Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

Lawrence Wright’s epic account on L. Ron Hubbard and the rise of Church of Scientology was so engaging I simply couldn’t put it down.

The organization is clearly schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH. The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background, and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile. At the same time it appears that he is charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating , and inspiring his adherents. …Obviously, he is and has been a very complex person, and that complexity is further reflected in his alter ego, the Church of Scientology.

And..

…the purpose of a lawsuit is “to harass and discourage rather than win.” Hubbard also wrote: “If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace… Don’t ever defend. Always attack.” He added: “NEVER agree to an investigation of Scientology. ONLY agree to an investigation of the attackers.”

Thoroughly researched and so completely bananas, this is investigative reporting at it’s finest.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief [Amazon]

Barbara Kruger

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Barbara Kruger is the American artist and social activist that creates politically motivated work that demonstrates critique on mass culture and its power over individuals. Through the play of commercial graphic and advertising techniques, Kruger challenges the mentality that is fed to us through mass media’s indoctrination and seeks to challenge its gender/power relations.

[Skarstedt Gallery via Sang Bleu]

March 22, 2015  |  

How Motion Picture Film Is Made

Film Is Not Dead [GearPatrol]

Rochester, NY based Kodak is the only company producing physical motion picture film today:

For example, Kodak manufactured 11.4 billion linear feet of print film for movies in 2007, compared to about 417 million linear feet in 2014. Although their demand will never again reach those 11-digit numbers, Kodak will continue to produce motion picture film, unlike Fujifilm, which bowed out last year. Last month, Andrew Evenski, President of Motion Picture and Commercial Films at Kodak, helped finalize new film supply agreements with all six major Hollywood studios. When asked about the length of the deals, Evenski couldn’t specify, but pointed out Kodak will make film for the artists who want it for many years to come.

Here goes the analog vs. digital argument:

For some filmmakers, the “look” is still something worth shooting for even though digital cameras is close in quality. […] While digital cameras and their pixels render a scene sharp and realistic, film and its random dye clouds smooth out lines and colors. The experts used words like “tactile” and “organic” to describe what stands out to them in film. Those qualities could result from grain, different layers of the film stock, or just the knowledge that this was a physical object.

March 21, 2015  |  

Parenting In America

The Case for Free-Range Parenting [NYT]

Interesting opinion piece in the NYT today by Clemens Wergin, the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the German newspaper Die Welt, discussing current state of parenting in America:

A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that American kids spend 90 percent of their leisure time at home, often in front of the TV or playing video games. Even when kids are physically active, they are watched closely by adults, either in school, at home, at afternoon activities or in the car, shuttling them from place to place.

Such narrowing of the child’s world has happened across the developed world. But Germany is generally much more accepting of letting children take some risks. To this German parent, it seems that America’s middle class has taken overprotective parenting to a new level, with the government acting as a super nanny.

March 20, 2015  |  

1 Drink

The Escalating Scale of Drunkenness, Explained [Esquire]

The thing about one drink — a glass of liquor we’re talking about, hopefully a stiff pour — is that it doesn’t involve enough alcohol to make anything stop working. Your eyesight, your natural grace, your moral compass — they’re all left intact. Because one drink doesn’t compromise anything. It enhances. You have one drink and your world becomes slightly better. The bar is a slightly better bar. Your dog is a slightly better dog. Your work is slightly more brilliant. And for that, you pay no price. Your outward appearance is unchanged — to your drinking partner, to your boss, to your kid, to a cop. You haven’t wrecked anything. You haven’t said anything stupid. You were a gentleman when you started drinking and you are a gentleman — a slightly more interesting one, which is nice — when you finish drinking. For a good thirty minutes (it doesn’t work if you don’t sip the drink and make it last), everything about the universe is slightly less intolerable. One drink is a free ride.

I endorse. Always.

March 14, 2015  |