Unless you’ve been kicking it in Antarctica, or hiding in a cool, dark basement somewhere to avoid the stifling summer heat, you’ve likely heard TomKat (Ugh. The worst mashup ever. I can’t believe I used it) broke up. Many of us liberally-minded, feminist types cheered when we heard about Katie’s well-planned and nicely executed divorce filing.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, some of us (Ahem. Mostly me.) have an inkling there was some controlling and/or emotional abuse going on—on the part of Tom Cruise. I present the following list as my quasi-evidence:
- The jumping on Oprah’s couch was creepy. Like, “I finally got myself another woman to control” creepy.
- Tom wanting to change Katie’s name to Kate is creepy. Telling her family and friends that they must use the new name (because Katie is a child’s name, and “she is a childbearing woman”) is certainly controlling. The use of the word childbearing when referring to your girlfriend (at the time) is creepy.
- Hiring a bodyguard/security team of NINE from your church to ‘guard’ your wife and child is creepy. And controlling.
- Telling your former BFF Brooke Shields that depression doesn’t exist and to take some vitamins—that’s just stupid.
But, if you happen to be unfamiliar with the Church of Scientology (I use the term church loosely—founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, said– back when he was just a lowly science fiction writer, if he wanted to be a millionaire, he would start his own religion), you may not know that Tom Cruise comes by the creepy/controlling thing naturally.
He didn’t get it from his Mama, but he certainly got it from his church.
Scientologists have been on damage control for much of this year. They have missions (I am assuming these are like the old Spanish Catholic missions the term brings to mind) defecting from church leadership. Then there was the whole John Travolta sex thing (which I am still a bit unclear on). Now there’s this Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.
So what’s a church to do when faced with factions breaking off, scandal, and decreasing numbers overall? Start censoring the web, of course! Allegedly, the church’s Office of Special Affairs recently sent out an email to members providing them with a plan for stopping negative comments of the church on the web:
I am not a big fan of media, but you may have glanced [sic] the news of the split between TC and Holmes and all the speculations around. While this is a personal matter, when people start to bring our religion into the middle and a bunch of uninformed people start to spread false datum, rumors and defame our religion it became [sic] a matter that does affect my Dynamics and I believe that affects yours as well.
The email goes on to tell members that they should report comments about the Cruise-Holmes divorce as violating websites’ code of conduct (think of how Facebook allows you to report abuse and nasty things—well, at least they allegedly allow you to report it—you never really know if anyone reals sits behind that report button) over and over again, so that it will be taken down just to stop the harassment:
You can write something like “Violate Your Code of Conduct”. ‘defames or degrades a group for any reason including on the basis of religion.’…if you start to have 10 or 20 people reporting it, they are going to take this down.
Scientology is not new to the game of controlling what is said about them, or even defamation lawsuits. The Church has been known to even sue federal governments (including the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany) They work hard to control their image, and they have the money and celebrities to make it happen, most of the time. Wikipedia is one noted exception—they block IP addresses associated with the church to protect against self-serving edits to the site’s Scientology page, and recourse by the church has gone nowhere. So while the church has officially stated this email did not come from their offices (and then attempted to disparage the blogger who posted about it), I think it’s completely reasonable that they wish to control the spin on the Cruise-Holmes divorce. Which is why you can’t let them know Sprocket Ink allowed this post to go live!
Shhh! They may be watching!