I don’t know anyone who is a Scientologist. Do you? What I do know is that Scientology is considered by many to actually be a religion and that it is a twentieth-century starter. Years ago we did stock a book called Dianetics, by L. Ron Hubbard, which was supposed to be the Dianetics holy book. It had a really ugly yellow cover that divulged nothing except for the fact that it was a bestseller. We sold none. Nevertheless, as Scientology grew, more and more of its acolytes were celebrities. Even one of my favourite actors, John Travolta, seemed to have "drunk the kool-aid."
When the movie The Master came out this year I looked forward to learning more, as rumour had it that it was loosely based on Scientology, and I guess Hubbard. The Oscars loved the main actors, all of whom have been nominated for academy awards. Philip Seymour Hoffman was indeed a stunning master and Joaquin Phoenix his tortured disciple. The movie did not deliver any kind of historical perspective and concentrated on one technique used by the master, which seemed like psychoanalysis to me, with constant transference and counter-transference.
Last week a new book was released by Lawrence Wright titled Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. Wright won the Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. I was looking forward to reading it. But a very strange thing happened. Random House of Canada, who has distributed all of Wright’s books, has stated that this book will not be available in Canada. The reasons are hazy. Hmmm…could it be that Scientology is a known litigation monster? What’s going on? The book is available in the U.S. Is this fear-inspired self-censorship or just a case of not enough Canadians being interested in this tempestuous religion?