I won’t get into how it was, but one day I was sitting in a hotel in Siberia, downing a few vodka shots with Misha, the owner. We were having a polite argument about what life was actually like in America.
“Informed” by the media, he just knew that the streets were filled with one or another groups demanding their rights, marching in the midst of gun shots and police chases. He knew that all normal Americans lived in five-room Pasadena mansions with two expensive cars and had kids who spent all day having sex and taking drugs.
I finally had to tell him that if they made a movie or TV show about real life in America, nobody would watch it. That we were basically the same as Russians: we get as good a job as we can, struggle and do our best to raise families. We put up with a gaggle of idiot politicians and bureaucrats who make our lives more difficult. He saw the truth in that. He laughed.
I thought about the portrayal of Russians in our movies and shows: they were either stupid and backward or ex-KGB, Mafia psychos. In reality, Russians have a reverence for culture and incredibly high education standards. They actively pursue learning, athletics and art on every level. Many of the world’s billionaires are Russian. They are smarter, tougher, better educated than many of the rest.
In our films and on television, everything is black and white and all problems are resolved within the span of a half an hour show. Lawyers are upstanding, justice warriors and always rich. Psychiatrists are all wise and understanding, doctors heal everyone. Cops arrive two seconds after the 911 call and get the bad guy every time.
In the real world, most lawyers work burn-out hours around nasty people and get paid less than most cops. Psychiatrists cram pills down the throats of people they secretly hate. Doctors are under constant threat of lawsuit and policemen spend most of their time writing tickets while trying not to get shot by a stray meth head.
The corporate news media will show you the one accident, not the millions of good drivers, the few criminals but not the billions of honest people. They show you the broken and the stupid and leave out the well and the brilliant. When they can’t find something bad to show you, they make it up, as they have with Scientology.
My point here is: Scientology is not alone. The media version of Scientology is every bit as idiotic and dishonest as everything else they portray. The reality is, if you made a truthful TV show about the real Scientology, and real Scientologists, nobody would watch it. While making the so-called “exposés” on all the supposed secrets of Scientology, they leave out what has become the biggest secret of all. That secret is Scientology itself.
The media version of Scientology is every bit as idiotic and dishonest as everything else they portray. The reality is, if you made a truthful TV show about the real Scientology, and real Scientologists, nobody would watch it.
The corporate news media will show you a handful of Scientologists who’ve been kicked out, and black out the thousands and thousands who are perfectly content. They will exaggerate a couple of out-of-context oddities and a bunch of complete lies, and leave out the volumes of information anyone would find useful.
Personally, it’s gotten to be comical to watch the expression on certain people’s faces when they learn that I’m a Scientologist. One woman I knew jumped back in open-mouthed surprise and blurted: “But you seem so normal!” I apologized for giving her the impression that I was “normal” and we both had a good laugh.
Here's the reality: in order to make a paycheck the media needs to sell advertising. In order to sell advertising, they must get people to watch, read and listen. To do this they must frighten, excite, and otherwise entertain. If they tell the truth, nobody will watch it. They will go broke.
It’s that simple.
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