A world without…people
I got a kick out of the Church’s latest PR effort; a video entitled “Workers Paradise,” showing the beautiful, lush, opulent facilities at Golden Era Productions.
In the first place – don’t you just love that title? When I first saw it, I thought it was an Anon gag, but no, that’s what the Church PR geniuses actually called it, “Workers Paradise.” Of course, to anyone but the isolated and brain-dead staff at the Int Base, that calls up images of Stalin’s slave labor gulags and purges. Exactly.
The heavily sarcasm-laden announcer voice drones on, saying things like “Does this look like a slave labor camp?” And he asks, “Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like this?” Well, apparently no one wants to work there, as the vast Base facilities are shown as entirely devoid of human life. It’s decidedly creepy.
Of course, we know the difficulties Miscavige has in showing actual people. The Base staff tend to be pale, stressed and unhealthy-looking. The only ones with nice tans are the deckies who have been working in the Swamp or out in the leach fields (septic drainage ponds). And if you show someone’s face on camera, they might blow the next day and appear on Nightline or AC 360 saying it was all lies. Of course you could hire actors to play the parts of happy staff, but then, think of Jason Beghe or Larry Anderson – they could show up on YouTube denouncing the Church.
So I guess it’s best for Miscavige to show no people. But, even beyond that, I realized it’s his ideal scene – a world without people. Just take a look at his glossy “Ideal Org” spreads in Impact Magazine or International Scientology News – page after page of beautiful, empty spaces.
And when I worked at the Base, that certainly seemed to be the direction it was going. When I arrived at the Base, there were nearly 1000 people there. When I left, there were less than 350. When Central Marketing was in LA, before we moved to the Base, there were 54 staff. By the time I left, in 2005, there were six people left in marketing.
I also saw this in Miscavige’s handling of Division 6es and Org public spaces. Used to be that there were actual people there in Div 6. When I got into Scientology, there were some brilliant intro lecturers, basic course sups, FSMs. An org used to take pride in having their best, most charismatic people on the public lines. But if there’s one thing Miscavige can’t stand, it’s sharing the spotlight with anyone. He doesn’t want charismatic people in org or mission public spaces. He doesn’t want people at all. He wants video screens. That’s Miscavige’s ideal scene, a Div 6 public area filled with video screens (with, preferably, his face on them). And if you go into one of his “Ideal Orgs,” that’s what you see. Video screens. No staff. And no public.
A friend of mine pointed out that Miscavige doesn’t really see people as individuals. He sees a mass, a blob. He always walked around the Base with an entourage of executives, a blob, to serve as his audience and Greek chorus. If he singled people out, it was as a target, someone to belittle, degrade, or attack. You did not want to be singled out by Miscavige, you wanted to try to blend in to the blob.
When things went wrong at the Base, it was the blob that got punished. If there was a major flap, it was all of Gold, or all of the Base that got punished. When he got pissed off at Management, he declared the whole management “blob” SP and put them in the Hole. When the Base flooded, he punished everyone.
In my entire time at the Base, 15 years, I only had two private meetings with Miscagive, one on one, with no blob present. I described these in Counterfeit Dreams. Interestingly, these were the times when it seemed that might actually be seeing me as a person. There were no threats, no violence, no banty-rooster posturing to the crowd. He seemed…almost human.
But that was the exception. The more usual scenario was Dave and his Blob Chorus against some targeted individual, or Dave against the Blob.
And of course, Miscavige is most comfortable playing to the Big Blob – the international event audiences.
It is my opinion that David Miscavige finds it difficult – and possibly frightening – to deal with an individual person. I think that he fears any challenge, he fears disagreement, and, most of all, he fears that his own incompetence and corruption will be discovered and exposed. So it’s safest to deal with the Blob if one has to deal with people at all. And the Blob is either your Greek chorus or a generalized enemy to be punished.
And the “ideal” scene? Big, impressive, opulent facilities – with no troublesome people in them at all.
One wonders what Dave’s definition of “clearing the planet” is.