This Sunday, HBO is releasing Alex Gibney’s much-talked about documentary Going Clear: Scientology and The Prison of Belief, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, which is in turn based on Wright’s profile of Paul Haggis in The New Yorker. It isn’t the first documentary about Scientology, but it is the first one with this much clout behind it, and certainly the first one with an Academy-Award winning director (Gibney previously won for his documentary on the United States’ torture practices, Taxi to the Dark Side.)
The Church’s reaction was predictably outraged (they lawyered up hard [160 lawyers, to be more specific]), but in a less predictable turn, they released personal attack videos about each person in the documentary — and these don’t feel like logical attacks that would convince the viewer that the documentary is meritless. No, these are hurt, angry videos with ridiculously flamboyant language, dredging up every single mark against a person that they could find, and then repeating the flaws over and over (here’s Haggis’ video, “The Hollywood Hypocrite” – and if you click on any of these million links, that’s the one to click on.)
As someone who has recently gone through a messy breakup, the videos reminded me a lot of the sorts of things my ex was saying about me (things he then continued to harp on, over and over). Which leads me to my thesis: Scientology is Paul Haggis’ jilted ex-gilfriend.
Betrayed, she can’t believe he would out her like this. No one has ever been dumped so hard. She is fuming. She is beautiful and rich, and no one says no to her (not even the IRS, thanks to Operation Snow White).
Beware a cult (sorry, religion), scorned…
You broke up with me and then told everyone about me and then made a movie about me? Well, I’m gonna make a movie about you. I thought what we had was special. I gave you awards and helped you go up the bridge. When you were sick, I took care of you. When your friends were sick, I took care of them. And who are your friends now, huh? And also, your movies suck. I never liked them, not even when you won Best Picture. I just said I liked them because I was supposed to, like a good supportive life partner. But yeah, basically you’re not a good writer and like, everyone totally agrees with me that.
You’re just trying to get attention, putting on this “tough guy” act, and it’s a joke. You’re a totally broken person. You broke up with two wives, and probably beat them, so I should’ve seen this coming. And those times I said you were FNing? I lied. I just wanted you to feel better about yourself. You were never Clear, you were never OT, you were always just a Suppressive Person — and I was too stupid to see it. Stupid, stupid. Well, I see it all now.
You dumped me because of YOUR EGO, not because there’s anything wrong with me. This is all on you, and you try to put it on me? Well, I’m not gonna answer your stupid questions.
Have fun hugging your ill-deserved Oscars at night. I’m keeping all the money you gave me and all our mutual friends, who, by the way, hate your guts (not because I told them too, just because you suck in general).
Don’t come back, because you are a totally broken person. (Did I say that already?) Whatever. TOTALLY BROKEN.
Oh, and I don’t care at all. This is me, not caring. Suck it.