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 ]