For those new to the blog, I recommend an essay I posted almost three years ago titled The Great Middle Path redux. I discussed then the idea that the extreme sides of the Scientology spectrum in many ways reflect one another. The zealots on the Miscavige side and the ‘critics’ on the ‘book burner’ side nurture one another as convenient evils to make life combative enough to be interesting.
I once heard a pundit remark that probably the most straight, truthful news from the Middle East comes from the Al Jazeera news agency. He reckoned that based on an objective study of international news reportage on the region over a several year period. He cited as corroboration for that analysis the fact that Al Jazeera was the only news outfit in history to be bombed by both of the opposing sides of a military conflict.
If you check out the reader reviews on Amazon books for What Is Wrong With Scientology you will see that most who care to comment express strong feelings one way or the other about the book. A lot of people seem to either hate it or love it. Add to the mix both extremes of the Scientology spectrum. On the one side are the anti-Marty sites, authored and edited by David Miscavige. On the other side is the most prominent and persistent of Scientology ridiculers, Tony Ortega at the Village Voice.
The “church” of Scientology writes the following about What is Wrong With Scientology?:
He is now taking it upon himself to tell all who will listen “what is wrong with Scientology.” Real Scientologists recognize these interpretations as an effort to dilute, disperse, and render unworkable the truths and principles of Scientology Technology which is, after all is said and done, one of Rathbun’s primary destructive goals – to make Scientology unattainable by scattering it to the wind. And real Scientologists know that the bulk of Rathbun’s latest effort is comprised of what L. Ron Hubbard himself carefully specified as Suppressive Acts, intended to harm others.
On the other extreme Tony Ortega, who has spent seventeen years attempting to make nothing of Scientology, calls What Is Wrong With Scientology?: a ‘predictable mass of Hubbard apologetics’, a ‘bundle of contradictions’, [the apologies are for a religion that is] ‘permeated with sickness’, ‘expensive malarky’, [attempts to pass off] ‘Eastern woo woo as ‘scientific certainty’, and the defense is a bunch of ‘new age happy talk.’
It reads to me like a shade of the Al Jazeera effect.
On the one hand I am accused on attempting to destroy everything L. Ron Hubbard stood for.
On the other hand, I am accused of being Hubbard’s greatest defender.
Those who have read the book and have followed the blog for long might understand why this reaction from the extremes pleases me. It makes me feel like I must have hit the ball right in the sweet spot.