to a post… it’s 100% your blog to do with as you like… and I like it just the way it is (although I don’t feel the person who sent the message should have had any special treatment… letter to the editor like thing… I would have preferred to just keep it to the comments on that post).
It was definitely a unique situation. I’ve had prior communication with the person who wrote the email, so he wasn’t a stranger. I also felt like he had a point about some of the links. They did, in fact, come across as making a negative statement about Scientology.
If it had been my intention to make a statement about Scientology, I would have left the content as-is, regardless of what anyone else thought. But that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to tell a funny story about a goofed up action figure.
I actually spent most of last night thinking about what to do, it was quite a dilemma. On one hand I didn’t like the idea of anyone telling me what I should, or shouldn’t be writing about. But on the other, by refusing to make any adjustments, I was defending a point that I had never intended to make in the first place. The story simply wasn’t about Scientology. I had to ask myself… what am I trying to defend?
The “letter to the editor” was another decision I struggled with. On one hand, the person who wrote the email felt very strongly about this subject. But, on the other, The letter was really in response to a topic that was unrelated to my intended story (the action figure). It was a response to a perceived story (Scientology).
Anyway, After much deliberation, I did what I did. I definitely believe that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. But, I also believe that you should pick your battles. Don’t defend something that you don’t believe in, just so you can say… “no one tells me what to do!” This instance really seemed like more of a misunderstanding, or miscommunication than anything else.
Mr. Scientologist states “Which really leads me to a salient point, here. Itâ€™s just as easy to link to actual information from the source itself as to some contrived bit of hyper-critical propaganda.” The link (which was unneccesarily removed) that you claimed was “contrived.. propaganda” was a TIME magazine article! After its censorship I searched for it to read again and found out some interesting facts. This article has been the target of an organized, literal book-burning campaign by Scientologists as detailed in the Scarff deposition. The piece was awarded the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and financial journalism, the Worth Bingham Prize, and the Conscience in Media Awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. It seems to me that you (by your above letter) are the one putting out contrived propaganda. This is an award-winning article from one of the most respected news magazines in the world. How can you claim that it is “irresponsible bullshit out on the Internet that tries to cloud the issue”? It seems to me that you are the one clouding the issue with your convuluted and unrelated architecture analogy. This is the real issue – the blog was a joke. Paul was absolutely right – “there is very little in the world that should be immune to humor”.
Thanks Paul, This is one of the more sanest blog sites I have read and wrote on. I hope you can keep it Sane. Insanity is contagious and spreads rapidly. Subjects I won’t out right name but people of my generation will know, what we used to Poke fun of and called each other just to get them to react is now totally accepted aberation. There even marrying each other. Society needs to have some guideline morales, to keep it from going totally insane. My Generation looks around we see what music has become, How into bodies, society has become and realize that society is going the wrong way, as the more into a the physical one becomes, the less spiritual he becomes, This society has become very materialistic. All our spiritual believes are important to any faith practicing them, they are there whole life. To be let to degrade our believes, will end up no one having any believes and we end up back in the dark ages. Not that the swords will stop the believes but covert words as People won’t voice there Believes in fear of Ridiclule. So I like it that you are putting in a little control. The world is going out of control. Anything goes attitude, without responsibility is destroying our culture and spreading into other cultures fast. Its Ok to be your self and it is Ok, to Joke but any ones faith to them is no Joking matter, as most don’t have one they don’t have that reality, so it is up to those that do have one to take responsibility to keep in a level of control. Our kids go wild and do what they want, but I assure you they really deep down long for some control. Control doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and I know this society needs some, Other wise it is going to end up controlled. None of us want to see that. The Scientologist expresses my same feelings. To know you take deep thought and concideration into what you allow out there, shows you are responsible. That element looking over the internet has been left out and now look at it. If you have no morales, it will show in society, Look at where peoples morales were, before any of our great empires fell. That must not be allowed to happen if we are to survive. It must be done by each of us taking responsibility. Scientology stands for survival in all its concepts, yet it is just a big joke, because people are not responsible, they have been allowed to do what they want for so long, control has become a bad thing. But in truth it is needed. People have to find out who they are, which will raise there responsibility level (Control of Self).Scientology is a technology to get your memory back of the real you, People have to have proof to themselves, who they are, If they do, and know what they are creating in society they will be coming back to, That will automatically raise there responsibility level. Christ said he would be back, Lets set the stage so he will come back,If society wasn’t more aware that 2000 years ago, I wouldn’t come back, knowing they would just kill me again, I’d want the world to be able to have what I could do this time. Without Christianity we would have destoyed our selves long ago. Lets not destroy our religions, or we as a society will end up destroying our selves again. I don’t want to be controlled. To put up the Cross or Flag or any religious symbol as a joke, affends people for a reason. Everyone needs something to defend, something to unite us all. If you don’t stand for something you fall for everything. We as a society needs one thing to unite us. We are all Spiritual beings, and we as a society really need to know it. That will unite us. America was built for all cultures. to come to , With Diciplaine on all our parts it show unity of people can work. Scientology was built for all religions, to bring us all together, other wise we will just keep killing each others groups off. The ISlams and the Christians are getting geared up to destroy each other, in this time period, A higher under standing has to come about, beings have to realize who they really are. That is my purpose in life to get each to realize That. The mind always has to make itself right by making others wrong, We have to rise above the level of thinking, we are Spiritual beings, We can just KNOW… Diamonddille