WTF? sort of sums up my initial thought upon completing Tony Ortega’s mini opus on Writers of the Future (WTF) at the Village Voice.
Uncharacteristically, Tony uses an awful lot of ink to get to the heart of a matter. I think it was out of respect to those he interviewed who had a lot of good things to say about L Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and publications. I respect and appreciate that. WTF has served to open doors for a lot of talented writers and artists.
Fact of the matter is WTF was originated by L Ron Hubbard as a Public Relations action. It was created during a time in his life where a tremendous amount of blowback was occurring; so much so that number one priority for church resources at that time (early 80′s) was attaining an All Clear (a legal and PR climate that would allow for Hubbard to return to the Int Headquarters base near Hemet California unmolested to complete production of the technical training films). The promotion of and resurrection of LRH’s SciFi career was orchestrated during that time ultimately, by LRH’s copious directions, to forward his legacy so as to drive more people toward Scientology books and organizations.
I am sure that WTF continues to give breaks to those in the ScFi arena who deserve them. It probably also continues to create positive impressions of Hubbard.
However, it serves another purpose not so overtly emphasized in Tony’s article. That is, it serves to create a patina of respectability to the criminal who ultimately runs its operator Author Services Inc. Meanwhile, that criminal spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of those who ultimately do get into Scientology organizations to suppress the exposure of his crimes.
If this were the 1930′s and the German Nazi party were operating such a shift, it would behoove the public to know of its provenance. If this were the 1940′s and an organized crime syndicate was the beneficiary of such a worthy endeavor, the public would be entitled to know it. If this were the 1970′s and this was a front operation of People’s Temple head Jim Jones’ (of Jonestown Massacre infamy) the public would deserve to know. If this were the 1980′s and a South African company effectively profiting from slave labor were behind it, the public would be entitled to know.
Well, it is the 2010′s and one of the main beneficiaries of this salutary activity has been using it to immunize himself in his running one of the more horrid Human Trafficking operations in recent American history. Perhaps more importantly, in terms of the public’s right to know – at least for friends of L Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige is using Writer’s of the Future to prolong and protect his carrying out of the precise opposite purpose of WTF. He is in effect using something designed to enhance Hubbard’s legacy to enable his attempted destruction of that very legacy.
In my view, the public ought to know that.