Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bad Art: L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology Music

Alright, see, this is a real puzzle. I'm not joking:

By now, everybody knows I'm deep into this cult shit. So more than with politics or anything else, reading the news just doesn't have that "oomph" I'm looking for anymore, until I can find those almost-unknown stories on the demented world of the believers, and plumb what makes the crazies "tick".

I've become some kind of an expert on it, with people contacting me to know what to do about their mothers, cousins, friends, etc., and if this or that organization is a cult. I'm always glad to be of help, and gratified that (even with all the cult apologists that visit the site) there are people who can read about my experience, and my thoughts on the subject, and come away hoping I can be of some service to them. It makes me feel that, though I'm a layman, I've achieved a certain knowledge base reserved only for the very privileged few that have been touched, directly, by the morbid, ancient, medieval curiosity that still exists under the title of "cultism" in the modern world.

But now, I have to admit - with this shit - I'm in that state the English refer to as being "completely gobsmacked":

Ladies and Gentlemen, that opening video leads to "music" that was actually written, and performed, by L. Ron Hubbard, the leader (and so-called "Renaissance Man") of the Scientology cult.

So why is this particular cultish morsel so troubling for me? Well, for one thing, it's music - something I knew a thing or two about long before I understood cultism - but not only that, it's really, hopelessly, awfully, terribly, profoundly, bad. (Yes, even worse than the bad art I've posted before.) And that's exactly where my confusion, and frustration, comes in.

Believe me, it's not that I ever believed L.Ron Hubbard's follower's claims that he was ever good at *anything* (we have his lousy books, his goofy followers, the movies they make from his books - and even his own pronouncements - as proof the guy was a towering bozo) but - think about this now - this is the cult that got Isaac Hayes to leave South Park!!! Isaac Fucking Hayes! A guy whose music is so fucking good that, since my divorce, I can't even listen to Walk On By (above) because it affects me so deeply. Fucking Chick Corea is actually playing on this pile of steaming dog crap and has been claiming LRH as a musical inspiration for years!?!


Oh sure, I can understand actors falling for Scientology - they're fucking actors - as weird, complex, and potentially screwed-up, a group of people as the mammalian species will ever produce. They can get confused, playing with emotions so much, adopting someone else's persona and such. BUT MUSICIANS? Come on.

I know tons of musicians - really good musicians - and, when it comes to producing art, you've either got to have something or you don't. It's that simple. And if you ain't got it, you ain't got it, and nobody's gonna fuck with you anymore. We're too busy, "trying to get some shit down", to be fucking around with idiots.

But not the musicians in Scientology. Why? What in the hell are those e-meters doing to the minds of musicians?

I've got to get me one of those things (I hear you can buy 'em on E-Bay) but, shit, then I'd be afraid to use it because it could potentially warp my mind as badly as it's warped theirs. This is maddening:

What the hell is Chick Corea doing on that recording?


  1. OMG, CMC, this is really bad (as in LMAO bad). But you know, it's no surprise: shallow thinking leads to bad art. This is a perfect example. Anything related to Scientology has this odor of stupidity and gaudiness about it. No accident.

    BTW, where do you find this stuff? LOL!

  2. What Do You Mean When You Say 'Cult'?

    The ambiguity of the term 'cult' makes it necessary to determine in what sense the word is used.

    For instance, a sociological definition will differ from a religious one, and a Christian definition will differ from, say, the Mormon or Islamic view. Therefore, if and when you use the word 'cult,' you should qualify it.

    In their book, "Prophets of the Apocalypse," Kenneth Samples, Erwin de Castro, Richard Abanes, and Robert Lyle give the following advice:

    Given the fact that there's currently no universal definition of a cult, it seems best to ask one simple question whenever someone talks about cults: "Just what do you mean by the term 'cult'?" You may not agree with the way the person uses the term, but at least you'll know where he or she is coming from.

    You may also want to ask yourself the same question before referring to any group as a cult. It may not be such as bad idea to begin by explaining what you mean by the term "cult" in order to avoid any potential misunderstanding. You never know. All the while you're talking about cults, the person listening may have a different concept altogether.

    Source: A Cult Recipe?, in "Prophets of the Apocalypse," by Kenneth Samples, Erwin de Castro, Richard Abanes, and Robert Lyle

    Sociological vs. Theological Definitions

    As if defining the term 'cult' weren't already difficult enough, there is another distinction to be aware of: the term can be defined either sociologically or theologically. Sociology concerns itself with behavior, while theology concerns itself with doctrine.

    Sociological definitions of the term 'cult' ...

    ...include consideration of such factors as authoritarian leadership patterns, loyalty and commitment mechanisms, lifestyle characteristics, [and] conformity patterns (including the use of various sanctions in connection with those members who deviate).

    Source: Ronald Enroth, "What Is a Cult?" in A Guide to Cults and New Religions, e.d. Ronald Enroth (Downers Grove, Ill,: InterVarsity 1983), p14

    Theological definitions of the term 'cult' make note of the reasons why a particular group's beliefs and/or practices are considered unorthodox - that is, in conflict with the body of essential teachings of the movement the group compares itself to.

    Professor Alan Gomes points out that

    [t]he word cult has an established history of usage, long before the secular media or social sciences got hold of it.

    Note that historically cult has been a religious term, not a sociological or psychological one.

    The term cult suggests an absolute standard of evaluation, which sociology - by its nature - can not provide. It is therefore well suited to describe theological heterodoxy, which is determined by an absolute, objective and unchanging standard.

    Source: Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995)

    Christian apologist Robert Bowman defines a cult theologically as

    A religious group originating as a heretical sect and maintaining fervent commitment to heresy. Adj.: "cultic" (may be used with reference to tendencies as well as full cult status).

    Source: Robert Bowman, A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy.

    That definition is not limited to Christian groups. Other religions also deal with such movements. For example, Alan Gomes notes that

    [c]ults of Islam include the Sufis and the Nation of Islam. While these groups claim to be Muslim, they deviate fundamentally from the teaching of Islam, from which they are derived.

    Source: Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995). Quoted here.

    By way of an example, here is a look at a theological definition of a cult of Christianity:

    A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

    Source: Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995). Quoted in this extended look at the theological definition as seen from a mainstream Christian point of view..

    It should be noted that in addition to aberrant, unorthodox, and/or heretical theology, many - but not all - religious cults also have excessive and/or abusive sociological characteristics (e.g. authoritarian leadership patterns, strict conformity requirements, manipulative controls, etc.)

  3. Isaac Hayes being part of that stew really upset me when i first found out about it as well... but it's so pervasive in California, Charles Manson & Darby Crash were part of it as well. You'll find that alot of cult leaders were into Scientology & then use similar techniques to begin their own disasterous cults. To be honest though, i've got more of a problem with Americans becoming Buddhists than Americans joining home cooked religions like Scientology, Nation of Islam, Mormonism & whatever. It's pretty unhealthy either way though, cultic behavior.

  4. It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I think.