To the People

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Reporter Goes Apeshit On Scientologist

John Sweeney, a BBC journalist, was working on a documentary about the CoS because the group/church/cult/whatever they are is apparently working its way into mainstream England in ways some Brits find chilling. Over time, things got testy, as is oft the case when anyone pokes around the Xenu destroyers and it looks like Sweeney was poking really hard. Then again, if he's like most journalists who've poked at the cult, he went in with his mind very made up. Anyway, the whole thing exploded into a scene of Sweeney going nuts on a Scientologist. Of course, it's on YouTube. As a journalist, it's fun to watch one's peers turn into fools. (Watch the YouTube here at Andrew Sullivan.)

Of course, Sweeney has issued a response.

"While making our BBC Panorama film "Scientology and Me" I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a "bigot" by star Scientologists and been chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers."

Travolta and Cruise calling someone a bigot? Sinister strangers in Los Angelese? Where can I get in on that?

Joking aside, we are at a very odd tipping point moment in psychology and psychiatry in the US and Britain and in other lands Western and high-tech. One that affects millions of people and billions of dollars and raises all sorts of uncomfortable questions about individual freedom--the psychological and behavioral kinds, at any rate--in modern urban America and elsewhere. But that's for another day.

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