Watch out for the hypno eyes

December 6, 2008

Fame and trouble. It’s not so much that I’m asking for it, but ….

Paul Constant of The Stranger notes that “this has been floating around the litblogosphere for a few days”. I’ll take his word on that. Okay, okay. Dropping the first sentence into Google brings more than a few returns. For now, I’m going to call the New York Daily News the original source.

Tom Cruise is denying that he pressured Amazon to stop selling a book critical of the Church of Scientology.

On Oct. 31, Irish publisher Merlin released “The Complex,” in which John Duignan, identified as “a former high-ranking member” of the church in Britain, describes his “dramatic escape” from its “elite para-military group,” the Sea Organization. Five days later, Cruise dropped by Amazon’s Seattle headquarters to glad-hand staffers and host a sneak peek at his new movie, “Valkyrie.”

A few days later, Amazon’s British Web site stopped selling “The Complex,” explaining to customers that someone mentioned in the book had alleged it defamed him with “false claims.”

So … what do we actually know about defamation law in Britain? Anyone? Anyone?

Beyond that, I admit it’s hard to sympathize with Cruise or the Church. After all, the Church earned something of a reputation over the years amid widespread accusations of defamation against its agencies. (Apparently, only child molesters and other assorted criminals criticize the Church.) So even if it turns out that someone has defamed Tom Cruise, or another prominent Scientologist, I confess to a complete lack of sympathy.

But Constant makes an important point that should not be overlooked:

Tom Cruise or not, Scientology apparently has yet to learn: If to try to ban a book, it makes more people want to read the book. I will try to get my hands on a copy of The Complex soon, and I’ll report back to you.

And he’s right. While on most days, I prefer to ignore the Church, something about this situation makes me want to read what is most likely a confusing and off-putting tome that I expect to be filled with all sorts of arcane, fantasy-world terminology such as can be found in the reader comments for Rush & Molloy’s NYDN piece:

Mr Duignan was not only a “mid-level administrator”. He held the rank of Midshipman/ Brevet Lieutenant in Scientology’s elite para-military wing known as the “Sea Organization”, and was stationed as as Commanding Officer of SMI (Scientology Missions International) UK. He also worked in Scientology’s Central Marketing Unit International, its Continental Liason Office UK, its International Network of Computer Organized Management, its Pacific Base Crew, International Finance, and spent two years on garrison in Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada, Italy and Denmark.

Um … okay. I understood that. Really. And it doesn’t even touch on galactic history.

But, yeah. I wouldn’t even have noticed this book except, well, yeah.

Anyway, one word of caution. You might have noticed that I haven’t yet linked to Paul Constant’s entry at Slog. There is, of course, a reason. Suffice to say that I have not yet determined whether the, uh, artifact depicted on that page is real or not. And, frankly, I don’t intend to. You have been warned.



One comment

  1. jvvHis hi nice site thx http://peace.com

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