Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stupid Scientology

None of what follows is big or clever.

Last year, Cardiff councillor John Dixon found himself in London shopping for a wedding ring for his future wife. While wandering down Tottenham Court Road he passed the Dianetics Centre. Embracing social networking, he made the following tweet:

One of the London offices of Scientology at 68...

I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.

Now, this is perhaps not the greatest move in the world, if we're fair, but John Dixon has a right to his opinion as much as anyone else does. However that hasn't stopped the Church of Scientology from lodging a complaint, as reported here on Wales Online. This too is not a good move. The current level of scrutiny under which the church finds itself has stemmed from a long-running campaign to quell free speech. They have been left with protocols authored by Hubbard, who died in 1986. His "tech" was not prepared for the online world, perhaps ironic for a science fiction author.

Freedom of speech, which itself has been threatened by its own real liberation through the internet (the difference between handing out crank leaflets on street corners to setting up a website), defends itself. If someone attempts to quash it, then it simply speaks more loudly. Students of the modern age might like to make a guess as to what happened next.

That's right. The transgression, if transgression it was, occured on Twitter. An overly litigious  religion/cult/business decides it has a problem with someone saying it is stupid and gets legal, so those who would defend freedom of speech repeat the tweet, create the #stupidscientology hashtag, and see it almost instantly go to the top ten trending topics for the UK. The tweet that sparked off the episode picks up far more readership than it would have otherwise.

I shall not bore you with an explanation of the Streisand effect. If you are outside Scientology you know what it is; if you are in Scientology you will ignore it exists. I will say, though, that for a Church that claims to be the go to place for improving communication skills, they're skills are getting increasingly dusty.


  1. http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/crk6v/scientology_is_at_it_again_on_twitter_the/

  2. Ha! Another absurd complaint, this time in South Africa

    "Bias against Scientologists 'like apartheid'"

    Scientologists face the same discrimination as victims of apartheid, a Johannesburg resident has claimed in a hate speech complaint



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