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July 26, 2008 5:43 PM   Subscribe

MeFi unwittingly (?) supporting Scientology?

I was reading AskMe while not logged in and caught this Dianetics.org advert. Is this typical of acceptable ads or a fluke? If I my say so, it's a lotta bit icky.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Bugs at 5:43 PM (185 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Email the URL that goes with the ad to mathowie and he can ad it to the "hell no" list for the adwords program.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:45 PM on July 26, 2008


Email the URL that goes with the ad to mathowie and he can ad it to the "hell no" STEP THE FUCK OFF, XENU list for the adwords program.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:54 PM on July 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


It was a flash ad. It took me directly to dianetics.org.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:58 PM on July 26, 2008


Scientology supporting metafilter, more like --- I'd think their click through rate from here would not be that great.
posted by empath at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2008


DO NOT WANT. AT ALL. REALLY. WOULD RATHER HAVE RAYTHEON ADS FOR CLUSTERBOMBS.
posted by loquacious at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2008 [10 favorites]


Holy shit.
posted by puke & cry at 6:09 PM on July 26, 2008


Have they dragged out that tin can contraption yet?
posted by jonmc at 6:12 PM on July 26, 2008


Hi, you must be new here. Have you taken the free metafilter stress test?

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask any other mefite (that's what we call ourselves here), or even "number one," himself (oh, and that's just a harmless nickname we have for our Founder, Matt Haughey, aka matthowie).

I'm sure I can speak for Number One in thanking you for your generous $5 contribution to become a member. It may well be the best $5 you ever spent. Remember, you can also help out by buying a t-shirt*. $3 of that will go to Matt Haughey. For the site...

*Okay, not anymore.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:17 PM on July 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


Hi, you must be new here. Have you taken the free metafilter stress test?

One time I was in the subway station part of Grand Central Station, and the Scientologists were there with the tin can doohickie. The Falun Gong people were around hawking their papers, and there was a squad of carefully multicultural but identically glassy eyed militant Catholic folks saying the rosary by the token booth. when a fight broke out between a customer and the clerk they just kept praying only louder. very apocalypse on a cereal box. Other times there I've encountered the Jehovah's witnesses, the Nation Of Islam, the Bhagavad Gita baldheaded fuckers and these two. It's like a mall of weird belief.
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on July 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I've always had a lot of questions about Scientology. For instance, yes, indeed, it is a new religious movement, but hsould that realy lend it any less credence than the "accepted" faiths, especially when so many people seem to find guidance in it? I mean, yes, the financial aspects of the whole enterprise are suspect, but so is the selling of indulgences, or the Sharia-tributes, or even to an extent the shame-induced 10% tithing.

Is it possible that we simply don't like Tom Cruise and his ilk for other, more personal reasons? Even if it is true that we have a problem with their beliefs, isn't that just "hip" naked bigotry? Sure, L. Ron Hubbard just made up a bunch of stories, but if they help people, who are we to judge? Not every "prophet" can be as honest as Bokonon.

OH SHIIIIT! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN METAFILTER SUPPORTS SCIENTOLOGY!!!

(I kinda feel like I need a shower now.)
posted by Navelgazer at 6:29 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


(I kinda feel like I need a shower now.)

Try napalm. I hear it really gets the thetans out.
posted by loquacious at 6:30 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is it possible that we simply don't like Tom Cruise and his ilk for other, more personal reasons?

I don't know Tom Cruise, so I can't like or dislike him. He was good in Magnolia though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


You'll notice I've hardly ever use AskMe to ask a question. Know why? Dianetics has all the answers.

Relationship problems? See page 171
What should I name my cat? See page 265
Should I eat it? See page 129
What is this rash? See page 215
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2008 [14 favorites]


"Is it possible that we simply don't like Tom Cruise and his ilk for other, more personal reasons?"

Well, speaking only for myself, I don't like Tom Cruise for a lot of reasons, but these two spring to mind right away:

1) He has that one upper tooth right in the middle of his face.

2) HOW IN THE WORLD COULD A SANE MAN DUMP MIMI ROGERS?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:34 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Read A Piece of Blue Sky, an insider's exposé of the cult.

Locking children in the chain locker of their ship was the very least of their criminal behaviours.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, at the famous used bookstore, we get a lot of people selling us used copies of Dianetics. They usually wind up on the dollar rack.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on July 26, 2008


2) HOW IN THE WORLD COULD A SANE MAN DUMP MIMI ROGERS?

Two words: Nicole Kidman.
posted by jonmc at 6:35 PM on July 26, 2008


Sorry jon, my brother, but that's a trade down in my estimation.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:38 PM on July 26, 2008


but, don't you want the lovely pendant key chain?
posted by hellojed at 6:48 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


isn't that just "hip" naked bigotry?

Well, yeah. I'm nakedly bigoted against a whole slew of things, hip or otherwise. Scientology, creationism, homophobia, automatic transmissions, the list goes on. All progress depends on the intolerant man, etc.
posted by Skorgu at 6:57 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sorry jon, my brother, but that's a trade down in my estimation.

we'll agree to disagree, my man. Love those redheads...
posted by jonmc at 7:00 PM on July 26, 2008


If you people were clear, this would not bother you.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:14 PM on July 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


I logged off to see some of the ads Google placed on AskMeFi. The best/worst was in a relationship thread for SugarDaddyForMe.com. I wonder if MeFi's getting less sponsorship action from Federated Media since we started badmouthing the BoingBoingers.
posted by wendell at 7:16 PM on July 26, 2008


L. Ron Hubbard was a con artist.

(Wow, I feel so clear now...)
posted by konolia at 7:24 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


If you people were clear, this would not bother you.

Clear? I'm transparent, lady. You could read a newspaper through me. I make extra cash by renting myself out as a windsheild. Pheh on your clear.
posted by jonmc at 7:25 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


STEP THE FUCK OFF, XENU

Dude, Xenu's on our side.

Yay Xenu! Thanks for all them thetans and whatnot--Now I won't die alone!

Boo L Ron Hubbard and his electronic gizmos and his niacin bursts and his unremarkable science fiction stories. I've never met anyone named Lafayette who could be trusted.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:35 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


This came up before a few months ago. Maybe it would be fun to have some kind of Dianetics thread intentionally just to get the ad server to fetch up some CoS ads. Then we could all have a free-for-all click fest for a few hours or so. Someone could invite Digg and 4chan users along for the fun.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 PM on July 26, 2008


Y'know today, I managed to take care of a few errands, handle a horde of ornery customers and a couple ornery bosses, make $16 in tips, have anice liquid lunch, enjoy an hour on the porch listening to music and get nicely toasted on some Japanese beer, and there's a M*A*S*H marathon on TV land and a nice silly MeTa thread. Life is OK.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on July 26, 2008


Dude, that's just begging for a gasoline truck to come barreling through your living room.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:48 PM on July 26, 2008


I live on the third floor, dude. I'd pay to see that.
posted by jonmc at 7:54 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


That would be pretty sweet. It would probably involve a heavy lifting helicopter and high winds. And explosions.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:02 PM on July 26, 2008


Is it possible that we simply don't like Tom Cruise and his ilk for other, more personal reasons?

HE KILLED MY DOG SUZIE.

Or she just died because she was, like, a gazillion years old.
Yeah, right.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:09 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


and get nicely toasted on some Japanese beer

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH JONMC'S CORPSE?
posted by loquacious at 8:31 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have multiple sets of genitalia folded underneath one another like shark's teeth.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was just out at a bar with friends, and the conversation turned to the Scientologists' card table on Boston Common. I got to give an excited, detailed explanation of Lord Xenu's imprisonment. Then I left, and I found 44 dollars on the sidewalk! Two ones together, then 15 feet later another one, then a twenty! I couldn't believe my luck! Then another 8 feet later, I found another one. Then I lifted my eyes and there was another 20! No shit! It can't be a coincidence.

Just like any other truly Bad Dude in prison, Xenu has connections. If you talk about his situation, be reverential.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thank God we still have people to hate.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:48 PM on July 26, 2008


Hell I just found 3 bucks in my wallet.
posted by nola at 8:49 PM on July 26, 2008


That's mine, fucker. Give it back!
posted by jonmc at 9:00 PM on July 26, 2008


WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH JONMC'S CORPSE?

It's Asahi Extra Dry in those bigass cans they sell at my corner store. It's nice for those nights when I want to get loaded without crowding the fridge.
posted by jonmc at 9:01 PM on July 26, 2008


Thank God we still have people to hate.

What does God have to do with this?



And isn't there a rather large difference between hating a person or group of persons and a cleverly arranged financially motivated organization designed to take advantage of people? And isn't criticisms of such predatory practices rather much different than hate and prejudice?
posted by loquacious at 9:18 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


this is not a comment so this thread shows up in recent activity. nope, not one of those!
posted by Kwine at 9:30 PM on July 26, 2008


Cat Pie Hurts, you are the bigot. Scientology, whether it has one member or a million members is a religion in America - a country that has no law that disallows a person from belief in anything they want - be it Jedi, Catholic, atheistic Judaism, Satanism, or even Scientology.

First they came for the Communists,
- but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
- but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
- but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
posted by parmanparman at 9:36 PM on July 26, 2008


mr_crash_davis: 1) [certain dental allegation redacted].

Throw him in the brig!
posted by evilcolonel at 9:42 PM on July 26, 2008


First they came for the Communists,

You're doing it wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:48 PM on July 26, 2008


Relationship problems? See page 171

Send Xenu $500 for hookers.

What should I name my cat? See page 265

Xenu. The rights to name your cat Xenu can be bought for $2300.

Should I eat it? See page 129

Sure, what's the worst that can happen? If you get the shits, that's just you expelling bad thetans out yer bunghole.

What is this rash? See page 215

It's thetans. Send money.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:49 PM on July 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


First they came for the communists, and I was going to speak up, but Fred said that if I did he'd tell everyone the shit I told him in our clearing sessions, so I shut the fuck up.

Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, and I was going to speak up, but the guy from the central office said that when I kept Sally in that room so she could get clear, that was kidnapping and if I didn't shut up they'd shop me to the cops.

Then they came for the Jews, and I was going to speak up but they sued me really hard and the next thing I knew there was a restraining order barring me from talking.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 PM on July 26, 2008 [14 favorites]


First they came for the people who drive slow in the left hand lane,
- but I was not a person who drove slow in the left hand lane so I cheered them the fuck on.
Then they came for people the who stay on their cell phone while talking to the cashier
- but I was not a person who stayed on my cell phone so I cheered them the fuck on.
Then they came for the Hummer drivers who park across two spaces
- but I was definitely not one of those douchebags so I cheered them the fuck on.

Finally they came for the people who believe that a slippery slope begins when get you get out of bed in the morning.

And I said, "You know what, I'm tired of being left out of the fun. What's the bounty on these irritating bastards?"
posted by tkolar at 10:01 PM on July 26, 2008 [14 favorites]


Scientology, whether it has one member or a million members is a religion in America - a country that has no law that disallows a person from belief in anything they want - be it Jedi, Catholic, atheistic Judaism, Satanism, or even Scientology.

I'll tell you about the Force for $9 a ticket. /lucas
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 PM on July 26, 2008


mr_crash_davis writes "1) He has that one upper tooth right in the middle of his face."

So we're allowed to talk about that again?

parmanparman writes "Cat Pie Hurts, you are the bigot. Scientology, whether it has one member or a million members is a religion in America - a country that has no law that disallows a person from belief in anything they want - be it Jedi, Catholic, atheistic Judaism, Satanism, or even Scientology. "

Few have a problem with the scientologists beliefs I think. It's the rampant illegal behaviour that people have a problem with and lead to their banning in assorted countries.
posted by Mitheral at 10:06 PM on July 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Navelgazer: It's possible to distinguish between cultlike behavior and religionlike behavior without reference to what the cult/religion actually teaches, or how long it's been around. I don't remember what the usual cult markers are, but they're things like trying to isolate new members from their family/friends, and so on. IIRC scientology isn't the most cultlike religion around but it's pretty clearly cultlike.
posted by hattifattener at 10:06 PM on July 26, 2008


STEP THE FUCK OFF, XENU

Yeah, we're not big fans of how you unpublished all of Vuolet Blie's posts.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 10:09 PM on July 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


If it were an ad for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or the Council of American-Islamic Relations, or the Brethren Volunteer Service, or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or a Lubavitcher missionary group, or the Soka Gakkai International it wouldn't be an issue.

Is Scientology a cult? It is not. It handles clearly all of the definitions of religion: it has a canon, it has ritual, it has belief, it has adherents, it has tax-exempt status. What more do you need? If you block Scientology, Matt, block every other religion too and atheism to boot.
posted by parmanparman at 10:10 PM on July 26, 2008


Eh, VB's writing was pretty sucky anyways.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:11 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oooh! Someone is playing devil's advocate.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2008


I got 99 problems, but Xenu ain't 1.

Someone should add this to the FAQ.
posted by Eideteker at 10:13 PM on July 26, 2008


If you block Scientology, Matt, block every other religion too and atheism to boot.

I, personally, don't have a problem if Matt were to block all religious propaganda from the ads. It's not as if anyone is banning Scientology from being discussed.
And did I miss the atheism google ads? "Spot the invisible unicorn, win a free iPod!"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:45 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Is Scientology a cult? It is not.

By reasonable standards, Scientology meets many of the characteristics for a cult, by how it idolizes its leader, deals with "outsiders", establishes gradients or levels that members can attain within the organization — and, accordingly, how it generates income — and how its organization handles internal dissent, among other criteria.

If it were an ad for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or the Council of American-Islamic Relations, or the Brethren Volunteer Service, or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or a Lubavitcher missionary group, or the Soka Gakkai International it wouldn't be an issue.

Perhaps it would be an issue, but probably only if such groups could be demonstrated to behave as the Scientology organization does. That would be a very difficult equivalence relation to make in a convincing way, for many reasons.

But you're welcome to try. If you're making this claim in good faith, then I would recommend you make that defense, if you can provide verifiable evidence to that end.

If you block Scientology, Matt, block every other religion too and atheism to boot.

If Scientology is being blocked for being a cult, then you are suggesting that atheism is a cult, which is a ridiculous and nonsensical proposition, given a lack of idolatry, a near-complete lack of any organization or financial basis, no group activities to speak of, etc. You're making no sense at all, if you're making that claim.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 PM on July 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


By reasonable standards, Scientology meets many of the characteristics for a cult, by how it idolizes its leader, deals with "outsiders", establishes gradients or levels that members can attain within the organization — and, accordingly, how it generates income — and how its organization handles internal dissent, among other criteria.

Would you also say the Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult? Or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?


If Scientology is being blocked for being a cult, then you are suggesting that atheism is a cult, which is a ridiculous and nonsensical proposition, given a lack of idolatry, a near-complete lack of any organization or financial basis, no group activities to speak of, etc. You're making no sense at all, if you're making that claim.


Don't put words in my mouth. I never said atheism or Scientology were cults. Atheism is a belief that there is no god. But to say that atheists have no group activities to speak shows you are pretty lacking in your understanding of the structure of organizations promoting and supporting non-belief.

I would never said Scientology should be blocked for being a cult. I said if you are going to block one religion, block all religions and all beliefs and practices too.
posted by parmanparman at 10:55 PM on July 26, 2008


Would you also say the Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult? Or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

You're evading your responsibility here. I'm not playing this game with you.

You are claiming equivalence between Scientology and, to paraphrase, Lutherans, Muslims, Catholics, and Jews, at least.

Since Scientology is generally understood to have cult-like attributes, you need to show us how those other organizations behave similarly to Scientology -- if you're arguing in good faith, that is.

I never said atheism or Scientology were cults.

You claimed equivalence between them.

If you can show how atheists believe in Thetan-like creatures and charge other atheists money to get to "new levels" — and at the very least, organize in the same manner as the cult of Scientology — I think you'd make a good start to arguing for the equivalence of the two.

Otherwise, your assertion that atheism is a cult is ridiculous and laughable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:08 PM on July 26, 2008



You're evading your responsibility here. I'm not playing this game with you.

You are claiming equivalence between Scientology and, to paraphrase, Lutherans, Muslims, Catholics, and Jews, at least.

Since Scientology is generally understood to have cult-like attributes, you need to show us how those other organizations behave similarly to Scientology -- if you're arguing in good faith, that is.


I am evading responsibilities? What the fuck are these cult-like attributes you keep going on about? Make a fucking list of what you believe is an estimation of a cult-like attribute and we'll address them right here and right fucking now.
posted by parmanparman at 11:17 PM on July 26, 2008


Dudes.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:20 PM on July 26, 2008


Seriously, Blazecock Firecrotch Pileon, Esq., show me what these "cult-like attributes" are and I will show you that every religion in the world is guilty of the same things.

And please, don't just trot out Lisa McPherson and tell me I'm being ridiculous.
posted by parmanparman at 11:24 PM on July 26, 2008


I added dianetics.org to the ad-block list.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:26 PM on July 26, 2008 [18 favorites]


By reasonable standards, The Church of Scientology meets many of the requirements to be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), far more than any other self-proclaimed religious organization in the U.S, and more than some of the organizations that have been targeted by RICO (Hell's Angels, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Major League Baseball...)

If wse can't get this band of criminals to justice, how are we ever going to use RICO against the Republican Party?
posted by wendell at 11:35 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, if I study scientists, does that make me a scientologist?

(I don't study scientists. Just asking.)
(And not seriously.)
(For serious talk about this, please contact my lawyer.)

Ha, ha, ha. (coff)
posted by not_on_display at 11:36 PM on July 26, 2008


I don't consider it 'cult-like' to charge thousands of dollars to member of your church before you reveal the Truths of your religion. I consider it a criminal scam. Find another religious organization ANYWHERE that does ANYTHING like that. Please.
posted by wendell at 11:38 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


By reasonable standards, Scientology meets many of the characteristics for a cult, by how it idolizes its leader, how it maintains a theology known by all to be derived from science fiction, how it deals with "outsiders" and outside views, how it dissuades followers from interaction with the "outside" world, how it promotes end-justifying-the-means violence against GLBT people and other non-followers, how it establishes gradients or "membership levels" that members can attain within the organization — and, accordingly, how it generates income — and how its organization handles internal dissent, among many other criteria.

Given your inability to qualify any equivalence so far, I suspect you know very well that neither atheism, nor any of the organized religious groups you mentioned, have these unique cult-like aspects of Scientology.

I also wonder openly if you are a fund-raiser or have a financial or other interest in the promotion of this cult on Metafilter or elsewhere, given your vigorous, personal defense for it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't consider it 'cult-like' to charge thousands of dollars to member of your church before you reveal the Truths of your religion. I consider it a criminal scam. Find another religious organization ANYWHERE that does ANYTHING like that. Please.

If you don't consider it cult-like, I can't argue about it.
posted by parmanparman at 11:43 PM on July 26, 2008


By reasonable standards, The Church of Scientology meets many of the requirements to be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), far more than any other self-proclaimed religious organization in the U.S, and more than some of the organizations that have been targeted by RICO (Hell's Angels, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Major League Baseball...)

According to a U.S. District Court Memorandum of Decision in 1993, Scientologists "have abused the federal court system by using it, inter alia, to destroy their opponents, rather than to resolve an actual dispute over trademark law or any other legal matter. This constitutes 'extraordinary, malicious, wanton, and oppressive conduct.' ... It is abundantly clear that plaintiffs sought to harass the individual defendants and destroy the church defendants through massive over-litigation and other highly questionable litigation tactics. The Special Master has never seen a more glaring example of bad faith litigation than this."[5]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:50 PM on July 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


If you block Scientology, Matt, block every other religion too and atheism to boot.

I think the easiest course of action here would be to block you.

Actually, he shouldn't block you. Thanks to you, I actually agree with Blazecock Pileon... you have given the world hope.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:02 AM on July 27, 2008


makes sure this is MeTa

Blazecock, as someone who has hated Scientology since the death of the Finnish anonymous remailers (and their related Hate-On for their critics around the same time), I think you're wasting your time posting facts about Scientology. It would probably be better for your blood pressure and reduce RSIs to your fingers/wrists if you gave up.
posted by crataegus at 12:10 AM on July 27, 2008


I feel like I should make it clear now that my previous statement was a parody of what MeFi might be like if Scientology were accepted. I myself, am entirely unaccepting of CoS, for myriad reasons. In my mind, the only reason not to destroy 4chan is their battle against Scientology. My excuses and justificatinos above were simply meant for satire's sake.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:11 AM on July 27, 2008


Blazecock, as someone who has hated Scientology since the death of the Finnish anonymous remailers (and their related Hate-On for their critics around the same time), I think you're wasting your time posting facts about Scientology. It would probably be better for your blood pressure and reduce RSIs to your fingers/wrists if you gave up.

Oh, I'm certain I'm done here. I'm just waiting for the subpoena, now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 AM on July 27, 2008


I am (or was, before I became a full-time fundraiser for a graduate school of education in the Northeast) a religion journalist. I was for two years the producer of a public radio show called Interfaith Voices. Before that I was the producer of numerous shows on the BBC Asian Network in Birmingham, England. When I came to work in religion journalism it was because I made a choice about how I wanted to live my life. If I was going to create a weekly program about religion in America - a country that states constitutionally that the congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion - I would do so fairly and in the acceptance that any group that reasonably sought to exercise their freedom to pray to the god or no god or chose not to pray because they chose to not believe required my attention as a religion journalist.

In that spirit, I helped open up the dialog on public radio between and within many groups. Maureen Fiedler the host of Interfaith Voices and I crafted The Conversation on the Common Good, a one-hour panel program bringing religious leaders from diverse paths together to discuss poverty, climate change, and the state of the union. I organized the first public radio debate on atheism's role in a secular democracy featuring Christopher Hitchens and Edd Doerr, the former president of the American Humanist Association. We discussed everything from the persecution of the Baha'i in Iran to Lutheran-Mennonite reconciliation to the emotional personal trials of a woman who though raised a Jew was secretly baptized as a child by her grandmother and a colluding Catholic priest. I cherish my chance to speak to John Shelby Spong and Ron Sider and Richard Czizik and Starhawk and Richard Land. I did this journalism because I know religion is always personal, but never private. It is about a determined love of ideals.

The sad, strange thing about debating cult-like activities here is that we are practically all Americans. Yet, somehow we've gotten it into our brains despite our founding call that no religion shall stand above another that there is no god but ---.

We live in a federal republic where our religious differences are very often the only thing holding us back from working together. I learned from making Interfaith Voices that Scientologists are anti-gay rights and anti-abortion. I am neither. But I believe that Scientologists have the right to pray and to pay and to serve and to work and to love and to cherish because I know they would want the same for me.
posted by parmanparman at 12:19 AM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't see a problem banning Scientology ads. We certainly banned suicide girls for less.
posted by ryanrs at 12:33 AM on July 27, 2008


But I believe that Scientologists have the right to pray and to pay and to serve and to work and to love and to cherish because I know they would want the same for me.

Nobody's debating that. MetaFilter is a privately owned business, however, and the members of it reserve the right to try to convince mathowie to refuse service to anyone they see fit. If he makes the decision on his own, well again, that's quite literally his own business.
posted by carsonb at 12:36 AM on July 27, 2008


This isn't persecution, it's a boycott. We can boycotts whatever the hell we want, right?
posted by ryanrs at 12:41 AM on July 27, 2008


Nobody's debating that. MetaFilter is a privately owned business, however, and the members of it reserve the right to try to convince mathowie to refuse service to anyone they see fit. If he makes the decision on his own, well again, that's quite literally his own business.

I wasn't responding to you, carsonb. I am responding to blazecock pileon's sad and cowardly suggestion that somehow I am a Scientologist.
posted by parmanparman at 12:43 AM on July 27, 2008


My mother's a catholic, and yes, she considers the Jehovah's Witnesses a cult.
posted by Eideteker at 12:45 AM on July 27, 2008


Cat Pie Hurts, you are the bigot. Scientology, whether it has one member or a million members is a religion in America - a country that has no law that disallows a person from belief in anything they want - be it Jedi, Catholic, atheistic Judaism, Satanism, or even Scientology.

Er, you're making a mistake here.

There's Scientology the religion, which is pretty out there as far as wackiness goes, but is still a reasonable system of belief. And as a system of belief, should be free of all but reasonable government oversight. (Reasonable = holding them to account for the same laws to which we are all accountable.) This is a belief system practiced by many people, both within the 'official' church and without. As such--as a belief system--there is nothing wrong with Scientology per se, presuming one accepts that there is nothing wrong with religious belief in general.

Then there's Scientology the corrupt criminal organization. This is the vast, complexly interwoven network of several companies, religious groups, churches, trademark owners, and social and political action groups that actively commits crimes, profits by them, and engages in behaviour which can only be described as cultlike. Blazecock Pileon has provided some excellent links which document this behaviour.

The latter grouping is what is placing the ads, is what owns dianetics.org, and is the group to which we are referring and objecting. Not the former.

By analogy, and simpler: one can be vocally against the Catholic Church as an institution which tacitly condoned and covered up child abuse, while still respecting the rights of its members to their belief system. This is not bigotry.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:06 AM on July 27, 2008 [17 favorites]


I am responding to blazecock pileon's sad and cowardly suggestion that somehow I am a Scientologist.

Wouldn't it just be easier to say, "No, I'm not a Scientologist?"

Either way, parmanparman, the crux of what I said is that your argument for equal treatment of beliefs systems doesn't apply to MetaFilter, because MetaFilter is a privately owned business. I wish I could say that it's stated somewhere that MetaFilter reserves the right to refuse service to anyone, but mathowie has yet to lawyer up a ToS for the site. Scientology garners rights equal to other religions from the US Government, but those do not—and should not—extend to privately held enterprises.
posted by carsonb at 1:06 AM on July 27, 2008


Disclaimer: The above comment was written by a complete moron with zero understanding of the legal rights issues at hand. It is recommended that all assertions contained therein be taken with these grains of salt.
posted by carsonb at 1:09 AM on July 27, 2008


If the Scientologists are stupid enough to spend money advertising on a site whose readers are highly unlikely to be responsive to their message, then it's Matt's gain and their loss.
posted by amyms at 1:13 AM on July 27, 2008


so... Matt was tom cruise the whole time?
posted by qvantamon at 1:35 AM on July 27, 2008


If the Scientologists are stupid enough to spend money advertising

Screw that. This is our community and most of us don't like 'em. The purpose of metafilter is not to sell ads.
posted by ryanrs at 2:22 AM on July 27, 2008


Is Scientology a cult? It is not. It handles clearly all of the definitions of religion: it has a canon, it has ritual, it has belief, it has adherents, it has tax-exempt status. What more do you need? If you block Scientology, Matt, block every other religion too and atheism to boot.
posted by parmanparman


Atheism isn't organized in any way, it can't be compared with a religion or a cult. Try this:
- Hey, I wanna be an atheist, where do I send my money?
posted by Termite at 3:08 AM on July 27, 2008


Paypal to ryanrs at gmail and I'll add you to the cabal mailing list.
posted by ryanrs at 3:17 AM on July 27, 2008


Wow. If you think Scientology is anything other than a criminal organization, you don't know your history. Eleven top Scientology officials, including Hubbard's wife, thrown in jail for infiltrating the US Government in the late 1970's, and all a matter of public record: United States vs. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F. Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).
posted by sdodd at 3:38 AM on July 27, 2008


>"If the Scientologists are stupid enough to spend money advertising on a site whose readers are highly unlikely to be responsive to their message, then it's Matt's gain and their loss."

Only it's not their money. It's money they've manipulated from weak and vulnerable people. The only place that money should be going is back to the person it was stolen from.
posted by saturnine at 4:02 AM on July 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


so... Matt was tom cruise the whole time?

No, Katie Holmes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 AM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Try this: - Hey, I wanna be an atheist, where do I send my money?

How about here?

Once again: the thing that marks Scientology out for justified different treatment is not that its beliefs strike most people as wacky, not that it is an organized group, not that the group solicits money from its members, not even that it solicits a lot of money from its members, but that it is a corrupt and criminal organization. Parmanparman, your completely admirable attitude towards religious diversity and understanding is entirely compatible with condemning Scientology in its current form.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:59 AM on July 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Parmanparman, your completely admirable attitude towards religious diversity and understanding is entirely compatible with condemning Scientology in its current form.

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject. When Scientology and their pack of lawyers is no longer stalking and suing and harassing people who disagree with them, I may change my opinions but I suspect that is unlikely to happen.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:21 AM on July 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


I actually agree with Blazecock Pileon...
posted by Krrrlson


BEHOLD THE UNIFYING POWER OF SCIENTOLOGY!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:45 AM on July 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


I said if you are going to block one religion, block all religions and all beliefs and practices too.

By that logic, if Matt decides to block a religion that preaches incest, then he should block all religions. That makes no sense and neither does the all or nothing, black and white approach that you're suggesting
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 AM on July 27, 2008


My excuses and justificatinos above

This is a delightful typo, Navelgazer. It looks like it should literally mean "little justifications" en espanol (needs a tilde), and it would be used colloquially to refer to poor excuses.
posted by Kwine at 7:17 AM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


parmanparman suffers inexcusable ignorance regarding the nature and history of Scientology.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:35 AM on July 27, 2008


I don't consider it 'cult-like' to charge thousands of dollars to member of your church before you reveal the Truths of your religion. I consider it a criminal scam.

If you don't consider it cult-like, I can't argue about it.

Does that mean you concede that it's a criminal scam then? I must say, it's a bit unusual, demanding equal access for criminal scams -- but I like your thinking from a site marketing perspective.

Has anyone approached the Yakuza to see if they'd be interested in taking out ads?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2008


I'll add you to the cabal mailing list.

If there is a cabal, I'm not in it. *cries*
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:18 AM on July 27, 2008


Has anyone approached the Yakuza to see if they'd be interested in taking out ads?

We should, because they pay well. But it's gonna be hell trying to reach the semicolon key without the first joint of your right little finger.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:46 AM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the seminal pamphlet, "When and How to Quote Niemöller Rhetorically":

#1. Don't. Just, I mean, fuck, really? You're going to do that? In an argument on the Internet? No. You're cheapening it badly.
...
...
...
#17. If the folks you're trying to defend are plausible nominees for the role of the They that are doing the Coming For, you are doing it wrong. See #1.

posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 AM on July 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


For what it's worth, at the famous used bookstore, we get a lot of people selling us used copies of Dianetics.

And they buy them? Those fuckers wouldn't buy the books I brought in, which were a fuck of a lot better than fucking Dianetics. Must be run by Scientologists.

parmanparman, I'm not going to call you a Scientologist (though I must admit I was tempted before you favored us with your "love me, I'm tolerant" resume), but you really need to educate yourself better before you start running off at the mouth about how Scientology is just like everything else.
posted by languagehat at 9:20 AM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was having trouble falling asleep last night. Since my previous knowledge of Scientology consisted of the rather superficial "Blah blah Xenu, blah genocide-in-volcanoes-with-bombs blah, yadda yadda E-meter" stuff, I decided to go on a wikipedia reading binge.

End result: confusion, eventual sleep, and dreams of gorillas as hockey goalies slathered in butter all over the universe.
posted by CKmtl at 9:35 AM on July 27, 2008


And they buy them? Those fuckers wouldn't buy the books I brought in, which were a fuck of a lot better than fucking Dianetics. Must be run by Scientologists.

Generally, no. But when people don't want to schlep rejected books home, they leave them and we put them on the dollar rack outside. You'd be amazed at some of the weird shit that winds up there. I buy a lot of it. I'm thinking of doing a Flickr set on it.

(the guy who rejected your books, was he a short guy with a Noo yawk accent or a aesthete type with glasses or a grumpy old man who looks like James Lipton with dyspepsia? I know all of them, I'm just curious)
posted by jonmc at 9:52 AM on July 27, 2008


IF YOU WON'T RUN ADS FOR REAL ESTATE SCAMS THEN YOU CAN'T RUN ADS FOR LEGITIMATE REAL ESTATE COMPANIES SO THERE.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:58 AM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think it was the grumpy old man, though it's been a while. And what really pissed me off was the suggestion that if I didn't want to schlep them home I could leave them there. Yeah, right, you want to sell them without giving me a penny for them, sounds good! I schlepped them far enough away I didn't think they'd wind up in the dollar bins and dumped them in a trash bin, hoping some impecunious student would find them.
posted by languagehat at 10:36 AM on July 27, 2008


posted by ROU_Xenophobe


More like ROU_Xenuphobe, amirite?

or maybe ROU_Xenuphile (pro-Xenu, anti-Scientology) or LRH_Xenophobe (anti-Xenu, pro-Scientology)
posted by theclaw at 11:02 AM on July 27, 2008


well, hat, you gotta remember that a huge chunk of our sellers are not book people, but either people who are moving trimming their collections or dumpster-diving street people looking for a quick buck, so in that context the offer makes sense.
posted by jonmc at 11:04 AM on July 27, 2008


we'll agree to disagree, my man. Love those redheads...

Alas, it could never work, jon. I'm an Orangeman.
posted by timeistight at 12:02 PM on July 27, 2008


Heretic!
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on July 27, 2008


parmanparman, I'm all for religious freedom. I'm perfectly willing to tolerate plenty of religions and plenty of religious practices that I find deeply objectionable in the name of making sure people have freedom to worship as they choose.

Scientology is not just a bunch of idiots with a couple of tin cans. It is a cult. In addition to that, that, it uses extraordinary legal force to intimidate and bankrupt outspoken critics. It is terrifying in almost all of its many incarnations. Since Matt has the option to not accept ads that promote Scientology, I'm hugely relieved that he did. Mostly because it means I don't have to take my $5 and go home.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:51 PM on July 27, 2008


Since Matt has the option to not accept ads that promote Scientology, I'm hugely relieved that he did. Mostly because it means I don't have to take my $5 and go home.

Why? are you afraid that if you keep seeing the ads you won't be able to help yourself and you'll buy a copy of dianetics?
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on July 27, 2008


I still think there should be a concerted effort across MeFi, Digg, BB, etc to intentionally fetch up a bunch of CoS ads and let everyone click away just to drain their ad budget a little.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on July 27, 2008


Why? are you afraid that if you keep seeing the ads you won't be able to help yourself and you'll buy a copy of dianetics?

I'm pretty certain the concern is twofold: that the casual reader could see that ad and infer that MeFi tacitly or overtly supports Scientology, and that the hundreds of thousands of eyeballs that see MeFi daily would statistically include people who would click on the ad and then buy the book, and then buy into a dangerous cult. But your obtuseness is noted.

I still think there should be a concerted effort across MeFi, Digg, BB, etc to intentionally fetch up a bunch of CoS ads and let everyone click away just to drain their ad budget a little.

The problem with that sort of action is that CoS would then just need more money.. which means draining current members of more money. Which just perpetuates the cycle.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2008


Eh, I wouldn't lose any sleep if members of CoS were subjected to updated fleecing. Maybe it might make them wake up and revolt.

Also, Dream Baby Dream.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2008


It hasn't made them wake up yet, Burhanistan.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:44 PM on July 27, 2008


I'm pretty certain the concern is twofold: that the casual reader could see that ad and infer that MeFi tacitly or overtly supports Scientology,

why, do you assume when watching a commercial during a sitcom that Jerry Seinfeld uses Palmolive?
posted by jonmc at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2008


And there's also the chance that some small percentage of ad-clickers would get drawn in by the ads, and fork over whatever ludicrously large fees are required for the Scientology courses. It probably wouldn't take too many suckers to make the ads a net gain for the CoS, even in the face of rampant "Take that, you hosers!" clicks.
posted by CKmtl at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2008


Of course not. You're deliberately being obtuse, as usual. Stop it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:55 PM on July 27, 2008


jonmc, that is, not CKmtl.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:55 PM on July 27, 2008


Word on the street is that the FBI is opening a new investigation into the cult's affairs. If true it could mean things are moving into end-game phase for them & the issue of their advertisements will become a matter of history. We'll know in a few months, I guess.
posted by scalefree at 2:00 PM on July 27, 2008


And there's also the chance that some small percentage of ad-clickers would get drawn in by the ads, and fork over whatever ludicrously large fees are required for the Scientology courses.

Is it matt's job to protect people from their own stupidity? matt's trying to make a buck and all ads, especially those for a religious organization with a widely known reputation should be atken with a shakerful of salt. Anyone with an IQ higher than a houseplant knows that.

and don't ever tell me to stop anything.
posted by jonmc at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2008


Why? are you afraid that if you keep seeing the ads you won't be able to help yourself and you'll buy a copy of dianetics?

No, I've already got a copy of Dianetics, thanks. (Bought second hand, I hasten to add.) dirtynumbangelboy nicely described my position on that particular ad. I am absolutely rabid about only a handful of things, and my hatred of Scientology is one of them.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on July 27, 2008


I am absolutely rabid about only a handful of things, and my hatred of Scientology is one of them.

and your personal rabid hatreds should determine policy here?
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on July 27, 2008


Jesus, jon. If Scientology's reputation were so perfectly known, they wouldn't be getting any more new members, now would they?

Please to be explaining exactly why Matt--even if he is just out to make a buck--should support a criminal enterprise?

What's that, you can't?

Thought so.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:07 PM on July 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Rabid hatreds against criminally corrupt organizations that intimidate and kill people? Yeah, I'm pretty comfortable with that informing policy around here. Pretty much any rational person would agree.

You, of course, won't. You're just doing your same old tired jonmc schtick. You probably call it playing devil's advocate.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:08 PM on July 27, 2008


Jesus, jon. If Scientology's reputation were so perfectly known, they wouldn't be getting any more new members, now would they?

as a wise band once said "Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people..." As I said way back in the thread, in my daily life I pass through a gauntlet of religious zealots that make an ad for Scientology look like a summer breze. I don't assume that the NYMTA supports them, nor do I campaign to keep them out of the subways.

You, of course, won't. You're just doing your same old tired jonmc schtick. You probably call it playing devil's advocate.

No, I call it calling bullshit on your paranoia masquerading as rigteousness. Most people have had numerous encounters with zealots. Adults ignore them and move on, even if they see them on billboards or TV. They don't shreik in terror and act like it's some free-floating disaese that'll infect you unless the room is sterilized.
posted by jonmc at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


scalefree, please, please provide any links you have on that. Are we talking about RICO charges? I sincerely think that would be an excellent use of FBI resources. (And if the bureau doesn't do it, I hope some aggressive state attorney general steps up.)
posted by sdodd at 2:17 PM on July 27, 2008


Matt is not running ads on mefi in an attempt to be as hardcore as the NYMTA tunnels.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:19 PM on July 27, 2008


in my daily life I pass through a gauntlet of religious zealots that make an ad for Scientology look like a summer breze.

That's hardly the point, and you know it.

I don't assume that the NYMTA supports them,

Of course not. That is because advertising is different than random proselytizers. And you know it.

nor do I campaign to keep them out of the subways.

See above.

They don't shreik in terror and act like it's some free-floating disaese that'll infect you unless the room is sterilized

Except, y'know, that's not actually what's happening here. But hey, if you want to go on pretending that it is to score some sort of Internet Argument Points, by all means do so. Those of us grownups who are discussing the actual issue--viz, providing implicit support to a criminal organization--will carry on without you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:19 PM on July 27, 2008


Well, duh. If he was the ads would smell of urine and have panhandlers loitering nearby.
posted by jonmc at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2008


Is it matt's job to protect people from their own stupidity?

Nope. I said that in response to Burhanistan's idea to attack the CoS by taking their advertising money.

It would only be an effective attack if the ads produce no, or very few, new eagerly-emptied wallets members. If the CoS rakes in more money from new members via the ads than they paid for the ads, then the attack has failed.

Given how easily they can get people to hand over their money and the relatively low cost of advertising online, I'd think the attack would have a high risk of failure.
posted by CKmtl at 2:22 PM on July 27, 2008


dnab, keep shouting. The more you do the more paranoid you sound. If matt takes an ad from any random bunch of yahoos, I see it as him taking their money. We're all big boys and girls and we can decide what ads to click on. DarlingBri is rabid in her hatred of Scientology? Well, I'm rabid in my belief that it is not anyone's job (not the governments or a website administrators) other than our own to protect ourselves from our own gullibilty.
posted by jonmc at 2:24 PM on July 27, 2008


> paranoia masquerading as rigteousness ... Adults ignore them and move on ... They don't shreik in terror and act like it's some free-floating disaese...

How can Matt ignore them considering they have threatened him in order to curtail free expression on this very site? The US District Court says there's never been a worse abuser of the legal process in this country. They have a $20 million/year legal budget.

Seems like perfectly justified paranoia to me.
posted by sdodd at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2008


jon, not really sure what your problem is, here. I'm not shouting. You, however, are for some reason pulling the same old tired routine that you pull every day. And being insulting. And dishonest. And projecting, for that matter.. I have no paranoia whatsoever about the CoS. I think that they are a corrupt and criminal gang of thugs and that we, as reasonably intelligent people, should not be supporting them.

But, y'know, it looks like your little fantasy world version of what's being discussed here is far more pleasing to you than inconveniences like the facts. So I'll just give you a little pat on the head, and suggest you run along and play with the other kids; the grownups are trying ot have a conversation.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:32 PM on July 27, 2008


Look, I think most people here can agree on these things:
1) Scientology is off
2) Scientology ads aren't something Matt would knowingly support

Now whether it's his responsibility to always remove them...dnab, if you're logged in the ads won't show up, so no reason to take your $5 anywhere. There are any number of weird things that are likely to pop up as ads, many of them bad things, and Matt can't protect people from that. It sucks that people are suckered into Scientology every so often, but if it wasn't Scientology it would be something else. Suckers like to get suckered. That's why casinos are rich and everyone who comes back from Vegas always says they "broke even" or better. Also, I'm pretty sure the palmolive thing was a joke...no need to take it all that seriously.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:34 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


dnab, if you're logged in the ads won't show up, so no reason to take your $5 anywhere.

Er... never said I was.

Matt can't protect people from that

He can take reasonable steps. Which he did. And continues to do.

Also, I'm pretty sure the palmolive thing was a joke...no need to take it all that seriously.

That would be why I ignored it.

Thanks for playing!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2008


Well, I'm rabid in my belief that it is not anyone's job (not the governments or a website administrators) other than our own to protect ourselves from our own gullibilty.

That's a fair point. It might also be fair to say that advertising grants a certain legitimacy to the advertised party, which in this case is not a good thing. To paraphrase above, given RICO statutes and the abusively litigious behavior of associated Scientologists, taking ad revenue from the Religious Technology Center / CoS doesn't seem much different from accepting advertising dollars from La Cosa Nostra or the Yakuza. It's dirty money, in other words, so kudos to Matt to decide not to let his site be a part of that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on July 27, 2008


I think that they are a corrupt and criminal gang of thugs and that we, as reasonably intelligent people, should not be supporting them.

Kinky Friedman once offered Bill Clinton a Cuban cigar. Clinton demurred since he couldn't support the Cuban government. Kinky said 'Don't think of it as supporting the regime. Think of it as burning their fields.' Matt taking their money is doing the same thing.

I've seen a bazillion copies of Dianetics, I've had people from every organization from the born-agains to Amway try to recruit me and I still remain a non-member. You fall for them, you deserve what you get, in my opinion. caveat emptor.

So I'll just give you a little pat on the head

Pat your own head, mybe you'll find the hole in it.
posted by jonmc at 2:39 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


taking ad revenue from the Religious Technology Center / CoS doesn't seem much different from accepting advertising dollars from La Cosa Nostra or the Yakuza. It's dirty money, in other words, so kudos to Matt to decide not to let his site be a part of that.

I've drank in bars that were probably owned by organized crime. I've bought drugs on the street, which means I was probably supporting some species of organized crime. At various jobs, I'm almost sure that I've helped in the purchase of stolen property. Worse, better? Let's not get into false piety, here.
posted by jonmc at 2:42 PM on July 27, 2008


That would be why I ignored it.

What? No you didn't.

Take a frikkin valium.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2008


We're all big boys and girls and we can decide what ads to click on.

And Matt's a big boy who can decide not to run an ad for an organization he dislikes on his website. If you want to hire someone to write a greasemonkey script that makes Scientology ads available to folks who want to see 'em, go for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, jon. Lisa McPherson deserved what she got. You're absolutely right. How silly of the rest of us to suggest that Matt shouldn't be providing an avenue whereby more people can get suckered in by an organization that kills people, deprives them of contact with their families, puts them in forced labour programs, hoovers out their bank accounts, prevents them from forming relationships or getting married, and generally tries to control every aspect of their lives.

Very, very silly to suggest that. Of course. Why couldn't I see that before?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2008


cortex: agreed, matt can decide what he wants. I'm just a little irked at the 'wont somebody please thin of the chil-I mean web community members!' tone I'm hearing here.
posted by jonmc at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2008


Take a frikkin valium.

WTF? Okay, to thoroughly nitpick, I ignored the specific comment, not the sentiment behind it--namely, jonmc pulling his usual "I'm going to pretend not to understand what everyone is saying so that I can project my fantasy version of events instead, aren't I such a curmudgeonly Everyman amirite?"

More to the point, I'm perfectly calm. Not really sure where your valium comment is coming from. Perhaps you should try decaf?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2008


Let's not get into false piety, here.

Maybe all money is dirty, on some level. I agree with you that it's not a black and white situation, but, jon, come on, certainly there's some difference between a site advertising the promotion of gangsterism by convicted gangsters, and you going into a bar for a beer? I don't think you buying that beer is what keeps your local organized crime outfit in tracksuits and gold chains.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:48 PM on July 27, 2008


Look, it seemed to me you overreacted to jonmc's comments. Maybe it has something to do with a history you two have; I don't know. In any case, I tried to point out that what he was saying was not a big deal, and you said "Thanks for playing" as if I was trying to attack or beat you...no such thing.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:49 PM on July 27, 2008


I said "thanks for playing" because you got everything wrong.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:50 PM on July 27, 2008


Oh, and as regarding the $5...sorry I see now that was DarlingBri...my mistake. I really didn't mean to come across as attacking you.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:52 PM on July 27, 2008


Maybe all money is dirty, on some level. I agree with you that it's not a black and white situation, but, jon, come on, certainly there's some difference between a site advertising the promotion of gangsterism by convicted gangsters, and you going into a bar for a beer? I don't think you buying that beer is what keeps your local organized crime outfit in tracksuits and gold chains.

Is there? They're still getting my money or at least using my money to launder theirs (and in at least two cases, I'm almost sure-not cort-of-law sure, but close enough) that there was hanky-panky going on in places I patronized regularly, but you know what? It didn't bother me all that much. Organized crime and cults arent that different in that you usually can tell what you're getting into if you have half a brain.
posted by jonmc at 2:53 PM on July 27, 2008


(and when I bought drugs from street dealers, I'd say I was definitely helping to keep some cartel in the money, so comapred to that, running an ad seems like small change)
posted by jonmc at 2:55 PM on July 27, 2008


Organized crime and cults arent that different in that you usually can tell what you're getting into if you have half a brain.

Maybe you're right. But I suspect the decision to remove the ads is based less on "protecting users" so much as it is a personal choice not to take money from gangsters. That's just my personal theory, however, a completely uninformed opinion, and I could be wrong. If I'm right or at least close, I think I can get behind that decision, and would hope that you, too, would see the distinction.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:07 PM on July 27, 2008


I suspect the decision to remove the ads is based less on "protecting users" so much as it is a personal choice not to take money from gangsters.

Correct, we don't really have an "omg think of children" approach to pretty much anything we do around here. You're adults or pretending to be adults generally speaking.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:13 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a question: Does MeFi get money from just hosting the ads, from click-throughs, or per view, or what?

...which is a roundabout way of asking, "Does this Adblocker make my mooching sack look fat?"
posted by Sys Rq at 3:21 PM on July 27, 2008


If I'm right or at least close, I think I can get behind that decision, and would hope that you, too, would see the distinction.

Sure, but to tell you the truth, I wouldn't hold it aginst them if they ran the ads and took the money anyway.
posted by jonmc at 3:22 PM on July 27, 2008


...which is a roundabout way of asking, "Does this Adblocker make my mooching sack look fat?"

Adblock to your heart's content, yo.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on July 27, 2008


I would have done so anyway, cortex. That was the joke part.

I'm actually curious re: hosting vs. click-throughs, since in the latter case there'd presumably be more incentive to block ads for unpopular stuff, irrespective of the ideologies involved.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:40 PM on July 27, 2008


taking ad revenue from the Religious Technology Center / CoS doesn't seem much different from accepting advertising dollars from La Cosa Nostra or the Yakuza.

The mefi Yakuza are not to be fucked with.
posted by nola at 3:41 PM on July 27, 2008


and your personal rabid hatreds should determine policy here?

No, not in the least. It is absolutely Matt's right to run whatever ads he sees fit. It is similarly my right to no longer give my time, thought or page impressions to a site that promotes Scientology through running their ads. Therefore I am glad Matt took the ad down.

I can draw you a Venn diagram if it will help.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:42 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is similarly my right to no longer give my time, thought or page impressions to a site that promotes Scientology through running their ads. Therefore I am glad Matt took the ad down.

It must be an awful drain on your time investigating every webiste, tv show, movie and magazine you read to find out whether there's some ad waiting to pounce on you. Especially since, well, most of the time you won't be missed.
posted by jonmc at 3:48 PM on July 27, 2008


I refer Mr Parman to the answer I gave some moments ago.
posted by genghis at 3:52 PM on July 27, 2008


yes, genghis, we caught your 1o-cent observation. you get a gold star.
posted by jonmc at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2008


It must be an awful drain on your time investigating every webiste, tv show, movie and magazine you read to find out whether there's some ad waiting to pounce on you. Especially since, well, most of the time you won't be missed.

Dude, did you put on your cranky pants on this morning or what?

There is a thread here pointing out that HEY THERE IS A SCIENTOLOGY AD ON METAFILTER. Last time I checked, I was allowed to make personal moral choices about information presented to me. I don't know why it bother you so much that I don't want to be a part of a site fluffing for Scientology. Come to think of it, I don't know what bother you so much about me, full stop, but feel free to drop me a memail if you would like to get it off your nads.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:54 PM on July 27, 2008


jonmc, you're getting a little boorish here. Just because other people care about something you don't doesn't mean you have to hold court pooh-poohing on what theyre talking about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:57 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, jonmc, we all understand that today you're genetically incapable of not threadshitting and abusing every other poster here.

Fuck you.
posted by genghis at 3:57 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jonmc, your argument is getting pretty idiotic at this point. Knock it off.
posted by ryanrs at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2008


Last time I checked, I was allowed to make personal moral choices about information presented to me.

HAHAHAHA!

How do you leave the house in the morning with that belief? From ads on the side of buses to yo-yo's on street corners to pop-up ads on websites to radios blaring, you , I or anybody has next to zero control over what 'information is presented to us.' But those of us with functioning brains can pick and choose what to listen to and what to ignore.

Dude, did you put on your cranky pants on this morning or what?

I was born cranky, lady. It's the only rational response to the world.

I don't want to be a part of a site fluffing for Scientology

You'd ditch a site you otherwise enjoy because of an ad? that's like not going to a good restaurant because they have a few items you don't like on the menu.

Yes, Scientology is a cult and a bunch of con artists. But as long as there are suckers in the world, there will always be people like them willing to indulge their suckerness. If it isn't religion, it'll be politics or money. Twas ever thus. Only dewy-eyed naifs get indignant about it.
posted by jonmc at 4:01 PM on July 27, 2008


Is everything okay with you jonmc? I mean, personally?
posted by tkolar at 4:04 PM on July 27, 2008


I'm happy as a clam, actually. I'm just saying what I think.
posted by jonmc at 4:05 PM on July 27, 2008


Can we talk more about fluffing?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:06 PM on July 27, 2008


Sure.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:09 PM on July 27, 2008


You'd ditch a site you otherwise enjoy because of an ad?

Over this ad, yes. Over other ads I didn't like, probably not.

And now you're just being an idiot. When I said "personal moral choices about information presented to me" I wasn't saying I get to choose what information gets presented to me, but rather that I get to choose what I do with information that is presented to me. Bus ads, pop ups, magazine ads, and HEY THERE IS A SCIENTOLOGY AD ON METAFILTER posts all included.

that's like not going to a good restaurant because they have a few items you don't like on the menu.

No, that's like not going to a good restaurant because they have ads for Scientology on the menu.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


genghis, do you seriously think that telling us that Scientology is a shuck is worthy of linking to your own comment? My senile grandmother could figure that out.
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on July 27, 2008


Admit it jon, you're a member of the Sea Org, and you've been sent here to stump for Psychotonomy
posted by nola at 4:12 PM on July 27, 2008


No, that's like not going to a good restaurant because they have ads for Scientology on the menu.

Well, then I better stop riding the subway. or going to my job since we carry Dianetics. We carry Mein Kampf, too. Are we shilling for the Nazis?

Seriously, a lot of you sound like kids who've just discovered that the world is full of fucked up people.
posted by jonmc at 4:14 PM on July 27, 2008


Oh man, I have to dig up my UCB discs now. DAMN YOU NOLA!!! *shakes left-handed fist*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on July 27, 2008


I think it's more considerate to post a link back than to repeat oneself.

And especially more so than repeating oneself twenty times in the same thread. Perhaps you have more in common with your senile grandmother than you think.

I'm done here.
posted by genghis at 4:15 PM on July 27, 2008


Are we shilling for the Nazis?

Well, there was that thread about Prussian Blue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:17 PM on July 27, 2008


sdodd writes "How can Matt ignore them considering they have threatened him in order to curtail free expression on this very site?"

Exactly. I'm pretty sure hosting an ad for these bozos was unintentional and wont happen again if Matt can help it.
posted by Mitheral at 4:28 PM on July 27, 2008


I have to agree with jonmc. Running scientology ads is just as harmless as buying street drugs from someone who sends the money on to organized crime. Kinda similar, in a way, except for the fact you've got a million other ads on the market to choose from.
posted by sfenders at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2008


If tripping over Godwin's Law is the best you can do at this point, jonmc, then I believe you need to change your pants.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:32 PM on July 27, 2008


This is going pretty poorly. Why not close the thread?
posted by Kwine at 4:33 PM on July 27, 2008


jonmc writes "Well, then I better stop riding the subway. or going to my job since we carry Dianetics. We carry Mein Kampf, too. Are we shilling for the Nazis? "Seriously, a lot of you sound like kids who've just discovered that the world is full of fucked up people."

I wonder if that would still happen if the CoS sued your employer.
posted by Mitheral at 4:36 PM on July 27, 2008


Running scientology ads is just as harmless as buying street drugs from someone who sends the money on to organized crime.

When you by drugs, 90% of the time you're giving money to support some version of organized crime. Nobody's innocent of fucking up the world in some way, so pretty much all moral indignance rings hollow to me, is all I'm saying.

DarlingBri, I see by your userpage that we're about the same age, but somehow I've manged to shed any foolish youthful idealism.
posted by jonmc at 4:36 PM on July 27, 2008


I wonder if that would still happen if the CoS sued your employer.

I'd get another job. I'm had dozens. A few of them when the company failed out from under me. Employment's cheap at the bottom level.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on July 27, 2008


I'd get another job.

And then, in the relevant example, there would be no metafilter.

This isn't going much of anywhere, and jon, you're being increasingly dickish to apparently any and all comers in a thread that doesn't have much of anything to do with you. Please chill out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on July 27, 2008


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