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The Opium of the Masses

It seems that Jerry Falwell shuffled off this mortal coil earlier today. While I generally feel that it's morally questionable to express satisfaction in the death of another person, I can't help but feel that humanity is enriched by his absence, albeit until the next reactionary right-wing loon steps into his shoes. I also feel it's a shame that, being dead, he won't get to find out that there is neither heaven nor hell after this life.

On a related topic, I'm surprised at the complete silence from my friends list regarding last night's Panorama on those wacky Scientologists (almost as surprised as I was at the Scientologists' complete lack of PR nous, but that's another matter). Is this the silence of a thousand nodding heads, or did none of you watch it?

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On your first point, regardless of the moral questionmark, I am with you in expressing some satisfaction.

On the second, I didn't see it, though it sounds interesting. Will look out for a repeat. Does Panorama get repeated?

It's available on demand on the Panorama site for at least a week after broadcast.

I've got it on sky+ but haven't watched it yet. I did watch Power to the People though which was very interesting.

I watched Panorama. It was interesting, but sadly not the least bit surprising. I got the feeling that it may have been hastily cut together at the last minute after the Scientologists released their video of Sweeney losing his rag. I did enjoy watching the "celebrity" interviewees squirm when asked about the Xenu myth.

If anything, John Sweeney losing it helps his side; his Scientologist nemesis was behaving appallingly by talking over Sweeney.

This is what I mean about no PR nous. The celebrities could have been briefed to give bland non-committal answers to the cult question ("some people do say that, but the Catholic Church also has its critics", for example). Instead, they clammed up and withdrew permission for the footage to be used, which looks pretty dreadful.

Testimonials from lowly rank-and-file members would also have looked better than their collection of star-studded million-dollar OT VIIs, and their tailing and rebuttal actions seem awfully aggressive for an organisation that claims to have nothing to hide. If they're trying to get broader acceptance as a bona fide religion, they're going the wrong way about it (but as you say, this isn't the least bit surprising).

I've noticed a certain roughness in a few of the recent Panoramas.
And to be honest how can you do justice to any topic in a mere half hour? It's a great shame that the BBC invests heavily in sending a team to (in this case) the ends of the Earth, only to skimp on the airtime.

Consider that episode to be the endgame, on the one hand the scientologists generously made utter fools of themselves, on the other hand since the BBC would rather be repeating Neighbors than air a decent current affairs program, they may as well not have bothered.

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We have no TV. But I have heard about it.

I watched Panorama but there's not much I can add to burkesworks views on the episode.

Alas, I can't read his postings.

His f-list seems to have an open door policy if you drop him a comment on his front page.

Could I e-mail it to you? surliminal has my e-mail address if you want to drop me a note.


Can I have it too? Email me it and I'll pass it to L&G?

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Forgot about it, but already know about that wonderful little cult and the delightful euphemism of "Fair Game"---I've read quite a lot of the Operation Clambake site, amoungst others. Might watch the online broadcast thingy.

As for Falwell...

I now live outside the range of the mighty imperial BBC transmitters, so was denied. Colleagues mentioned that I could watch it via some kind of torrent of bits, but I am too old a dog to learn such new tricks.

I heard a strange rumor today that Ireland is considering joining the commonwealth, but can find no reference to the issue on my normal news outlets. At first I assumed it must be some kind of joke, but I was assured that this was not the case. Any verification either way?

Well, it's possible, but I'd wonder what Ireland think that they'd stand to gain.

The people who told me thought it was something to do with trade.

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Ah, the world now feels like a more balanced place. Someone made me spray water all over the office, and choke spectacularly yesterday with a deliberately timed bit of bofh humor. Pass it on!

Falwell will be replaced. Fundamentalists are a fungible commodity.

I thought the Panorama does Scientology thing was entirely predictable, and not really much of an expose. You could have made something pretty much equivalent about the wackier fringes of the CoE. Not that I think the CoE is an admirable organisation either, but still.

I agree with what a couple of other people said - looked like it was hastily cut together to capitalise on / counteract the Scientologist PR crap.

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