The Trailing Edge
I heard on the grapevine that the big “release” at the New Year’s Event will be the announcement of a huge new book printing plant in Los Angeles, a supposed “dissemination center.” In fact, it appears that it’s the old Bridge Publications warehouse on Bandini Blvd in Commerce, but with a facelift.
Of course, in this age of Kindle and e-books, only the Church of Scientology would consider a brick-and-mortar book printing facility as any kind of newsworthy breakthrough. To the rest of us, it’s kind of quaintly retro.
But what else is new? The Church has always been on the trailing edge of technology.
I remember being at Gold in the 1990s when a huge multi-million dollar state-of-the-art film lab was built to process film. Process film? Really? How quaint. The rest of the industry was going digital at a mad rate and the Church of Scientology was busy investing in analog film developing. Of course, within a few years of being built, the lab was largely obsolete and much of it had to be re-purposed. Who didn’t see the digital revolution coming to the film industry? The Church didn’t.
And remember the big “release” of LRH’s lectures on CD? That was 2002 when the first lecture series, the Philadelphia Doctorate Course, was released on CD. Let’s see, CDs and CD players have been available since the early 1980s. In 1985 Dire Straits sold a million CDs of their Brothers in Arms album. So, nearly 20 years later, the Church of Scientology suddenly wakes up and decides to release Hubbard’s lectures on CD. And announce it as a major technological breakthrough. Of course, by 2002, we had MP3 in full swing and CD sales were on the decline. Trust the Church to jump on a trend when it’s on the wane. Nowadays, every single LRH lecture could fit on an iPod. But do you see that in your Church bookstore? No way.
And how about the Mark VIII E-Meter? Most Scientologists don’t know that the latest e-meter, the Mark VIII, has already been manufactured. They were made in Taiwan in 2004 and have been gathering dust for the last seven years at that same Bandini Blvd Warehouse that they just announced as their “latest breakthrough.” And of course, they are already obsolete. Apparently they were made with serial connectors, not USB ports. So they have to be retrofitted with the right connectors. If they are ever released. Apparently Scientologists outside the Church have already developed software that converts any computer into an E-Meter – you just plug the cans in to a USB port. You’d think the Church would be working on something like that. But no.
So when will we see LRH lectures available as MP3 downloads? LRH books on Kindle? Software to convert your computer to an E-Meter? Don’t hold your breath. Probably not until those technologies have been replaced by something far more advanced.
Scientology likes to position itself as up-to-date and cutting edge. They like to think of themselves as being ahead of the curve, leading the pack. But the truth is, if you look closely and ignore the brags, they are followers, running to catch up with the rest of the world, always behind, always slow, always picking up on a trend when everyone else has moved on.